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The South Asian Studies Department is offering several new coursed to Harvard students this semester, including ‘Work and Religion in Modern South Asia’ with SAI’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Below, you will find the new course offerings.

Click here to see the Department of South Asian Studies’ complete course offerings.


South Asian Studies 196. Work and Religion in Modern South Asia 
Parimal G. Patil and Shankar Ramaswami
M, W, 12-1pm, 1 Bow St., Room 330
This course will explore the everyday lives, politics, and theologies of working-class persons in modern South Asia. The course will examine contemporary debates on globalization, development, and precarity; workers’ experiences of factory work, informality, and agitations; and workers’ religious practices and theological visions. Core concerns of the course will include inquiries into the appropriate categories for understanding workers’ lives and visions, and the possibilities for autonomous, nonviolent politics among working-class people in South Asia. The course will draw upon a range of sources, including ethnographies, oral histories, epics, novels, and Hindi cinema. Offered jointly as HDS 3529.


South Asian Studies 197. Buddhist Literature in South Asia and Beyond 
Shenghai Li
W, 3–6pm, Barker Center, Room 024
Buddhist literary texts were an innovative force in the cultures of many parts of Asia. This course explores major Buddhist themes and genres in India, ranging from biographies of the Buddha, stories of his former lives, tales of magnificent exploits, to poetry and drama, and their continuing forms in other Asian literatures. While reading Asian Buddhist texts in translation, we will examine such questions as the role of language, the different functions of prose and verse, and the extent to which these texts are to be considered Buddhist. Offered jointly as HDS 3540.


Sanskrit 106b. Readings in the Upanisads 
Michael Witzel and members of the Department
First meeting, Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 5pm, 1 Bow St. Room 320
Prose texts on early Indian philosophy are read and analyzed. Special attention is paid to the unfolding philosophical terminology. The main focus will lie on the concepts of atman and brahman: essential terms that come to dominate Indian philosophy for centuries. This course will provide the foundation for a successful engagement with philosophy in India.
Prerequisite: At least one year of Sanskrit.


Sanskrit 107. Vâlmîki’s Râmâyana
Michael Witzel and members of the Department
First meeting, Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 2pm, 1 Bow St. Room 320
This course will read selections of the “first kâvya” in Epic Sanskrit. The objectives of the course include gaining speed and facility with the Epic poetic tradition, while focusing on the manner in which the text constitutes the figure of “the hero.”
Prerequisite: At least one year of Sanskrit.


Sanskrit 214r. Ritual Sutras (soon to appear in the course catalog)
Michael Witzel
First meeting, to be arranged, please contact Prof. Witzel
Discussions of the Atiratra-Agnicayana ritual.