HSTAS 317 A: History by Bollywood: Colonial India through Film

Spring 2022
Meeting:
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm / NAN 181
SLN:
15419
Section Type:
Lecture
Joint Sections:
JSIS A 317 A
Instructor:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

HSTAS 317A/JSIS A 317A: HISTORY BY BOLLYWOOD

Canvas Site: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1547864

Class meeting times: M/W, 1.30-3.20, NAN 181

Anand A. Yang                                                                                                           SMI 316C

Office hours: M 12-1.30 pm,                                                                                      aay@uw.edu

and by appointment. 


TA: Amaal Akhtar (amlakh@uw.edu)

 

This class explores the history of colonial South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) through Bollywood films.  That is, it examines the history of British or colonial India from the late eighteenth century until 1947 when the subcontinent gained independence and was partitioned into the new nations of India and Pakistan. Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, emerged later in 1971. 

 

The course approaches the rich and complex history of colonial India through Bollywood films, the popular Hindi language films produced in the city of Bombay, renamed Mumbai in 1995.  It focuses on the ways in which these films, particularly the box office hits, imagined or represented India’s colonial past and shaped popular understandings of the past and present. Our concern is not so much with evaluating these films as (in)accurate historical accounts but with engaging cinema, to cite one film scholar, “as a repository of imaginaries and imaginary worlds, showing ways in which change is visualized in films, depicted in narratives, images and sounds where meanings are condensed, displaced by star images and intensified by melodrama.”  Bollywood movies, much like those of Hollywood, perhaps even more so, attract mass audiences, profoundly inflect popular perceptions of the past and reflect the hopes and anxieties of their times. 

 

Readings for this class are drawn from two main texts, both available online through the UW Library. So are many of the films we will be viewing (Odegaard, held on reserve, available for four-hour loans). Additional readings can also be accessed electronically, and most of the films via Amazon, Netflix, and other commercial companies.

 

The two texts are:

Tejaswini Ganti, Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema

https://alliance-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=CP51230800920001451&context=L&vid=UW&lang=en_US&search_scope=all&adaptor=Local%20Search%20Engine&tab=default_tab&query=any,contains,ganti%20bollywood

 

Barbara Metcalf and Thomas Metcalf, A Concise History of Modern India

https://alliance-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=CP71105072260001451&context=L&vid=UW&lang=en_US&search_scope=all&adaptor=Local%20Search%20Engine&tab=default_tab&query=any,contains,metcalf%20metcalf%20modern%20india

 

Requirements

In addition to viewing the weekly film assignment and completing the readings prior to the class meetings, you are expected to write:

 

5 BLOGS (weeks 3-9): In the week you are not writing a short response paper, you are expected to submit a brief blog entry on the film of the week. Your blogs should be 100 words or so, posted on the class canvas site by 12 noon Wednesday of the appropriate week.  For example, the blog for week 3 is due by 12 noon Wednesday, April 13, 2022).

 

2 SHORT RESPONSE PAPERS (at least 500 words) about one of the films of the week (weeks 3-9; also due by 12 noon Wednesday of the appropriate week).

 

In other words, you can choose to submit blogs on weeks 3 and 4, for instance, then a short response paper on week 5, followed by blogs on weeks 6 and 7, another short response paper on week 8, and your fifth and final blog on week 9.  Or some other permutation and combination of this mix as long as your short writing assignments total 5 blogs and 2 short papers. 

 

In addition, you will be expected to write a FINAL PAPER (at least 2,500 words) due at the end of the term (Monday, June 6, by 5 pm). For the final paper you have to write about the momentous and tragic events relating to independence and partition in 1947 as portrayed in the films listed in the syllabus and as discussed in the scholarly literature. 

 

GRADES will be based on:

Blog entries (5 total, beginning week 3, none in weeks you are doing short papers, and none in final week): Please post by Monday, 12 noon, prior to the class meeting.   20% of grade

 

Short response papers (2 papers; 500 words minimum; weeks 3-9).         20% of grade

 

Final paper/presentation (discussing at least three films plus the readings on independence and partition in 1947; at least 2,500 words, due by June 6, 5 pm:             50% of grade. 

Late papers will be penalized.

 

Class participation and discussion:                                                             10% of grade

 

CLASS SCHEDULE

 

Week 1.  March 28, 30. 

Overview

Film and History

Overview of South Asian History

 

Week 2.  April 4, 6. 

Bollywood’s Visual and Sonic Culture  

Grammar of Bollywood. 

Visual and Verbal Language

Social and Cultural Context

 

FILM: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)

READING:

Ganti, chs. 1, 2, 4, 5

Metcalf & Metcalf, preface, chs. 1, 9

 

BLOGS BEGIN WEEK 3; SHORT RESPONSE PAPERS WEEKS 3-9

 

Week 3.  April 11, 13 

The Aftermath of Independence

A Different India?

Images of Newly Independent India

Social Films

 

FILM: Mother India (1957)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv032qeQvN0

READING:

Metcalf & Metcalf, ch. 8

Ramachanda Guha, India After Gandhi, read prologue

https://books.google.com/books?id=8FKepYC6wzwC&pg=PP13&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Week 4.  April 18, 20

Precolonial India.  Mughal Empire

Visions of Splendor

Indo-Islamic Culture and Civilization

 

FILM: Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7hP9UNp0Hw

OR Jodhaa Akbar (2008)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJukJ33ceEw

 

READING:

Ganti, ch. 3

Metcalf & Metcalf, ch. 2

 

Week 5.  April 25, 27 

Colonial India

Structure and Ideology of Rule

Modalities of Power and Dominance

 

FILM: Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyONHKeYb8g

READING:

Bernard S. Cohn, Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge, chapter 1, “Introduction,” pp. 3-15

https://www-fulcrum-org.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/epubs/76537146m?locale=en#/6/70[xhtml00000035]!/4/1:0

 

Week 6.  May 2, 4

Colonial Rule: Beginnings and Foundation

Late 18th Century

Establishment and Consolidation of British Rule

 

FILM: Thugs of Hindostan (2018).  STREAM.

