Hindi Course Descriptions

The following courses are offered regularly as a part of our Hindi language program and Hindi minor. For all HINDI catalog listings and current scheduling information please check the PS Mobile Course Catalog.

Core Hindi Language Courses

The greatest part of the first term will be devoted to the presentation and practice of the basic sound patterns of the language, its fundamental sentence patterns, and sufficient vocabulary to illustrate and practice them. An introduction to the writing system will be offered together with the opportunity to acquire elementary writing and reading skills.
At the end of the second term of the first year of study the student should be able to produce all the significant sound patterns of the language, to recognize and use the major grammatical structures within a limited core vocabulary. The student should be able a) to engage in simple conversations with native speakers about a limited number of everyday situations and b) to read and write simple material related to the situations presented.
The first term of the second year will concentrate on the further development of fluency in oral production and the improvement in the student's ability to understand the flow of speech as uttered by a native speaker. Increased attention will be paid to reading as a means of augmenting a recognition vocabulary and writing as a drill and as a means of consolidating and communicating the knowledge gained.
At the end of the second term of the second year the student should be able to converse comfortably with a native speaker on a variety of non-specialized subjects. The student will be offered an opportunity to experience and more fully understand the culture of the people who use the language through readings of various types. More complex writing tasks will be expected at this level.
Course description coming soon!
Course description coming soon!
Course description coming soon!
Course description coming soon!

Elective Courses for the Hindi Minor

This course will introduce you to the great Hindu epic, the Ramayana, a blue-print for daily living in India. Although composed two millennia ago, the remarkable fluidity of the story has resulted in literally hundreds of Ramayanas, as it continues to be retold and reimagined while moving across space and time. Within the Ramayana itself there are many controversial episodes; among these the two most important are Sita's trial-by-fire and her subsequent banishment by her husband, Rama, and Rama's mutilation of Shurpanakha as punishment for the latter's bold romantic and sexual overtures. These incidents are of great import because the faithful and loyal Sita is the "ideal Indian woman" in popular imagination even today. More significant is the fact that authors and commentators continue to use both these characters to address modern issues relating to gender inequality. The Ramayana is thus a rich source of information not just in literary terms, although its defining characteristic, its fluidity, is under threat, with groups on the ultraright attempting to dictate the "correct" version, but also in political, social and religious terms. This course will thus take a multi-disciplinary role in exploring the richness of what modern scholars have come to call the "Ramayana tradition" and its role in India today; we will study its implications for women, its reception in South India, and its role in the rising tide of Indian nationalism, while eventually questioning whether its characteristic fluidity is at threat by those who insist on only one "pure" version. This course satisfies General Education requirement (F2) Global Awareness and Cultural Understanding--A Course in a Specific Geographic Region.
The topic and content of this special topics course are variable.
This course is taught only in India as a part of the study abroad program Pitt in the Himalayas.
This course is taught only in India as a part of the study abroad program Pitt in the Himalayas.
Through this class, students will read literature about the impact language has on interactions between different cultures. There is discussion of the differences in communication within and between various communities.
While giving an overview of the types of languages present in each area of the world, this course explores the composition and trends within and between language families. The course incorporates study of language structure differences as well as sociolinguistic variations.
This course will provide a survey of Himalayan history, society and culture with a focus on the relationship among nature, the environment and geography.
This course is designed to introduce students to the cultural history of India and to the culture and society of the modern country, concentrating on the description and analysis of modern Indian society. Topics to be covered include caste, kinship and marriage, village communities, law and society and politics in modern India.
Using scholarly texts, ethnographic studies and historical documents, this seminar will focus on the medical systems of India, china, Japan, and South East Asia. The primary objective of the course is to understand various Asian medical systems on their own terms, both in theory and in contemporary practice. Primary attention will be given to Ayurveda, Unnani and traditional Chinese medicine. We will look at how so-called traditional medicine in Asia is being modernized in response to political, economic, social, and cultural transformations.
Ranging in altitude from several hundred meters above sea level to over seven thousand, from subtropical forests to high altitude meadows and deserts, and from areas with little or no rainfall to regions that are among the wettest in the world, the Himalayas define a geographical region of enormous geological variation and biodiversity. The goal of this course is to gain an understanding of this diversity, with a focus on ecology. More specifically we will examine ecology and ecosystems in terms of biosemiotics ' how and why organisms within an ecological niche communicate with one another, and how these patterns and structures of communication define different kinds of interdependence. Within the framework of standard classificatory schemes ' mammals, birds, reptiles, insects ' we will focus on particular species and specific niche systems for more detailed biosemiotic/behavioral analysis.
This course will offer an overview of various Indian cinema traditions in their historical, aesthetic, and cultural contexts. Students will learn how to analyze Indian films from the 1920s to the present in terms of formal techniques, narrative conventions, and viewing contexts and also in terms of broader historical contexts such as colonialism and the independence movement. The history and formal conventions of Mainstream Bombay Cinema will be counterpointed with other kinds of Indian film.
This course examines world history from 1500 through the present from the perspective of gender. It provides an introduction to modern world historical patterns and processes, with a focus on issues of women, gender, and sexuality. The course considers the construction of gender in pre-feminist and post-feminist contexts, and explores how global historical developments have shaped ideologies and politics of gender. The course emphasizes topics including slavery, colonialism, imperialism, industrialization, nationalism, and environmentalism, through the lens of gender.
This course serves as an introduction to the major religious traditions of South and East Asia. During the course of the semester, we encounter Hinduism and Jainism; the native Confucian, Daoist (Taoist), and popular traditions of China; and the Shinto, folk and new religions of Japan. Buddhism, which originated in India but later spread to East Asia, is examined in its relation to the history of both Chinese and Japanese religions. We approach these traditions through lectures and discussion based on Chinese classical and popular literature, secondary scholarship, and films, which inform us about cultural and historical context, beliefs, practices, and personal experience. In the process we expect to learn something about the ways in which non-Western religious traditions see themselves and their world on their own terms, and to see how/if they can complement our own worldviews.
Few countries can boast such an extensive and diverse religious heritage as can India. It is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, home to a large Muslim community, as well as to small, but ancient, communities of Syrian Christians, Parsis, and Jews. The course gives a brief historical overview of these religious traditions, introduces students to basic concepts related to each of them, and illustrates their rich practices through primary and secondary readings, films, art, and music.
This course focuses on the religious life of India as expressed through storytelling. Central to this life are rich and diverse narrative traditions, both oral and written, some of which have their roots in the ancient Vedic literature, in the famous epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, in popular folk tales and philosophical debates. Through an in-depth exploration of different genres of primarily Hindu narrative traditions, students will be able to see (1) how certain episodes and characters from the selected stories have been used in religious and philosophical teachings about spiritual emancipation and liberation; (2) how the stories and their protagonists have been variously (re)cast over time by members of dominant as well as non-dominant religious and/ or political groups; and also, (3) how they have been appropriated and incorporated in politically sensitive times and situations into a wider narrative of nation(hood). The role of popular media (TV, film, etc.) In linking nation and narration in modern times will also be examined.