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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 322 • Women Writers in the South Asian Diaspora

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34265 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
BUR 228

Course Description

Through our discussions of contemporary novels, stories, poems, and essays, as well as films and visual culture, we will explore a number of questions: What is the South Asian diaspora, and what does it mean to write as a woman from that complex location? How do gender, nationality, and location impact the ways in which writers and artists imagine the world and their own communities? The ways they define notions of home and belonging? To what extent is diaspora an abstract concept, and to what extent is it a material condition for South Asian women in North America? What possibilities are enabled and foreclosed by living and writing in the diaspora--in terms of culture, politics, desire, and forms of community and exchange? How are writers and artists imagining diaspora in relation to globalization and transnational flows of people, commodities, and ideas? In addressing these questions, we will consider the usefulness and the limitations of "diaspora"; how race, class, ethnicity, and nationality play into conceptions of home and community; exile and migration, particularly with respect to the forms of violence that force people to leave one home and the politics of immigration in the US; nationalism, sexualities, and queer diasporas; and relationships between memory and popular culture.

Grading Policy

Response Papers (25%); Mid-term Paper (20%); Final Paper (30%); Participation and Attendance (25%)


Bapsi Sidhwa, An American Brat
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake
Kamila Shamsie, Kartography
Sorraya Khan, Noor
Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
Ginu Kamani, Junglee Girl
Abha Dawesar, Babyji
Course packet of additional readings, available at Jenn's Copies


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