Graduate Courses

Indian ‘Religions’ and Western Thought  (AS 400)

This course examines the intellectual and cultural encounter between India and the West from the 1770’s to the present day, a period that coincides with the entry of India into the historical experience of colonialism and modernity. It looks at how the discovery of knowledge about India affected debates in modern European philosophy and conversely examines the reception of European ideas in modern Indian thought. One of the outcomes of this encounter is that national culture in India and Europe developed in relation to a shared experience of colonialism in which notions of religion and secularity were crucial in evolving the idea of the nation in both regions. This course will examine how Western discourses of race, religion, secularity gender and spirituality were received by Indian elites and how this intimate encounter helped to define some of the central problems of Indian democracy today.

Critical Approaches to Asian Studies I   (AS 550 – Fall 2018)

Course Description:  This is the department’s graduate seminar for incoming Ph.D students. In this seminar the students are introduced to important theoretical topics and key concepts that are relevant to the comparative and critical study of Asia.  Rather than focusing on a particular region, historical period, or disciplinary perspective, the course seeks to equip students with tools essential for a sophisticated and compelling analysis of a variety of regions, historical periods, and disciplinary perspectives.  These tools will allow them to move more easily across the disciplines of Asian studies (and beyond) by, among other things, exploring the historical foundations of those disciplines. The syllabus offers a variety of conceptual strategies for understanding Asian cultures, pairing theoretical readings with specific Asian materials.  It is our hope that students will thereby gain a purchase on critical theory and productive ways of using it in the study of cultures across national and/or disciplinary boundaries. The seminar is designed both to provide an introduction to Asian Studies as a field and to encourage the development of critical skills. Asian 550 fulfills one half of the Rackham School’s Responsible Conduct and Scholarship (RCRS) requirement

Asia & Critical Theory (graduate seminar  – AS 601 – Winter 2019)

Course Description:  This course challenges graduate students from across the disciplines to develop advanced conceptual tools for considering the dynamic and often fraught relationship between critical theory and ‘Asia’. With an initial regional focus on South Asia and Japan, we will make an in-depth examination of selected themes in contemporary critical theory, bringing them to bear on past and current problems in modern and pre-modern Asia. For the Winter 2019 semester the overarching theme is “Bio-Politics,” which we will examine through a focused study of themes such as secularity, religion and violence, and sovereignty and citizenship. One of the central aims of this course is to teach students not only how to relate theoretical concepts to ‘Asia’ per se, but to alter the nature of theoretical questions and concepts through interaction with ideas, and contexts in Asia.