Spring 2022

Art and Architecture of South Asia

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-154  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-154  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-154


Yael R. Rice (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, and other arts of South Asia—including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka—from 2300 B.C. to the present. Among the diverse materials we will examine are the archaeological remains from one of the world’s earliest planned cities; Buddhist monastic complexes carved entirely out of living rock; Hindu temples bearing erotic images; manuscript illustrations made for Muslim emperors; colorful printed and painted textiles produced for domestic, European, Indonesian, and Japanese markets; and twentieth-century works of art that anticipate and respond to India’s independence from British colonial rule. We will consider the important roles that South Asian artists, architects, and other makers have played in depicting and housing the divine, establishing political and religious systems, and fueling the exchange of ideas and goods across the globe. Films, musical recordings, museum websites, visits to the Mead Art Museum and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections, and cooking and food-tasting sessions will supplement assigned readings, lectures, and discussions. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

Spring semester. Professor Rice.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on visual analysis, close reading, written work, group work, in-class exams, and field trips. Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Indian Art Phaidon Press Vidya Dehejia Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022