Picture: Bhola Giri Ashram, Haridwar, April 1998.
Course Title: Religion and Society in Modern India (Religion 336)
Course Description This class is a January study tour, in which we will encounter three contemporary Indian religious communities--Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. India is a strong example of a religiously pluralistic nation, with both the benefits and problems arising from such pluralism. During our travels we will examine the life and interactions of these three groups, as well as analyzing how these interactions have been (and continue to be) shaped by their historical and cultural context.
During this tour, we will visit five different north Indian cities:
Delhi: the national capital, and our point of entry and departure,
Agra: The historical capital of the Moghul empire, and home to the Taj Mahal),
Amritsar: The most sacred site for the Sikh community, and the home of the Golden Temple),
Haridwar: a Hindu pilgrimage city on the Ganges River, AND
Pushkar/Ajmer: Contiguous cities that have an important Hindu pilgrimage site, and the most important Sufi tomb in India..
These cities are all within a day's travel of each other, so most of our time will be spent being IN places, rather than going to places. As planned, almost all intercity travel will take place by rail, when possible by trains in the air-conditioned class. Aside from the gentler pace of train travel, these travel days will also supply some time for rest, reflection, and informal discussion.
Prerequisites: Religion 100 is helpful, but the only strict prerequisite is the instructor's permission.
Required Texts: A packet of background readings on the three religious communities that we will study, and various information about the places we will visit.
Course Grading—This course will be graded. Anyone wishing to take this class for the S (Satisfactory) or NS (Not Satisfactory) with which trips are sometimes graded must make prior arrangements with the Registrar. Please note that a course taken for S/NS cannot fill distribution requirements for graduation.
Requirements: All students on the trip MUST:
attend all required trips and events,
respect people of different religious faiths, AND
be cheerful and adaptable.
In addition, there are more strictly academic requirements. Formal grading will be based on requirements to be completed both before the group leaves for India, and after we arrive there:
A. Things to be completed before we leave for India (20% of the total)
20%--Reading Professor’s Lochtefeld’s assigned texts (on the Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs) and composing written responses to broad questions about these texts. Your answers should be at least 550-650 words for each of the 5 essays (this is the equivalent of 2 typewritten pages), and should be sent to him (as an e-mail attachment) before the first class meeting in January. These texts provide essential context to understand the places, practices and important groups we will encounter on our trip.
The course readings can be found online at http://personal.carthage.edu/jlochtefeld/indiajterm/readingassignments.html, and below them are the questions to be answered.
Things to be completed when we are in India (80% of the total grade)
20%--“Class Stuff”—This will include being present for all required events (trips and meetings), and reading the guide book sections relevant to any sites before we go to them. It will also include doing the background reading in your course packets, and in taking genuine part in the discussion of these texts.
30%--Architectural Interpretation. You will interpret the religious architecture for two of the religious sites that the class visits, and show how the architectural form and structure expresses, reflects, and reinforces that community's religious assumptions. To support your points, you will cite background information from the packet of readings I have given you. Each of these should be the equivalent of 3 double-spaced typewritten pages. These will test both your powers of perception, and your assimilation of the background material for these communities. Possible sites for consideration are in Delhi (the Jama Masjid, the Sisganj Gurudwara, and Bangla Sahib Gurudwara), Amritsar (the Harmandir and the Durgiana Temple), Haridwar (Har-ki-Pairi, Daksha Temple, or any of a number of smaller temples, including ones in homes), the temples in Pushkar, or any of a number of dargahs (Piran Kaliyar, Ajmer Sharif, or perhaps Nizamuddin).
20 %--a personal journal describing/detailing/reflecting on your own experience as we travel. I will periodically call for journals and read them during the course of the trip. Click Here for a JOURNAL WRITING RUBRIC, to spare us all a rendition of "breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
10%--a short synthetic final exam, in which you will be asked to reflect upon your experience, to draw together some of the trip's various themes. If you so desire, this can include photographs.
Return to the India J-term main page
Return to Jim Lochtefeld's Main Page
Return to the Carthage Home Page.
These pages are in progress.
Page maintained by James G. Lochtefeld.
Last modified 16 October 2011