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, firstname.lastname@example.org
and by appointment.
TA: Amaal Akhtar (email@example.com)
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
Barbara Metcalf and Thomas Metcalf, A Concise History of Modern India
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
Week 1. March 28, 30.
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)
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
FILM: Mother India (1957)
Metcalf & Metcalf, ch. 8
Ramachanda Guha, India After Gandhi, read prologue
Week 4. April 18, 20
Precolonial India. Mughal Empire
Visions of Splendor
Indo-Islamic Culture and Civilization
FILM: Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
OR Jodhaa Akbar (2008)
Ganti, ch. 3
Metcalf & Metcalf, ch. 2
Week 5. April 25, 27
Structure and Ideology of Rule
Modalities of Power and Dominance
FILM: Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
Bernard S. Cohn, Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge, chapter 1, “Introduction,” pp. 3-15
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
Metcalf & Metcalf, ch. 3
Week 7. May 9, 11
Mutiny/Rebellion/Uprising of 1857
FILM: Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005)
Metcalf & Metcalf, ch. 4
Peter Marshall, “India and the Great Rebellion”
Jill Bender, “Introduction,” 1857
Crispin Bates, “Introduction,” to Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857, ed. C. Bates
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)
Pamela Toler, “Who is Manikarnika”
Harleen Singh, “Introduction,” in Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India
Joyce Lebra, The Rani of Jhansi
Week 9. May 23, 25
Gandhi and Nonviolence
Revolutionaries and Violence
FILM:1942: A Love Story (1994)
Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) (Stream)
OR Shaheed (1965)
Metcalf & Metcalf, chs. 5, 6
Week 10. May 30 (No class), June 1
Independence and Partition
India and Pakistan
FILM: Garm Hava (1973) (Stream) or Chhalia (1960) (Stream) or Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) (Stream) or Hey Ram (2000)
Metcalf & Metcalf, ch.. 7
David Gilmartin, “The Historiography of India’s Partition,”
William Dalrymple, “The Great Divide”
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
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.
Except in case of error, no instructor may change a grade that he or she has turned in to the Registrar. Grades cannot be changed after a degree has been granted.
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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If you are being harassed, seek help—the earlier the better. You may speak with your instructor, your teaching assistant, History Undergraduate Advising, the Department’s Director of Academic Services (Smith 315A) or the Chair of the Department (Smith 308). In addition, the Office of the Ombud (206 543-6028) is a University resource for all students, faculty and staff. Community Standards and Student Conduct Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a resource for students.
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Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/).
Access and Accommodations
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.
If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or email@example.com or disability.uw.edu. DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and
Department of History Diversity Committee
The Department of History Diversity Committee initiates and facilitates an ongoing conversation about diversity, proposes measures to address institutional disparities, and also serves as a confidential resource for students, staff, and faculty who have concerns related to climate and diversity. Any member of the department's learning and working community may contact the committee with concerns and questions. https://history.washington.edu/diversity-resources
Standards of Conduct and Academic Integrity: (see WAC 478-121-020
The following abilities and behavioral expectations complement the UW Student Conduct Code. All students need to demonstrate the following behaviors and abilities: Communication: All students must communicate effectively with other students, faculty, staff, and other professionals within the Department of History. Students must attempt to express ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback. All students must be able to reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize, and evaluate in the context of the class. Students must be able to evaluate and apply information and engage in critical thinking in the classroom and professional setting. Behavioral/Emotional: Students must demonstrate the emotional maturity required for the adequate utilization of intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, and the timely completion of responsibilities in the class. Further, students must be able to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with students, faculty, staff, and other professionals while engaging in the class and within the History Department. Students must have the emotional stability to function effectively in the classroom. Students must be able and willing to examine and change behaviors when they interfere with productive individual or team relationships. Problematic behavior documented: Problematic behavior will be documented by the Department and if deemed appropriate forwarded on to Community Standards and Student Conduct. If a pattern of behavior or a single, serious lapse in the behavioral expectations becomes evident, the steps below will be followed so that the student is appraised of a warning indicating that the student’s continuation in the class and/or major is in jeopardy. The student’s instructor and/or appropriate program advisor or teaching assistant will document, either verbally or in writing, the concerning behavior and notify the student that they are receiving a warning. Notification of the warning will be forwarded on to the Chair of the Department and Student Conduct and Community Standards via email or in hard copy. The warning identifies what the concerning behavior was and that any further disruptions or concerning incidents will result in the student being asked to leave the class. When incidents occur that represent a significant impact to the program or its participants, students may be asked to leave immediately without prior warning.
Safety and Evacuation
Evacuation routes are posted throughout the building. In case of a fire, please evacuate and go to the evacuation assembly point, locations of which are posted on building walls. In case of a power outage or earthquake, please stay where you are and, for the latter, protect your head and neck. Students with disabilities which could impair evacuation should notify the instructor early in the quarter so accommodations can be made.
Concerns about a course, an instructor, or a teaching assistant
Instructors If you have any concerns about the course or the instructor in charge of the course, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, contact the History Department’s Director of Academic Services, Tracy Maschman Morrissey, in Smith 315A. If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive from Tracy, make an appointment with the Assistant to the Chair in Smith 308B to speak with the Chair. TAs If you have any concerns about the teaching assistant, please see them about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the teaching assistant or not satisfied with the response that you receive, contact the instructor in charge of the course. If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may follow the procedure previously outlined, or contact the Graduate School in G-1 Communications.
Rev. January 2020
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