Religions of Modern India

Spring Semester 2018

Course Outline:



Videos in Green

Reading Assignments

Primary Texts in Purple


Quizzes &
Written Assignments

Black = Optional.  Red = Required

Total of ten required



Week One

Jan 19: Introduction to the Course






Hindu Religious Traditions in Pre-Modern India (An Overview)

Week Two

Jan 22: Ways of Action: Brahmans, Ritual, and Caste


Š      Knott, chs. 1 & 2

Š      MSA ch. 1

Š      S&R01: Knott, chs. 1 & 2

Jan 24: Ways of Mystical Realization: Gurus, World Renouncers, and Liberation


Š      Knott, ch. 3

Š      MSA ch. 2, pp. 8-12

Š      S&R02: Knott, ch. 3

Jan 26: Ways of Devotion: Gods, Saints, and Worship


Š      Knott, chs. 4 & 5

Š      MSA ch. 2, pp. 12-17

Š      S&R03: Knott, chs. 4 & 5



Islam in India: Sufis and Moghuls

Week Three

Jan 29:  Story of India: The Meeting of Two Oceans



Š      Embree, The Foundations of Islam in India, pp. 383-391

Š      Video Worksheet 01

Jan 31: Islam and its Introduction to India

Š      MSA ch. 3




Week Four

Feb. 05:  The Sufi Traditions






Š      Aslan, Stain Your Prayer Rug with Wine [BB]

Š      Embree, Islamic Mysticism in India, pp. 447-450  [BB]

Feb 07: Video: I am a Sufi, I am a Muslim




Š      Embree, Islamic Mysticism in India, pp. 450-458  [BB]

Š      Video Worksheet 02

Š      S&R04: Mir, Teachings of Two Punjabi Sufi Poets [BB]

Feb 09:  The Moghuls



Š      MSA, ch. 4


Week Five

Feb 12: Sufism and Syncretism  under the Mughals:
Akbar’s “Divine Faith” and Dara Shikoh appropriation of Hindu Vedanta


Š      Embree, Islamic Mysticism in India, pp. 463-478, 483-489  [BB]

Š      S&R05: Shah Wali-Ullah – Sufism and the Crisis of Islam in India, in Embree, Islamic Mysticism in India, pp. 478-483. [BB]




The Sikh Tradition


Feb 14: The Sant Tradition and Nirguna Bhatki



Š      Vaudeville, C. “Sant MatSantism as the Universal Path to Sanctity” [BB]

Š      S&R06: Dharwadker, Kabir [BB]

Feb 16:  The Ten Gurus and Sikh History



Š      Embree, Sikhism: Faith and Practice, pp. 493-500


Š      S&R07:  McLeod, The Life of Guru Nanak [BB]



Week Six

Feb 19:  Sikh Doctrine and Practice



Š      Embree, Sikhism: Faith and Practice, pp. 500-509

Š      S&R08:  McLeod, Sikh Hymns to the Divine Name [BB]


Company Raj and British Liberal Reform


Feb 21:  British East India Company


Š      MSA, chs. 7 & 8







Š      S&R09: “The company that ruled the waves,” The Economist, Dec. 2011 [BB]

Feb 23: Liberalism, Christianity, and Empire



Š      Metcalf, Thomas R. “Liberalism and Empire” [BB]



Hindu Reform: Brahmo Samajh

Week Seven

Feb 26: Rammohun Roy

Š      Lavan, Spencer.  The Brahmo Samajh: India’s First Modern Movement for Religious Reform, pp. 1-6 [BB]

Š      Sources of Indian Traditions vol 2 [SIT], pp. 15-35

Š      S&R10:  Roy, Rammohun, “The Brahmunical Magazine or the Missionary and the Brahmun, being a Vindication of the Hindoo Religion against the Attacks of Christian Missionaries” (1821), pp. 145-158 [BB]

Feb 28: D. Tagore and K. Sen











Š      SIT, pp. 36-38

Š      Lavan (ibid.), pp. 6-23

Š      S&R11: Debendranath Tagore: Re-Creator of the Brahmo Samajh.  SIT pp. 38-44

Š      S&R12:  Keshub Chunder Sen and the Indianization of Christianity.  SIT, pp. 44-52

Š      S&R13:  Dayananda Sarasvati: Vedic Revivalist

Mar 02: Class cancelled because of inclement weather.




Submit to your google file for the class by first light on Monday, March 12th.

The Sati Debate

Week Eight

Mar 05:  Gora

Š      Gora, chs. 1-14


Mar 07: Perspectives on Sati:  Traditional, Colonial, Contemporary












Š      Courtright, The Iconographies of Sati [BB]

Š       S&R14:  Roy, Rammohun, “Translation of a Conference between an Advocate for and an Opponent of the Practice of Burning Widows Alive” (1818) [BB]


Š      S&R15: “Petition of Hindus Against the Abolition of Sati” (1829) [BB]


Š      S&R16:  Bentinck, William.  Link:  On Ritual Murder in India, 1829.

Mar 09: Gora

Š      Gora, chs. 15-31




Week Nine


Mar. 12 – 17: No Class (Spring Recess)




Devi – A Film by Satyajit Ray

Week Ten

Mar. 19: Devi



Š      (Gora)


Mar 21: (Devi continued)


Š      (Gora)

Š      S&R17: Nandy, Sati as Profit vs. Sati as a Spectacle [BB]

Mar 23: Gora



Š      Gora, chs. 32-38




The Sepoy Rebellion & Crown Raj

Week Eleven

Mar 26: The Revolt of 1857


Š      MSA ch. 9


Mar 28: Munchi Premchand’s The Chess Players

Š       Premchand, The Chess Players [BB]


Mar 30: A Nation in Making?


Š      MSA, ch. 11


Š      S&R18: MSA, ch. 11.  A Nation in Making?




Week Twelve

April 02: Video:  Gandhi



Š      Kinsley, D. “Gandhi” [BB]

Š      S&R19: Amin, Gandhi as Mahatma [BB]

April 06: Gandhian Nationalism



Š      MSA chs. 12 & 13

Š      S&R20:  Lal, The Gandhi Everyone Loves to Hate [BB]



Week Thirteen

April 09:  Gandhi’s Critique of Modernity


Š      Gandhi, M. K., Hind Swaraj

Š      Recommended: MSA chs. 14 & 15


Š      S&R21: Gandhi, Hind Swaraj



Hindu Women and Marriage


April 11:  Hindu Women, Politics, and Religious Leadership during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries


Š      Falk, N.   Shakti Ascending [BB]

Š      S&R22: Falk, Shakti Ascending [BB]

April 13: Discussion






Spiritual Recognition and the Radhasoami Faith

Week Fourteen

April 16: Redemption in a Fluid World



Š      Babb, Ch. 2 [BB]

Š      S&R23:  Babb,  Ch. 2 - Redemption in a Fluid World [BB]

April 18: Identity and Recognition



Š      Babb, Ch. 3 [BB]

Š      S&R24: Babb, Ch. 3 – Identity and Recognition [BB]

April 20:  Discussion





Sathya Sai Baba and the Lesson of Trust

Week Fifteen

April 23: Sathya Sai Baba’s Miracles



Š      Babb, Ch. 7 [BB]

Š      S&R25: Babb, Sathya Sai Baba’s Miracles [BB]



Submit to your google file for the class

by first light on May 06.

April 25: The Reenchantment of the World




Š      Babb, Ch. 8 [BB]

Š      S&R26: Babb, The Reenchantment of the World [BB]

April 27:  No Class (Meckel away at conference)