Courses and Programs
Students can do a Major in Asian Studies with concentration on South Asia (36 credits),
a Minor in South Asian Studies (21 credits). The programs are housed in the Department
of Asian and Asian American Studies. The Center offers a Study Abroad program in India
(12 credits) through the Office of International Academic Programs.
See links below for more information on the Major and Minor Programs:
INDIA STUDIES COURSES OFFERED AT STONY BROOK
[The following is a list of courses taught and their descriptions. Note that all are not offered every semester.]
AAS 110- G: Appreciating Indian Music
An introduction to the basic elements of Indian classical music, such as "raga" and "tala", "gharanas" (schools) and styles. Vocal and instrumental masterpieces are studied. Topics include: the roles of stringed and percussion instruments; the intimate relationship between music and religion, and music and ethnicity; and the influence of Indian classical music on contemporary art forms such as films and folk music. No previous musical training is required. 3 credits
AAS 201- J: Introduction to the Civilization of the Indian Subcontinent
Key concepts in South Asian civilization in art, architecture, religion, philosophy, science, society, literature, and politics from the Indus Valley to the present. Topics include evolution of Hinduism, Buddhism, yoga, classical and modern languages, the caste system and reform movements, Asohka, Akbar and great emperors, impact of Islam and Western colonization, and Gandhi and the impact of South Asia on the world.
AAS 209- D: Indian Classical Dance: Bharatanatyam
Introduction to the basics of Bharatanatyam (South Indian classical dance) technique. Includes primary postures and basic steps, or adavus. Class also covers the theory of Bharatanatyam including hand gestures, head, neck and eye movements, as delineated in Nandikeswara's Abhinaya Darpana. Students will gain a well-rounded knowledge of the dance by studying Bharatanatyam's form, content, basic history, music, and repertoire. By the end of the class, students will learn and present short dance pieces including a Jathi (string for adavus) and a Shlokam (poem). Advisory
Prerequisite: Any dance class
AAS 215- D: Classical Performing Arts of India
An introduction to the stories, histories, and aesthetics of Indian classical performing arts. The course focuses on Bharatanatyam, the solo dance form from South India. Kathakali, Manipuri, Odissi, and Kathak will be introduced to compare and contrast dance-theatre forms of South Asia. Students will be introduced to each performance form by studying its ancient and modern history, practitioners, technique, stage presentation, and aesthetics. The course explores the commonalities of all these performing art forms including: mythology, the classic text: Natya Shastra, abhinaya (mime) and the theory of rasa. Lessons will be accompanied by suitable reading material and visual demonstrations either on video or by a practitioner of the art form.
Prerequisite: Completion of D.E.C. A
AAS 250- K: Languages and Cultures of Asian Americans
Study of language use and cultural accommodation in selected Asian American communities in relation to the changing roles of Asians in U.S. society from the early democracy to the present. Issues include linguistic and cultural diversity of Asia and Asian Americans; comparison of Asian and European immigration patterns; struggle for equality and acceptance; cultural factors in assimilation; patterns of Asian language use and maintenance in various domains; the role of language in ethnic identity; attitudes toward English and bilingualism; bilingualism as a problem and as a resource. This course is offered as both AAS 250 and LIN 250.
AAS 256- J: Hinduism
Survey of the principal religious and philosophical currents of Hindu civilization in India from the time of the Vedas and
Upanishads through the development of the major devotional ways and schools of thought current in India today. These include the olytheism of Hindu mythology, the theism of various forms of devotional practice, and the monotheism and nondualism of Hindu philosophy. This course is offered as both AAS 256 and RLS 256.
AAS 260- J: Buddhism
An introduction to the basic philosophy and doctrines of Buddhism, beginning with a survey of lives and works of major historical
figures of Buddhism. The principal issues of Buddhist thought, drawing from Indian, East Asian, and Western sources, are treated. Particular attention is paid to the meaning of faith, practice, and enlightenment in Buddhism. This course is offered as both AAS 260 and RLS 260.
AAS 280- J: Islam
An introduction to the main features of Islamic revelation as contained in the Koran and its impact on the major spiritual, intellectual, legal, and social teachings and institutions of the Islamic world. The course concludes with an examination of Islam in the modern world. This course is offered as both AAS 280 and RLS 280.
AAS 320- G: Literature of India
Introduction to selected classics of Indian literature in English translation. Classical and modern works are discussed, representing Sanskrit (the Vedas, the Upanishads, the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, classical drama of Kalidasa and Bhasa), Tamil, Kannada, Hindi-Urdu, and Indian English. Western and Indian literary theories and critical approaches are compared and evaluated.
