Professor — Ph.D., History, 1996, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone: 512-475-7252
- Office: GAR 3.412
- Office Hours: Spring 2014: W 1-3 p.m. for HIS 350L/ANS 361; T 12-3 p.m. for HIS 364G/ANS361
- Campus Mail Code: B7000
I have taught young people in three continents, and over two decades. My teaching interests have evolved to keep pace with my own travels in time. So the courses I have taught include Slavery and South Asian History, the Gender of South Asian pasts, Early Modernity in the subcontinent, and The Power of Performance.
Recently, I find myself drawn simultaenously to both intellectual and economic histories of the subcontinent. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which wealth travelled between and within monastic lineages in the past. Having worked on the ways in which monastic governmentality was forgotten in Indian historiography by the early decades of the twentieth century, I am currently revisiting the costs of such forgetting to women's wealth in eastern India. In brief, I am interested in excavating a new history of wealth.
HIS 350L • Perf And Power In South Asia
T 330pm-630pm GAR 1.122
(also listed as
ANS 361 )
This course is an attempt to respond to many undergraduate students who have been bewildered by the unfamiliar song-and-dance routines, the melodrama of plot, the volubility of dialogue in Bollywood films as well as by the numbers of dancers, musicians and actors who have morphed into political leaders in India. It explains the origins and developments of cultural forms such as dance and music, rooted in exercises aimed at establishing perfect control over the five senses. While some forms constituted communication between visible and invisible forces, others conveyed messages between humans, like story-telling. For paucity of time, this course will study only a select set of music, dance and story-telling traditions. It will outline differences between each, identify the philosophical and training traditions of some better-known practitioners, the different and changing audiences for each kind of performance tradition and review the changes that technological sophistication wrought on the performers and their performances. In the second half of the course, the students will learn about the advent of the printing press and photography in the nineteenth century, and of radio, television and computers in the twentieth century. Students will thus learn a little bit about the political import of technology in the domain of aesthetics at the same time that they will understand that technologies are themselves extensions of the art of communication.
1) Natya Shastra Excerpts2) Narayana Rao. ‘Kings, Gods, and Poets: Ideologies of Patronage in Medieval Andhra’ 1-34.3) Daud Ali, ‘From Nayika to Bhakta’, Courtly Culture 4) Leslie Orr, Donors, Devotees, Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamil Nadu 89-134 5) Amnon Shiloah ‘From Constantinople to Kashmir’ in Music in the World of Islam 88-102 6) Katherine Brown, ‘If Music Be the Food of Love: Maculinity and Eroticism in Mughal Mehfil’ in Orsini ed Love in South Asia 7) Betty True Jones, `Kathakali Dance Drama’ in Bonnie Wade ed, Performing Arts in India, Essays in Music, Dance and Drama, 14 - 44 8) Anne-Marie Gaston’s Bharatanatyam, 26- 85 9) Ian Woodfield, Music of the Raj: Encounter with Indian Music, 149-17710) Kathy Hansen, “The Indar Sabha Phenomenon” 60-86 in Rachel Dwyer, Pleasures of the Nation. 11) Read Rimli Bhattacharyya Life of an Actress; Anuradha Kapur ‘Impersonation, Narration, Desire and the Parsi Theater’ 87-115.12) Amanda Weidman, ‘Problems of Voice’ and Stigmas of the Tamil Stage (CP 13) 13) Ulrike Stark, `Hindi Publishing in the Heart of an Indo-Persian Cultural Metropolis, Lucknow’s Newal Kishore Press’ in Vasudha Dalmia and Stuart Blackburn, The Literary History of South Asia 251-279 14) Priya Joshi “Reading in the Public Eye: The Circulation of Fiction in Indian Libraries, 1835-1901’, ibid, 280- 321 15) Read Sara Dickey, ‘History of Tamil Cinema’ in Cinema and the Urban Poor in South India 47-88 16) Satyajit Ray, Our Cinema, Their Cinema and Casette Cultures (CP 14);17) Paula Richman’s ‘Ramayana in Southall’ 309-328 18) Sunita Sunder Mukhi, Doing the Desi Thing pp. 1-80 19) Clips from film Umrao Jan Ada and Bhumika in class
Written segment: 2-page essay on a classical text (20%). 5-page essay in mid-term (20%). 10-page essay in final (30%).
