First, here are the books I will be reading for my classes:
1. History and Memory in South Asia. We've only met for this class twice, so it's kind of hard to get a sense of what the professor is really trying to do. Here is a photo of my professor that I stole from the internet:
His name is Dipesh Chakrabarty. He is one of the big names in Subaltern Studies. What is Subaltern Studies? That is a very good question.
2. Many Ramayanas. The Ramayana is an ancient Hindu epic about a man named Rama. Rama is the avatar of the god Vishnu, who has taken human form to defeat the demon Ravana. There are thousands and thousands of different versions of the Ramayana. We are reading four of them in our class. At some point, we will be talking about the uses and abuses of the Ramayana in South Asian society. (For example, a mosque was destroyed by a group of Hindu fundamentalists about 20 years ago in India. They claimed that the mosque had been built on Rama's birthplace. A massacre followed.)
This class is taught by the great Wendy Doniger. She is a big name in Hindu and Sanskrit studies. I like her a lot. She reminds me of the Oracle from the Matrix. She's an old lady who knows everything and is super charming. Here is a picture I didn't take:
3. Academic and Professional Writing. I signed up for this class as sort of a blow-off course. And it basically is. But it's also a super helpful course on how to write so that your readers understand you. So far we've learned about Nominalizations (when you Noun-ify a verb), Core Violations (when the subject and verb are too far apart), and Information Flow (the order in which information is best presented).
I used to think that many of the book and articles I read were over my head. Now I know that the authors of those books and articles are terrible writers. I can't understand them because they make it impossible for me to understand them.
I believe this quarter is going to be easier than the last quarter. I have to do maybe half as much reading, and there will only be one big paper due at the end (as opposed to three last quarter). Huzzah!!!