The Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies offers a minor in South Asian Languages and Cultures. As minors in South Asian Languages and Cultures, students can expect to gain proficiency in Hindi/Urdu languages, study the area's literary and cultural landmarks, and gain familiarity with Indian history and civilizations.
Language Placement: Placement tests are required for all students entering our language programs. Students may be eligible for up to 6 units of back credit based on advanced placement and successful completion of the recommended course. Native speakers are not eligible for back credit; evidence of secondary or postsecondary study of the language is required. Any units received from back credit cannot be counted toward the minor.
The Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (JIMES) does not offer a major in this area. Please visit the JIMES page for a list of available majors.
The Minor in South Asian Languages and Cultures (Hindi)
Units required: 18, in addition to prerequisites
- Both semesters of 100-level Hindi or Urdu, by course work or by placement. (Students who place into and complete higher levels of language courses may be eligible to receive back credit. Please see the department's policy on back credit.)
- JIMES 210C Introduction to Islamic Civilization or JIMES 3171 Religion and Culture in South and Southeast Asia
- 9 credits in 300- or 400-level Hindi or Urdu language courses
- 6 credits in 300- or 400-level South Asian studies or South Asian literature and culture courses, distributed as the student wishes
Students enrolled in preapproved Washington University study abroad programs during the regular academic semester, in summer programs, and in transfer courses can earn a maximum of 3 units subject to review by their adviser and the director of undergraduate study.
Students must maintain an average of B in all courses for the minor. A grade of B- or higher must be earned in each language course in order to advance to the next level.
No course taken pass/fail can count toward the prerequisites or the minor.
A student may request credit for courses taken outside of the department (other than those that are cross-listed) by seeking the permission of the director of undergraduate studies and the department chair.
Visit online course listings to view semester offerings for L73 Hindi.
L73 Hindi 111D Beginning Hindi I
An introduction to the most widely spoken language of South Asia. Along with an understanding of grammar, the course offers practice in all four skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The Hindi (Devanagari) script is used for reading and writing. Note: students with some previous Hindi language background must take a placement examination. Student may not take this class pass/fail or audit.
L73 Hindi 112D Beginning Hindi II
Continuation of 101D, devoted to the further development of basic skills--listening, speaking, reading, and writing--with a particular emphasis on the acquisition of speaking proficiency. Prerequisite: Hindi 111D, or placement by examination. Student may not take this class pass/fail or audit.
L73 Hindi 150 First-Year Urdu I
This course covers all five skills -- reading, writing, listening, speaking, cultural competency -- for beginning students. Starting with the Nastaliq script and simple greetings, we will then cover the basics of Urdu grammar while building vocabulary. The course will be conducted in Urdu. Homework is due by the beginning of class the day it is assigned. All work must be completed to pass the course. Students may not take this course pass/fail or audit.
L73 Hindi 201 Intermediate Hindi I
Continuing practice in listening, speaking, and grammatical understanding. The Hindi (Devanagari) script will be used for reading and writing. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in Hindi 112D, or placement by examination. Student may not take this class pass/fail or audit.
L73 Hindi 202 Intermediate Hindi II
Continuation of Hindi 201. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in Hindi 201, or placement by examination. Student may not take this class pass/fail or audit.
L73 Hindi 210C Introduction to Islamic Civilization
A historical survey of Islamic civilization in global perspective. Chronological coverage of social, political, economic and cultural history will be balanced with focused attention to special topics, which will include: aspects of Islam as religion; science, medicine and technology in Islamic societies; art and architecture; philosophy and theology; interaction between Islamdom and Christendom; Islamic history in the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia as well as Africa; European colonialism; globalization of Islam and contemporary Islam.
Same as L75 JIMES 210C
L73 Hindi 219 Hindi for Heritage Speakers
This course will focus on reading and writing for students who already speak Hindi. Starting with the Devanagari script, we will then cover the basics of Hindi grammar. After completion of this course, students will be prepared for the Advanced Hindi course. The class will be conducted in Hindi. Student may not take this class pass/fail or audit. Homework is due by the beginning of class the day it is assigned. All work must be completed to pass the course. A grade of B- or better is required for Advanced Hindi.
L73 Hindi 232 Intermediate Urdu I
This course is a continuation of first-year Beginning Urdu. Those who have not taken the sequence of Urdu courses offered by this department may be able to join this course if they have obtained prior knowledge of the language by some other means (see the instructor for placement). This course is designed to further develop skills in speaking and reading comprehension. Emphasis is given especially to communicative skill development (i.e., the use of language in various sociocultural contexts). In general, one fourth of the time will be devoted to reading, one fourth to conversation, one fourth to grammar, and one fourth to drills of various kinds. Standard text, web-based materials, language lab, audio-video materials, and a course reader prepared by the instructor are used. Students may not take this course pass/fail or audit.
