This course introduces students to women's writing in South Asia in the colonial and postcolonial periods, focusing on how these writers explore issues of identity, violence, and belonging in predominantly male literary traditions. In particular, it considers how poetry, short stories, novels, and autobiographies by South Asian women offer unique insight into meanings of gender, work, and family, and testify to women's struggle toward social and economic freedom, intellectual engagement, and political recognition. In doing so, the course will be motivated by two interrelated concerns: 1) how does South Asian women's literature relate to and help define the broader category of women's writing? And 2) how does South Asian women's writing offer new models of agency and resistance to women's marginalization within patriarchal cultures? In order to answer these questions, we will analyze the specific historical, cultural, social, and economic contexts with which South Asian women's writing engages and upon which it reflects, giving particular regard to concepts such as "tradition," "modernity," "nation," and "genre."
By the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the key social, cultural, and gender issues shaping women's lives and literary production in the South Asian context from the 19th century to the present. Through readings, class discussions, and written assignments, the course is designed to foster the development of essential analytical and critical skills that students can apply to diverse historical periods and cultural frameworks.
This course fulfills the SAS Core Curriculum Requirements for Arts and Humanities, goals o and p.