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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.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Graduate Electives (ELEC-GG)