HIS 364G • Gender And Modern India
MW 500pm-630pm GAR 1.126
(also listed as
ANS 361 )
Words like ‘freedom’ and ‘rights’ were used as measurements by Englishmen in eighteenth-century India to measure the backwardness of Mughal and Maratha cultures of the subcontinent in their treatment of women. This course will therefore examine both precolonial and colonial histories wherever shaped by women’s lives and work. In the first part of the course, students will learn how to think about a past remote from them by immersing themselves in different ways of thinking. They will be asked to read Sufi and Bhakti poetry to discover the gap between biological personhood and social selfhood; and reflect on issues of ‘voice’ and authority. They will read about slave-men and women in powerful households and learn about the politics of seclusion (pardah) sacrality of persons and social rank. Finally they will be asked how the early modern South Asian household with its various groups of women should be conceived: as mere clusters of sentimental individuals or as sites of decentralized political economies of scale.In the second part, students will explore the significance of European colonial knowledge-forms in reshaping ongoing social and political formations in the period 1700-1900. The process will be mapped through analyses of well-known legal, administrative and tax-collection processes that reconstituted family systems of the subcontinent. We will analyze ways in which European colonial systems of law and administration affected certain women’s experiences of abortion, inheritance, divorce and death. We will also explore the making of a new elite educated by colonial schools and eager to refashion older codes of conduct to model themselves on British metropolitan middle classes.In the final segment, each student will evaluate how these developments empowered some women while disabling others. They will learn to assess the contradictory movements by undertaking direct research into one of the reform movements of the nineteenth or twentieth century, or by writing a review essay based on the available books on this theme in the UT library.
1) Cultures of Orality, Erotics and Devotional ‘Voice’Trautmann, Ancient India (caste), Leslie Orr, Daughters of God Carla Petievich, When Men Spoke Like Women Poetry of Khusro, Chandidasa, Sarmad, Mira
2) The Early Modern Household, Rank and Status: Gavin Hambly, ‘Women in Mughal Harem’ Ramya Sreenivasan, ‘Drudges, Dancing Girls’ Michael Fisher, ‘Becoming And Making Family in Hindustan’ William Dalrymple ‘The White Mughals’ Sylvia Vatuk, ‘Family as a Contexted Concept in Early Nineteenth-Century Madras’ in Chatterjee ed Unfamiliar Relations
3) Dying Women and the Crisis of Early Colonial Laws:Durba Ghosh, Deaths of Servants, MAS Anand Yang ‘Sati’ in JWH Asish Nandy ‘Sati’ in Exiled from HomeChatterjee, ‘Monastic Governmentality’, History of the Present, 3, 2013. Ranajit Guha, `Chandra’s Death’ Subaltern Studies, volume 5.
4) Destruction of Androgyny, Making Women, Class and Caste:Himani Banerjee `Attired in Virtue’ Geraldine Forbes, Women in Modern India (Cambridge University Press, 1999)Susie Tharu and K.Lalitha ed Women’s Writing in India Gail Minault Secluded Scholars
5) Collapsing Women into Class-Caste-Community? the path to Nationhood Rabindranath Tagore, ‘Letter from a Wife’ Geraldine Forbes, Women in Modern India Bapsi Sidhwa, Ice Candy Man (older title) Cracking India (new title, Penguin Books, 1989, 1991, 2006). Kamla Bhasin and Ritu Menon, Borders and BoundariesWatch Films Earth/ Train To Pakistan/Khamosh Pani
Regular written posting of a critical question/comment of substance on each reading (20%) in an open thread on Blackboard – - Mid-term presentation (20%) and submission of essay of 5 pages (20%) connecting one of the 4 themes studied thus far with any one or two of the themes (and readings therein). For instance, those who wish to talk of women’s autobiographical narratives in the nineteenth century should ponder how this connects with theme 1; those who wish to talk of social ‘reform’ should connect themes 2 and 3. This will help to develop historically deep and self-critical thinking in students.
Final essay of 10 pages incorporating class commentary and criticism (40%).
HIS 364G • Slavery & South Asian History
TTH 930am-1100am GAR 1.134
(also listed as
ANS 361 )
This course is organized in three parts: the first two span the period between the third century BCE and the late eighteenth century, the third covers the nineteenth-twentieth centuries. Students will learn about the ways in which a range of destitute people, orphans, debtors and criminals were incorporated into complex and variable social and political institutions in the subcontinent in the past. They will learn about key legal provisions about the treatment of slaves established by ancient governments. They will also read about military and political structures that used male and female slaves in different ways in the medieval period. These structures, associated with the coming of Islam in the subcontinent, enabled slaves to establish relationships with each other as well as with their masters and mistresses. In the third segment, students will understand the ways in which legal, political and commercial processes associated with global histories of European empires, contributed to the large-scale shift in slave-using structures, the meanings of slavery and the privileges and protections that slaves had earlier enjoyed.
