AANB11066U Contemporary South Asia: Reason and Religion
This course introduces students to recent anthropological debates about contemporary identity politics that define the study of society, religion and politics in modern South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives). It begins with an investigation into what constitutes anthropological knowledge and ethnographic fieldwork in representing cultural realities in the region. The course will then critically explore traditional caste depictions and discriminations through the lens of changing social hierarchies in South Asia. It will move on to consider various manifestations of identity politics in the region, including gender and kinship, queer sexualities and homosociality, colonial and post-colonial masculinities, minority religious identities, love, kinship, marriage and childhoods, and show how they are shaped by current nationalist movements, communal violence, migration, globalisation, tourism and ‘westoxification’, visual cultures of commercial cinema, material consumption and religious traditions. The course unit will finally highlight the power negotiations, problems and possibilities of aging in the context of modernity in South Asia. The module will also consider how ethnographic representations of social transformations will equip students to review assumptions about hierarchy, cohesion and oppression in non-western societies. Course materials will include documentaries, ‘Bollywood’ films, web-based resources, literature, and newspaper articles in addition to scholarly books and research-based articles.
By the end of the course, a student should be able to:
- Demonstrate a critical awareness of key themes/debates on social, economic and political relations in post-colonial South Asia.
- Display deeper understanding of society and politics in South Asia through the use of both theoretical and empirical models.
- Locate the key areas where anthropological research can contribute towards quelling myths and assumptions about South Asian societies.
Communicate anthropological knowledge through critical reading, writing and oral presentations.
Learn research methods used by anthropologists in studying communities in a specific region, examine ethnographic cases of social life in different geographic locations, and learn about the changing constructions of religion and rationality in South Asia.
Foster societal knowledge and responsibility by understanding the problems related to social hierarchies, political violence and economic inequalities in the region.
Recognize how local socio-religious practices are created and impacted by globalization and global politics.
Understand the effects of class, gender, nationalisms and power differentials in community development.
Develop a commitment towards different understandings of social and economic justice.
BSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature
MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature + 200 pages of literature chosen by students
Literature chosen by students must be relevant to the course’s subject matter.
Course literature will be available in Absalon on the course website
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- PortfolioPortfolio exam:
Length: The portfolio exam can be taken individually or in groups of maximum four students. The portfolio exam consists of 3-7 submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must not exceed 30,000 keystrokes for a single student. For groups of two students the maximum is 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students the maximum is 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students the maximum is 50,000 keystrokes.
- All aids allowed
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
An essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date. The students are automatically registered for the 1. re-exam. Please note that the re-exam is an essay even for courses, where the ordinary exam is a portfolio exam.
A new essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date next semester. The students must sign up for the 2. re-exam.
Criteria for exam assesment
- Exam Preparation