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

Spring 2008

ANS 372 • Landscape and Locale in India

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31215 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
MEZ 1.120
Snell, R.

Course Description

This course will investigate the many and varied ways in which perceptions of 'place' have been expressed in Indian literature and culture from early to modern times. We will examine the ways in which shrines and other religious topoi have integrated certain geographical locations into India's sacred geography, engendering many kinds of ritual activity and pilgrimage. By reading primary and secondary sources we will examine the mapping of mythological events (such as those described in the Ramayana and the Krishna narrative) onto the topography of the phenomenal world. The "meanings" of rivers such as the Ganga, Yamuna and Narmada, and of sacred cities such as Gaya, Mathura, Varanasi and Amritsar, will be investigated through a reading of Mahatmya texts and pilgrimage guides as well as secondary sources; similarly the various "meanings" of land - as something to be worked, bought and sold, revered and venerated, used as metaphor-will be probed and discussed. Cities such as Lucknow and Delhi, whose image is inseparable from particular cultural moments in the history of the subcontinent, will be explored through the (often nostalgic) literature written in and about these places. The religious and cultural associations of particular regions, such as the symbiosis between Sikhism and the Punjab, will be another focus, as will British colonial representations of India in fiction and travelogue. The course will operate on a seminar model, with discussions and/or student presentations based on weekly readings. Though this is an English-medium course, students with a reading knowledge of Hindi will be given an opportunity to study some Hindi sources.

Grading Policy

Participation in class discussion 20% Class presentation 20% Two essays @ 15% 30% Final exam 30%


Arnold, David, The tropics and the traveling gaze : India, landscape, and science 1800-1856. Eck, Diana, Banaras: city of light. New York, Knopf, 1982. Entwistle, Alan W., Entwistle, Alan W., 'The cult of Krishna-Gopal as a version of pastoral.' In Diana L. Eck and F. Mallison (eds), Devotion Divine: Bhakti Traditions from the Regions of India. Groningen, Egbert Forsten, pp. qq. Feldhaus, Anne, Connected places: region, pilgrimage, and geographical imagination in India. New York, Palgrave, 2003. Graff, Violette, Lucknow: memories of a city. Delhi, OUP, 1997. Hosain, Attia, Sunlight on a broken column. Delhi, Penguin Books, 1992. Khosla, Romi, The idea of Delhi. Mumbai, Marg, 2005 [Q DS 486 D3 I34 2005] Kumar, Nita, The artisans of Banaras: popular culture and identity, 1880-1986. Princeton, PUP, 1988. Mehboob (dir.) Mother India [Hindi feature film with subtitles]. Mehboob Studio, 1957. Ramanujan, A.K., The Oxford anthology of modern Indian poetry. Delhi, OUP, 1994. Sachdev, Vibhuti, and Giles Tillotson, Building Jaipur: the making of an Indian city. London, Reaktion, 2002. Selby, Martha, Tamil geographies: cultural constructions of space and place in South India. New York, SUNY, forthcoming 2007. Snell, Rupert, The nikunja as sacred space in poetry of the Radhavallabhi tradition. Journal of Vaisnava Studies 7.1 (fall 1998), pp. 63-84. Tulsidas (trans. F.R. Allchin), The petition to Ram [Vinay patrika]. London, Allen & Unwin, 1966. Vaudeville, Charlotte, Braj, lost and found, Indo-Iranian Journal, 18. 1976, pp. 195-213.


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