Elementary Sanskrit (Parimal G. Patil and members of the Department)

Introduction to Classical Sanskrit, the translocal language of intellectual life in South Asia for much of the last two millennia. This course provides the essential grammar and reading proficiency necessary to take up the language’s many rich literary traditions: scripture (Upanisad), epic (Ramayana and Mahabharata), poetry, Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, etc. After completing the textbook, we will read a narrative (Hitopadesa) drawn from one of the most popular literary works in the pre-modern world.

Expos Writing: Cross-Cultural Contact Zones (Srilata Mukherjee)

How does fiction represent cross-cultural encounters between Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric worlds? In what ways do the specific social and political circumstances under which these contacts occur influence the nature of the cross-cultural encounters? Do issues of power, class, and gender function differently in cross-cultural environments for the racial groups involved than they would within a single culture? In exploring literature about three kinds of cross-cultural encounters-transient, colonial/postcolonial, and immigrant-we’ll pose such resonant questions.

Contemporary South Asia: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Social & Economic Problems (Tarun Khanna — Harvard Business School)

South Asia is home to two of the world’s seven billion people. The primary objective of the course is to engage students with the modern day challenges affecting South Asia, and to examine a range of entrepreneurial attempts to solve these problems. The course focuses on several categories of social and economic problems faced by the countries of South Asia, with specific focus on the realms of Education, Health, Financial Inclusion, and Urbanization. The goal is to understand ways in which entrepreneurial action can effectively tackle major socioeconomic problems in South Asia, by combining knowledge of historical causes, qualitative and quantitative evidence, and context-specific knowledge of the commonalities and differences across South Asian countries. No prior knowledge of South Asia is required.

Introduction to Global Social Change (Rachel Meyer)

This course explores the development of global capitalism with a focus on changing relationships between markets, states, and civil societies.  Questions of power and inequality will be central to our approach, as will various forms of resistance to globalization.  We will begin from a macro political economy perspective, exploring global social change through the lens of world-system theory, neoliberalism, deindustrialization, and ‘flexible accumulation.’  We will then turn to globalization “on the ground” in a variety of local contexts —from Seattle to Chiapas, Pittsburgh to Porto Alegre and beyond.  How are social relations shaped in the global north and south in the context of global capitalist development?  How can we understand the relationship between global capitalism and democracy?  And how can we conceptualize the different forms of resistance to globalization and their significance?  Throughout the course we explore the possibilities for and limitations of global social change through a variety of cases of both transnational and community-based activism.  We will consider mobilizations of workers and students and the global justice movement.  The course ends with a discussion of Internet activism, social media, and the Arab Spring.

As an introduction to sociology this course explores stability as well as conflict and change; it examines both social structure and resistance to inequality.  The course demonstrates the strengths of sociology’s interdisciplinary perspective with its attention to economics, politics, history, and culture.  Students will explore sociological approaches at multiple levels of analysis, from macro structures to micro interactions.  Through considering the topic of global social change, students will be exposed to sociology’s rich and fruitful analytical lens for understanding social relations at local, national, and international scales.