SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

Literatures of South Asia

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Learning the complexities of a region through its literature;
  • An understanding of South Asia's social, historical, local and global contexts;
  • Learning to read primary and secondary texts critically in order to analyse the distinctive literary strategies and devices deployed in these texts;
  • Performing individual presentations and leading the seminar discussion
  • Demonstrate an ability to produce critical accounts of the literature, paying appropriate attention to both formal and contextual issues


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

This course aims to provide an introduction to the pre-modern and modern literatures of South Asia. During the course students will encounter a wide variety of literary aesthetic practices which make up the plural tradition of South Asian Literature. While you will not be expected to develop linguistic proficiency in a South Asian language, course materials will incorporate texts in translation. A variety of literary styles and forms will be studied, and seminars will require close reading and discussion of key texts as well as contextualisation in terms of broader literary, historical and cultural trends.

Method of assessment

One essay of 4,000 words to be submitted on day 5, week 1, term 2 (25%); one essay of 4,000 words to be submitted on day 5, week 1, term 3 (25%); one oral presentation during the year (10%); 8 response papers/critical analyses of specific texts (1000 words each) where the best 4 will count towards the final assessment (10% each).

Suggested reading

The reading list for this course will be made available from the convenor at the beginning of the course.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules