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C LIT 322 A: Studies In Asian And Western Literatures

Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
EEB 037
Joint Sections: 
Jennifer E. Dubrow

Syllabus Description:

Asian 206A/CLit 322A: Modern Literature of South Asia

Winter 2018


Office Email Office hours
Instructor Prof. Jennifer Dubrow Gowen 229 F 11:30-12:30, or by appointment
TA Sravani Kanamarlapudi Art 339 MW 9:30-10:20, or by appointment

Class meetings: TTh 2:30-4:20, Electrical Engineering Building (EEB) 037

Discussion sections: F 2:30-3:20/3:30-4:20, Mary Gates Hall (MGH) 242

Course Description:

This course introduces the modern literature of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.) from the eighteenth century to the present. We will read a selection of short stories, novels, and poetry drawn from the diverse literary traditions of the region. Major readings include Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, short stories about the partition of India and other topics, Umrao Jan Ada, a novel about a nineteenth-century courtesan, and ghazal poetry. All works will be read in English translation. At the end of the course, we will have a class musha'irah (poetry recitation), in which students will present their own original English ghazals.

Course Goals:

  • To become familiar with the South Asian literary traditions covered in this course, as well as general information about South Asian languages and literature
  • To develop skills for reading and interpreting literature from times, places, and contexts different from our own

Required and Recommended Books:

You are required to purchase the following three books, available at the University Bookstore.

1) Jhumpa Lahiri. Interpreter of Maladies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
2) Amit Chaudhuri, ed. The Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature. New York: Vintage Books, 2004.
3) Mirza Mohammad Hadi Ruswa. Umrao Jan Ada. Translated by David Matthews. Rupa & Co., 1996.

Other readings will be made available on the "Files" page of the course website (UW log-in required).

Recommended Books: You should have a good (preferably marked "collegiate") print or online dictionary available for use during this course (if using an online dictionary, I recommend the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary or the Oxford English Dictionary). A handy paperback dictionary (Merriam-Webster) is available at the University Bookstore.

Books on Reserve: All required books for this course are available on 24-hour reserve at the Odegaard Undergraduate Library. Some reference works on South Asian history and literature are also available.

Assignments and Grading:

The final grade in Asian 206/C Lit 322A will be comprised of the following factors:

  • 4 written assignments, consisting of two short responses (of between 1-4 pages), a take-home midterm assignment, and a take-home final assignment. Guidelines for 1st short response. Take-home midterm assignment. Guidelines for 2nd short response. Each short response is worth 10 points; the midterm and final assignments are each worth 20 points. (60 points total)
  • A ghazal project, in which you compose some original verses (she'r) in English. Guidelines. 15 points.
  • Class Participation, which includes asking questions in class, bringing passages for discussion to the quiz sections, and thoughtful engagement in discussion in quiz and lecture sessions. 20 points.
  • A short quiz on the factual information on South Asian languages and history covered during the first half of the course. 5 points.

Student Responsibilities:

Students are responsible for carrying out assigned readings by the dates specified. Copies of the assigned readings should always be brought to class on the days on which they are to be discussed.

Students are expected to abide by all University of Washington regulations concerning plagiarism and academic honesty. Cheating and plagiarism (submitting someone else's words or ideas as your own work) are serious academic offenses. Cases of suspected cheating and plagiarism will be referred to the Committee on Academic Conduct for adjudication. Possible penalties range from disciplinary warnings to dismissal from the university. It is your responsibility to be aware of the university's standards for academic conduct. A good summary can be found at:

Electronics Policy:

To maximize student learning and participation in the course, students are asked to not use electronics while in class or discussion sessions. If you require the use of a laptop or other electronics to take notes or for other reasons, please speak with the instructor. For class sessions in which the reading is available on Canvas, we will experiment with using limited electronics on those days.  

Students are expected to observe the following rules in class:

  • Arrive in class on time so that other students are not disturbed;
  • Refrain from conversing with fellow students while class is in progress;
  • Turn off cell phones and other electronic devices;
  • Do not use personal computers to cruise the Internet, read email, or engage in activities unrelated to class.

Disability Accommodations:

If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability Resources for Students, 448 Schmitz Hall, (206) 543-8924. If you have a letter from DSO indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to the instructor during the first week of the term so that we can discuss appropriate arrangements.

Catalog Description: 
Topics designated by individual instructors.
Department Requirements Met: 
Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:24pm