Upcoming New & Featured Courses

The courses listed here address special subjects, are taught by visiting faculty, or are new to the course catalog (marked as "NEW"). Please note that special content courses and courses offered by visiting scholars represent opportunities that will not likely be available again.  For all South Asia course offerings, please visit our COURSES page.











Feminist Art and Visual Culture in a Global Perspective

GWSS 290: Special Topics in Women Studies

Autumn Quarter 2012, M-Th 11:30-12:20

Professor Sasha Welland, GWSS & Anthropology

This course offers students a unique opportunity to explore feminist art and the multiple contexts of its creation and circulation through an exciting series of events at UW and in the community, at the Seattle Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle Public Library, and Seattle International Film Festival.

While women artists around the world have reinvented art-making practices and challenged conventional understandings of culture and society, the story of feminist art presented in major museums and exhibits has centered on Euro-American artists, artworks, and movements. This course explores how feminist artistic production poses questions about power, gender, and sexuality, while offering a global feminist art history grounded in centers like Beijing, Johannesburg, and Mumbai. It aims to introduce students to the rich and varied range of contemporary feminist art practice and theory and to examine the local and global contexts—aesthetic and sociocultural—that have shaped it across diverse locations. Artists covered will include figures such as He Chengyao, Kim Sooja, Yayoi Kusama, Meera Mukherjee, Shirin Neshat, and Tracey Rose.

More information available here: http://tinyurl.com/cqch2tk

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Government and Politics of South Asia

JSIS A 340/POL S 340

Autumn Quarter 2012, TTH 130-320

Sunila Kale, International Studies

This undergraduate course focuses on political, social, and economic change and continuity in five countries of South Asia—India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. The post-independence politics of these countries capture the myriad dilemmas and promises of postcolonial states. This makes the region an ideal context in which to ask significant questions about state-formation and development, economic growth and transitions to the market, the role of civil society, and the nature of conflict, both within and between countries.

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Disability Studies and Postcolonial Studies

CHID 480 Special Topics in Comparative History of Ideas

Autumn 2012, T,Th 1:30-3:20 RAI 116

Professor Anupama Taranath, English

This course serves as an opportunity to investigate the intersections between disability studies and postcolonial studies through a focus on literature from the global south. Connections between these fields are *surprisingly* rare, and our work this term will ask why that might be historically and methodologically so. I hope we can begin to stitch together an integrated and more holistic theory that brings together the lived experiences of differently abled and differently located people in one analytical lens. We'll read literature from Zimbabwe, India, Nigeria and Bangladesh, and a few other geographical sites as well.

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A Thousand and one Narrators: Masterpieces of Story Literature from India and Beyond

ASIAN 207A Special Topics in Asian Languages and Literature

Instructor: Dubrow

MW 130-320 + section

5 credits VLPA/I&S

SLN 10515

This course covers masterpieces of story literature from India and surrounding regions, with focus on The Mahabharata, The Adventures of Amir Hamza, and The Arabian Nights. Each of these texts has had wide influence on Eastern and Western literatures and continues to inspire rich performance and literary traditions today. Class sessions will cover historical and cultural context, and discussion of major themes such as curiosity and fate. No prior knowledge is assumed, and all works will be read in English translation.

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Indian Mythology

ASIAN 207B Special Topics in Asian Languages and Literature

Instructor: Pauwels

TTH 1230-220 + section

5 credits VLPA/I&S, optional W credit

SLN 10516

Overview of Indian mythology from the Vedic period to the present, with focus on contemporary representations. Compares different retellings of the most important stories about Hindu gods in Vedic, Epic, Puranic, vernacular, as well as popular culture adaptations, such as comic strips and film. Readings include translations of scripture and articles situating those in their historical context. Scholarly methods of myth analysis and socio-political adaptations of myths, including their internet and advertisement avatars. No prerequisites.

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Contemporary India and Pakistan

SISA 200



Spring Quarter 2012
MW 3:30-5:20


EEB 045


5 credits


Catherine Warner
Email: chw4@u

Course Description:

An interdisciplinary introduction to the 20th century in 1/5 of the world
SISA 200 focuses on the diverse dreams and aspirations of people in India and Pakistan from Independence through post-colonial transitions to the present day. How have people from various regional, linguistic, ethnic, class, and caste backgrounds, and gender orientations, understood possibilities for the future, and how have these visions of the good life affected the shape of the post-colonial nation? What does globalization, new access to expanding forms of media, and the increased foreign investment mean for the lives of Pakistanis and Indians today? This class traces the history of India and Pakistan during and after Independence by asking how ordinary as well as famous Indians and Pakistanis understood such change and shaped it through their imaginations of possible futures.

