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Nusrat S. Chowdhury (Section 01)
(Offered as ANTH 347 and ASLC 347 [SA]. Anthropology of South Asia, in the last decade or more, has focused primarily on such themes as bureaucracy and corruption in relation to the postcolonial state; the economy, with special attention to development, liberalization and globalization; mass media and pubic culture; technology and global capital; and violence, as both a strategy and outcome of governmental and non-governmental politics. As students of South Asian cultures, how do we understand this trend? Is there an influence in South Asian scholarship of the changes taking place in the broader field of anthropology, or is there something specific to the region’s postcolonial modernity that demands this intellectual move? What is new about these emergent themes and how could they be read in light of canonical interests of South Asian anthropology? We shall explore these questions by way of reading recent anthropological writing on South Asia while paying special attention to theories of governmentality, identity, violence, mediation, and the state. The course is designed to offer a critical survey of recent ethnographic writing on the politics and aesthetics of South Asian public life. The larger aim is to situate South Asian anthropology within the body of literature known as South Asian Studies as well as against the unfolding history of the discipline of anthropology.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Chowdhury.