History of South Asian Civilizations
DR. B. NESS
Welcome to History 26. In this course we will examine the early civilizations of South Asia from their beginnings to the period of the Mughal emperors. Hence we will explore the history of the region extending over a period of at least 3000 years. The following books contain the required reading assignments:
Wolpert, Stanley, A New History of India, sixth edition,
Oxford University Press, New York, 2000.
Embree, Ainslie T., ed., Sources of Indian Tradition, from
The Beginning to 1800, Volume I, second edition,
Columbia University Press, New York, 1988.
There may be additional readings on the web and/or handouts.
For each primary source document you are to write a summary—according to the summary format that will be provided. In addition, there are chapter questions on the textbook to be answered. All written work will be done by hand and submitted each week. The reading and written work will provide the basis for group work in class as well as general class discussions.
Regular attendance and superior participation can offset weaker grades on the written work. Lack of participation, despite regular attendance will be interpreted as a lack of seriousness on your part. There will be a mid-term and final examination in essay form as well as periodic quizzes. All exams will be on designated days only. Do not miss any!
You are expected to be in class on time, remain for the entire 80 minutes and participate in class discussion and group work. Your grade in this course will be evaluated as follows:
Weekly written work & participation………………...25%
Midterm and quizzes………………………………….50%
I am available to assist you in your efforts. My office is in HSS 307. Hours are
Monday through Thursday 2:15 – 3:15, and by appointment. If you MUST miss class, arrive late or leave early on any particular day, please advise me in advance. You may do so via campus mail or by leaving a message on my 24-hr voice mail: 310.434.4669. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you miss class and need information please contact another class member. So collect contact information from your colleagues TODAY.
• Please do not use a tape recorder or bring a guest to class without my prior approval. Turn OFF all pagers and/or cellular phones before class begins.
• If you decide to drop this class, take it Credit/No Credit or request and Incomplete grade you must do so via the admissions office. Check there re: deadlines and procedures.
The following assignments are REQUIRED reading.
This is a provisional syllabus so Please be aware of any changes during the semester,
WEEK 1&2 Introduction to the course. Familiarize yourself with the syllabus and
website. Browse the links.
WEEK 3 A New History of India(NHI) Ch 1: The Ecological Setting, all, (Study the map). Sources of Indian Tradition (SIT) Guide to Pronunciation, pp xxi-xxiii; Chronology, pp xxvii-xxxii; NHI Ch 2 Indus Culture.
WEEK 4 NHI Ch 3 The Aryan Age; SIT Part I (Study the map), The Brahmanical Tradition: The Vedic Period: Introduction, Cosmic and Ritual Order in Vedic Literature: pp 3-9, Agni, Varuna, Indra, Dawn, Soma, The Primeval Sacrifice, The Origin of the World, A Charm Against Various Evils, Ritual Order: Techniques for the Sacred Fires.
WEEK 5 NHI Ch 4 North Indian Conquest and Unification;
SIT Ch 2 The Upanishads
WEEK 6 NHI Ch 4; SIT Part II, Background of Jainism and Buddhism: pp 43-48, Ch 3 The Basic Doctrines of Jainism and Jain Literature: pp 49-61 Of Human Bondage, The Man in the Well, Creatures Great and Small, pp 63-75 (passim) The Eternal Law, The Hero of Self Control, Cheerfully Endure All Things, Two Ways of Life, The Refuge of All Creatures, The Final Penance, Moral Verses.
WEEK 7 SIT Ch 4 Jain Philosophy and Political Thought pp 75-78; There is No Creator pp 80-1, The Ideal King (I & II) pp 84-6
WEEK 8 NHI Ch 5 India’s First Imperial Unification
SIT Ch 5 Theravada Buddhism pp 92-100, Basic Doctrines of Theravada Buddhism pp 100-114 (passim): The Four Noble Truths, The Nature of Consciousness, The Simile of the Chariot, Change and Identity, The Process of Rebirth, Karma, Last Instructions of the Buddha, The Buddha in Nirvana, The City of Righteousness
WEEK 9 – 16 TBA