Course Descriptions

Fall 2018

Cultural Production in Contemporary Urdu: Pappu Yaar Tung Na Kar
This is an introductory course is intended for students who want to improve their reading and writing skills in Urdu, especially those students who will be taking more detailed course work in Urdu later on. This is a basic level course aimed at enabling students to acquire and strengthen major skills related to language, with specific focus on Urdu writing system, grammar, colloquial conversation, and to enable them to develop intermediate level proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students entering the Habib University come with varying proficiency in Urdu language. Nearly all of them speak Urdu at home or with each other. They are more familiar with conversational and spoken Urdu but lag behind in writing. Many of them have studied Urdu in schools but have either not developed or have been unable to hone their writing skills. This course is aimed at developing these skills. Asif Aslam

Female Friendship in World Literature
Female friendships can be rich wells of emotional complexity as well as crucibles where fraught interactions of class, race, and ethnicity are played out. In this course, we will consider the ways in which fictional representations of women’s relationships with one another are historically and socio-culturally inflected, and assess the ways in which literary depictions of female friendship can provide insight into women’s lives as well as articulations of domesticity, intimacy, and feminist solidarity. We will be reading authors such as Jane Austen, Ismat Chughtai, Megan Abbott, Elene Ferrante, Quratulain Hyder, and Jean Rhys. Nudrat Kamal

Feminist Fiction of South Asia and Middle East
This course is an introduction to feminist fiction in the colonial and postcolonial periods, focusing on how South Asian and Middle Eastern writers explore issues of gender, identity, and violence through fiction. The course is designed to develop essential aspects of critical thinking and the understanding of creative works through a selection of connected readings in a range of approaches, styles, and techniques. Through writing practice, readers’ responses, and critical reflection, the course explores cultural developments and political narratives in a range of genres, introducing students to issues, techniques, and contexts of feminist fiction in the predominantly Muslim world. Sabyn Javeri

Urdu & Global Voices
Translations of Modern Fiction and Poetry Colonialism initiated India’s encounter with the Western world and its literatures. The history of Urdu Literature includes moments when masterpieces of fiction and poetry produced in various languages were incorporated into Urdu through extensive translations sometimes from the original languages but most often through English translations. Indisputably these translations influenced Urdu language and literature immensely and transformed the sensibility and perspectives of both creative writers and their critics. Any study of Urdu literature has to trace the history of these translations into Urdu to determine the sources of different literary movements and the development of various genres. This course draws upon the intellectual bond between the creative geniuses of the world and offers a better understanding of Urdu literature by placing it in a global context while tracing its onward journey into the postmodern and postcolonial global ethics and aesthetics. Afzal Ahmed

Jawan Hai Mohabbat – The Magic of Classic Film Music
An essential component of regional cinema is the song (geet) which has evolved as the most popular poetic and melodic genera. The sound track of any film determines a timeless appeal and longevity of films popularity. Pioneers, performers, and path blazers of this field have attained an idolatry status due to striking the right chord with the film going and music listening populace. The course offers an insight into the phenomena of film music and elaborates all its aspects, avenues, and forms. Inamullah Nadeem

Jehan-e-Urdu
Jehan-e-Urdu is based on the premise that Urdu prose and poetry, classical as well as contemporary, is valuable in itself and by focusing on this body of work in terms of its intrinsic value, this course avoids using the Urdu syllabus for ideological purposes. A dynamic and broad-based view of the Urdu literary tradition forms the basis of this course, deliberately moving away from colonial theories used for categorization and grading of forms and styles. Contemporary literature is particularly focused upon, without avoidance of issues considered to be difficult or controversial.

From the classical to the contemporary, this course is organized around the historical development of Urdu literature in order to provide a framework for an appreciation of the readings with their proper context. It is however, not designed to be a comprehensive survey which takes into consideration all major schools of thought and literary trends. Again, it is not exhaustive in its coverage of all major writers. It is expected that this course will encourage students to further explore Urdu language and literature on their own and also through courses to be made available later on. Asif Aslam, Afzal Ahmed, Inamullah Nadeem, and Tanveer Anjum

