Dr. Shailaja Paik

This course examines two systems of discrimination and inequality: Caste and Race. Caste, like Race, is a structure of dehumanization, incarceration, and hierarchy, creating divisions among human beings. This course examines these concepts’ changing and interrelated meanings, their origins, and their influence on society, culture, and politics, especially in the U.S. and India. According to the ideology of caste, hereditary groups of people are ascribed a particular social status based on inherited privileges or a lack thereof. Although originating in South Asia, the consequences of casteism are not confined to this region or to Hindu populations. As the number of South Asians in the U.S. has grown, casteism has become a major problem, and caste atrocities have increased. Caste consciousness exists among South Asian immigrants and South Asians born in the U.S. We will focus on the history of caste and race as they were shaped by economic, social, political, legal, scientific, academic, and cultural institutions to organize human experience across time and space. We will analyze the deployment of gendered and sexual violence and the construction of solidarities between social and political movements in the U.S. and India.