1) I. Chatterjee and R.M. Eaton eds Slavery and South Asian History (Indiana University Press, 2006).
2) Arthashastra Book III, Chapter XIII, Rules Regarding Slaves and Laborers, on www.mssu.edu/projectsouthasia/history/primarydocs/
3) Amitava Ghosh, ‘The Slave of Ms. H6’, from Subaltern Studies, Vol. 5.
4) Sunil Kumar, ‘When Slaves Were Nobles’, Indian Economic and Social History Review , 1998.
5) Pushpa Prasad, ‘Female Slavery in Thirteenth Century Documents’, Indian Historical Quarterly, 1985.
6) Excerpts from Ex-Slave’s Memoir, Tahmasnama: The Autobiography of a Slave (Bombay 1967)
7) Marina Carter, ‘Slavery and Unfree labor in the Indian Ocean’ and ‘Indian Slaves in Mauritius’.
8) Legal Documents : Lariviere ed. Contested Ownership of a Slave; Mr. Hunter Stands Trial for Injuring his Slave Documents, Criminal Judicial Consultations of 1799 from the British Library and the U.N. Report on Trafficking and Prostitution from 1956.
9) 2 Visual Sources:, the film Mughal-e-Azam (with English subtitles) and a documentary on YouTube, ‘Sarah Harris Rescues Prostitutes’.
1) Posing Daily Question/Comment (on Blackboard): (40%)
2) Home-Written 5-page essay comparing historical readings with interpretation made in film (20%)
3) Home-Written 10-15 page discussion on a single theme (30%).
4) Final Essay in Class on media and politics in the representation of trafficking (10%).
HIS 382N • Postcolonialism: Hist As Thry
M 300pm-600pm CBA 4.338
(also listed as
ANS 389C )
This course (a reading seminar) aims at familiarizing graduate students with strands of political philosophy (and resulting ideas of history) by locating them in particular moments in colonial and anti-colonial struggles. It aims to make students aware of the political foundations of all interpretative methods that they will use in their careers. Part A of the course begins with understanding Postcolonialism as a method of critical enquiry that has historical roots in late nineteenth and early-twentieth century European thought, namely that of Marx and Lenin. Part B studies the ways in which Marxist philosophies were deployed by anti-imperialist scholars as they set about interpreting the historical past of colonized and newly decolonized nation-states. While each of the continents had widely varying experiences of colonialisms, only some have become exemplars of anti-colonial historiography. In India, they are identified as Subaltern Studies. They have been influential in making Indian history accessible to audiences in the US. But their historical interpretations of major political and social movements in the twentieth century have also come under serious attack. The course will study both the antecedents of Subaltern Studies scholarship and those of its critics seriously. The course will thus prepare graduate students to understand the inheritance of political thought as well as suggest the ways by which certain problems and pitfalls of both traditions can be transcended in their own work.
1) Class participation including oral presentation: 30%
2) Short Essays: 30%
3) Long paper: 40%
1) Complete Required readings before class. Additional readings are listed under ‘Recommended’ for those who will prepare examination questions on the theme.
2) Participate in discussions of the Required readings in class + Lead at least 1discussion during the semester. The format for leading discussion is the following: open with a brief presentation (5-10 minutes) summarizing the gist of the reading, placing it in either historiographical or methodological context, pointing out its strengths PRIOR to discussing its weaknesses, assessing its persuasiveness and its possibilities. Raise two or three questions for the class to mull over.
3) Write 2 review essays (900-1000 words each). Each essay should have a three part structure: the first part a summary of the author’s argument, the second discussing the author –argument in terms of the author’s methods, sources, philosophical or literary locations. The third segment should try to indicate the way forward into a larger historiography (either of an Area, or a Thematic, specialization). All essays will be submitted electronically.
4) Write 1 long essay (10,000 words+), based on more extensive reading (at least three books that you have not already touched upon in the course. This essay is due on the last day of classes.
PART A: Origins
September 9, 2013: Introductions: What is Global History? What are Postcolonial Cultures?
