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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2008

SOC 321K • South Asian Amer Experience

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46500 MW
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
MEZ 1.118

Course Description

By directing our analytical attention on South Asian American activism, this course illuminates on two aspects--issues that South Asian Americans find problematic in their everyday lives, and the processes through which they attempt to address these issues. Though the empirical focus is on South Asian Americans, this sociology class will delve into various themes in political sociology, sociology of gender, and race/ ethnicity. We will interrogate what we mean by nation, citizenship, imagined communities, the politics of history, social movements, and the neo-liberal turn in state-building. These issues matter not just to South Asians Americans, but are relevant to all persons, regardless of race, class, gender, or sexuality.

Over the course of the semester we will ask--how do South Asian Americans organize their politics in attempting to grapple with becoming people of color in the U.S.? What kinds of organizations do they form? How successful are South Asian American political organizations? What does this success mean? Are these groups political or merely "cultural"? How and when does culture become political? What kinds of coalitional politics do they engage in, and what barriers exist in formulating a coalitional stance? Transnational nationalism, activism around domestic violence, organizing around issues of sexuality, working class organizing and cross-racial coalitions, questions of culture and cultural appropriation--these are all issues that we will scrutinize critically through reading a combination of books, and articles, watching documentaries, and listening to music.

Grading Policy

Mid term exam 25%
Three reaction papers (up to 4 pages) 30%
Final term paper 25%
Attendance 10%
Participation 10%


Monisha Dasgupta, Unruly Immigrants: Rights, Activism, and Transnational South Asian Politics, Duke University Press, 2006
Sunaina Maira, Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City, Temple University Press, 2002
Sharmila Rudrappa, Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship, Rutgers University Press, 2004
A packet of readings will be available on Blackboard.


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