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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Postgraduate Course: Hindu Traditions: Critical Investigations (REST11018)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will explore popular Hindu traditions, and will investigate its diversity through history, power and agency. It will challenge the homogenised 'world religions' model using anthropological methods in understanding religions, and highlight the significance of perspectives using ethnographic, textual, theoretical, and visual sources.
Course description Academic Description:
This course aims to enrich students' engagement with Hindu traditions in South Asia by using visual and textual materials. Visual materials such as documentary and film will be used to illustrate the diversity of Hindu traditions. Complementing the visual element will be readings dealing with empirical case studies that enable how traditions are negotiated on the ground and its value for broader comparative and theoretical discussions. One of the important aspects of this course is to look at understudied aspects of South Asia, particularly its tribal and indigenous communities and their engagement with Hindu and other traditions. These debates will be carefully considered both in the lectures and the seminar discussions based on visual and textual material that are both empirically rich and theoretically innovative.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The complexity and richness of the course will be illustrated through thematic considerations such as deities, caste, gender, karma, dharma, fundamentalism, pilgrimage, gurus, and 'tribes'. It will utilise key anthropological and historical texts that examine the richness of the region, while using video documentaries and film to illustrate and visually aid how Hindu traditions negotiate the different social/religious/political boundaries.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has a programme of two-hour weekly meetings consisting of one-hour weekly lectures, and one-hour seminar discussions. This will be complemented by five separate hour-each PG seminars, where more in-depth and advanced discussions will be held. Each student will do a presentation based on the assigned reading and will be responsible for leading class discussion during the seminar hour. Students are also required to write a weekly-assessed blog that will demonstrate their understanding and engagement with the readings. Students will also have the opportunity to construct an essay title that focuses on a topic of their interest in conversation with the lecturer. Through their participation in lectures, seminars, written work, and feedback offered, students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis is a graduate-level course. Please confirm subject prerequisites with the Course Manager.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A critical understanding of the contribution of anthropology to the study of religions in general, and the diversity of popular ┬┐Hindu┬┐ traditions in particular.
  2. An ability to critically appraise terms such as 'Hinduism', and assess the importance of perspective in the study of religions.
  3. In depth engagement with primary and secondary sources from South Asia, and its relation to significant scholarly debates.
  4. An ability to undertake independent research by devising a 3000-word essay topic of interest.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Paul Fuller
Course secretaryMs Amy MacKinnon
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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