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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Fall 2007

ANS 372 • Dalit Literature and Culture

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31644 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
MEZ 1.102

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce a body of work called Dalit literature from India. Known as Dalit (downtrodden and lower -caste) literature in general, there has been an upsurge of lower-caste literary production in regional languages and the national languages, Hindi and English as well. This course on 'Dalit Literature and Culture' introduces recent dalit writings from various Indian languages, and in addition, provides a general background to dalit culture. We begin this exploration with such questions as: who are dalits? What is their present and historical cultural situation? What is dalit literature? How do we identify a dalit text? How different are dalit texts from mainstream Indian literature and how do they contest the established literary traditions in India? What kind of alternate narrative strategies they put into practice? Where do we locate these local-caste/specific writings within the larger context of South Asian literature? Readings will consist of a selection of prose and poetry writings from contemporary Indian languages. One movie Sujata, Hindi (Bimal Roy, 1959) and the documentaries "We are not your Monkeys" (Anand Patwardhan, 1996) and India Untouched (Stalin, 2007) will supplement the readings. Carefully selected background readings will help contextualize and historicize the primary works read and discussed in the course. All these readings are in English translation.

Grading Policy

I. Informal writing (One page Weekly Responses and Reflections on readings): 25% (Due Every Monday - Week 2,4, 8, 12 and 15 are exempted) II. 2 Class Room Quizzes- 10% (week 2 & 4) III. Book or Movie Review or close-reading of any poem/short-story: 1 (3-4 pages) 25% (Due in week 8) IV. Literary Analysis: 2 short essays (each 5-6 pages), 40% (Due in Week 12 and 15)


1. Anand Mulk Raj, (1933)Untouchable, Penguin Books: London 2. Valmiki Omprakash, 2003 Joothan, (Hindi novel) tr: New York: Columbia University Press. 3. Bama, 2005. Sangati, (Autobiographical Stories from Tamil) tr: Oxford University Press, 4. Moon Vasant, 2001. Growing Up Untouchable in India: A Dalit Autobiography, Oxford: Rowman and Littlefied. 5. Course Packet


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