READING: P.J. Marshall, “The Setting for Empire,” ch. 1 in The Cambridge History of India: Bengal: The British Bridgehead, pp. 1-47

https://www-cambridge-org.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/core/books/bengal-the-british-bridgehead/setting-for-empire/AF468F5F8B95C1E56EA829BA49B2D8F5

Metcalf & Metcalf, ch. 3

 

Week 7.  May 9, 11 

Anti-Colonial Resistance

Mutiny/Rebellion/Uprising of 1857

 

FILM: Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u5zc8IdHPA

READING:

Metcalf & Metcalf, ch. 4

Peter Marshall, “India and the Great Rebellion”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/indian_rebellion_01.shtml

Jill Bender, “Introduction,” 1857

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/1857-indian-uprising-and-the-british-empire/introduction/218060F5B244D7EFD2B829A169FD41CC/core-reader

Crispin Bates, “Introduction,” to Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857, ed. C. Bates

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Mutiny_at_the_Margins_New_Perspectives_o/SRlBDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=war+museum+1857+interpretations+india&pg=PT68&printsec=frontcover

 

Week 8.  May 16, 18

1857: Gender and Resistance

Rani of Jhansi

The Aftermath of Revolt

 

FILM: Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (2019) (STREAM) OR The Warrior Queen of Jhansi (2019) OR Jhansi ki Rani (1952) (English version: The Tiger and the Flame)

READING:

Pamela Toler, “Who is Manikarnika”

https://www.historynet.com/who-is-marnikarnika-legendary-hindu-queen-lakshmi-bai.htm

Harleen Singh, “Introduction,” in Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India

https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Rani_of_Jhansi/joHRAwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=rani+of+jhansi&printsec=frontcover

Joyce Lebra, The Rani of Jhansi

https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000473066?

 

Week 9.  May 23, 25

Nationalist Movement.

Mass Mobilization

Gandhi and Nonviolence

Revolutionaries and Violence

 

FILM:1942: A Love Story (1994)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM8Wppmf4G4

Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) (Stream)

OR Shaheed (1965)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrmTj27AcT0

READING:

Metcalf & Metcalf, chs. 5, 6

 

Week 10.  May 30 (No class), June 1

Independence and Partition

India and Pakistan

Bangladesh

 

FILM: Garm Hava (1973) (Stream) or Chhalia (1960) (Stream) or Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) (Stream) or Hey Ram (2000)

 

READING:

Metcalf & Metcalf, ch.. 7

David Gilmartin, “The Historiography of India’s Partition,”

http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~sj6/gilmartin%20historiography%20of%20partition.pdf

William Dalrymple, “The Great Divide”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/29/the-great-divide-books-dalrymple

Complete reading: Yasmin Khan, The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan, read timeline, preface to the new edition, maps, and introduction to ch 6, pp. 1-127

https://www-jstor-org.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/stable/j.ctv1bzfp93

 

FINAL PAPER DUE: JUNE 6, 5 pm

 

Faculty mailboxes are located in 318 Smith. T.A. mailboxes in Smith 315, but these boxes are not secure and are only available when the office is open. Papers, notes, etc. for T.A.s should instead be delivered to T.A. offices. Faculty and T.A. office locations and hours are posted on a bulletin board outside of 315 Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plagiarism and Incompletes

Plagiarism is defined as the use of creations, ideas or words of publicly available work without formally acknowledging the author or source through appropriate use of quotation marks, references, and the like. Along with the University of Washington, the History Department takes plagiarism very seriously. Plagiarism may lead to disciplinary action by the University against the student who submitted the work. Any student who is uncertain whether his or her use of the work of others constitutes plagiarism should consult the course instructor for guidance before submitting coursework.

Incompletes An incomplete is given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work until within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student's control.

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Grade Appeal Procedure

A student who believes he or she has been improperly graded must first discuss the matter with the instructor. If the student is not satisfied with the instructor's explanation, the student, no later than ten days after his or her discussion with the instructor, may submit a written appeal to the Chair of the History Department with a copy of the appeal also sent to the instructor. Within 10 calendar days, the Chair consults with the instructor to ensure that the evaluation of the student's performance has not been arbitrary or capricious. Should the Chair believe the instructor's conduct to be arbitrary or capricious and the instructor declines to revise the grade, the Chair, with the approval of the voting members of his or her faculty, shall appoint an appropriate member, or members, of the faculty of the History Department to evaluate the performance of the student and assign a grade. The Dean and Provost should be informed of this action. Once a student submits a written appeal, this document and all subsequent actions on this appeal are recorded in written form for deposit in a History Department file.

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Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

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Rev. January 2020

Honoring Place and Peoples

We acknowledge that we are on Coast Salish territory, the traditional homelands of the Duwamish, Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations and other Native peoples. The Jackson School understands that the international community includes sovereign American Indian tribes, Indigenous nations, and peoples across the world.

 

Catalog Description:
Through popular cinema, specifically Hindi-language films produced by Bombay-based film industry for mass market, explores colonial history of South Asia beginning with British takeover of Indian subcontinent in late eighteenth century to emergence of independence and partition in 1947. Focuses specifically on Bollywood films that have shaped popular (mis)understandings of key episodes and developments in history of modern India. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 317.
GE Requirements Met:
Diversity (DIV)
Social Sciences (SSc)
Writing (W)
Credits:
5.0
Status:
Active
Last updated:
May 23, 2024 - 6:54 am