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Grant number like: AB-50097-12

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Claflin University (Orangeburg, SC 29115-6815)
Mitali Pati Wong (Project Director: July 2011 to September 2014)

Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Education Programs

$99,922 (approved)
$98,696 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2012 – 12/31/2013

Reading Classical and Contemporary Literature from South Asia through an Interdisciplinary Literary Lens

A two-year series of faculty workshops, course development, and public lectures on classical and contemporary literature from South Asia.

"Classical and Contemporary Literature from South Asia" is a two-year series of faculty workshops, public lectures, and course development at Claflin University on classical and contemporary literature from South Asia. Ten faculty members participate in three major project activities: faculty study workshops; discussion forums following four public lectures by visiting scholars Muhammad Umar Memon, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Thibaut d'Hubert, University of Chicago; Waqas Khwaja, Agnes Scott College; and Deepika Bahri, Emory University; and faculty-student presentations at Claflin University's annual Regional English and Language Arts Pedagogy Conference. They also create an interdisciplinary special topics course, South Asia: Texts and Contexts, in both on-campus and studyabroad formats. Readings from the Classical period include the autobiography of Mughal dynasty founder Zaheeruddin Babur and the memoir of his daughter Gulbadan Begum, as well as works by Persian poets Abolqasem Firdousi and Shamsuddin Hafiz; Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib; Indian poets Amir Khusro and Kabir Das; and Indian philosopher Tulsi Das. Colonial-era readings include the writings of M. K. Gandhi, novels by Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao, a memoir by Dhan Gopal Mukerji, and works by Indian, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani poets Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, and Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Postcolonial and contemporary readings include works by the Afghan novelists Khaled Hosseini and Atiq Rahimi; other novels by Salman Rushdie, Mohsin Hamid, and Arvind Adiga; the memoirs of poets Meena Alexander and Bapsi Sidhwa; and works by Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Jewish Indian poet Nissim Ezekiel. The selected texts contribute to an understanding of the diverse literary heritage of South Asia and build upon Claflin University's existing faculty and student exchange programs with nine universities in the Indian subcontinent.