Submitted by Amy A. Ford (inactive) on Wednesday, 9/7/2011, at 11:20 AM

The Home and the World: Women and Gender in South Asia

WAGS 207 / POSC 207

Fall 2011

Webster 220




Amrita Basu                                                                             Krupa Shandilya

301 Cooper House                                                                   30E Johnson Chapel

x2942                                                                                      x5464

Office hours: Wednesdays: 4-6 pm                                         Office hours: M/W.:10-11 am



Course Materials

Books for Purchase:

Available from Food for Thought Books, 106 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst 413.253.5432


Rabindranath Tagore, Home and the World

Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain, Sultana’s Dream

Mahasweta Devi, Imaginary Maps

Amitav Ghosh, River of Smoke


Books for purchase are marked P on the syllabus. All other required readings for this course can be found on E-Reserve (E) and/or in the Course Reader packet – Multilith.


The Multilith is not a required purchase but is highly recommended. To buy it, you will need to submit a Multilith Order Form for Course Materials found on the WAGS homepage. Estimated cost is $35-50. You will receive an e-mail when it arrives.


Films are marked (F). We will be discussing the following films over the course of the semester:


Chokher Bali (dir. Rituparno Ghosh)

Mother India (dir. Mehboob Khan)

Khamosh Pani (dir. Sabiha Sumar)

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (dir. Sudhir Mishra)

Satta (dir. Madhur Bhandarkar)

The Terrorist (dir. Santosh Sivan) (F)

Fire (dir. Deepa Mehta)

Sarkar (dir. Ram Gopal Varma)

Khuda ke Liye (dir. Sohaib Mansoor)


Films will be streamed on the course website under the e-reserves tab. Please plan to see them before we discuss them.



Course Requirements

1. We expect you to attend class regularly and inform us by email if you miss a class.


2.  Read the readings before class, not during or after class or right before the papers are due.

3.  There will be three papers.  The approximate weighting is as follows:

            Paper 1:                       (4-5 pages) 20% of base grade

            Paper 2:                       (4-5pages) 25% of base grade

            Paper 3:                       (6-7 pages) 30% of base grade

            Speaker Report :         (4-5 pages) 10%

Class Attendance:       15%



Due dates for Papers:              Paper 1: Friday Oct. 7th

                                                Paper 2: Friday Nov. 4th

                                                Speaker Report: Monday Nov. 28th

                                                Paper 3: Friday Dec. 16th       




Wed. Sept. 7th





Mon. Sept. 12th: Conceptualizing Gender Inequality

Uma Narayan, Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions & Third World Feminism (1997), 3-39 & notes (E)

Lata Mani, “Multiple Mediations: Feminist Scholarship in the Age of Multinational Reception” Feminist Review (1990) 35, 24–41 (E)




Wed. Sept 14th:

Lata Mani, “Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India” Cultural Critique 7 (1987) (E)

Partha Chatterjee, “The Nationalist Resolution of the Women’s Question” Recasting Women (1990) 233-253 (E)




Mon. Sept. 19th:

Tanika Sarkar, “The Hindu wife and the Hindu nation: Domesticity and nationalism in nineteenth century Bengal” Studies in History August 1992 8: 213-235 (E)

Durba Ghosh, “Decoding the nameless: gender, subjectivity, and historical methodologies in reading the archives of colonial India” in A new imperial history (ed.) Kathleen Wilson (E)

*Chokher Bali (dir. Rituparno Ghosh) (F)


Wed. Sept 21st:

Katherine Mayo, Mother India Chapter 1 and 2 (E)

Mrinalini Sinha, Refashioning Mother India: Feminism and Nationalism in Late-Colonial India, Feminist Studies, Vol. 26, No. 3, Points of Departure: India and the South Asian Diaspora (autumn, 2000), pp. 623-644 (E)






Mon. Sept.26th

Sumathi Ramaswamy, The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India, Chp. 6 (E)

*Mother India (F) (dir. Mehboob Khan)


Wed. Sept. 28th

Rabindranath Tagore, Home and the World (1916) (Part 1) (P)

M.K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj Chapters 4, 13 (E)



Mon. Oct. 3rd

Rabindranath Tagore, Home and the World (1916) (Part 2) (P)

Mahua Sarkar, “Muslim Women and the Politics of Invisibility in Late Colonial Bengal,” Journal of Historical Sociology, 14.2 (June 2001): 226-250 (E)

Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain, Sultana’s Dream (1905) (P)




Wed. Oct. 5th

Ritu Menon, “Reproducing the Legitimate Community,” Appropriating Gender (ed.) Patricia Jeffery and Amrita Basu (1997): 15-32 (E)

Sadat Hasan Manto, “Open it,” Stories about the Partition of India (ed.) Alok Bhalla (E)

Sadat Hasan Manto, “Cold Meat,” Stories about the Partition of India (ed.) A. Bhalla (E)

Rajinder Singh Bedi, “Lajwanti,” Stories about the Partition of India (ed.) A. Bhalla (E)

