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South Asia Department

Literature & Colonialism in North India

Course Code:
155901295
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 3 of 4 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Term 1
At the end of this course students will have gained a critical overview of the different ways in which literature and other performing arts (theatre in particular) changed under colonialism and the contrasting impact of new literature ideologies and new technologies of entertainment (theatre, commercial publishing). They will have gained access to some of the primary texts originally written in both Hindi and Urdu, and will have gained a critical understanding of processes of both differentiation as well as hybridisation between the two languages and their literary traditions as mirrored in elite and popular writings. The course can either be taking singly or in conjunction with the half course “Narratives of mobility” in the second term.

Prerequisites

Intermediate level in a South Asian language

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The objective of the course is to give students a critical overview, through primary and secondary texts, of the different ways in which literature and other performing arts (theatre in particular) changed under colonialism.

By the end of the course students will have gained access to some of the primary texts originally written in both Hindi and Urdu, and will have gained a critical understanding of processes of both differentiation as well as hybridisation between the two languages and their literary traditions as mirrored in elite and popular writings. The course can either be taking singly or in conjunction with the half course “Narratives of mobility” in the second term.

Workload

A total of 11 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week, one hour of which is a lecture and one hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

This course is intended to provide a literary-historical overview necessary for all students who want to study literature during the colonial period, the beginnings of modern Hindi literature, and the interface between literature and colonial history.

The course will consist of lectures and students' presentations.  Lectures will introduce the topic, followed by reading and discussion of previously circulated material consisting of short extracts from relevant literary texts in Hindi/Urdu, which will be made available in Devanagari and Urdu scripts whenever possible.  When that is not possible, students will be given short extracts of comparable texts in the script they are familiar with.  

Method of assessment

One essay of 2,500 words to be submitted on day 1 after reading week, term 1 (40%); one essay of 2,500 words to be submitted on day 1, term 2 (40%); an oral presentation (20%).

Suggested reading

  • Literature and colonialism coursepack (available from the SOAS bookshop)
  • Vasudha Dalmia, The Nationalization of Hindi Traditions, New Delhi: Oxford University Press paperbacks, 2007.
  • S. Blackburn and V. Dalmia (eds.), India's Literary History. Essays on the Nineteenth Century. New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004.
  • C.A. Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer, eds., Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament. Philadelphia: UPenn Press, 1993.
  • Sudhir Chandra, ‘Communal Consciousness in Late 19th Century Hindi Literature’, in Mushirul Hasan, ed., Communal and Pan-Islamic Trends in Colonial India, Delhi, 1981.
  • Sudhir Chandra, The Oppressive Present. Literature and Social Consciousness in Colonial India. New Delhi: OUP, 1992.
  • Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments. New Delhi: OUP, 1994.
  • S.K. Das, A History of Indian Literature, Vol. VIII, 1800-1910. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi,
    1991.