1st degree (Bachelor)
Coordinator Office Hours:
Prof Yigal Bronner
It is often said that no Indian child has ever heard the Ramayana for the first time. It is also well known that there are many Ramayanas, hundreds in fact, in South Asia and beyond. But what is the Ramayana? What is it about? How to approach it? What is the difference between different tellings of the text, and when does a telling ceases to be a Ramayana? What uses was the Ramayana put to throughout its long history? These are some of the questions we will raise in the course of this seminar.
To enable the students to approach a key text from a foreign culture (in translation), to become familiarized with the Ramayana narrative and the large pool of such narratives Asia-wide, to acquire tools for understanding the larger phenomenon, and to start thinking about the interrelations between is numerous parts. And, of course, to learn to enjoy the stories of Rama, Sita, Ravana, Vibhishana, and the monkey Hanuman.
Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
Deep familiarity with the Ramayana epic (to know why Rama agrees to be exiled to the forest, to know why he kills Valin, to know what happens to Sita in captivity, to know what Hanuman tells her from the treetop, to know how the battle of Rama and Ravana proceeded and ended and what it was like, and to know why all this is important), clear view of its historical evolution and numerous versions in South Asia and beyond, good mastery of the relevant secondary literature, and an ability to conceptualize the complex relations between text to text and tradition to tradition.
Teaching arrangement and method of instruction:
Class will consist of a guided and open discussion seminar-like. Students will be expected to read from week to week (about 50 pages a week) and actively to participate in the discussions, including the presentation in class of reading assignments and written weekly reading reports.
The course will be divided into four large thematic divisions: monkeys, demons, humans, and gods. Under each of these headings we will read and discuss portions of the Ramayana of Valmiki, other Ramayanas, and relevant secondary literature.
For a detailed reading list, please consult the Moodle site.
Additional Reading Material:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 20 %
Participation in Tutorials 10 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 70 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %