Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ENG 207
Course Title:
World Literature - Asian (India)
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces students to Indian literature in English (for the most part, translated) from ancient to contemporary. May include such works and authors as hymns from the Rig Veda, The Ramayana, classical poetry, and the twentieth century authors Narayan, Ved Mehta and Arundhati Roy. Prerequisites: WR 115 and RD 115 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Instructors may choose an anthology, individual works, or a combination of both. The course will meet the requirements of a survey, emphasizing breadth over depth, as well as a mixture of classical and contemporary texts.

Intended Outcomes for the course

 Upon completion of English 207 with a €œC€ or higher, students will be able to:

  1.  Identify and discuss the ways Indian texts speak about and are influenced by history, language, caste, economics, religion, gender, regional differences, sexuality and culture.
  2. Analyze literary texts and recognize the limitations of such analysis, especially due to the challenges reading non-western texts in a predominantly western academic setting.
  3. Discuss multiple approaches to Indian texts, including those that illuminate how South Asians debate and understand their own literary and cinematic traditions.
  4. Apply the challenges and wisdom gained in reading South Asian texts to other intercultural encounters in academics, business, politics, and community.
  5. Write clear, focused, coherent essays about literature for an academic audience, using standard English conventions of grammar and style.

Course Activities and Design

The course activities can include lecture, discussion, and collaboration, along with other activities such as participating in group projects, dramatization, film and music appreciation, attending a performance, and so forth.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment tools may include informal responses to study or journal questions; evaluation of small- and full-group discussion; in-class and out-of-class writing; formal academic essays; presentations by individuals and groups; short and long essay examinations; quizzes; close reading exercises using support/evidence; skits and performances; writing exercises which include evaluation of various interpretations of a text and their relative validity. Both instructor and peer evaluation may be incorporated into the assessment process.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The course will introduce and foster understanding of:

  •  literary genres
  • literary conventions and allusions (for example, non-dualism, imminence, doubling, bhakti, court, and epic poetry)
  • literary vocabulary (example: dharma, puranas, Vedas, caste, tapas, kama)
  • analysis and synthesis
  • contextualization
  • critical reading and thinking
  • essay and response writing
  • close reading and explication
  • religious and cultural influences, including mythology
  • regional, communal, linguistic and nation-state tensions and struggles
  • literary themes
  • global diaspora and post-colonial issues

Competencies and Skills 

  • analysis
  • synthesis
  • understanding literary texts through contexts such as society, politics, artistic conventions, multiple interpretations of an author, etc.
  • writing about literature
  • close readings
  • critical reading employing reviews and critical essays
  • comparison and contrast of Indian literary history with other western and non-western traditions
  • speaking and listening reflectively
  • small-group collaboration

Some Suggested Texts:


The following items are intended as descriptions of instructors' choices of texts in the past as an aid to choosing texts in the future. This is not intended as a prescribed or recommended list of texts.

  •  Some instructors use no published text, but rely on handouts, taking due note of applicable copyright laws. 
  • Some instructors may use general textbooks:

Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997

Literatures of Asia by Tony Barnstone

  • Some instructors may use books that focus on a specific genre, region, time period or even on a particular work:

Memories of Madness: Stories of 1947, edited by Bhisham Sahni

Yaraana: Gay Writing from India, edited by Hoshang Merchant

A Place to Live: Contemporary Tamil Short Fiction, edited by Kilip Kumar

Kalidasa's The Recognition of Sakuntala

The Bhagavad Gita

The Dark Room by RK Narayan

The primary purpose of the course content and outcome guide is to provide faculty a SAC approved outline of the course. It is not intended to replace the course syllabus, which details course content and requirements for students.

Instructors new to the course should contact the campus creative writing chair, creative writing sub-SACC chair, writing SACC chair, faculty department chair, or administrative support person for further information.