First-Year Seminar: Women's Writing from the Indian Subcontinent


The Indian Subcontinent has a long and storied history of women's writing that explicitly interweaves concerns of race and gender. This tradition has become even more diverse since the 20th century with the rapid transformation of these countries, both politically and socially. The Indian Independence Movement during the first half of the century mobilized thousands of women, sparking discussion about changing gender roles and women's rights. These debates are ongoing in a contemporary, globalizing Subcontinent. Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain's 1905 short story, "Sultana's Dream," imagines a feminist utopia where women rule over a peaceful, just world. At the other end of the century, Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things movingly describes the joys and dangers of carving out an identity as an unconventional, transgressive woman. We will look at this diverse body of writing with several key questions in mind: What are the preoccupations and interests that are shared by these writers? How do they express themselves in a field that was traditionally dominated by men? How is their writing inflected by their unique position as women of color? We will examine these works with an eye towards the specific historical contexts that shaped each text, keeping in mind the wide variety of cultures and experiences that they portray. We will read works that were written in English as well as translations that will include texts by Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, and Ismat Chugtai, among others. Course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Course Attributes: EN H; FYS; BU Hum; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

First-Year Seminar: Women's Writing from the Indian Subcontinent - 01
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