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Global Mental Health: Focus on South Asia



Spring Quarter 2012
Mondays 12:30 to 3:20



SOCC 308


3 credits, 2 credit additional independent study optional


Deepa Rao, Ph.D., M.A.
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Global Health
Email: deeparao@uw.edu

Ahalya Raguram, Ph.D., M.A., DM&SP
Visiting Instructor, University of Washington
Professor and Head, Department of Clinical Psychology
National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India

Office Hours:

By appointment

Course Description:

This course is designed for advanced undergraduate students and graduate students interested in pursuing work at the crossroads of Public Health and Social Science. The course will introduce students to key topics in global mental health, with a specific focus on mental health issues that arise in the South Asian countries of Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and India. The course will examine the socio-cultural and political forces that impact the assessment, manifestation, and impact of mental illnesses on individuals in this region. Students will take a critical view of diagnostic systems and examine the scientific research suggesting systematic differences in presentation of mental illness among people from South Asian and Western countries. We will examine methodological questions, such as the use of Kleinman’s “explanatory models of illness” paradigm as a tool in cross-cultural psychiatric research. We will also review clinical and treatment practices when working with people with mental illnesses in South Asia. Specifically, students will explore topics around task sharing, culturally-specific communication styles, idioms of social relatedness, emotional expression, familial structure, stigma, and power dynamics, as these can impact clinical assessment and interventions. Course readings will be supplemented with audio-visual materials, didactic sessions, active discussion, and student presentations.


At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the impact of socio-political and cultural factors on mental health research and practice in South Asia
  • Discuss traditional and alternative conceptualizations of mental illness in South Asia
  • Discuss treatment approaches for mental health issues present in the South Asian context


Class Participation: 10%
Class Presentation: 10%
7 of 8 Reaction Papers: 35%
Research Paper Detailed Outline: 10%
Final Research Paper: 35%


Reaction Papers: Students will complete 7 out of the 8 typed, one-page papers not including additional references (single–spaced, 1 inch margins, 11 or 12 point font) that detail their reactions to the readings assigned for 8 sessions of the course. Each of the 7 reactions papers is worth 5% of the final grade. Please follow Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) style. These reaction papers should describe your reactions, critical analysis, and integration of the readings for the week. You may wish to look up and integrate material from outside readings to supplement your analysis in the reaction paper. In addition, 1 question for class discussion should be listed at the bottom of each reaction paper. Reaction papers are due online through Catalyst at 12pm before class sessions begin. Please bring your discussion questions to class.

Culture and Mental Health Project (Presentation, Outline, and Paper): Students will complete a culture and mental health research project for the course. This project will involve choosing a mental health condition present in South Asia that has a culturally specific manifestation (idiom of distress or culture bound syndrome) or a mental health condition that develops from or is shaped a culturally specific process. Students will complete a detailed outline of their paper, present to the class on their topic of interest, and complete a final paper on their chosen topic. The outline, presentation, and paper will reflect a detailed review of the literature focused on the mental health problem, a review of culturally-specific aspects of the problem, and potential (culturally appropriate) methods of addressing the problem. Example titles of projects are ‘Somatization of Depressive Disorders among rural Indian men’, ‘Marital Relations and Severe Mental Illness South India’, or ‘Suicide among Information Technology workers in Bangalore’.

  • Outline: Outlines for the paper are due April 16th at 12pm via Catalyst Dropbox online submission. Outlines will be 4-5 pages in length, single spaced, and contain a references list at the end with at least 5 relevant articles or books to be discussed in the presentation and final paper. Outlines will be used to evaluate the adequacy of the topic area and if alterations need to be made. Instructors will provide detailed feedback on the topics and suggestion changes if needed.
  • Presentations: Students will give 10 minute presentations on their topic with 5 minutes for question and answers from the audience. Use of powerpoint slides, with appropriate references listed, is highly suggested. Student presentations will begin April 23rd and a sign-up list will be circulated in the first class meetings to determine the schedule of individual presentations.
  • Final Paper: The final paper will be due May 31, 2012, online via Catalyst Dropbox. The paper will be 10 pages in length (for undergraduates), double-spaced with 1 inch margins, using 11 or 12 point font. Please use JAMA style for this paper. Graduate students are required to submit a paper 15 pages in length, to include a more in-depth analysis of their project.

Other Important Policies:

We will be using Catalyst for online assignment submission in this course. We will go over instructions on how to use the system during the first class session. Please make sure you are comfortable with the system and report problems to the instructors before the end of the second class period (April 2). Late assignments due to difficulties in using the system will not be accepted after the second week of class.

Disability Accommodations:

To request academic accommodations due to disability please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz Hall, 206-543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating that you have a disability requiring academic accommodations, please present the letter to one of the instructors as soon as possible so we can discuss the accommodations you might need in class. Special circumstances arising during the quarter that may affect your class performance must be discussed with the instructors as early as possible in order to determine if accommodations can be made.

Academic Integrity:

Plagiarism, cheating, and other misconduct are serious violations of your contract as a student. We expect that you will know and follow the University’s policies on cheating and plagiarism. Cases of suspected of plagiarism will be handled according to the University regulations.


