professor
Rashmi Sadana

Jan 2006

Sadana is a very stiff professor. Her excellent reading list certainly taught me a lot about South Asia, but I did not gain any insight from her. She is clearly knowledgable about the topic and her section, in which she typically shows videos, was fascinating (though mandatory). However, her lack of energy or enthusiasm in her teaching, and her tendency to read off a sheet of notes, is not conduscive to interesting discussion. She does make herself very available and is flexible with her time.

Jan 2006

This class does not have ANY exams: no midterm or no final. However, it is a very rigorous 3000 level introductory class that demands a lot of reading on the stidents' behalf. For each class you have to do a whole lot of intreresting primary source reading which are supplemented by the lectures. There is a one hour mandatory discussion section which is basically just watching movies and documentaries that gives the course a soft side and neutralises the pressure of the dry readings. One weekly posting on open ended topics mandatory, in class discussions highly appreciated, and pretty balanced syllabus. Also, Prof. Sadana deserves appreciation for being able to teach South Asian topics that are as controversial as middle-east problems pretty neutrally by focusing on all sides of the issues equally. She is a rational grader, is very approchable, and helpful. On the down side, she is a bit stiff in class as long as she is delivering the prepared lecture (but eases down as she enters the class discussion). Also, this being a fast paced introduction to a vast topic, students better do the readings. For those who does not have some idea about South Aisan history: specially read the optional/required Jalal & Bose chapters to make sure you know what is happening to the bigger picture otherwise you will be scrambling through the more focused texts without getting any clue about how to make sense of them. Taking this class can be a very nice option for fulfilling half of the major cultures requirement.

Dec 2005

Professor Sadana is a good, thorough professor. She makes herself very available through office hours and through e-mail. However, she is a bit stiff in front of the class, not quite as spontaneous or as good at stimulating class discussions as other professors. She seems to still be finding her way a bit. All in all, you'll learn a great deal about South Asia (1800s to about the mid 20th century with some emphasis on present day problems), even if it isn't the most exciting course one could take.

Sep 2005

Ms. Sadana led a well structured class. She followed her syllabus and let the students know what she expected of them. However, her attempt at constant class discussion led to many dull, uninsightful classes. It was clear that she was still feeling out her teaching style. Apparently she has decided to add a discussion section for future classes - an unnecessary step in my opinion. Overall, Ms. Sadana gave a basic overview of South Asia's move towards modernity. While the class is in no way inspiring, she will surprise you with interesting insights on occasion. You could do much worse, but you could also do better.