ASIAN 334: Race, Caste and Religion in India and the United States

Course Level: Undergraduate 

Course Description: This course looks at patterns of prejudice in a comparative study of India and the United States. It examines the relationship between Race, Caste and Religion in two very different democracies, India and the United States. To do this, in the first part of the course,  we shall compare the historical struggles of two geographically disparate populations in India and the United States, namely, Indian Dalits (once known as Untouchables) and African Americans,  Through this comparison we probe the language and construction of race, nation, religion, color, and ethnicity, as well as the linkages between these categories. The juxtaposition of these very different locations and histories, each with its own public and private narratives of struggle, will allow us to analyze and discuss issues at the heart of public policy agenda, such as asylum, immigration, hate crimes and citizenship. The second part of the course will look at more recent forms of racial and religious profiling related to the effects of the post 9/11 War on Terror in both India and the United States. In this way the course will introduce students to systematic patterns of intolerance and chauvinism in Europe, India and the US – hence covering both Asia and the West.


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Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures 

Tara Singh & Balwant Kaur Chattha, Gurbax Singh & Kirpal Kaur Brar Professor of Sikh Studies

Philosophy/Religion/Postcolonial Theory/Sikh Studies/South Asian Studies

Office: 202 South Thayer Street
Office 6016
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608

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