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

Fall 2003

ANS 372 • Living Epics of India-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
27605 W
5:00 PM-8:00 PM
GAR 111

Course Description

The two epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are an essential part of the living cultural tradition of the Indian subcontinent that has survived for more than two thousand years. There is no India without these two works. Both have been preserved in oral as well as textual tradition. They are brought alive in their performances, whether by storytelling (katha) or annual staging of gigantic theater productions. The course will explore the cultural and religious aspects of the narratives. These epics have been most influential in the formation of the values of the Indian peoples. The Mahabharata, which includes the Bhagavadgita, represents an encyclopedia of the Hindu culture. Since there are many "tellings" of each, we will sample different ones and study them as sources of information on other areas, such as social and political ideas, as well as a source book for mythology. These narratives form a living tradition and are regularly performed. We shall view some of these performances on video or DVD as well as study the texts. Graduate students can use the Sanskrit texts in their writing projects.

Grading Policy

Attendance & participation in discussion 15% Short essay 5-6 pages (8 pages grad) 20% Book and topic reviews 15% Paper proposal 15% Research paper 12-15 pages (18-20pages grad) 35%


Hiltebeitel, Alf. Rethinking the Mahàbhàrata. A Reader's Guide to the Education of the Dharma King. 2001. Richman, Paula. Many Ràmàyaõas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia. 1991. Richman, Paula. Questioning Ramayanas. 2001. Lutgendorf, Philip. The Life of a Text: Performing the Ramcaritmanas of Tulsidas. 1991. Sutton, Nicholas. Religious Doctrines in the Mahàbhàrata. 2000. Narayan, R.K. The Mahàbhàrata. 1996. Narayan, R.K. The Ràmàyaõa. 1977.


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