ANS 372 • Courtesans in Cross-Cultural Perspective
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
In this course we will look at the profiles and practices of courtesans across several cultures and times -- devadasis from South India, tawa'ifs of northern India, geisha from Japan, singers and poetesses of China's and Japan's "floating world," even the legendary cortigiani of Venice. Readings will be drawn from a variety of texts (autobiography, biography, novel, poetic texts, letters and scholarly essays) and will consider the social role of courtesans as women and as performers, the arts they cultivated and disseminated from generation to generation, and various debates surrounding their social position. Class discussion will be directed toward how we ought to understand who and what these special women are/were.