17 September 2010

Gender in South Asian Literature and Film

This post's title is the title of the 400-level English course that I am taking this semester. While I should currently be reading for it right now, I felt that it was time for a blog update, and the class has, in three short weeks, raised some questions in my mind and has driven many points home.

I'm taking it to get my India & South Asia requirement for my major, Asian Studies, but I believe that it is also a Women's and Gender Studies course. It should be, at least: many of the texts and films that we read/watch and discuss are either directly or indirectly about feminism, masculinity, the history of oppression, and other such subjects. I am finding that many issues of statehood and gender are related: struggle, nationalism, power, etc.

This class is not only about gender, though: it's about South Asia. In many ways, I have found that simply being human lends itself to many universal traits and desires. Yet, our American culture and theirs are vastly different, too. A key point that has been made time and again in our class is that modernization does not equal Westernization. I think that we would all do well to remember this.

Issues such as defining love, men and women as equals versus complimentary and distinct entities, the Equal Rights Amendment, and other cross-curricular topics have already come up in our writings and discussions. A lot of the other students in the class either say that it is too hard or that the professor is not good, but I have to disagree. Maybe it is because I met the professor last semester and had talked to students who had him, or maybe I'm just excited about the material, but, despite the constant large amount of time that I need to dedicate to my work for this class, I am learning a lot...and enjoying it!

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