This course is an introduction to the literary cultures of South and Southeast Asia: texts and their connections to cultural and historical contexts. We attend to classical as well as modern literature, oral as well as written texts, manuscripts as well as printed books and magazines, to India and surrounding countries as well as Indonesia and Southeast Asia in general.
We will address a wide range of questions regarding, among other things: nineteenth and twentieth-century literature in Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, and English; the spread and continual adaptation of the classical epics Ramayana and Mahabharata in South and Southeast Asia; the oral performance of traditional narratives and modern poetry in Indonesia; and contemporary popular literarure in Indonesian. Underneath this varied set of themes, this course remains focused on the interaction between texts and the social, political, and religious environments in which they are composed, recited, read, heard, and discussed.
The study materials of this course consist of two kinds of texts: scholarly and literary ones. In preparation of each class meeting, students read one to three scholarly articles or chapters about that week’s theme and one or more short literary texts (in Dutch or English translation). Student prepare weekly web-postings and give regular presentations on these readings. Alongside the class meetings, in the course of the semester students independently read one longer literary work (in translation). This work is selected in consultation with the instructors. It will be discussed jointly in the last class
- fundamental knowledge of and insight into the written and oral literatures of South and Southeast Asia and their past and present cultural position;
- fundamental knowledge of and insight into current scholarly debates on South and Southeast Asian literatures;
- training of analytical skills with regard to questions of literary culture by means of critical analysis of South and Southeast Asian literatures and of their scholarly study;
- self-critical awareness, especially the ability to relativize culturally instilled attitudes.
Mode of instruction
- Lecture/seminar course
Total course load for the course: 140 hours.
- Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 22 hours.
- Approximate time for studying the compulsory literature (scholarly and literary): 70 hours
- Approximate time for individual reading and study of a longer work of South or Southeast Asian literature: 18 hours
- Approximate time for writing the web-postings and preparing for presentations: 30 hours
The assessment of Literatures of South and Southeast Asia consists of the following elements:
- Weekly assignments (web-postings): 40% of overall mark
- In-class presentations about the scholarly and/or literary readings: 10% of overall mark
- Written exam at the end of the course, consisting of essay-type questions: 50% of overall mark
In order to pass the course, students must have contributed actively to at least 75% of class meetings and receive an overall mark of 6 or higher.
An exam resit is possible only for element (3), and only if the student participated in the first written exam and received an overall mark for the course of “5” or lower.
The course is an integrated whole. All categories must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.
Blackboard is used for:
- table of contents and extended course description (syllabus) of the course
- course materials
- web-postings by students
Blackboard serves as the primary channel of communication about the course between instructors and students outside class meetings. Registration for the course on Blackboard is essential.
Readings are to be announced later.
The readings must be studied prior to the class in question.