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AS 383LEC Travel Writing in Asia


The idea of India has long attracted the attention of people from afar. Whether in search of gold or enlightenment, the India carried in the traveler's imagination often conflicts with the India that is actually encountered. This course is intended to serve not just as an introduction to the motivations and experiences of travelers to India, but also to the forms of knowledge that are produced in the wake of such travels. We will begin by examining the accounts of early Greek ambassadors and sailors and Chinese pilgrims seeking wealth and knowledge. Both Muslim and Christian adventurers produced travelogues that describe the marvels of India in the medieval period. The Mughal court fascinated Europeans sojourners, while Indian travelers were in turn both delighted and disgusted by what they observed in Europe. Hippies more recently and in their own way reenact quests by colonial British officials for the sublime and picturesque. The diversity of perspectives that these works present challenges readers to consider what it means to be an outsider looking in on a culture, compelling us to consider arguments for and against treating certain geographic and political regions and temporal periods as coherent cultural zones. By reading and discussing a wide range of both primary and secondary source materials, students will develop a broad familiarity with the history, literatures, religions, and geography of South Asia. All of the readings are in English and no background in South Asian languages, history, or literature is expected. This course is the same as ENG 388, and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements.

Credits: 3
Grading: Graded (GRD)
Typically Offered: Spring
Visit the Office of the Registrar’s Class Schedules page for more detailed and updated information.
Published: Apr 12, 2022 15:53:11