Monday, May 4, 2015

IE UnTextbook Summer Diary: Monday, May 4

So, today (Monday) is the first day of summer for me, and I've already made a lot of progress on the Indian Epics UnTextbook, which also happens to be my "subjective" for #Rhizo15 (and as it so happens, the question of content posed for this week really gave me a lot to think about!). So, for this post I'll summarize where I stand so far with the Ramayana. This represents work I've been doing for the past couple of weeks as I've had time to spare... and now I will have lots more time. Goal is to finish the minimum Ramayana materials by May 23.

Ramayana reading options: I've pretty well cataloged the Ramayana reading options, and targeted (with an asterisk) the ones for which I want to write up Reading Guides. Of course, I already have the Guides for the two printed books I've been using. Here are the books I've identified online: Ramayana reading options.

Ramayana Reading Guide. The Reading Guide I wrote today is for Sita Sings the Blues, a video by Nina Paley. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. It was a real pleasure to make the Reading (Watching) Guide. This is a one-week Ramayana option. I really hope lots of students will choose it for the Week 4 "reading" after having read a more traditional version of the Ramayana; they will also have the option of choosing to watch the film during the free choice half of the semester, Weeks 9-14.

Ramayana, Uttara Kanda. I did a detailed link index for Dutt's literal translation of the Uttara Kanda, and I target two one-week reading options from that book. I would love to do this for all the books of the Ramayana (which is barely feasible) and for the Mahabharata too (which is crazy impossible, but I could link to Ganguli just as I have linked to Dutt here), but there's not going to be time, I know, although I do have a giant spreadsheet with the kandas and sargas numbered and titled so I will be able to navigate Dutt more easily. I am glad I got the Uttara Kanda done as a fully linked index that the students can use because my students are very interested in this material; indeed, the whole second half of Nina Paley's film comes from the Uttara Kanda.

Public Domain Edition: Ramayana. I am really proud of what I got one with the PDE Ramayana over the weekend! All 80 pages have content on them now, although I may swap some content out (in particular, I think students are just not going to be happy with Griffith's verse translation; it will be easy to swap that out with Dutt's literal prose translation now that I have started indexing Dutt). It was hard limiting myself to just the 80 pages, but it provides a really solid two-week experience, and I've included excerpts from 8 different sources so far; I hope to include more now that I've got my Ramayana sources indexed. Next step, writing up the Reading Guide portion for each page and adding images. Here's what I have so far: PDE Ramayana.

Comic Books: I need to check with the Library to see if they have processed the order (the wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly... but they are moving forward at least; the idea is that there will be a complete set of ACK comic books in the Reserve area of the Library for students to read). I have completed two readings guides — Sons of Rama: Luv and Kush and Kumbhakarna: The Sleeping Giant — and when I finish this post I will be doing more comic book reading guides today! Whoo-hoo!

Images. I'm in pretty good shape with my image library so while I would really like to improve that, I'm not really stressing about it. I did some browsing for Ramayana images yesterday and found some new items to include for sure, writing them up as blog posts here (I have not done that yet: I have a lot of notblogged images at Diigo). For example, I made sure to include Shabari in the PDE Ramayana (I love her story!), and I found this Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi illustration from 1911 that I can use:

And searching for Shabari images led me to this YouTube video!

Which relates to the next item on the list! :-)

YouTube Channel. I've never been a good user of my YouTube Channel... but that all changed this weekend! I cleared out all my old likes and playlists (I just had a few, very random)... and made it all-Indian, a resource space dedicated to providing music for the UnTextbook!!! I am really excited about this. If I find a few videos each day to save and share, that will make it easy to include a music video of the day in my class announcements each semester. SO EXCITING!!!

So, I think that's it, and if I forgot something, I'll add it in tomorrow's post. And now........... comic books!!! :-)


  1. Watched part of the movie ... which I have heard of before through various channels ... and now need to come back to.

    1. The movie really is brilliant! If you want a quick introduction to the traditional Ramayana, I have a list of different English-language public-domain versions here! :-)
      Ramayana books online


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