GLITS 313 B: Literature Across Places

Autumn 2023
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm / SIG 228
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
S ASIA 206 A
Jennifer E Dubrow
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

0 Charminar-at-night-Hyderabad.jpg


Modern Literature of South Asia

Autumn 2023


Link to Course Schedule


Instructor:  Prof. Jennifer Dubrow, Associate Professor, Asian Languages and Literature (she/hers)


Office: M212 Gowen Hall (note: on the mezzanine level, above the 2nd floor)

Office Hours: Th 12:30-1:30 PM, in my office (M212 Gowen Hall)

Class Times and Place: TTh 2:30-4:20 PM, in 228 Sieg Hall

Course Description:

This course introduces the modern literature of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.) from the eighteenth century to the present. We will read a selection of novels, short stories, and poetry drawn from the diverse literary traditions of the region. Major readings include the recent Booker Prize winner, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka, short stories about the partition of India and other topics, ghazal poetry, and recently-translated short stories by the Gujarati writer Dhumketu. All works will be read in English translation. At the end of the course, we will have a class musha'irah (poetry recitation), in which students will present their own original English ghazals.

Course Goals:

  • To analyze and appreciate the major texts covered in this course (The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, short stories, ghazal poetry by Mir, stories by Dhumketu)
  • To become familiar with South Asian literatures and literary traditions, as well as their relationship to historical, political, and social contexts. 
  • To develop our own critical responses to the readings
  • To learn about the poetic tradition of the ghazal and compose our own original ghazals in English
  • To develop original arguments (defined as: debatable claims that can be supported by evidence) and to present those arguments clearly in written form

Required Books:

The only required book for this course is The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, by Shehan Karunatilaka (Norton: 2022), available at the University Bookstore, and on Amazon. Please note that we'll be reading from this book on Tuesday, Oct. 3, so you will need access to it immediately. There is a physical copy on 24-hour reserve at Odegaard Library. There are also copies available through the Seattle Public Library.

All other readings will be provided as PDF on the Canvas website.

Paper copies of The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida are preferred, but digital is also acceptable.

Assignments and Grading:

The final grade in S ASIA 206 will be comprised of the following factors:

  • A weekly response to the readings posted on the course discussion board, in which you copy passages or sentences that struck you as important, interesting, worthy of discussion, or confusing and say why it struck you that way; raise questions related to the reading; or write 3-4 sentences about what an idea in the reading made you think of or how you would respond to it critically. I have also posted questions for each reading that you can answer. This is not a plot summary, but rather a chance for you to engage with the reading before class discussion. The lowest two grades will be dropped (i.e., you can miss 2 responses without penalty). To be posted by 11 AM on either Tuesday or Thursday in Weeks 2-10, except Week 5, in which the response is due on Tuesday, and Week 9, in which no response is due. Credit/no credit. 15 points.
  • 2 short responses (of between 1-4 pages double-spaced), in response to The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida and the short story unit. Due on Sunday, Oct. 29 (for The Seven Moons) by 11:59 PM and Sunday, Nov. 19 (for the short story unit) by 11:59 PM. Graded on a 20-point scale. 40 points.
  • A ghazal project, in which you compose some original verses (she'r) in English. Guidelines. 10 points.
  • Participation in class, which includes asking questions in class, bringing passages for discussion, and thoughtful engagement in class discussions. 15 points.
  • A take-home final assignment (of 3-4 pages), in response to Dhumketu stories and possibly other topics. 20 points.

Reading Groups:

To help you stay on track with your reading and/or discuss ideas, I've had Canvas place you in small (3 people) reading groups. You can use this group to check in about the reading, ask each other questions, support each other, etc.

Policy on Late Assignments:

For weekly responses: Weekly responses cannot be accepted late, because they inform the class discussion on the day they are due. If you are submitting the weekly response for Tuesday's class, it is due on Tuesday by 11 AM. You cannot submit a weekly response for Tuesday's class after that. If submitting for Thursday's class, the weekly response is due on Thursday by 11 AM. After that a weekly response cannot be submitted. Please note that the 2 lowest grades will be dropped.

For short responses: The most common cause of plagiarism in this course is a student not being done close to the deadline and then panicking. If you find you are unable to make a deadline for a Short Response, email me and let me know. I can usually grant an extension. In your email, propose a deadline by which you can submit the Response. A common extension is for 24 or 48 hours. I will email you back to confirm or propose a different deadline. I cannot accept any short responses more than 5 days late (the time listed for "Available until" on the assignment). After that you will receive a zero.