Prerequisite: U3 or U4 standing Advisory Prerequisite: AAS 201 (or the former SAS 240)
AAS 326- G: Indian Mythology
Study of the major themes in Indian mythology and their evolution, including the relation of these myths to philisophy and religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Myths are traced from the Vedas of 1500 B.C. to the modern Indian myths. The course will consider the impact of myths on classical Indian literature and art forms, as well as their impact on contemporary art forms such as film, television, and theatre.
Prerequisite: AAS 201 or 212
AAS 327- G: Great Epics of India: Ramayana and Mahabharata
The themes, characters, and plots of Ramayana and Mahabharata are analyzed in detail. The moral dilemmas presented and their sometimes controversial solutions are explored in the context of "dharma", or righteousness-the central concept of Hiduism. The course will compare the two epics with each other.
Prerequisite: AAS 201 or 212
AAS 330- J: Language and Society in South Asia
Study of the evolution, stucture, and role of representative languages in South Asia. Focus is on multilingualism, lingua francas, national language, contact, convergence, and use, especially in education, administration, business, religion, literature, and the media. Topics may also include language, ethnic identity, and conflict; English in India; globalization and localization; and India's impact on linguistics.
Advisory Prerequisite: LIN 101
AAS 333- G: Indian Cinemas and Cultures
The course examines the contemporary global art form known as 'Indian cinemas' from its advent of the moving picture in the late 1800's to the present. In this Asian film course, we explore the various cinemas of India and the Indian diaspora such as Bollywood cinema, art cinema, films by Indian directors inside and outside India, music videos, and documentaries. Factors behind its ascent to the most popular art form as well as a lucrative medium of entertainment and potent vehicle for social change not only in India but also beyond its shores are examined in some depth. We discover how these various Indian cinemas address and depict the social mores, cultural practices and political issues of the South Asian subcontinent. Themes for our discussions include but are not limited to nationalism, sexuality, censorship, activism, tradition, modernity, identity, gender roles, and the pleasures and politics of song, dance and music, as we look at historical, thematic and aesthetic issues of these cinemas and their impact and influence in India as well as globally.
AAS 338- J: Contemporary India: History, Politics, and Diplomacy
Study of the forces shaping India's postindependence history, domestic politics, and foreign diplomacy. As the world's largest democracy, second most populous nation, and Asia's second fastest growing economy, its impact on the international scene in the coming years will be carefully analyzed. The course, taught by a former Ambassador, will also focus on emerging trends in Indo-U.S. relations and impact of the Indian diaspora.
This course is offered as both AAS 338 and POL 338. Prerequisites: AAS 201 or POL 101; U3 or U4 standing
AAS 347- J: South Asia Before Colonialism
The South Asia region (contemporary India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan) has been a crossroads of diverse people, ideas and commodities for millennia. This course covers key themes and developments in the subcontinent from antiquity to the rise of British colonialism. We will begin by covering major issues in early South Asia, and proceed to consider closely the medieval and early modern periods. Central themes include pre-modern dimensions of the Hindu-Muslim encounter, emergence of South Asian regions, the subcontinent in global networks, and early presence of European powers. This course is offered as both AAS 347 and HIS 347.
AAS 357- J: India's Foreign Policy
A critical anaylsis of the foreign policy of India since Independence in 1947, especially Non-alignment and relations with major powers. The factors behind India's entry into the nuclear club and its impact on her nternational relations within the subcontinent and beyond. Analysis of issues such as Kashmir, terrorism, India's quest for a permanent seat in the U.N. Security Council, economic reforms, and role of Indian diaspora to the country's relations with the countries of their adoption.
Prerequisite: U3 or U4 standing or permission of instructor Advisory Prerequisites: AAS 201 and 348
AAS 368- J: Yoga: Theory and Praxis
In this course we investigate Yogic systems of philosophy and self-transformation in their many forms throughout history. Topics include the origins of Yoga in ancient India, the philosophy of the Yoga Sutras and its commentarial traditions, Buddhist Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Tantric Yoga, and the medicalization and globalization of Yoga in the modern period. Students are encouraged to supplement class discussions by participating in Yoga classes at the Stony Brook University Wellness Center. This course is offered as both AAS 368 and RLS 368.
