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Relational Life in Southern Asia


Admission requirements

  • The course is compulsory for BA South and Southeast Asian Studies.

  • Students from other Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Anthropology, History, Philosophy are welcome.


Relational life in Southern Asia has been marked by long histories of violence and peaceful co-existence. These forms of relationality have both endured and been ruptured by decolonization. People across South and Southeast Asia and beyond continue to struggle with both the legacies of past oppression and ongoing post/colonial violence. Despotic regimes and apathetic states both in the past and the present have often left common people to fend for themselves through events of exceptional brutality and done little to rehabilitate their lives in the aftermath. How do human beings sustain life amidst illness, disasters, and bloodshed? How do they remake everyday lives and their social worlds inhabitable? This course will explore the ethics and infrastructures of care that enable relational life to endure amidst limitations, commitments and often incompatible senses of obligation. It will explore sites and practices of compassion, charity, neighbourly goodwill, kinship and friendship from anthropological, historical and philosophical perspectives to reflect upon these questions.

Course objectives

  • Gaining insights into social worlds beyond media representations

  • Practicing and understabnding deep reading skills

  • Developing critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills

  • Understanding and practising an interdisciplinary approach


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture with student participation

Assessment method


  • Participation in class (10%)

  • Short written assignments during the course of the semester (40%)

  • Final exam (50%)


See above.


Resits will be allowed only for the final exam if the overall grade (based on a weighted average) is less that 5.5 (=6). Students who have not written the final exam will not be allowed a resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

To be announced at the start of the semester. No prior preparation required. A commitment to read deeply and participate in the class is required.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.