For other assignments: For other assignments I can likely grant an extension, but not always, because of tight grading turn-arounds. Assignments cannot be accepted after the "Available until" time listed for that assignment.

Note on Chat GPT:

No use of Chat GPT is allowed in this course. Assignments that have been found to have used Chat GPT will be given a zero. A little more about this: Chat GPT relies on information culled from various sources on the internet. Because many of our texts have not been written about in English, or written about well, the information that Chat GPT returns is often incorrect. Furthermore, the level of critical thinking that Chat GPT responses reflect is usually that of about a freshman undergraduate--not of use for our course.

Note on Office Hours:

My office hour is Thursday 12:30-1:30 PM in my office. If you are struggling in class, want to know how you can do better, or want to discuss assignments, please come to my office hour--that's what it's for! If that time doesn't work for you or you'd rather Zoom in, just let me know and we'll set something up.

Student Responsibilities:

Students are responsible for carrying out assigned readings by the dates specified. Please have your copy of the reading available for you to use during class sessions. If for any reason you are unable to attend a class session, please find out from another student what was covered in that session. If you are ill, there is no need to contact the instructor; however, if you have a major illness or life event that will cause you to miss more than one class, please email me so that we may make any necessary arrangements.  Please do let me know if a major life event happens during the quarter that you would like to discuss. Attendance will be taken in each class.

Attendance vs. Participation in Class:

I will take attendance in class, and will use the Canvas Attendance feature to do this, as it allows both you and me to easily keep track of who was in which class. Canvas calculates the percentage of your attendance in class. Please note that this is not the same as your participation grade. Your attendance percentage will not affect your participation grade. Rather, your participation grade is based on the quality and quantity of your participation when you are in class, whether by asking a question, responding to a question, reading aloud, presenting group work to the class, or bringing a passage to read to class. We are still dealing with Covid and other viruses. If you are ill, please do not come to class

Guideline for participation: When you are in class, try to participate at least once in every class, but no more than 3 times/class. Participation can mean reading a selected passage aloud in class, asking a question, or responding to a question I or a student poses in class.

Note on Masks (for COVID-19):

This is a small, discussion-based undergraduate literature course. Most classes will be dedicated almost entirely to class discussion. We will all be talking throughout the class, and often working in small groups and possibly moving around the classroom. 
I will be masking for all class sessions and office hours. In class, I use a small portable microphone and speaker so that everyone can hear me clearly. Please feel free to wear a mask at any time for class or office hours. No explanation is necessary.

Course Policies:

Students are expected to observe the following rules in class:

  • Arrive in class on time so that other students are not disturbed;
  • Refrain from conversing with fellow students while class is in progress;
  • Turn off cell phones and other electronic devices;
  • Do not use personal computers to cruise the Internet, read email, or engage in activities unrelated to class.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity:

The University takes academic integrity very seriously. Behaving with integrity is part of our responsibility to our shared learning community. If you’re uncertain about if something is academic misconduct, ask me. I am willing to discuss questions you might have.

Acts of academic misconduct may include but are not limited to:

  • Cheating (working collaboratively on quizzes/exams and discussion submissions, sharing answers, and previewing quizzes/exams)
  • Plagiarism (using in your own work the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or work of someone else without formally acknowledging them through the use of quotation marks, footnotes, bibliography, or other reference)
  • Unauthorized collaboration (working with each other on assignments)

Concerns about these or other behaviors prohibited by the Student Conduct Code will be referred for investigation and adjudication by (include information for specific campus office).

Students found to have engaged in academic misconduct may receive a zero on the assignment (or other possible outcome).

Student Conduct:

The University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-121) defines prohibited academic and behavioral conduct and describes how the University holds students accountable as they pursue their academic goals. Allegations of misconduct by students may be referred to the appropriate campus office for investigation and resolution. More information can be found online at


Call SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 anytime – no matter where you work or study – to anonymously discuss safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others. SafeCampus’s team of caring professionals will provide individualized support, while discussing short- and long-term solutions and connecting you with additional resources when requested.

Access and Accommodations:

Your experience in this class is important to me. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please activate your accommodations via myDRS so we can discuss how they will be implemented in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), contact DRS directly to set up an Access Plan. DRS facilitates the interactive process that establishes reasonable accommodations. Contact DRS at

Religious Accommodations:

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form ( (Links to an external site.).

Catalog Description:
Strategies of reading and imagined dialogues between texts from disparate places. Topics vary.
GE Requirements Met:
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated:
June 9, 2024 - 1:58 am