Colgate University

First-Year Course Offerings — Fall 2022

RELG 221   Asian Religions: India
DistributionHuman Thought and Expression
Core AreaNone

Fall 2022 Focus:
The Republic of India is the world's largest and most religiously diverse democracy. However, people in our society know little about India and often carry misconceptions. Together, students explore the ways that religion, politics, society and culture interplay in modern India. Learning about religion’s role in the modern nation-state benefit students with varied academic interests. Students are introduced to some of the religious traditions of India, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. In addition to introducing the academic study of religion, questions are raised relevant to international relations, political science, history, and more. India provides an excellent setting to examine concerns we face today, such as: How might religion promote climate justice, or undermine it? How does religion relate to structures of social hierarchy? How do ancient wisdom and myth inform politics in the post colonial nation-state? Asian Religions makes a great first course in Religion, and Asian Studies, and has no prerequisites.

Catalog Course Description:
How should we understand the relationship between religious texts and lived experiences? Why do religious differences sometimes harden and sometimes become porous depending on the context? Focusing on a single place and its people can help us break down traditional frameworks for understanding religion and reveals instead a much more dynamic image of religious diversity. Students are introduced to at least three major religions in a particular Asian region. In the process, it problematizes the traditional portrait of distinct and timeless world religions by taking a deeper look at the lived experiences of religious practitioners in one designated Asian society. The course utilizes a kaleidoscopic and multidisciplinary approach to the study of religion, allowing students to identify and appreciate the complex and sometimes unexpected ways in which religious practitioners live in diverse societies.