Middle East V2357, Fall 2008
Mon Wed  2:40-3:55; 702 Hamilton
Prof. Frances Pritchett
This course presupposes no background whatsoever; any undergraduate is welcome to enroll. There will be about 125 pages of reading per week, of varying kinds but not of extreme difficulty; primary sources will be used to the maximum extent possible. Grades will be based on: class attendance and discussion assignments (20%); two 6-7 page papers (20% each) using primary sources, with a choice from several topics; and a final exam including both identification and discussion questions, for which study helps will be provided (40%).

The course will have an unusually extensive website (located *here*), which will be password-protected and accessible through Courseworks. Many shorter readings, as well as maps and images, will be available through that website. Below is a list of *three required books* that are available at BookCulture.


ONE == Mapping "India"
(What is "India," and can we really map it?)

TWO == The Indus Valley Civilization
(How well can we know a culture through physical evidence alone?)

THREE == The Vedic people
(How well can we know a culture through its religious texts alone?)

FOUR == The Upanishads and beyond
(What comes after the Vedas?)

FIVE == Buddhism and Jainism emerge
(Can humans escape from violence, desire, and rebirth?)

SIX == Ashoka, the Beloved-of-the-Gods
(Did his empire really rest on pillars?)

SEVEN == The story of Rama
(Should he be considered an ideal king?)

EIGHT == The "Brahminical synthesis"
(How did it all come together?)

NINE == The Bhagavad Gita
(How did Krishna persuade Arjuna to fight in a fratricidal war?)

TEN == Bhakti
(Can a person really have God for a lover?)

ELEVEN == The great medieval temple complexes
(How can we best understand the medieval temples?)

TWELVE == The advent of Islam
(How did Muslims become a presence in South Asia?)

THIRTEEN == Mystical paths and prophetic voices
(How close to God is too close?)

FOURTEEN == Akbar, the great assimilator
(What did he mean when he said "Allahu Akbar"?)

FIFTEEN == The Mughal Empire
(Was it really a Mughal-Rajput Empire?)

SIXTEEN == Aurangzeb and the long slide downhill
(Was it his fault that regional powers began to take over?)

SEVENTEEN == The British presence expands
(Did the westerners bring "modernity"?)

EIGHTEEN == The growth of (Hindu) nationalism
(How did Hindu/Indian threads intertwine?)

NINETEEN == 1857 and beyond
(What did the rebellion mean?)

TWENTY == In the Muslim community
(How were the issues of separatism argued?)

TWENTY-ONE == Gandhi's "big tent"
(Could even a Mahatma hold it all together?)

TWENTY-TWO == Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
(How does a Dalit with a Columbia Ph.D. fight the caste system?)

TWENTY-THREE == The Independence movement
(Was it bound to turn out the way it did?)

TWENTY-FOUR == Aftermath
(How did the reshaping of South Asia continue?)

TWENTY-FIVE == "The Lawless Frontier"
(Must there always be trouble in the mountains?)

TWENTY-SIX == Nowadays...
(How far have we come, and in what directions?)

TEXTS TO BE BOUGHT at BookCulture:

== Ainslie T. Embree, ed. Sources of Indian Tradition, Volume One: From the Beginning to 1800. Second Edition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

== Stephen Hay, ed. Sources of Indian Tradition, Volume Two: Modern India and Pakistan. Second Edition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

== Burton Stein, A History of India. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.


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