ANFEP 2014: India

ASIANetwork Faculty Enhancement Program (ANFEP)
Deepening Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts
Seminars in Asia

“India: Religion, Globalization, and the Environment in the 21st century”

June 10 – July 1, 2014


Dr. Cathy Benton, Lake Forest College

Dr. James Lochtefeld, Carthage College

Fellows in the summer 2014 India Seminar will tour and study five south Indian sites, including the historic capital cities of Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.

2014 India Seminar: Program Details

The 2014 India seminar will be set in three south Indian states: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Field study during the seminar will take Fellows to vital religious, historical, and environmental sites, many of which are also 21st century industrial, educational, and IT hubs, as well as important political centers. The seminar will focus on the contemporary interplay between these sometimes conflicting identities: the concern to balance development with environmental conservation, the challenges of pan-Asian globalization, and the difficulty of preserving ancient archaeological sites in a developing country. The program will facilitate meetings and conversations with people in these fields so that participants may experience the complexity of these issues firsthand. The current itinerary includes Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Ooty (Ootacamund, Udhagamandalam, Udhagai), Bangalore (Bangalaru), and Hyderabad.

South India has been a global trade hub for several thousand years, and the commercial connections that began with the spice trade continue even now — Bangalore and Hyderabad are important IT centers, and as such are pivotal nodes in the “new” Indian economy. All three capitals have historically been important political centers — Chennai for the expansion of British colonial power, Bangalore as the capital of the Mysore Princely State, and Hyderabad as the seat of the Nizams and their vibrant Indo-Muslim culture — and remain so to this day. South Indian religious sites, primarily Hindu temples and Muslim shrines, have been significant players in the region’s commercial, political, and patronage networks; the pilgrims and travelers that they draw (from India and around the world) have their needs served by global businesses as well as by local merchants. Commerce and social service organizations work in densely populated areas often best known for their religious shrines. And in 21st century India, environmental activists also work in these areas demanding that the central government institute better programs and policies to protect their natural resources and cultural heritage.

India is a profoundly complex society whose citizens are drawn from sharply different regions, educational levels, economic resources, and religious identities. India is also a modern society that hosted world class athletes from around the globe for the 2010 Commonwealth games, developed its own successful space program, and continues to launch commercial enterprises that compete for international business from Los Angeles to Hong Kong.

Sources: Indian History, Religion, and Society



Adiga, Aravind.The White Tiger
Chandra, Vikram.Love and Longing in Bombay: Stories
Desai, Kiran.The Inheritance of Loss
Ghosh, Amitav,Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke(these are the first two parts of the Ibis trilogy).
Mistry, Rohinton,Family Matters and A Fine Balance
Narayan, R. K. (translator)The Ramayana, Penguin Books.
Narayan, R. K.: any of his novels about the fictional south India village he calls Malgudi
Roberts, Gregory David.Shantaram
Rushdie, Salman, and Elizabeth West, editors.Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing, 1947-1997[anthology of chapters from well-known Indian novels]
Rushdie, Salman,Midnight’s Children
Seth, Vikram.A Suitable Boy
Sidhwa, Bapsi.Cracking India[Milkweed Editions, 1991, previously published under the title The Ice-Candy Man]
Singh, Khushwant,Train to Pakistan, 1956[understanding partition: he died quite recently]


Benton, Catherine. God of Desire: Tales of Kamadeva in Sanskrit Story Literature (SUNY Press, 2006).
Dalrymple, William. White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India NY: Penguin Books.
Dalrymple, William. Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. NY: Vintage Books (the author has written many other fine analytical histories).
Lochtefeld, James. God’s Gateway: Identity and Meaning in a Hindu Pilgrimage Place (Oxford Univ. Press, 2010).
Luce, Edward. In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India
McDonald, Sarah. Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure (New York: Bantam Books, 2002)
Mitter, Sara S. Dharma’s Daughters
Sen, Amartya. The Argumentative Indian
Tharoor, Shashi. India: From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond
Tharoor, Shashi. The Elephant, The Tiger, and the Cell Phone: Reflections on India in the 21st Century
Tully, Mark. No Full Stops in India


  • Deepa Mehta films, including her trilogy:
  • In the Name of God (Rām ke Nām), documentary by Anand Patwardhan
  • Hyderabad Blues (expats returning to visit—Telegu with English subtitles, you can watch online at
  • Rang de Basanti (in Hindi)
  • Salaam Bombay
  • Monsoon Wedding
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Outsourced (film and television series)
  • Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Amal (English and Hindi)
  • Lagaan (nominated for an Oscar)
  • Bride and Prejudice
  • Today’s Special (2009) (English and Hindi)
  • My Name is Khan (2010) ( (Hindi and English)
  • Lunchbox (2014) (Hindi)
  • The Coffin Maker (2014)


General Resources

  1. Internet Indian History Sourcebook (anthology with many primary sources):
  2. WWW-Virtual Library, Indian History:
  3. Archeological Survey of India: (the “Walkthrough” link on the left hand menu bottom contains links to panoramic view of many of the sites we will visit.
  4. Omnibus Links Page (Timothy Lubin):
  5. Manas (Indian History, Religion, Culture, and more):
  6. Tasveer Ghar (“House of Pictures”): (Note: this index page has links to 34 different photo/image essays), including
    a. Hill Stations:
    b. Popular Islam and Urban Spaces: The Nizamuddin Shrine:
    c. Tiled Gods Appear on Mumbai’s Streets:
    d. Stereotypes of Muslim Piety in Popular Art:
    e. Hindu Nationalist Greeting Cards:
    f. Temple in a Frame (God Posters):
  7. “Philip’s Filums” notes on popular Indian Cinema by Philip Lutgendorf:
  8. “Passage to India”: British Voices from South Asia (oral history of the Raj)
  9. “Sadhus and Yogis of India” (gives a general overview of Hindu ascetics and asceticism)
  10. Picture Gallery (Hindus):
  11. Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion:
  12. Popular Religious Sites in Maharashtra:

Partition Oral Histories

  • Forced Migration and Ethnic Cleansing in Lahore in 1947:
  • 1947 Archive (oral history archive):
  • New York Times article on the 1947 archive:

Nilgiri Environmental Issues

  • Nilgiri Wildlife and Environmental Association (has no stand-alone website):
  • India Environment Portal:
  • Land Use in the Nilgiris:

More specialized

  • Maps as Markers of Ecological Change:
  • Ecology of Disturbances and Global Change in the Montane Grasslands of the Nilgiris:

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ASIANetwork, a consortium of approximately 150 North American colleges, strives to strengthen the role of Asian Studies within the framework of liberal arts education to help prepare succeeding generations of undergraduates for a world in which Asian societies play prominent roles in an ever more interdependent world.