Prerequisite: One previous course in AAS or RLS Advisory Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing
AAS/PHI 386/01: Buddhism and Early Vedanta Philosophy
In India between the 1 st and 8 th centuries CE, Hindu and Buddhist philosophers debated one another on some of the most fundamental questions of human existence: Who are we? Is there an eternal "soul" or "self," or is all of life impermanent and fleeting? What should we do with our lives? Is the world real or just an illusion? The answers they gave frequently disagreed. Yet some recent studies have argued that there is a deep connection between Buddhist philosophy and the philosophy of Vedanta, the most famous of all the Hindu philosophical schools. Through careful reading of some of these Buddhist and Vedanta philosophers we will seek to understand the complex historical interrelationships between the two schools, and also learn to appreciate how their insights can help us find meaning in our lives today.
Prerequisite: One previous class in Asian Studies, Religious Studies, or Philosophy
HIN 111: Elementary Hindi I
An introduction to spoken and written Hindi, stressing pronunciation, speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing. This course is designed for students who have no prior knowledge of the language. A student who has had two or more years of Hindi in high school (or who has otherwise acquired an equivalent proficiency) may not take HIN 111 without written permission from the supervisor of the course.
HIN 112 - S3: Elementary Hindi II
An introduction to spoken and written Hindi, stressing pronunciation, speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing.
Prerequisite: HIN 111
HIN 211 - S3: Intermediate Hindi I
Advanced speaking, comprehension, reading, writing, and grammar. Selected texts are read. Practice in the language laboratory supplements class work. A student who has had more than four years of Hindi in high school (or who has otherwise acquired an equivalent proficiency) may not take HIN 211 without the written permission of the supervisor of the course.
Prerequisite: HIN 112
HIN 212 - S3: Intermediate Hindi II
Advanced speaking, comprehension, reading, writing, and grammar. Selected texts are read. Practice in the language laboratory supplements class work. A student who has had more than four years of Hindi in high school (or who has otherwise acquired an equivalent proficiency) may not take HIN 212 without the written permission of the supervisor of the course.
Prerequisite: HIN 211
HIN 311 - S3: Hindi Conversation and Composition I
An advanced course designed to strengthen students' ability to understand, speak, read, and write Hindi beyond the intermediate level. Students learn to read and comprehend a variety of selected texts from their textbook which includes samples from Hindi newspapers, TV, films, journals, and classical and modern literature and to appreciate the cultural nuances of language use. They are also trained to write professionally and/or creatively in Hindi. Not intended for international students with native knowledge of written and spoken Hindi, or for native students who have mastered written and spoken Hindi.
Prerequisite: HIN 212 or placement test.
HIN 312 - S3: Hindi Conversation and Composition II
Students continue to strengthen their ability to understand, speak, read, and write Hindi beyond the intermediate level. Students learn to read and comprehend a variety of selected texts from their textbook which includes samples from Hindi newspapers, TV, films, journals, and classical and modern literature and to appreciate the cultural nuances of language use. Students are also trained to write professionally and/or creatively in Hindi. Not intended for international students with native knowledge of written and spoken Hindi, or for native students who have mastered written and spoken Hindi.
Prerequisite: HIN 311 or placement test
SKT 111: Elementary Sanskrit I
An introduction to Sanskrit, the classical language of Indian religion and philosophy, including grammar, translation, and readings from selected texts of Hinduism and Buddhism.
SKT 112 - S3: Elementary Sanskrit II
An introduction to Sanskrit, the classical language of Indian religion and philosophy, including grammar, translation, and readings from selected texts of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Prerequisite: SKT 111
AAS 211 - F: Asian and Asian American Studies Topics in the Social Sciences
Using the methodologies of the social sciences disciplines of history, political science, sociology, and economics, this course provides an introductory overview of important topics in Asian and Asian American studies. Semester supplements to this Bulletin contain specific description when course is offered. May be repeated as the topic changes.
AAS 212 - G: Asian and Asian American Studies Topics in the Humanities
Using methodologies of the Humanities disciplines, such as literature, linguistics, classics, cultural studies, philosophy, religious studies, art history and criticism, this course provides an introductory overview of important topics in Asian and Asian American Studies. Topics may range from Women in Japanese fiction to Mahatma Gandhi's impact on politics and ethics. Semester supplements to this Bulletin contain specific description of topic and when course is offered. May be repeated as the topic changes.