Kon Sitarey Choo Sakta hai: A Study of Metaphors Appearing in the Classical, Modern, and Contemporary Urdu Poetry
This course is about the tradition of Urdu poetry in general and the history of similes, metaphors, and symbols frequently used throughout the centuries in particular. So the point of focus will be the Urdu poetic diction to find evidence for the claim that essence of poetry lies in the language used and in the poet’s understanding of the associations of words with each other. The elements of Urdu poetic diction will be traced from as far back as the eighteenth century to the present to show how some words and their associations have persisted and some have been used to create poetry by their deliberate violations.
This course will train the students to appreciate Urdu poetry through interpretation of similes, metaphors, and symbols as employed by major classical, modern, and contemporary poets. It will also provide a creative impulse to the aspiring Urdu poets among the students. Afzal Ahmed

Reading Writing and Thinking Literature
This course will introduce students to key concepts and strategies in literary studies that are of special relevance to the ECL minor. We will think about the concept of literature as it has developed historically and is invoked in current academic and cultural discussions. There will be an overview of the traditional literary genres, and introduction to strategies of reading literature that use history, politics, or social significance as their main criteria of analysis. Attention will be paid to literary theory and criticism, and to creative writing, translation, and comparison’s potential role in opening up the field of literary studies. Throughout the course, we will focus on how these different literary concepts and strategies sustain, transform, or diminish the broader field that we recognize as ‘literary’. Sarah Humayun

Themes and Patterns in Contemporary Urdu Literature: Harvest of Anger
This course builds upon and complements Jehan-e Urdu which had provided a panoramic view of the major literary figures, the trends, and movements and the various milestones of the development of Urdu literature reaching up to contemporary times. This course covers recent literary trends through a detailed, analytical study of representative literary texts by contemporary writers. It outlines the major themes and patterns emerging from contemporary Urdu literature especially as it bears witness to the shaping events in Pakistan’s tumultuous history, and also noting gaps and lacunae. Historic themes, social and class conflicts, as well as contradictions emerge from contemporary Urdu poetry and fiction, often not available in current syllabi and leading to a limited understanding of Pakistan’s society. Ranging from the continuing influence of classical traditions to modernistic influences from the West to post-modernism and recent theoretical advances, various authors have grappled in their own way with accelerated social changes, political instability, religious extremism, sense of despair and aimlessness in youth, suppression of women’s rights, and sense of isolation in minorities. Significant in itself, this body of work is often conspicuous in its absence from national academic syllabi and generally ignored in socio-political analysis about Pakistan, thus leading to a limited understanding of Pakistan’s society. This course explores representative examples from writers who deserve to be better known in order to deepen and enrich understanding of the dynamics of Pakistan’s society. Asif Aslam

Spring 2019

Interpreter of Maladies: Storytelling, Diseases and Augmented Reality
This interdisciplinary course explores digital narrative techniques focusing on key areas of disease/cell biology and empathy through storytelling. It examines the relationship between the afflicted and the caregivers, the reader and the sufferer through a mix of bioscientific knowledge and creative writing. It reconnoitres the rhetoric of empathy and the elucidations of science and art through the modern technology of Augmented Reality and Ren’Py (visual novels) and how that has changed our perceptions in a global, connected world. Sabyn Javeri, Humaira Qureshi and Umair Azfar

Banned Books: Censorship and Scandal in the Literary World
This course looks at literature that has been suppressed, censored, banned, condemned, and/or engulfed in controversy only to gain literary acclaim later on. Through these books/texts students will develop knowledge of the social and political reasons driving opposition to particular forms of written expression, along with the ways in which scandalous, renegade, or “dangerous” literary works have influenced cultural history. Sabyn Javeri

Indo-Persian Poetics and Ghalib
This course is an introduction to the Urdu poetry of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869) to the students and explores it both as an individual entity as well within the context of Sabk-e-Hindi, Indo-Persian poetics. It will focus on intensive reading and analysis of Ghalib’s Urdu ghazals highlighting various themes, for example love, mysticism, cosmology, human promises, and predicaments. It will also introduce some other major poets of the Indo-Persian literary canons to enhance the students understanding of the meanings and cultural legacies of poetic thought and tradition in South Asia. Afzal Ahmed

Dozakh Namah: Framing Ghalib and Manto in Imagined Conversations
A contemporary Indian novel places the iconic nineteenth century figure of the poet Ghalib in juxtaposition with the twentieth century figure of Manto as they converse with each other in an imaginary hell, narrating their unique life experience. Ghalib witnessed the cataclysm of 1857 while Manto lived through the trauma of 1947; Ghalib was closely associated with the Mughal court and saw power change hands from the Mughal Emperor to British colonial rule while Manto wrote about his close encounter with the Partition and the shift to post-colonial statehood.

