Fall 2021

Language CoursesCore SAST CoursesOther Related Courses

Language Courses:

HNDI 110 / HNDI 510

Elementary Hindi I

Swapna Sharma, Savita Bala

An in-depth introduction to modern Hindi, including the Devanagari script. A combination of graded texts, written assignments, audiovisual material, and computer-based exercises provides cultural insights and increases proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Hindi. Emphasis on spontaneous self-expression in the language. No prior background in Hindi assumed.

HNDI 130 / HNDI 530

Intermediate Hindi I

Swapna Sharma, Savita Bala

The first half of a two-term sequence designed to develop proficiency in the four language skills. Extensive use of cultural documents including feature films, radio broadcasts, and literary and nonliterary texts to increase proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Hindi. Focus on cultural nuances and Hindi literary traditions. Emphasis on spontaneous self-expression in the language. After HNDI 120 / HNDI 520 or equivalent.

HNDI 132 / HNDI 532

Accelerated Hindi I

Savita Bala

A fast-paced course designed for students who are able to understand basic conversational Hindi but who have minimal or no literacy skills. Introduction to the Devanagari script; development of listening and speaking skills; vocabulary enrichment; attention to sociocultural rules that affect language use. Students learn to read simple texts and to converse on a variety of everyday personal and social topics.

HNDI 150 / HNDI 550

Advanced Hindi

Swapna Sharma

An advanced language course aimed at enabling students to engage in fluent discourse in Hindi and to achieve a comprehensive knowledge of formal grammar. Introduction to a variety of styles and levels of discourse and usage. Emphasis on the written language, with readings on general topics from newspapers, books, and magazines. Prerequisite: HNDI 140 / HNDI 540 or permission of instructor.

HNDI 198 / HNDI 598

Advanced Tutorial

Swapna Sharma

For students with advanced Hindi language skills who wish to engage in concentrated reading and research on material not otherwise offered by the department. Work must be supervised by an adviser and must terminate in a term paper or the equivalent. Permission to enroll requires submission of a detailed project proposal and its approval by the language studies coordinator. Prerequisite: HNDI 150 / HNDI 540 or equivalent.

SKRT 110/ SKRT 510, LING 115 / LING 515

Introductory Sanskrit I

Aleksandar Uskokov

An introduction to Sanskrit language and grammar. Focus on learning to read and translate basic Sanskrit sentences in Devanagari script. No prior background in Sanskrit assumed. For SKRT 510, Credit only on completion of SKRT 520/LING 525.

SKRT 130 / SKRT 530, LING 138 / LING 538

Intermediate Sanskrit I

Aleksandar Uskokov

The first half of a two-term sequence aimed at helping students develop the skills necessary to read texts written in Sanskrit. Readings include selections from the Hitopadesa, Kathasaritsagara, Mahabharata, and Bhagavad Gita. After SKRT 120 or equivalent. For SKRT 530, Prerequisite: SKRT 520 or equivalent.

SKRT 160 / SKRT 560

Advanced Sanskrit: Readings in Poetry and Drama

Aleksandar Uskokov

The purpose of this course is to introduce the jargon of classical Sanskrit literature, specifically the interrelated genres of mahā-kāvya or court epic; nāṭaka or drama; and hagiography or carita. Special attention is given to matters of style and advanced morphology and syntax. Additionally, the course introduces scholastic techniques of text interpretation. Finally, the course looks at the phenomenon of retelling stories from Vedas, the epics, or the Buddhist sūtras in classical Sanskrit literature, combining thus advanced language instruction with learning cultural content. Prerequisites: previous terms of Sanskrit to L4 or equivalent.

TAML 130

Intermediate Tamil I


The first half of a two-term sequence designed to develop proficiency in comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing through the use of visual media, newspapers and magazines, modern fiction and poetry, and public communications such as pamphlets, advertisements, and government announcements. Prerequisite: TAML 120 or equivalent. Course taught through distance learning using videoconferencing technology from Columbia University. Enrollment limited; interested students should e-mail for more information.

Core SAST Courses:

SAST 020 / HIST 039

Bombay/Mumbai: Life in a Megacity

Rohit De

Mumbai as a case study for the transformations brought by urbanization and modernity in Asia. Focus on how Mumbai’s residents and its planners navigated the challenges of living in a rapidly growing cosmopolitan city and reflected it in their art and ideas. Themes include capitalism, globalization, British empire, religious pluralism, radical politics, organized crime, and Bollywood. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.

SAST 061 / THST 095 / AMST 095/ ER&M 095

South Asian American Theater and Performance

Shilarna Stokes

South Asian Americans have appeared on U.S. stages since the late nineteenth century, yet only in the last quarter century have plays and performances by South Asian Americans begun to dismantle dominant cultural representations of South Asian and South Asian American communities and to imagine new ways of belonging. This seminar introduces you to contemporary works of performance (plays, stand-up sets, multimedia events, and more) written and created by U.S.-based artists of South Asian descent as well as artists of the South Asian diaspora whose works have had an impact on U.S. audiences. With awareness that the South Asian American diaspora comprises multiple, contested, and contingent identities, we investigate how artists have worked to manifest complex representations of South Asian Americans onstage, challenge institutional and professional norms, and navigate the perils and pleasures of becoming visible. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.

