HDS 3330 Hinduism through the Lens of Lived Religion


The religious tradition that we now know as Hinduism originated on the South Asian peninsula and developed over the course of the last 3500 years. The focus of this course will be on “lived religion.” The course takes on a present-past-present format. We will begin with two highly contested topics: Caste and Hindutva (Hinduness or the Hindu essence) to map the terrain. We will then look at the early religious developments in the Indian subcontinent as well as the texts, themes and Hindu philosophies that continue to flourish in the 21st century. Finally, we will return to the present to answer questions like: Who is a Hindu? What is relation between goddesses and status of women in the Hindu society? Is beef ban justified? How does the caste system play out in the United States? Thus, this course offers the student of religion a unique opportunity to reflect comparatively and globally on the diverse histories, functions, and roles of religion in human civilizations, not to mention contemporary geopolitics.