L73 Hindi 232A Intermediate Urdu II
This course is a continuation of Intermediate Urdu I. Those who have not taken the sequence of Urdu courses offered by this department may be able to join this course if they have obtained prior knowledge of the language by some other means (see the instructor for placement exam). This course is designed to further develop skills in speaking and reading comprehension. Emphasis is given especially to communicative skill development (i.e., the use of language in various sociocultural contexts) and to introducing a wide range of constructions to develop comprehension skills. Standard text, web-based materials, language lab, audio-video materials, and a course reader prepared by the instructor are used.
L73 Hindi 299 Undergraduate Independent Study
Prerequisites: Hindi 202 and permission of the instructor and the department chair.
Credit variable, maximum 6 units.
L73 Hindi 301 Third-Level Hindi
This course is designed to help students gain advanced proficiency in the oral and written use of Hindi through reading and discussion of short stories, newspaper articles, and other selected materials. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in L73-202 or placement by examination. Student may not take this class pass/fail or audit.
L73 Hindi 302 Third-Level Hindi
A continuation of L73-301, this course is designed to further enhance students' advanced proficiency in the oral and written use of Hindi language. Students are exposed to a variety of readings such as short stories and plays by renowned authors, magazine and newspaper articles, other selected readings and visuals. Students will engage in discussions and debates based on these readings to improve spoken and conversational language skills. Group and project based learning is encouraged to enhance students' critical thinking in Hindi. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in L73-301 or placement by examination. Student may not take this class pass/fail or audit.
L73 Hindi 305 Third-Level Urdu
This course is a continuation of Intermediate Urdu II. It has been designed to help students gain advanced proficiency in the oral and written use of Urdu through reading and discussion of stories from Urdu books, newspaper articles, topics in advanced grammar, and other selected materials. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in L73 232A or placement by examination.
L73 Hindi 307 The Writing of the Indian Subcontinent
The Indian Subcontinent has in recent years yielded a number of writers, expatriate or otherwise, whose works articulate the postcolonial experience in the "foreign" English tongue. This course is designed to be an introductory survey of such writing, drawing on select Subcontinental writers. Covering both fiction and nonfiction by several authors including R.K. Narayan, Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Amitav Ghosh, Sara Suleri, Micheal Ondaatjie and Romesh Gunesekera, we discuss such issues as the nature of the colonial legacy, the status of the English language, problems of translation (linguistic and cultural), the politics of religion, the expatriate identity, and the constraints of gender roles.
Same as L14 E Lit 307
L73 Hindi 3074 Hinduism & the Hindu Right
We are witnessing a global rise in rightwing politics, and India is no exception. In May 2019, Narendra Modi and his "Hindu Nationalist" party were elected to power for a second term. Observers in the United States and Europe may be stunned by what seems to be a new development, but observers in India have been following the rise of the Hindu Right since the early 1990s. In its wake, the Hindu Right has brought violence against minorities; curbs on free speech; and moves toward second-class citizenship for Indian Muslims. This course will track the history of the Hindu Right in India from its 19th-century roots to the present. The struggle to come to grips with the Hindu Right is of immediate political relevance. It also raises big questions about the history of religion and the politics of secularism.
Same as L22 History 3074
L73 Hindi 311 Sacred Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent
The built structure remains the principal visible record of the evolution of a civilization and its culture. Through this interdisciplinary course on culture, design, religion and society, students will be introduced to and gain a deeper insight into the rich diversity of South Asia through the study of the architecture of its significant sacred places. We will take a journey through Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples; the Islamic mosque; the Sikh gurdwara; the Zoroastrian fire temple; the Jewish synagogue; and the Christian church, tracing the evolution of these places of worship from the Indus Valley civilization to precolonial times. Through visuals, readings, and discussions, students will learn about the different architectural styles and motifs used in sacred buildings and how they came about. We will explore the interrelationships between the design elements through the lens of political, social, religious, regional and technological influences and understand the ways in which evolving design principles reflect these influences over time. At the end of the semester, students will go on a field trip to experience the diverse sacred architecture in the St. Louis region. This course will be of interest to students of languages and cultures, architecture, archeology, art history, history, preservation, religion, and South Asian culture, among others. No prior knowledge of architecture or the history of this region is required.
L73 Hindi 3171 Religion and Culture in South and Southeast Asia
Although it is now common to differentiate between South and Southeast Asia, historically these regions have often been conceptualized as part of a single geographical area. Known as the "(East) Indies", this area is marked by a rich history of (earlier) Hindu and Buddhist influences, as well as (later) Islamic and Christian influences. The present course will take an in-depth look at the four aforementioned religious traditions, and examine how they have shaped local forms of culture in premodern and modern times. Students will be introduced to host of phenomena in South and Southeast Asian societies, including religious worship, education, law, traditional governance, colonial governance, art, architecture, economic production, kinship, gender, and sexuality. Countries to be studied in the course include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea.
