This course provides a general introduction to Hinduism, from a historical as well as thematic perspective. The course traces the historical background and development of a variety of religious and cultural traditions that converged into the notion of a pan-Indian religion under the label Hinduism. The course takes an open and pluralistic approach to Hinduism, presenting the diversity of traditions that have contributed to the religion as a whole, but also aims at defining general features of a unified religion. Students will also be introduced to the modern and contemporary lives of Hinduism through the colonial, post-colonial and contemporary periods, both within India and in Hindu communities spread across the world.
Topics to be discussed 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; relation to other religions such as Buddhism, Jainism and Islam; Hindu social, intellectual and political movements in the modern period; rise of contemporary Hindu nationalism; and Hinduism beyond India.
The course will welcome students to understand Hinduism historically, both as theory and practice, and also, as a social, cultural and political formation.
- Knowledge of key terms, concepts, texts and traditions of Hinduism.
- Familiarity with the historical background and development of Hinduism.
- Awareness of the diversity of Hindu religious cultures and traditions.
- Familiarity with 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.
Mode of instruction
- Classes (13×2) and exams (2×2): 30 hours
- Reading: 50 hours
- Revision and preparation for exams: 60 hours
- Total: 140 hours (5 EC x 28 hours)
2 written examinations: one written examination (w) at the end of the first block (40%) and one written examination with essay questions (we) at the end of the second block (60%).
The individual exams cannot be retaken. If the average of both exams is less than 6.0 there is one opportunity for a resit of the entire course (100%).
Blackboard is used as the main means for communication and for distribution of additional course materials.
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.
- Gavin Flood, An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. (entire book)
- C.J. Fuller, The Camphor Flame. Popular Hinduism and Society in India. Revised and expanded edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. (selected portions to be announced on Blackboard).