1) Required Reading: Theory, Culture, Society, 23, 2-3, May 2006 (Special Issue on Global Knowledges) especially pp 369-372, 387-392, 406-413
September 16: Genealogies of Debate: Liberalism, Dialectical Materialism, Anti-Colonialism
Required: 1) Karl Marx, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1853/06/25.htm
8) Engels: Origin of the Family, at http://marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/ch02.htm
9) Vladimir Lenin, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism, at http://www.marx2mao.com/Lenin/IMP16.html (all 156-odd pages)
[Submit your FIRST SHORT ESSAY on these readings on Sept 20-21 electronically]
September 23: Anti-Colonial Socialism and Nationalism:
Required: 1) Skim Antonio Gramsci, Selections from Prison Notebooks, 52-120
2) Robert Young Postcolonialism, 127-157
September 30: PART B: Non-European Critiques of Colonial European Reasons: North Africa
1) Robert Young, Postcolonialism, 161-307+ 395-426 (Foucault in Tunisia and Derrida)
October 7: 1) Jacques Derrida on philosophy at http://www.egs.edu/faculty/jacques-derrida/articles/of-the-humanities-and-the-discipline-of-philosophy/
2) Moishe Postoine, ‘Deconstruction as Social Critique: Derrida on Marx and the New World Order’, History and Theory, 1998, 370-87 +
3) Ethan Kleinberg, ‘Haunting History: Deconstruction and the Spirit of Revision’, History and Theory, Dec 2007, 113-143.
4) Edward Baring, ‘Liberalism and the Algerian War: The Case of Jacques Derrida’ Critical Inquiry, 36, 2, Winter 2010, 239-261
October 14: Palestine and Critique from Literature
Required 1) Edward Said, Out of Place: A Memoir + 2) Orientalism + 3) Reina Lewis, ‘Gendering Orientalism’
[Submit your SECOND SHORT ESSAY on either of the readings or themes electronically between Oct 17-19]
October 21: India and Critique of Historical Method: the beginning of Subaltern Studies
1) Read ‘Biographical Sketch of Ranajit Guha’ by Shahid Amin and Gautam Bhadra+ Ranajit Guha, ‘On Some Aspects of the Historiography of Colonial India’, Subaltern Studies 1 (pp 1-8) + b) ‘Prose of Counter-Insurgency’ in Subaltern Studies 2 (1-42, pdf on sakai)+ c) Chandra’s Death in Subaltern V (pdf on sakai)+ ‘The Small Voice of History’ Subaltern Studies 9, 1-12
2) Gyan Prakash, ‘Subaltern Studies as Postcolonial Criticism’, AHR, 1994
October 28: Read 1) Dipesh Chakravarty, Provincialising Europe
November 4: Engaging Subaltern Studies
Required: Read 1) Jose Rabasa, Without History: Subaltern Studies, The Zaptista Insurgency and the Specter of History, 52-91, 124-47 (PDF) + Young Postcolonialism 193-216
November 11: Critiques of Subaltern Studies:
1) Spivak, ‘Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography’ in Subaltern Studies 4, 330-363
2) Sumit Sarkar, ‘The Decline of the Subaltern in Subaltern Studies’ and ‘Postmodernism and the Writing of History’ –PDF
3) Kamala Visvesvaran, ‘Small Speeches and Subaltern Gender’, Subaltern Studies 9, 83-125 – PDF on sakai
4) Rosalind O’Hanlon and David Washbrook,
November 18: Multinaturalism/ Environmentalism and the problems of Deconstruction
Required: 1) Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, ‘Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 4, 3, 1998, 469-488- on JSTOR
2) Dipesh Chakraborty: Climate Change Essay (PDF)
3) Itty Abraham ‘Introduction’ in South Asian Cultures of the Bomb: Atomic Publics and the State in India, Indiana University Press, 2009 (PDF)
4) Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway, Matthew Shindell ‘From Chicken Little to Dr. Pangloss: William Nierenberg, Global Warming, and the Social Deconstruction of Scientific Knowledge,’ Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 38, 1, Winter 2008, 109-152
From November 25 till the end, each graduate student will work on their own in order to write the following essay: What are current critiques of PostColonial Theory missing and how will you propose to redirect research? Are they instances of the very Eurocentrism that Chakravarty and others criticized? Review at least 3 recently published books(such as Vivek Chhibber’s Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital) in your answer. OR 2) In what ways has Postcolonial Theory shaped the “state of the debate” in your particular area of study or subfield in recent publications? Does it enable an agenda for new research on the topic, or suggest preliminary outlines of a new interpretation? Construct a review with at least 3 important books in the field. In either essay, students should aim for jargon-free lucid prose, intended to persuade the least informed among us, while developing a wider appreciation of the field as a whole.
Submit Final Review Essay to me in the office on Dec 6 by 12 noon.