Same as L23 Re St 3171
L73 Hindi 3292 Topics in Politics: Modern South Asian Politics
This course focuses on the recent political history and development of South Asia. It begins with a review of the British colonial period and the Independence movement. The remainder of the course examines different political issues in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Topics include political mobilization, land reform, law and politics, social movements, religious and caste politics, the rise of religious nationalism, and political control of the economy.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3292
L73 Hindi 330 Topics in South Asian Literature and Culture
An introduction to major texts of South Asian literature, both traditional and modern, in their cultural context. Specific topics, texts and themes may vary from year to year. The course assumes no previous acquaintance with the material. All readings are in English or English translation.
L73 Hindi 3392 Topics in South Asian Religions
The topic for this course varies. The topic for fall 2017 was Hinduism and the Hindu Right.
Same as L23 Re St 3392
L73 Hindi 353 Understanding Indian (Hindi/Urdu) Literature: Through Text and Images (Visual)
This course focuses on the films and cultural traditions of South Asia in general and of India in particular. Students will be introduced to a variety of contemporary literary genres through visuals. Readings and class discussions will be followed by film screenings from the popular Hindi cinema (known as the Bollywood industry in India) to demonstrate how images and visuals influence modern-day cultural traditions. Students will also get a chance to work on films based on literary texts by well-known writers of the subcontinent. These readings and films focus on various social, cultural, political and historical aspects of Indian society. Students will be encouraged to explore these issues in their written assignments as well as in their class discussions.
L73 Hindi 3670 Gurus, Saints, and Scientists: Religion in Modern South Asia
Many long-standing South Asian traditions have been subject to radical reinterpretation, and many new religious movements have arisen, as South Asians have grappled with how to accommodate their traditions of learning and practice to what they have perceived to be the conditions of modern life. In this course we consider some of the factors that have contributed to religious change in South Asia, including British colonialism, sedentarization and globalization, and new discourses of democracy and equality. We consider how new religious organizations were part and parcel with movements for social equality and political recognition; examine the intellectual contributions of major thinkers like Swami Vivekananda, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, and Mohandas Gandhi; and explore how Hindu, Islamic, and other South Asian traditions were recast in the molds of natural science, social science, and world religion.
Same as L23 Re St 3670
L73 Hindi 36CA Heroes and Saints in India: Religion, Myth, History
This course provides an introduction to the history of modern India and Pakistan through the voices of the Indian subcontinent's major thinkers. We will spend time in the company of saints, from the "great-souled" Mahatma Gandhi to the Sufi scholar Ashraf 'Ali Thanawi, and we will travel alongside the heroes of peasant politics, women's rights, and struggles for national and social freedom and equality. We will immerse ourselves in the rich narrative heritage of India -- as it has been challenged, reworked, and harnessed for present and future needs -- from the 19th century through the present. Lecture and discussion format; prior knowledge of India or Pakistan not required.
Same as L22 History 36CA
L73 Hindi 38C8 Religion and Politics in South Asia: Writing-Intensive Seminar
The relationship between religion, community and nation is a topic of central concern and contestation in the study of South Asian history. This course will explore alternative positions and debates on such topics as: changing religious identities; understandings of the proper relationship between religion, community, and nation in India and Pakistan; and the violence of Partition (the division of India and Pakistan in 1947). The course will treat India, Pakistan and other South Asian regions in the colonial and postcolonial periods.
Same as L22 History 38C8
L73 Hindi 3921 Secular & Religious: A Global History
Recent years have seen a dramatic rethinking of the past in nearly every corner of the world as scholars revisit fundamental questions about the importance of religion for individuals, societies and politics. Is religion as a personal orientation in decline? Is Europe becoming more secular? Is secularism a European invention? Many scholars now argue that "religion" is a European term that doesn't apply in Asian societies. This course brings together cutting-edge historical scholarship on Europe and Asia in pursuit of a truly global understanding. Countries covered vary, but may include Britain, France, Turkey, China, Japan, India and Pakistan.
Same as L22 History 3921
L73 Hindi 399 Independent Study
Prerequisite: permission of instructor and the department.
Credit variable, maximum 6 units.
L73 Hindi 39SC Imperialism and Sexuality: India, South Asia and the World: Writing-Intensive Seminar
What is the connection between the appropriation of other people's resources and the obsession with sex? Why is "race" essential to the sexual imperatives of imperialism? How has the nexus between "race," sexuality, and imperial entitlement reproduced itself despite the end of formal colonialism? By studying a variety of colonial documents, memoirs produced by colonized subjects, novels, films and scholarship on imperialism, we will seek to understand the history of imperialism's sexual desires, and its continuation in our world today.
Same as L22 History 39SC
L73 Hindi 499 Independent Study
Prerequisite: permission of instructor and the department.
Credit variable, maximum 6 units.