You are here

ASIAN 207 A: Special Topics In Literature And Culture Of Asia

The Hobbit book cover next to traditional Hindi painting
Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
MEB 245
Jennifer Dubrow
Jennifer Dubrow

Syllabus Description:

Amar Ayyar slays a dragon

Fairies, Genies, and Monsters:

The Romance in India

Winter 2020

Instructor:  Prof. Jennifer Dubrow

Office: M212 Gowen Hall [note: on Mezzanine level, above 2nd floor]


Office Hours: TTh 4:30-5 PM and by appointment

Class Times and Place: TTh 2:30-4:20 PM, in 245 MEB (Mechanical Engineering)

Course Description:

This course introduces the romance in India, a literary genre of fantastic adventures, supernatural encounters, and brave heroes. Major readings comprise The Arabian NightsThe Adventures of Amir Hamza, and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. We will explore the development of the genre by reading one of the most famous and beloved examples of romance from India. Toward the end of the course we will study The Hobbit as a modern example of the romance genre, and compare it with The Adventures of Amir Hamza. All works will be read in English translation, and no prior knowledge is assumed.

Course Goals:

  • To analyze and appreciate the major texts covered in this course (The Arabian Nights, The Adventures of Amir Hamza, The Hobbit);
  • To become familiar with the romance genre;
  • To use the analytical skills developed in class and apply them to modern examples of the romance genre.
  • To develop original arguments (defined as: debatable claims that can be supported by evidence) in relation to the major texts, and to present those arguments clearly in written form.

Required Books:

Please note VERY CAREFULLY that you are buying THE CORRECT EDITION of all course books. All of the required books for this course are available in multiple editions. If you buy the wrong edition, you will be forced to buy the CORRECT edition! It is important that we all have the same edition so that we can refer to page numbers and review passages together in class.

The following three books are available at the University Bookstore and also online (Amazon). To buy on Amazon, please follow the links included below.

Required Books:

1) The Arabian Nights. Norton critical edition. Selected and edited by Daniel Heller-Roazen. Translated by Husain Haddawy. W.W. Norton, 2010. To buy on Amazon

2) Ghalib Lakhnavi and Abdullah Bilgrami. The Adventures of Amir Hamza. Special abridged edition. Translated by Musharraf Ali Farooqi. Modern Library, 2012. To buy on Amazon BE SURE NOT TO BUY THE COMPLETE EDITION! The copy you buy should contain 560 pages.

3) J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. To buy on Amazon

Paper copies are strongly preferred to digital editions. Please buy the paper copy if at all possible.

Other readings will be made available on the "Files" page of the course website (UW log-in required).

Books on Reserve: All required books for this course are available on 24-hour reserve at the Odegaard Undergraduate Library. 

Assignments and Grading:

The final grade for Asian 207A will be based on the following factors:

  • 3 homework assignments to help you complete The Arabian Nights reading; due on Fridays, Jan. 10, Jan. 16, and Jan. 23 by noon, on Canvas. Each assignment will be graded on a 5-point scale. Late assignments will lose 1 point per 24-hour period; homework assignments can be no more than 2 days late. (15%)
  • 2 short responses, of 1-2 pages each (double-spaced), on The Arabian Nights and The Adventures of Amir Hamza; due on Monday, Jan. 27 by 5 PM (for The Arabian Nights) and Monday, Feb. 24 by 5 PM (for The Adventures of Amir Hamza) on Canvas. Short Responses will be graded on a 20-point scale. (30%)
  • A final essay of 3-4 pages (double-spaced), that relates some aspects of The Hobbit to our work on the romance genre; due Tuesday, March 17 by 4 PM on Canvas. Will be graded on a 20-point scale. (20%)
  • An outline and 1-paragraph abstract of your final essay, due Saturday, March 7 by 4 PM on Canvas. The abstract is worth 10 points. You will also complete 2 peer reviews for your classmates' outline and abstract, due by Tuesday, March 10 by 10 AM on Canvas. You will discuss your feedback with your classmates in class on March 10. Each peer review is worth 5 points, for a total of 10 points. (15%)
  • Participation in class, which includes asking questions in class, bringing passages for discussion, and thoughtful engagement in class discussions. (20%)

Student Responsibilities:

Students are responsible for carrying out assigned readings by the dates specified. Copies of the assigned readings should always be brought to class on the days on which they are to be discussed. Students are expected to attend all class sessions and are held responsible for material covered in those sessions. It for any reason you are unable to attend a class session, please find out from another student what was covered in that session. If you are ill, there is no need to contact the instructor; however, if you have a major illness or life event that will cause you to miss more than one class, please email me so that we may make any necessary arrangements.  Please do let me know if a major life event happens during the quarter that you would like to discuss. Attendance will be taken in each class.

Plagiarism and Academic Honesty:

Students are expected to abide by all University of Washington regulations concerning plagiarism and academic honesty. Plagiarism is defined as using in your own work the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or work of someone else without formally acknowledging them through the use of quotation marks, footnotes, bibliography, or other reference. Please check with your instructor if you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism. Instances of plagiarism will be referred to the Vice Provost/Special Asst to the President for Student Relations and may lead to disciplinary action. It is your responsibility to be aware of the university's standards for academic conduct. A good summary can be found at: (Links to an external site.).

Course Policies:

Electronics Policy:

To maximize student learning and participation in the course, students are asked to not use electronics while in class. If you require the use of a laptop or other electronics to take notes or for other reasons, please speak with the instructor. 

Students are expected to observe the following rules in class:

  • Arrive in class on time so that other students are not disturbed;
  • Refrain from conversing with fellow students while class is in progress;
  • Turn off cell phones and other electronic devices;
  • Do not use personal computers to cruise the Internet, read email, or engage in activities unrelated to class.

Disability Accommodations:

If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability Resources for Students, 448 Schmitz Hall, (206) 543-8924. If you have a letter from DSO indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to the instructor during the first week of the term so that we can discuss appropriate arrangements.

Religious Accommodations:

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form ( (Links to an external site.).

Catalog Description: 
Introduction to the literature of one or more Asian traditions considered in its cultural context. Content varies depending on the specialization and interest of instructor. Texts in English translation.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
November 8, 2019 - 11:49am