URD 384 • Female Voices in Urdu Literature
5:00 PM-8:00 PM
That women were and still are marginalized in literary traditions should not be a revelation. However, in spite of being bludgeoned by scriptures, essentialized by their male counterparts, and trivialized by anthology compilers, women did manage to assert their own agency. At times women created this agency by appropriating the language of their oppressors and using that very language to undermine the totalizing discourse that began with "the fall of man." The daughters of Eve and sisters of Sita have always spoken out, albeit not usually heard. This course, through primary and secondary sources, will evaluate the concept of "sin" as reflected in women's writings in Urdu. It will also question the extent to which the oppressor's language can be used by the oppressed to gain any sort of constructive, liberating agency. The course will explore the issues of translation and multivocality that emerge in these texts. We will discuss the manner in which class differences have been obscured in the literature at hand, literature by and large remaining an elitist enterprise.
Primary Readings: Ismat Chughtai, Lihaf: Ismat Chughtai, Chauthi ka jod~a. Qurrat ul Ain Haidar, Saint Flora °S Georgia ke etraSat. Vajida Tabassum, Utran . Jilani Bano, Mom kiMariam. Poetry of Kishvar Nahid, Sara Shagufta, Fahmida Riaz, Parvin Shakir & Meena Kumari. Secondary Readings: Rukhsana Ahmad (ed.), We Sinful Women: Contemporary Urdu Feminist Poetry. Kalpana Bardhan (ed.), Of Women, Outcastes, Peasants, and Rebels. Gail Minault, Secluded Scholars. Nawal Sadawi, Woman at Point Zero . Annemarie Schimmel, My Soul is a Woman . Gayatri Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak." Qurat ul Ain Haidar, The River of Fire.