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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Pioneers of Cultural Communication: Europe, India and Japan, 1850-1950 (HIST10335)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) Credits40
Home subject areaHistory Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course description- The course encourages students to analyze processes of cross-cultural communication and change with detailed reference to the lives and works of key Asian and European figures who were involved in such processes.
- In tackling this challenging dimension of cultural history, students will learn to tease out important themes and dynamics for themselves, by applying techniques of historical and literary analysis to a range of specialist, though accessible, sources in religious studies, philosophy, and mental health.
- A key aim is the development, as the course progresses, of methods for assessing human motivations and for analyzing primary sources. The comparative nature of the course encourages students to look beyond context-specific concerns and to make leaps of theory and informed speculation which carry explanatory value across both India and Japan.
- In semester one the focus is upon relations between India and Europe, particularly in the realm of philosophy, religion, and social policy. Students will examine, among other things: missionary and other Christian writings produced by European and Indian evangelists and converts; the context of Europe's 'crisis of faith' and Evangelical movements, and of Indian revivalism; the ideas of Swami Vivekananda, Max Muller, Romain Rolland and others on Indian philosophy and religion; M.K. Gandhi's critique of western religion and values.
- In semester two the focus is primarily upon relations between Japan and Europe, with some comparative reference to India. Topics include mental health, explored from a cultural rather than a clinical perspective (Freud and Jung especially, together with pioneering Indian and Japanese analysts); European interest in Buddhism; Christian conversion within Japan's samurai class; the writing of Rabindranath Tagore and T.S. Eliot.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Directors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503783).
Additional Costs 0
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course students should be able to:
- Demonstrate a sound understanding of Indian and Japanese cultural history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly where religion, philosophy, and mental health are concerned.
- Utilise comparative inter-disciplinary techniques of analysis, in the service of investigating complex social and cultural issues.
- Analyse and discuss - in classroom debates and presentations, and in essays and examination - the intellectual content of diverse primary sources, together with the practical limits associated with their use in the study of cultural history.
- Demonstrate enhanced reasoning skills where the careful choice of illustrative primary and secondary reading material is concerned.
- Employ professional sensitivity and nuance in dealing with difficult issues such as religious conversion and mental health.
- Assess historical questions by drawing out and evaluating general themes for comparison across contexts.
- Demonstrate the above skills in examinations, essays, presentations and other oral contributions to the seminars.

Assessment Information
Assessment for the course will be as follows:
- Two 3000 word essays, worth 35% of the overall assessment
- Two two-hour examinations, worth 50% of the overall assessment
- A class presentation, worth 5% of the overall assessment
- A grade for seminar participation, worth 10% of the overall assessment (5% based on semester 1 participation, and 5% based on semester 2 participation)
Students will receive guidance at the beginning of the course as to the precise criteria upon which class presentations and participation are to be assessed. These criteria will be in line with the ILOs given above. Students will have the opportunity at this point to ask for clarification regarding these criteria and, if there is a general consensus, to make alterations to particular criteria.

In the case of the class presentation, students will each make one presentation per semester, receiving tutor feedback and a mark for both. The higher of the two marks will go through as the final presentation grade. The marks will be decided on the basis of a combination of peer-review assessment (50%) and tutor assessment (50%).
Special Arrangements
The course does not raise any special issues relating to teachability.
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered

1. Introduction to the Course
2. Studying the History of Ideas
3. Self and the World in Indian Philosophy
4. Self and the World in Western Christian Philosophy
5. European Crisis of Faith
6. Culture in British India, 1880 - 1905
7. Vedanta and Hindu Revivalism: Swami Vivekananda
8. Europeans and Indian Philosophy: Scholars & Popularizers
9. Christianity vs 'Hinduism': Elite Contests in Urban India
10. Christianity vs 'Hinduism': Mass Conversion in Punjab
11. Cross-Currents: India and the West in Gandhian Thought


1. Self and the World in Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy
2. Japanese Culture in Flux: 1880 - 1930
3. Samurai Christians: the Dynamics of Elite Japanese Conversion
4. Religion and Nationalism in Japan
5. Europeans and Buddhism
6. Japanese Buddhism in Britain: D.T. Suzuki and Christmas Humphreys
7. Self and the World for Freud and Jung
8. Practical Communication: Freudian Psychoanalysis in India and Japan
9. Theoretical Communication: Jung on World Religion and Myth
10. Cross-Currents: Rabindranath Tagore and T.S. Eliot
11. Review and Exam Preparation
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Primary Sources:
- The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (
- Selected Works and Letters of Rabindranath Tagore (
- Swami Vivekananda's paper on 'Hinduism', at the World Parliament of Religions (Chicago, 1893), in text and audio (
- Archives of the Church of Scotland (New College Library)
- D.T. Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism (1927)
- R. Rolland, Prophets of the New India (1930)
- R. Rolland, Life of Vivekananda (1930)
- R. Rolland, Correspondence (Freud, Gandhi, Hesse)
- C. Humphreys, Buddhism (1951 edition)
- E. Arnold, The Light of Asia (1880)
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern The course is taught through seminars led by both students and the course organizer, revolving for the most part around primary source material available from Edinburgh University libraries, on-line, and from the course organizer. Short introductory lectures (45 minutes) are given in Weeks 1 and 2 of Semester One. A short series of film showings with accompanying debates is offered, designed to broaden students' engagement with the cultural histories of India and Japan. This is non-compulsory, and will not relate to the course itself in any way that would disadvantage students who are unable to attend.
Course organiserDr Christopher Harding
Tel: (0131 6)50 9960
Course secretaryMs Marie-Therese Rafferty
Tel: (0131 6)50 3780
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