SAST 306 / ANTH 322 / EVST 324

Environmental Justice in South Asia

Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan

Study of South Asia’s nation building and economic development in the aftermath of war and decolonization in the 20th century. How it generated unprecedented stress on natural environments; increased social disparity; and exposure of the poor and minorities to environmental risks and loss of homes, livelihoods, and cultural resources. Discussion of the rise of environmental justice movements and policies in the region as the world comes to grips with living in the Anthropocene.

SAST 345/ PLSC 197

National Security in India in the Twenty-first Century

Sushant Singh

This course examines the state and dynamics of national security in India in the past two decades. As an emergent power, India is an important country in Asia, with its economic and geo-political strength noticed globally. A major share of the country’s heft comes from its national security paradigm which has undergone a significant shift in the twenty-first century. This course intends to take a holistic look at the conceptions for the basis of India’s national security, its evolution, the current challenges and its future course by exploring its various dimensions such as China, Pakistan, global powers, Indian Ocean region, Kashmir, nuclear weapons, civil-military relations and defense preparedness.

SAST 361

Visual South Asia: a Seminar on South Asian Art and Visual Culture

Akshaya Tankha

What do disparate events such as the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan or the construction of statues of B.R. Ambedkar, historical figure of Dalit resistance in India, tell us about the changing relationship between aesthetics and politics in South Asia? How do they resonate with movements around the world, such as Rhodes Must Fall in South Africa or BLM in North America? How do South Asian art and cultural practices attune us to its historical, cultural, and political formations? And, how do they illuminate issues of gender, caste, labor, Indigeneity, decolonization, and nationalism in modern South Asia and the rise of religious majoritarianism today? This course addresses these questions through a selective exploration of artistic production, understood to include material culture, sculpture, architecture, painting, mechanically reproduced images and new media technologies, as part of a large and shifting field of cultural practice. It also considers the many cultural conceptions of space and place that regional art constitutes, which challenge the idea of South Asia as a singular or stable category.

SAST 470 / SAST 670 / RLST 430 / RLST 646

Indian Philosophy in Sanskrit Literature

Aleksandar Uskokov

In this course we focus on issues of philosophical significance in Sanskrit literature of “non-standard” philosophical genres, i.e., other than the treatise and the commentary. Specifically we read from canonical Hindu texts such as the Upaniṣads, Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Bhagavad-gītā, and Yogavāsiṣṭha; the classical genres of drama and praise poetry; and hagiographical literature, all in English translation. Attention is paid not only to substance but also form. The selection of philosophical problems includes philosophy of mind and personal identity; allegory; the ethics of non-violence; philosophy, politics, and religious pluralism; the highest good; theodicy; philosophical debate; etc.

SAST 486

Directed Study


A one-credit, single-term course on topics not covered in regular offerings. To apply for admission, a student should present a course description and syllabus to the director of undergraduate studies, along with written approval from the faculty member who will direct the study.

SAST 491

Senior Essay


A yearlong research project completed under faculty supervision and resulting in a substantial paper. Credit for SAST 491 only on completion of SAST 492.

SAST 839 / HIST 904

Writing Postcolonial Histories of South Asia: Decolonization, Democracy, and Development

Rohit De

Until recently, scholarly histories of South Asia concluded with independence; the period after was presented as the province of political scientists and economists. This was both the result of changing archival practices of postcolonial states as well as the belief, nurtured by the state, that history as a progressive narrative ended with independence. This seminar engages with the newly emerging work to understand models, theoretical questions, and archival methods to study postcolonial India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Postcolonial here refers not only to the period after the end of colonialism, but also “the condition produced by being worked over by colonialism.” It focuses on how after independence, anti-colonial movements sought to overcome colonial legacies, built multiethnic polities, constructed and developed national economies, and took their place and reshaped the international stage. The topics and events covered—be they histories of partition, economic planning, mass violence, state science, universal franchise, non-alignment, urban planning, reproductive health—are in dialogue with histories of decolonization and postcolonial state building across the Global South. The course focuses on identifying new archives and techniques of reading, ranging from court litigation to expert commissions, oral histories, diplomatic records, and radio and cinema.

Other Related Courses:

MGT 529 / GLBL 929

Global Social Entrepreneurship: India

Tony Sheldon

Launched in 2008 at the Yale School of Management, the Global Social Entrepreneurship (GSE) course links teams of Yale students with social enterprises based in India. GSE is committed to channeling the skills of Yale students to help Indian organizations expand their reach and impact on “bottom of the pyramid” communities. Yale students partner with mission-driven social entrepreneurs (SEs) to focus on a specific management challenge that the student/SE teams work together to address during the term. GSE has worked with thirty leading and emerging Indian social enterprises engaged in economic development, sustainable energy, women’s empowerment, education, environmental conservation, and affordable housing. The course covers both theoretical and practical issues, including case studies and discussions on social enterprise, developing a theory of change and related social metrics, financing social businesses, the role of civil society in India, framing a consulting engagement, managing team dynamics, etc. Enrollment is by application only. Also MGT 529.