Taking its cue from this novel, the course reads the life and works of both figures in detail moving across their selected works and accounts of their lives. Ghalib’s poetry is supplemented with selected letters and Manto’s stories by his nonfiction and essays, thus creating a dialogue between two major writers who exemplify different forms of writing and different eras of time. Asif Aslam

Post-Colonial Science Fiction and Fantasy
The literary tradition of science fiction and fantasy (SFF) has for a long time been very Eurocentric and masculine in its explorations, and has been critiqued with being aligned with the ideologies of imperialism and colonialism. As such, there is an alternative tradition of science fiction that is actively engaged with challenging SFF’s complicity with (white, male) Western neocolonial ideology. In this course, we will explore this alternative “postcolonial” science fiction and fantasy tradition, understand its political underpinnings, and read literary texts that best exemplify this tradition’s concerns in using the genre of SFF to explore issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and colonialism. Authors such as Amitav Ghosh, Ursula Le Guin, Nalo Hopkinson, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood will be read alongside postcolonial science fiction and fantasy scholars such as Jessica Lange. Nudrat Kamal

Narratives of Migration
As a result of global and transnational activities shaped by colonial and neocolonial forces, there has always been a movement of people and cultures across the globe, creating hybrid groups scattered around the world and co-existing and influencing each other in various complex ways. Migration and the movement of people, whether it be for economic, political, or social reasons, has been always been a phenomenon, although the specificities of such movements have always been historically inflected at different stages of time. In this course, we will explore different kinds of narratives of migration and understand the geopolitics that undergird such migrations. We will situate these literary texts historically and socio-politically by reading them along with critical texts exploring colonialism, globalization, race, and national and regional identities. We will be studying literary texts by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mohsin Hamid, Tayeb Salih, and Amitav Ghosh, among others, and critical writings by Edward Said, Gyatari Spivak, Robert Young, and more. Through this course, we will understand how narratives of migration are complicated by war, economics, and culture. Nudrat Kamal

Murder They Wrote: Political Murder as a Literary Device in Fiction
This course explores the use of ‘political murder’ or ‘assassinations’ as a literary device to explore the wider themes of colonization, dictatorship, surveillance, perversion, political modernity, and urban violence as well as class and gender inequality within the culture the novels are set in. It also focusses on the idea of genre, in particular crime fiction, and political thrillers. Sabyn Javeri

Writing Short Stories
This class will focus on the craft of the short story, which we will explore through reading short stories, writers speaking about writing, writing exercises and conducting workshops on original stories, and finally- crafting our own stories to a publishable standard. This course is designed for students who want to explore the art of short story writing and of polishing them to a high standard by analyzing them with a focus on narrative technique to understand ways in which different writers have addressed issues of plot, character, place, and theme.

Students will gain confidence in their ability to produce short fiction through a combination of practical exercises, examination of technical issues including plot and character, and constructive criticism using the workshop method and peer review. This course is desirable for students who have a keen interest in reading and the experience of writing fiction (for instance through attending an introductory or the ‘Ways into Creative Writing’ course). Students should be enthusiastic readers and have a portfolio of writings they wish to develop to a publishable standard. Sabyn Javeri

Research Methods in Literature
This research seminar is open to students who have taken a previous course or courses in theory (in any major) and who are prepared to participate in an ongoing research theme. The revival of interest in attachment (particularly after Rita Felski’s ‘The Limits of Critique’) as a way of thinking about literature invites us to look again at the related but distinct notions of ‘Criticism’, ‘Critique’, and ‘Affirmation’. This course will constitute an inquiry along these lines, not restricted to literature, and will try to make sense of these ideas historically and well as the contribution they make to the broader field of present-day theory. Sarah Humayun

The Prose Poem in Urdu
Urdu prose poem became a significant genre since the early 1970s with the emergence of a group of poets, who embraced the new form as the most suitable to express the crude, fragmented realities of our times. Infused with postmodern sensibility and with an understanding of the complex new poetics devoid of lyricism of rhyme and meter, the clique found its aesthetics initially unacceptable for the literary establishment of Urdu, but the genre soon developed as the mainstream poetic expression and a challenge to the previously existing forms. For the younger poets now, prose poem is aesthetically as much enthralling to be experimented with as the other forms.

