RELG 324 is survey of Hinduism through history, theology, sacred texts, spiritual practices, social organizations, and politics. The course proceeds from the earliest phases of the religion to contemporary groups and practices. Students will be introduced to key ideas and beliefs in Hinduism, and will examine major texts in the tradition. They will also study Hindu devotional deities as depicted in art and music, and explore modern developments in Hinduism, including major political initiatives.
Archeology provides evidence that Hinduism is the oldest institutional religion in practice today. Hinduism is also the world’s third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Many non-Hindus have pointed to aspects of Hinduism as sources of artistic inspiration. Others have found its beliefs to resonant with their own. Likewise, Hindus have accepted founders of other traditions, such as Jesus and the Buddha, as avatars of the same eternal truth expressed in their concept of Brahman.
Generally, upon successful completion of the course, students will to be able to appreciate archeological finds from ancient Indian civilizations explain what Hinduism is in terms of history, texts and practices understand classical theological and meditative claims made by Hindus recognize modern developments in Hinduism related to politics and science.Student Learning Outcomes:
Specifically, upon successful completion of the course, students will to be able to
Arnold, Edwin (translator). The Bhagavad Gītā. Available free at http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/gita/
Doniger, Wendy. The Hindus. An Alternative History. Penguin, 1982. ISBN-13: 978-0143116691.
Handouts from the Upaniṣads.
1. There will be two tests. Each test is worth 25% of your final grade for the term. On the two tests, you will be asked to provide short-essay answers to ten questions. Some questions will be on the readings, others on the lectures.
2. There will be a final exam worth 25% of the grade for the term. It will test general cumulative knowledge from the course but will focus on the last five weeks of classes. The final exam will be of similar format to the tests, but will consist of twenty short-essay questions.
3. There is a term paper due at the beginning of the last day of our class, that is, at 11:00 a.m. on December 14. It can be on an out-of-class event, talk or research topic or a more in-depth look into an idea, issue or practice covered in class. The term paper is worth 25% of your grade. This academic-style essay should be five-seven pages in length (more is acceptable, less is not), double-spaced in 12-point type, in a font such as Times New Roman or Courier New. Chicago or MLA styles are acceptable. You must use and fully cite at least two reputable academic sources. Web sources are not acceptable unless you can show they are academically sound, such as online peer-reviewed academic journal. If you prefer web research, consider using jstor, available through the library. The CCU Writing Center can help if needed. Suggestions about this assignment will be made during class throughout the term. Students must have term paper topics approved by October 31st.
*Alternative: Any student wishing to give a graded oral presentation to the class in place of the written essay should see me early in the term (by the end of October at the latest) to discuss the possibility. Such a presentation would have to be substantial in offering the class further information on a topic closely related to what we are covering. It is expected that the presentation would last at least 20 minutes and be the equivalent of a 5 to 7-page term paper in length and depth of analysis. At least two reputable academic sources must be cited.
Summary of grading:
Quiz 1 = 25%
Quiz 2 = 25%
Term Paper = 25%
Final Exam = 25%
Based on this, students will earn a letter grade for the term according to the following system:
A = 91 - 100%
B+ = 88 - 90%
B = 81 - 87%
C+ = 78 - 80%
C = 71 - 77%
D+ = 68 – 70%
D = 61 - 67%
F = below 60%
Following the guidelines posted in the CCU Student Handbook, students who have unexcused absences for 25% of the regularly scheduled class meetings will receive a final grade of “F” for the term.