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The Poetics of Knowledge in South Asia and the Middle East

Semester and Year FA 2015
Course Number ELEC-GG2780
Section 001
Instructor Nosheen Ali
Days W
Time 4:55 PM - 7:35 PM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level G


Same as HIST-GA1001 and MEIS-GA 2715. Open to advanced undergraduates with permission of the instructor (


This course will examine how poetic thought and practice shapes notions of history, self, collectivity, and change in South Asia and the Middle East. The course considers “poetic knowledge” as a term that might encapsulate the value and meaning of the poetic as a mode of being, seeing and doing in the world. We will delve into the breadth and depth of non-Western literary thought, theory and practice in South Asia and the Middle East, reading key texts by poets, historians, and anthropologists including A. K. Ramanujan, Ann Gold, Lila Abu-Lughod, Steve Caton, and Sheldon Pollock. Alongside, we will read selected, poetic texts in translation from a variety of languages including Braj, Urdu, Persian, Sindhi, and Punjabi. Course themes include poetic knowledge as a reflection on history and society, gender and power in poetic traditions, poetry and political critique, and the relationship between poetic idiom and spiritual subjectivity.

Course Type

Graduate Electives (ELEC-GG)