South Asian Studies

The diversity and shared histories of South Asia's cultures, religions, languages, and nations are an important area of engagement  in the world today. While India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and neighboring nation-states constitute a recognizable geographic region, the equally vital diasporic communities from South Asia and their globally dispersed networks extend our understanding of an old and yet changing South Asia. South Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary concentration in which students work in a specified chronological period (e.g. ancient, medieval, early modern, or contemporary), in a geographical area (e.g. Bangladesh, Bengal, Maharashtra, North India, Pakistan, South India), or in a particular discipline (e.g. anthropology, Hindi/Urdu, history, religion, or Sanskrit) but also take courses outside of their chosen area of emphasis in disciplines such as economics, literature, philosophy, political science, or theatre arts.

Course Requirements

All South Asian Studies concentrators must take and pass 10 courses as approved by their concentration advisor.

HIST 1580Gandhi's India: South Asia Before 19471
Select at least one of the following courses in pre-modern history, philosophy, religious studies and literature:1
Indian Civilization through Its Literature
Religious and Philosophical Thought in Ancient India
Epics of India
Concepts of the Self in Classical Indian Literature
Classical Philosophy of India
Beyond Hindu, Muslim: Recovering Early South Asia
Religions of South Asia
Religions of Classical India
Select at least one of the following social science course:1
Film and Anthropology: Identity and Images of Indian Societies
Impact on Colonialism: Gender and Nationalism in India
Indian Issues in Anthropological Perspective
Coming to Terms with India: Anthropology of Colonialism and Nationalism
Politics, Economy and Society in India
At least one course in the visual arts, modern literature, music, cinema, or theatre of South Asia such as:1
Introduction to Indian Art
Topics in Islamic Art: Islamic Art and Architecture on the Indian Subcontinent
Advanced Hindi-Urdu
Music of India
Iranian Cinema: Before and After the Islamic Revolution
Music, Drama and Religion in India
Masking, Trancing, Performing, and Spectating in Non-Western and Circumpacific Performance
An Honors Thesis or a Capstone Course taken in an appropriate Department.1
Five electives 15
International Perspectives of Women's Agency and Society
Indian Issues in Anthropological Perspective
Comparative Sex Roles
Film and Anthropology: Identity and Images of Indian Societies
Ideology of Development
Coming to Terms with India: Anthropology of Colonialism and Nationalism
Indian Civilization through Its Literature
Religious and Philosophical Thought in Ancient India
Epics of India
Concepts of the Self in Classical Indian Literature
Classical Philosophy of India
Several courses in Development Studies are potentially appropriate; check to see if the course allows for a South Asian focus
The Economic Analysis of Institutions
Introduction to Indian Art
Topics in Islamic Art: Islamic Art and Architecture on the Indian Subcontinent
The American South in History and Memory
History of Islamic Law: Theory and Practice
Islamic History, 1400-1800
Gandhi's India: South Asia Before 1947
Beyond Hindu, Muslim: Recovering Early South Asia
European Empires in the East (1500-1800): A Comparative Analysis
Europe and the Indian Ocean, 1500 - 1800
Moving Boundaries: Inequalities, Histories and the Making of Postcolonial South Asia
Science in a Colonial Context
Several courses in International Relations are potentially appropriate; check to see if the course allows for a South Asian focus
Beginning Hindi or Urdu
Beginning Hindi or Urdu
Intermediate Hindi-Urdu
Intermediate Hindi-Urdu
Advanced Hindi-Urdu
World Music Cultures (Middle East and Asia)
Music of India
Philosophy East and West
Politics, Economy and Society in India
Politics of Economic Development in Asia
Ethnic Politics and Conflict
Roots of Radical Islam
Basic Persian
Basic Persian
Intermediate Persian Language and Culture
Intermediate Persian Language and Culture
Iranian Cinema: Before and After the Islamic Revolution
Great Contemplative Traditions of Asia
Hindu and Christian Modes of Loving Devotion
Introduction to Buddhism
Religions of Classical India
Religions of South Asia
Islam Unveiled
The Theory and Practice of Buddhist Meditation
Buddhist Psychology
Sacrifice and Society
Dying To Be With God: Jihad, Past and Present
Music, Drama and Religion in India
Pilgrimage and Sacred Travel in the Lands of Islam
Methods and Problems in Islamic Studies: Narratives
Monks, Mystics and Martyrs: Abrahamic Traditions Compared
Elementary Sanskrit I
Elementary Sanskrit II
Sanskrit Epic Narrative
Classical Sanskrit Story Literature
Early Sanskrit Philosophy and Religion
The Critical Episodes of the Mahabharata
Vedic Sanskrit
The Sanskrit Grammatical Tradition
Classical Schools of Indian Philosophy
Advanced Sanskrit
Conference: Especially for Honors Students
Masking, Trancing, Performing, and Spectating in Non-Western and Circumpacific Performance
Total Credits10
1

 Two of which may be language courses in Hindi/Urdu or Sanskrit taken in conjunction with the language requirement. This list is not exhaustive, as any class which allows the concentrator to complete a substantial final project on South Asia may be counted towards the concentration requirements. If course rotations or the introduction of new courses warrant, substitutions within these categories may be made with approval of the faculty advisor.

Language Requirements

Proficiency in a South Asian language is required for the concentration. Students who are not native speakers of a South Asian language may prove proficiency by taking two years of Hindi/Urdu or Sanskrit at Brown, by successfully passing a course at the intermediate (4th semester) level at Brown or the approved equivalent at another institution, or by successfully passing a special examination administered by an approved faculty member. Two courses taken to fulfill the language requirement may be counted among the elective courses required for concentration.

Study Abroad

All South Asian Studies concentrators are encouraged to take Hindi/Urdu and to participate in Brown in India, a junior-year study abroad program at St. Stephen’s College and Lady Sri Ram College in Delhi. Students can also opt to enroll in any other Brown approved study-abroad program in South Asia.

Capstone Project

All concentrators other than honors concentrators will designate an upper-level course in the area of their primary focus as their capstone course. The student will take this course during the senior year and will produce as part of the written work for the course a substantial paper or annotated translation displaying the unique focus of his or her concentration.

Honors

A South Asian Studies Concentration with Honors requires a high B or A average in courses taken for the concentration as well as an honors thesis in the department of the student’s main focus. Candidates for the honors program should apply to the South Asia Faculty Group through their advisor by the middle of their sixth semester.