An Anthropology of Literary Culture

This module introduces the anthropology of language and the comparative study of literary cultures. We will explore the discovery and geography of language families, the formation of literary languages, the role of language in the formation of polities throughout Asia and Europe, the rise of trans-regional cosmopolitan languages (e.g. Latin, Sanskrit, Persian) in the establishment of civilizational territories, and the rise of vernacular literatures (e.g. English, Tamil, Thai) in the creation of regional and ‘national’ territories. Readings will include primary texts from Asian and Middle Eastern literatures in translation, secondary work in literary criticism, history, and the anthropology of language.

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