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"A survey of Hindu religious teachings, stories, and history, as expressed through the holy days and festivals celebrated each fall by Hindus throughout India and abroad, during which ideas, stories, and values are transmitted from one generation to the next. Examines the little understood and rarely discussed historical development behind each celebration, based on both ancient and contemporary sources, thereby reveling why Hindu ideas and history have remained compelling to Hindus for thousands of years." (3 units, GE area C1)
[View map of India.]
THIS SECTION will focus on the Great Night of Shiva, the festival of Holi, goddess festivals of the hot season, and Krishna's Birthday. The course as a whole, however, is inquiry-centered, with investigation of these celebrations motivated by your own broad questions about the nature of religion. To stimulate this inquiry, I will return repeatedly to three broad, interrelated questions which have guided my own selection of reading materials and assignments:
- How have the practices that Hindu communities engaged in throughout history shaped what individual Hindus have thought about and experienced inwardly?
- How has what individual Hindus think about and experience inwardly shaped their communities of practice?
- As Hindu traditions have evolved over generations, centuries and millennia, how have their observable manifestations (practice and communities) and hidden dimensions (thoughts and experiences related to unseen powers, forces and worlds) shaped and reshaped each other?
In the process of asking these questions, we will find that while Hindu traditions do in some respects form a contintuous and integral whole, those traditions are also to a great extent heterogenous and dynamically changing. And asking these questions will help us to understand better not only Hindu traditions, but also our relationship to the religious traditions we observe around us and in which we sometimes participate. (To find out more about how we will approach this focus, read the introductory essay, "Essential Elements of Religious Life.")
IMPORTANT NOTE: like most offerings in this department, "The Hindu Year" is **READING INTENSIVE,** assuming that you will dedicate 5-7 hours per week for reading and assignments outside of class time. Team-based learning will be the primary mode of engaging with primary sources (see www.teambasedlearning.org), facilitated by testing and inter-class communication through SacCT, the university's on-line instructional system.
Course Policies (PDF download)