AAS 391- G: Humanities Topics in Asian and Asian American Studies
Past topics have included titles such as Sikhism; Introduction to Indian Philosophy; Modern Indian Literature; and Appreciating Indian Music. Designed for upper-division students, this course provides an in-depth study of a specific topic within humanities disciplines such as music, art, literature, religion, and philosophy. Students will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of the conventions and methods used in the humanities discipline(s) studied. May be repeated as the topic changes.
Prerequisite: Junior or Senior Standing..
AAS 392- F: Social Science Topics in Asian and Asian American Studies
Topics may include titles such as Indian Grammatical Tradition, English in Asia, and Indian Economics. Designed for upperdivision students, this course provides an in-depth study of a specific topic within social sciences disciplines such as history, economics, political science, and linguistics. Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the methods social scientists use to explore social phenomena, and knowledge of the major concepts, models, and issues of the social science discipline(s) studied. May be repeated as the topic changes.
Prerequisite: Junior or Senior Standing
AAS 391.03 Mystics in Medieval India
The medieval period inIndiawas a time when Hindu and Islamic religious traditions flourished inIndia. In this course, we will examine three strands within these traditions. The first, hatha yoga, began in approximately the 9th century and is the forerunner of the types of physical yoga exercises practiced today throughout the world. The second is the Hindu tradition of devotion (bhakti), whose rise during the medieval period inIndialed to the dominance of this type worship of Visnu, Siva, and the Goddess among Hindus today. The third strand, Sufism, is often described as the mystical path of Islam. Although its origins were in the middle east andPersia, Sufism thrived inIndiabetween the 13th and 16 centuries. In this course we will pay special attention to the way in which these three stands intersected and influenced one another during the late medieval period, creating syncretic forms of practice and belief unique to the Indian subcontinent.
AAS 391.04, DEC G: Indian Buddhist Philosophies
In this course we will look at Buddhism philosophically. The fundamental teachings of Buddhism, the fourfold noble truth, the eightfold noble path and the practice of mindfulness, flow from a philosophical analysis of reality and the self. We will begin with a philosophical examination of the Buddha's core teachings of suffering and its causes, no-self, impermanence, and the 8-fold path of ethical action, knowledge and meditation that overcomes suffering. We will look at the underlying philosophical analyses, focusing on the arguments given for their interpretations by the earliest Buddhists. We will then study the writings of some of the great Indian Buddhist philosophers, Nagarjuna, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Candrakirti, and Dinnaga, critically examining their interpretations of key teachings and their analyses and arguments in support of their interpretations. We will also look at some of the important Indian commentaries on key texts such as the Heart Sutra.
AAS 391, DEC G: Women Saints of India
The Bhakti or devotional movement of South Asia is one of the great literary and religious movements of the world. Women play a crucial part in this movement. This course introduces students to the great women poets of medieval North and South India, such as, Mirabai (Rajasthan), Lal Ded (Kashmir), Akka Mahadevi (Karnataka), and Andaal (Tamil Nadu) from the Hindu tradition, as well as selected women poets from the Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Islamic traditions. This poetry, though religious in themes, is universal in appeal. The poets speak of the pleasures and wonders, trials and tribulations in the daily lives of ordinary women in a patriarchal society; of friendship, betrayal, beauty, birth, and death; and the pains of separation, longing for union, sublimation and exaltations of love, sacred and profane. These women saints are hailed as the first feminists, and credited with bringing about a protestant, subaltern movement in religion as well as in literature, by composing in their respective regional languages (rather than Sanskrit), in homely vernacular styles defying the artifices of literary convention, and breaking the barrier between the sacred and the mundane. Their poetry gave voices to the ignored, the suppressed, and the marginalized sections of South Asian society. We will read selections from their works, supplemented by critical studies and illustrations of their work in performance from media such as music, dance, and film.
AAS 392.02 Desi: Cultures and Communities of South Asians in the Diaspora Through
Films, Performances, Media and Stories.
This course is a multidimensional look at one of the most vibrant, colorful, and Influential “new” immigrant communities inAmericaand around the world. Through films, performances, and stories written by South Asian authors, family histories, and personal tales, this course explores the issues of home and belonging, the portability and mutability of cultural capital, the challenges of cultural adaptation, intergenerational loyalties and conflicts, community empowerment and the inter connectedness of culture and the self. Desis are South Asians, people who trace their ancestry to India,Pakistan,Bangladesh,Sri LankaandNepaland other countries of the Indian subcontinent. Their culture will be the focus of this innovative course. We will study: who they are, where they come from where they have migrated Their families, languages, beliefs, values, and customs.