This course is an Urdu Literature course with mostly Urdu texts as prescribed readings. However, some theoretical discussions will require readings of English texts as well. The students will be exposed to the literary masterpieces of Urdu prose poetry and the discussions will entail close readings of the texts as well as the analysis of socio-political and existential issues faced by us every day. Tanveer Anjum

Voices from the Margins: History of the Subcontinent through Films/ Moments of Conflict
An elective for all students, this course provides glimpses into the history of the Subcontinent through films in Urdu/Hindi, English, and Bengali languages. Each of the selected films focuses on an important historical event in India, Pakistan, and/or Bangladesh. Starting from the fall of Oudh in 1856 and covering a number of politically significant events such as War of Independence, Partition of India, formation of Bangladesh, Bhopal tragedy (1984), etc., the course ends on a film about Gujrat massacres (2002). These films explore the complex and problematic predicaments of the politically marginalized and socially victimized groups and thus enable the viewers to probe the contexts that allow such marginalization on one hand and analyze the stories using various theoretical frameworks on the other. Additionally, students can also investigate the aesthetics of the film genre and their pertinence and significance in developing the discourse of the politics of the center and the margins. Tanveer Anjum

Languages
We also offer innovative courses in regional languages that highlight the richness of our region’s rich linguistic and literary histories and cultures. Students majoring in Social Development and Policy are required to complete a sequence of three regional language courses from the Arzu Program. Currently, the program offers courses in Punjabi and Sindhi. Farsi is offered as a free elective. Credit for language courses do not count towards the ECL Minor.
The work of the Arzu Program of Languages and Literature is connected to the Arzu Centre for Regional Languages and Humanities, which fosters pedagogy, research, and scholarship in various languages from Pakistan.

Introduction to Chinese
Language, as a system, consists of three sub-systems. That is, the system of sound, the system of word, and the system of grammar. Furthermore, language is usually used at such levels as the level linguistic sign, semantic level, pragmatic level and rhetorical level. In regards to Chinese specifically, it is characterized by tone language, character as a linguistic unit, analytic language as well as ideograph. Thus, as the course is designed for beginners, Introductory Chinese will focus on the level of the linguistic sign and semantic level.

The main objectives of this course, therefore, are to know about Chinese culture and language as this will help the students to systematically learn pinying, recognize more than 150 Chinese characters (mostly single-Component Characters), some grammar at the character, word or sentence level, skillfully listening to and speaking Chinese at the level of HSK 1, being able
to recognize, read, understand and use the 150 characters by means of pinying, and ultimately to prepare all students to acquire the official certification by passing the HSK Level 1 Test.

Punjabi Rachna I
“Punjabi Rachna” is an optional course offered to students of Habib University. It aims to enable the students to develop a basic understanding of Punjabi language in context to Punjabi culture, idiom, linguistic, and literature. This course initiates a learning module, which will evolve in three semesters, each interlinked in a systematic flow starting with emphasis on linguistics to literature and finally history of Punjabi language. This is the elementary level of this course.

Contents of the course have been designed to ensure that the students may acquire the following fundamental skills with special emphasis on speaking:

Speaking: Simple language interaction with correct pronunciation, intonation, and appropriate expression.

Listening: Familiarities with alphabets, articulation of sounds, correct pronunciation, vowel harmony including phrases and expressions.

Reading: Correct reading for understanding Punjabi language script.

Writing: Short paragraphs, situational dialogues, and simple compositions. Inamullah Nadeem

Punjabi Rachna II
“Punjabi Rachna” is an optional course offered to students of Habib University. It aims to enable the students to develop a basic understanding of Punjabi language in context to Punjabi culture, idiom, linguistic, and literature. This course initiates a learning module, which will evolve in three semesters, each interlinked in a systematic flow starting with emphasis on linguistics to literature and finally history of Punjabi language. This is the Intermediate level of this course.

Contents of the course have been designed to ensure that the students may acquire the following fundamental skills with special emphasis on speaking:

Speaking: Simple language interaction with correct pronunciation, intonation, and appropriate expression.

Listening: Familiarities with alphabets, articulation of sounds, correct pronunciation, vowel harmony including phrases, and expressions.

Reading: Correct reading for understanding Punjabi language script.