Lalithambika Antharjanam, “A Leaf in the Storm,” Stories about the Partition of India (ed.) A. Bhalla (E)


Friday Oct. 7th: Paper 1 Due



Mon Oct. 10th: FALL BREAK


Wed. Oct. 12th

Kavita Daiya, “‘Honourable Resolutions’: Gendered Violence, Ethnicity and the Nation,” Alternatives: Global Local Political vol. 27, no. 2 April-June 2002 (E)

*Khamosh Pani (F) (dir. Sabiha Sumar)




Mon. Oct. 17th: Democracy and its critics

Basu, Women, Political Parties and Social Movements in South Asia (E)

*Satta (F) (dir. Madhur Bhandarkar)


Wed. Oct. 19th: Authoritarianism and its Critics

Amina Jamal, “Transnational Feminism as Critical Practice: A Reading of Feminist Discourses in Pakistan, Meridians Vol. 5, No. 2 (2005), pp. 57-82 (E)

*Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (F) (dir. Sudhir Mishra)



Inequality: Caste, Class, Ethnicity, Sexuality



Mon. Oct. 24th:

Anupama Rao, "Understanding Sirasgaon: Notes Towards Conceptualizing the Role of Law, Caste, and Gender in a Case of 'Atrocity',” Thamyris, Vol. 4. 1, Spring 1997: 103-136 (E)

Ranajit Guha, "Chandra's Death", Subaltern Studies V (Delhi: Oxford, 1987), pp. 135-165 (E)


Wed. Oct. 26th:

Mahasweta Devi, “Douloti the Bountiful” Imaginary Maps Trans., G. Spivak, (1995): 19-94 (P)






Mon. Oct. 31st: Amitav Ghosh, River of Smoke (P)


Wed. Nov. 2nd: Amitav Ghosh, River of Smoke (P) [Class Visit]


Friday Nov. 4th: Paper 2 due





Mon. Nov. 7th: Amitav Ghosh, River of Smoke (P)

Raka Ray, Cultures of Servitude, Chapter 2: 32-64, and Chapter 5: 119-144 (E)

Arvind Rajagopal, “Thinking about the New Indian Middle Class” (E)


Wed. Nov. 9th: Ethnicity

Neloufer de Mel, “Agent or Victim? The Sri Lankan Woman Militant in the Interregnum” Women & the nation's narrative: gender and nationalism in twentieth century Sri Lanka. (E)

Malathi de Alwis, “Motherhood as a Space of Protest” Appropriating Gender (E)

*The Terrorist (F) (dir. Santosh Sivan) (F)




Mon. Nov. 14th : Sexuality

Jigna Desai, “Homo on the Range: Mobile and Global Sexualities” Social Text, Volume 20.4, (2002): 65-89 (E)

Arvind Narrain, “Queer Struggles Around the Law: The Contemporary Context” Sexualities (ed.) Nivedita Menon (E)

*Fire (F) (dir. Deepa Mehta)



Women and the Law

Wed. Nov. 16th

 Pathak, Z., and R. Sunder Rajan, "Shahbano".' Signs 14.3: 558-582 (1989) (E)

Srimati Basu, “Cutting to Size” Signposts: gender issues in post-independence India (ed.) Rajeswari Sunder Rajan (E)

Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, The Scandal of the State, Chapter 5 (E)





WEEK 13:


Mon. Nov. 28th: Speaker Report Due


Mon. Nov. 28th:


Women’s Leadership

Rajeswari Sundar Rajan, “Gender, Leadership and Representation: The Case of Indira Gandhi” in Real and imagined women: gender, culture, and postcolonialism by Rajeswari Sunder Rajan (E)

Biswas, “The Women Who Rule India” (E)

Mydans, “Family Vaults Women to Leadership in Asia” (E)



Wed. Nov. 30th Hindu Nationalism

Amrita Basu, Violence and Democracy, chapter 4 pp. 101-122 (E)

Menon, Everyday Nationalism chapters 5 and 6 (E)

*Sarkar (F) (dir. Ram Gopal Varma)




Mon. Dec. 5th: Islamization: Bangladesh

Shehabuddin, Reshaping the Holy, Chapters 1, 3, 6 (E)


Wed. Dec. 7th:  Islamization: Pakistan

Charles Hirschkind and Saba Mahmood “Feminism, the Taliban, and Politics of Counter-Insurgency” Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 2 (spring, 2002): 339-354 (E)

*Khuda ke Liye (F) (dir. Sohaib Mansoor)






Mon. Dec. 12th: Everyday Resistance

J. Scott, Domination And The Arts Of Resistance, pp 1-16, 183-201 (E)

Veena Oldenburg, "Lifestyle as Resistance'' in Contesting Power (ed.) Haynes (E)

Mahasveta Devi, "Draupadi" trans. by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 8, No. 2, Writing and Sexual Difference (Winter 1981), pp. 381-402 (E)


Wed. Dec. 14th: Feminism/Women’s Movements

Women’s Movements in a Global Era, Basu ed., Chapters 3, 4 pp. 89-156 (E)


Friday Dec. 16th: Paper 3 Due