All readings are required unless noted otherwise. The following texts have been ordered at the University Book Store. They are also on reserve at the Health Sciences Library. In addition to these texts, we will also be reading recent relevant research papers, listed by session in the course schedule.

  • Patel, V. (2003).Where there is no psychiatrist: a mental health care manual. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists Publications.Kleinman, A. (1991). Rethinking Psychiatry. New York: Free Press.

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Maternal, Child, and Reproductive Health: Focus on South Asia

SISSA 490B/GH 590L


Spring Quarter 2012

Thursdays 12:00-1:30


HST T663


1 credit


Deepa Rao, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Global Health
University of Washington

Contact Information:

Deepa Rao
Office: Ninth and Jefferson Building, 12th Floor
E-mail: DeepaRao@uw.edu

Course Description:

This 1-credit course will consist of a series of lectures on the topics covering maternal, child, and reproductive health in South Asia. Course presentations will bring together Department of Global Health faculty, researchers from institutions inside and outside of the University of Washington, and visiting scholars who will introduce their interdisciplinary, global perspectives and expertise in this topic area with a focus on research and experience in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. The seminar is intended to be participatory and interactive, and provide a rich learning environment to stimulate critical thinking.

Course Learning Objectives:

At the end of this series, students are expected to be able to:

  • describe the relevance of early life for adult health and the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases as individuals age
  • list factors involved in high rates of communicable diseases among women and children in South Asia
  • analyze factors leading to a high prevalence of pre-term deliveries and low-birth weight in South Asia
  • identify South Asian specific barriers to improved mother child and reproductive health
  • recognize the roles women and children play in South Asia
Date Speaker Title/Topic
March 29 Deepa Rao; UW Global Health Mental Health and MCH in South Asia
April 5 Stephen Bezruchka; UW Health Services Nepal's Female Community Health Volunteer: A success story!
April 12 Donna L. Leonetti; UW Anthropology Fertility, Child Survival, and Kinship Patterns (Northeast India)
April 19 Jamie Bechtel; New Course; UW Law School Links between Natural Resource Use, Natural Resource Management and Health in South Asia and the Broader Developing World
April 26 Judd Walson; UW Global Health Translating Innovation for Maternal Child Health in South Asia
May 3 Cecilia Margaret; UW Psychiatry Child Psychiatry in South Asia
May 10 Zulfiqar Bhutta; Aga Khan University, Pakistan Maternal and Child Health in South Asia: Challenges and Opportunities
May 17 Sadaf Khan; PATH Maternal Health in South Asia: Factors influencing Care-seeking and Care Provision
May 24 Clea Finkle; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Urban Reproductive Health in Uttar Pradesh
May 31 Grace John Stewart; UW Department of Global Health Women and Children Through the Lifecycle




Classwork will be due by the start of the following Thursday’s class. Classwork will be handed in using the course’s catalyst dropbox (https://catalyst.uw.edu/workspace/halleyb/28246/). Homework should be submitted as either a .doc or .pdf. Late homework will not be accepted. Homework will be marked as credit/no credit based on whether is represents a good faith effort to summarize the speakers’ topics. Every registered student is required to submit 8 out of 10 seminar responses.


Homework will be marked as credit/no credit based on whether is represents a good faith effort to summarize the speakers’ topics. 8 out of 9 summary forms will be required for credit in the course.

Reading Materials:

The course’s reading materials will be posted on the course’s webpage, at the very latest, a day in advance of the related speaker’s lecture.


The lecture slides will be posted to the course’s website following the presentation in class.

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ASIAN 498A Intro to Indian Philosophical Literature

This course will discuss these questions and more, in the context of Hindu Indian Philosophy, through a close reading of select excerpts from the Vedas, the principal Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita. All texts will be read in English translations, no knowledge of
Sanskrit or other Indian languages is required.

Prof. Prem Pahlajrai

No Prerequisites

Spring Quarter 2012
MW 1:30-3:20pm
VLPA, Optional W
SLN 10605


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ASIAN 498B- Survey of Urdu Literature in Translation

Urdu literature is one of the major literary traditions of South Asia. This survey course will introduce the major works, authors, and literary periods of this rich tradition. The course includes units on modern short story, novel, and the classical poetry of Mir and Ghalib. All works will be read in English translation, and no prior knowledge of Urdu is required.

Prof. Jennifer Dubrow

No Prerequisites

Spring Quarter 2012
TTh 1:30-3:20pm
VLPA w/ W Credit Option
SLN 10606


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South Asia Center
University of Washington
303 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-4800 phone
(206) 685-0668 fax

Anand Yang, Director

Keith Snodgrass, Associate Director

Molly Wilskie-Kala, Program Coordinator

Nick Gottschall, Graduate Student Assistant

Robyn Davis, FLAS Coordinator

Sunila Kale, Graduate Program Coordinator