Topics in Asian Civ, Gandhi's India

May 2004

First, you do NOT need an extensive background in anything to take Prof. Bakhle's classes, especially if you take both topics and gandhi's india in sequence. I actually do have an above-average knowledge of south asian history simply by having taking courses in high school and I was sometimes frustrated by the fact that she gives us great readings (for example, key texts in subaltern studies, a very interesting school of s.asian historiography (which will be of immense importance to you if you have problems with nationalist and imperialist historiography) of which Partha Chatterjee, who teaches here, is a big member) but doesnt talk about them as much as facts and dates. Still, she is very willing to talk in office hours and speak to your specific level of knowledge. Second, I too will warn you that she really is a bitch on wheels if your cellphone goes off or if you come late. The origin of this idiosyncrasy is interesting in its own right: As on of Edward Said's students she has absorbed his classroom style which I hear was very no bullshit. Last, she tries hard to be a teacher (more than just a lecturer) even in a big class and this really comes through in office hours if you care to go. Coda: Take this class if your historical interest is strong enough so that you dont mind hearing the conventional narrative of South Asian history with minor twists here and there in lecture, and then read the alternative new narratives and engage with her, the ta and of course your classmates about it.