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ASIAN 207 A: Special Topics in Literature and Culture of Asia

Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
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Jennifer Dubrow
Jennifer Dubrow

Syllabus Description:

Hamza nama 5.jpg

Fairies, Genies, and Monsters:

The Romance in India

Winter 2021

Instructor:  Prof. Jennifer Dubrow, Associate Professor, Asian Languages and Literature


Office Hours: TTh 4:30-5 PM and by appointment. Zoom ID for office hour:

Class Times and Place: TTh 2:30-4:20 PM, on Zoom. Link to Zoom class meetings:

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 NightsRostam: Tales of Love and War from the ShahnamehThe 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, Rostam: Tales of Love and War from the Shahnameh, 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) and to present those arguments clearly in written form; and to engage creatively with the texts and present your understanding of the major texts through a creative final project.

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. It is important that we all have the same edition so that we can refer to page numbers and review passages together in class.

Required Books:

1) Abolqasem Ferdowsi. Rostam: Tales of Love & War from the ShahnamehTranslated by Dick Davis. Penguin Books, 2009. 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

Optional 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 

Available through UW Libraries, but only 1 user may use at a time: UW Library-1 user access 

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

Assignments and Grading:

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

  • A weekly response to the readings posted on the course discussion board, in which you copy passages or sentences that struck you as important, interesting, worthy of discussion, or confusing and say why it struck you that way; raise questions related to the reading; or answer specific questions that I may pose. This is not a plot summary, but rather a chance for you to engage with the reading before class discussion. To be posted by 11 AM on either Tuesday or Thursday in Weeks 2-9, except Week 5, in which due on Thursday. Credit/no credit, 1 score will be dropped. (20%)
  • 2 short responses, of 2-3 pages each (double-spaced), on The Arabian Nights/Rostam and The Adventures of Amir Hamza; due on Friday, Jan. 29 by 5 PM (for The Arabian Nights/Rostam) and Monday, March 1 by 5 PM (for The Adventures of Amir Hamza) on Canvas. Short Responses will be graded on a 20-point scale. (30%)
  • A final creative project that engages with aspects of the romance genre, as based on The Adventures of Amir Hamza and The Hobbit. Ideas/suggestions for this project will be given, but you may also develop your own ideas. Some possible ideas: developing a dating profile/Wikipedia page for a character from The Adventures of Amir Hamza; enacting a comparative battle scene like those in The Adventures of Amir Hamza vs. The Hobbit. Due Tuesday, March 16 by 4 PM on Canvas. Will be graded on a 100-point scale. (15%)
  • A 1-paragraph proposal or prototype for your final project, due Friday, Feb. 26 by 5 PM on Canvas. Credit/no credit. (5%)
  • Presentation of the creative final project in class, on either March 9 or March 11. Will be graded on a 10-point scale. (10%)
  • 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. Please have your copy of the reading available for you to use during the Zoom sessions. If 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:

Zoom Best Practices:

Due to COVID-19, this quarter will be taught exclusively online using Zoom. There are links to the Zoom meetings for this class on the Zoom portion on Canvas (see Zoom on the menu on the lefthand portion of your screen). Office hours will also be conducted during Zoom.

Some tips about Zoom best practices:

  • Please be sure to mute yourself when not speaking.
  • Please do keep your video on during class unless I am giving a longer lecture. I will let you know when it's not important to have your video on. 
  • The UW recommends that you create a dedicated space where you live for participating in online classes.
  • Feel free to use the Chat function to communicate with the instructor or the class as a whole as we work.

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: 
October 14, 2020 - 2:10am