Writing: Short paragraphs, situational dialogues, and simple compositions. Inamullah Nadeem

Punjabi Rachna III
“Punjabi Rachna” is an optional course offered to students of Habib University. It aims to enable the students to develop a basic understanding of Punjabi language in context to Punjabi culture, idiom, linguistic, and literature. This course initiates a learning module, which will evolve in three semesters,each interlinked in a systematic flow starting with emphasis on linguistics to literature and finally history of Punjabi language. This is the Advanced level of this course.

Contents of the course have been designed to ensure that the students may acquire the following fundamental skills with special emphasis on speaking:

Speaking: Simple language interaction with correct pronunciation, intonation, and appropriate expression.

Listening: Familiarities with alphabets, articulation of sounds, correct pronunciation, vowel harmony including phrases, and expressions.

Reading: Correct reading for understanding Punjabi language script.

Writing: Short paragraphs, situational dialogues, and simple compositions. Inamullah Nadeem

Sindhi Sikhiya I
This Course will help students to comprehend, read, and write Sindhi Language. Learning Sindhi will help students in various fields of work and internship in future. This course is chalked out to help students at different levels of skill in reading and writing through basic Sindhi language, folk rhymes, folk tales, folk songs etc. In addition to the lectures and discussion groups, tutorials will be organized and google and YouTube were used for an additional help and make things more meaningful and interesting. It will facilitate students in reading, comprehending, and contextualizing the text on reading list. And, so the students will be able to speak, read and understand basic Sindhi. Sahar Shah

Sindhi Sikhiya II
This course will help students who have already completed the basic skills in Sindhi language, which they had previously comprehend to learn: listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Sindhi Sikhiya II course will elaborate to the knowhow of its grammar and translation practices which will help them to familiarize more with the language skills. A selected version of Sindhi poetry and fiction will suffice the course and help students to achieve confidence in interpretation of rhyme and beauty of literary text. Students will get confidence in interpretation of rhyme, rhythm, and beauty of the literary text. Students will get help through viewing Sufi kalams on audio and video. This will facilitate them with more understanding and contextualizing of the text on the reading list and thus students will be able to understand the language more accurately and improve their reading, speaking, and writing skills. Sahar Shah

Sindhi Sikhiya III
Sindhi Sikhiya III – LANG 301 will help students learn more about Sindhi language which they opted to learn and comprehend to read and write. The objective of this course is to help students learn more about the language, which they had previously opted to learn and comprehend to read and write. This course will introduce a galaxy of modern writers of Sindhi language and learn more through a selected version of poets and writes of modern period from: 1947-1997, with a revision of basic concepts of language. There will be a practical part of this course, which enables students to read and understand Sindhi Language through reading daily newspapers like “Kawish” and “Awami Awaz” and making a practical journal of “news cuttings” with a weekly briefing of the current issues. Watching various relevant videos will help students to catch up the course more interestingly. These practices will facilitate students with more understanding and contextualizing of the text on reading list. Sahar Shah

The following language courses are offered as free electives:
Amozgar-e-Farsi I
Farsi is the language of Iran but was also the official and cultural language of South Asia for a long time. As a result, the Farsi language is the repository of cultural, social, and religious sources and familiarity with the language is essential for gaining access to such sources. This introductory course is aimed at a basic working knowledge of the Farsi language through conversation, written exercises, and reading. This class will meet twice a week for two hours. Fazel Rizvi

Amozgar-e-Farsi II
This course is for students interested in learning Farsi, to expose them to its linguistic history and literature for the first time. The course outlines historical and linguistic challenges that need to be confronted to strengthen the contribution to the future development of the language. There is a great deal of focus on the introduction of Farsi into the language curricula at various universities in Pakistan and South Asia. This course attempts to outline the linguistic challenges facing Farsi at the turn of the 21st Century and therefore reconstructs the history of Farsi and identifies opportunities for the further developments of the language to meet the need of a global and a globalizing community. Fazel Rizvi

Amozgar-e-Farsi III
Farsi is the language of Iran but was also the official and cultural language of South Asia for a long time. As a result, the Farsi language is the repository of cultural, social, and religious sources and familiarity with the language is essential for gaining access to such sources. This course is the third in line, following Farsi 1 and 2 aimed at increasing expertise of students’ working knowledge of the language through reading, writing, and conversation exercises. Fazel Rizvi