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Historical Archaeology of South India

ARHA 292
Spring 2011 not offered
Crosslisting: ARCP 292
Certificates: Environmental Studies, South Asian Studies

This course applies the methods of historical archaeology to the investigation of life in South India between the 6th and 16th centuries. It introduces a variety of methods used to interpret different classes of material and textual data, including excavated and surface remains, standing architectural structures, coins and coin hoards, inscriptions, and contemporary written texts. The course is organized in six topical units, each building upon previous ones to provide a progressively refined understanding of South Indian society and its development over the millennia covered. We begin by considering the spatial articulation of culture, reading the classical Tamil poetry of the Sangam period to elucidate its "emic" typology of cultural landscapes. We then turn to a consideration of food, subsistence, and agricultural production in some of these landscapes, focusing in particular on the different spectra of cultigens and strategies of irrigation and water control associated with wet, dry, and wet-cum-dry forms of agriculture. From agriculture, we turn to the subject of economy and exchange and examine what the physical evidence provided by coins can tell us about the nature of the premodern economy and its changing patterns of development in the region. The fourth unit addresses social inequality, power, and the archaeology of political landscapes, with some focus on the various models (bureaucratic, feudal, segmentary, and patrimonial) that have been applied to understanding the "medieval" Indian state. In the fifth unit, we consider religion, ritual, and ideology, with special attention to the role of built space (both urban and architectural) in legitimating the political order. In the sixth and final unit, we consider the expansion of Islamic culture into the peninsula and the varied forms of cultural interaction that ensued.

Essential Capabilities: Intercultural Literacy, Interpretation
Interpretation: introduces various methods for interpreting material and textual data.
Intercultural Literacy: Introduces cultural values and practices of medieval South India.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ART
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ARCP-MN)(ARCP)(ARHA-MN)(ARHA)(ARST)(ENVS-MN)(ENVS)(GSAS-MN)

Last Updated on JUN-16-2024
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