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Introduction to Hindu Religions


Admission requirements

This course is open to BA I year students as well as exchange and stydy abroad students. No prior knowledge of Hinduism and India is required to join this course.


This course provides a general introduction to the various religious and cultural traditions associated with Hinduism, from a historical as well as a thematic perspective. It traces the origins and evolution of these diverse traditions which converged into a pan-Indian religion under the label Hinduism. The course takes an open and pluralistic approach to the study of Hindu religions, not only by drawing attention to the diversity of traditions, but also aiming to define general features of a unified religion. Students will also be introduced to the modern and contemporary trajectories of Hinduism through the colonial, post-colonial and contemporary periods, both within India and in Hindu communities spread across the world.

Topics addressed in the course will include: identity formation of ‘Hinduism’; ritual and religion of the Vedas; Hindu mythology, theology and philosophy; devotion and pilgrimage; Hinduism and society; Hindu social, intellectual and political movements in the modern period; Hindu nationalism; Media and Hinduism and Hindu diaspora.

The course will welcome students to understand Hinduism historically, both as theory and practice, and also, as a social, cultural and political formation.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of key terms, concepts, texts and traditions of Hindu religions;

  • Familiarity with the historical background and development of Hindu religions;

  • Awareness of the diversity of Hindu religious cultures and traditions;

  • Understanding of the cultural and political dimensions of Hinduism in the modern and contemporary world;

  • Critical awareness of the relation between theory and practice in studying Hinduism.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Assessment method


The course has 2 written examinations: one written examination at the end of the first block (counting for 50% of the final mark) and one written examination with essay questions at the end of the second block (counting for 50% of the final mark). The course is an integrated whole. Both examinations must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years



The individual exams cannot be retaken. There is one opportunity for a re-sit of the entire course (100%).

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Readings are provided in the form of secondary literature along with primary sources and are distributed in weekly folders via Brightspace. Students are required to go through the readings before the class in order to actively engage with the course. Students are expected to attend all classes.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Studeren à la carte.