Fall 2023

Indian Epics: The Ramayana

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-273  |  History, as HIST-273


Mekhola S. Gomes (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 273 [AS/TC/TE/TR/TS/P/C] and ASLC 273 [SA]) Are myth and history related? Do scholars interpret literature to write history? What happens when stories travel through time and across oceans? Do epics migrate with people? We answer these questions through the Ramayana, one of the most famous epics in the world. It is a fascinating story of violence, exile, love, loss, and redemption known by people in South and Southeast Asia and those in the diaspora. This course begins with the oldest Ramayana story written two thousand years ago by Valmiki in Sanskrit. It then explores Ramayanas across time in Old Javanese, Hindi, and Tamil as well as in comic books, films, and on TV. This course ultimately draws attention to the global power of stories that animated the distant historical past and continue to enchant the present. Two meetings per week.

Fall semester. Professor Gomes.

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Close analysis of historical evidence, including written documents, images, films, images, and performances from the historical period under study. Exploration of scholarly, methodological, and theoretical debates about questions of translation, circulation, and reception of cultures and languages. Extensive reading, varying forms of written work, and intensive in-class discussions.

ASLC 273 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM CHAP 119
Th 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM CHAP 119

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
Vālmīki's Rāmāyaṇa Rowman & Littlefield, 2018 Arshia Sattar Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023