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Aryanism and Indology

Students will gain a historical overview of German Indology from its origins to the present. They will read basic source texts for German attitudes towards ancient and modern India, especially the Vedic period, Brahmanism, and Hinduism. They will learn how German nationalism, theories of racial supremacy, the quest for Aryan identity, and Protestantism and Lutheran anti-Semitism shaped the discipline of Indology. German Indology’s role in fostering National Socialism and the treatment of Jewish Indologists will also be discussed. Students will also be expected to read and analyze excerpts from Rammohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswati, Tilak, and Ambedkar in light of their knowledge of Indology.

Areas of Study: History and Methods

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study/ Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies or Concurrently enrolled in OTHS

Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee

Start Date: TBD

End Date: TBD

Day: TBD

Time: TBD

Quarter: TBD

Historical Methods and Sources

This course is intended to introduce students to the theory and practice of history. Students will read several different examples of historical writing. They will reflect on the reasons for writing and studying history, the importance of collective and individual memory, and the role of narrative in relation to identity. They will also examine the problems with historical memory, the dangers of historicism, and the transformation in the concept of history with the rise of “scientific” historiography. Students can expect to gain significant conceptual nuance about history, which they can then apply to their own research.

Areas of Study: History and Methods

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee

 

Mahābhārata III: War Books

Conventionally, the very title “Mahābhārata” conjures up images of a great war in which eighteen armies were annihilated. Using divine weaponry and mystical war formations, and having Kṛṣṇa Vāsudeva on their side, the Pāṇḍavas triumph over the Kauravas. Who are these combatants and what does their heroism signify? What dilemmas of dharma arise as part of the battle? In the 6th Parva of the Mahābhārata, we find Kṛṣṇa giving the Bhagavadgītā to Arjuna, revealing himself as Brahman. His presence as the karmaphaladāta informs key events in the battle. In the final book 10, Rudra empowers Aśvatthāman to annihilate the progeny of the heroes, thus closing out the laya cycle of the epic, which began in Book 6 with the fall of the Brahmā-figure Bhīṣma pitāmaha. These theological threads, the complex temporal shifts in the narrative, and the constancy with which human motives are interrogated prevent a simplistic reading of the Mahābhārata as just another war story. Rather, the epic presents us with a deep understanding of time, the nature of the universe, human purpose, and ultimate reality.

Areas of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies or Concurrently enrolled into Orientation to Hindu Studies

Instructor:  Dr. Vishwa Adluri  , Dr. Joydeep Bagchee 

Day: Every Saturday

Start Date: October 9, 2021

End Date: December 18, 2021

Time:- 10:00 am EST – 1:00 pm EST

Quarter: Fall 2021

Mahābhārata IV: Epic Philosophy

Along with the study of the philosophy of different parvans, commentators such as Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja will be introduced to show the continuity as well as changes in the philosophical tradition. Within this tradition, the Mahābhārata will emerge as an important bridge between the Vedic revelation and classical schools of Indian philosophy. Additionally, we will read relevant sections of the Mahābhārata for thoughtful answers to the problems of applied ethics such as violence, anthropocentricity, patriarchy, privilege systems, and our obligations to society and to the environment.

Areas of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Must have completed  or  be concurrently enrolled in Orientation to Hindu Studies

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri   Dr. Joydeep Bagchee

Day:- Every Saturday

Start Date:- July 10,  2021

End Date:- September 25, 2021

Time:- 10:00 am EST – 01:00  pm EST.

Quarter: Summer 2021

Mahābhārata V: Bhakti and Contemporary Hinduism

Course Content:
This module covers the Mahābhārata’s reception in the Bhāgavatapurāṇa and in the textual basis of lived Hinduism, especially the Pañcarātra tradition, which links the Mahābhārata with Āgama texts and temple worship. The literary tradition including poets such as Bhāsa, Kalidāsa, Rājaśekhara as well as the aesthetic tradition of Abhinavagupta will be covered. This module will also explore the popular reception of the epic through performing arts, retellings, and dramatic adaptations.
The chief readings will include the last portion of Śāntiparvan (Nārāyaṇīya) and Anuśāsana parvan from the Mahābhārata. No previous coursework is necessary, however, a knowledge of Sukthankar’s On The Meaning of the Mahābhārata is required. The course involves a detailed reading of the above sections of the Mahābhārata, and a discussion of the main philosophical themes contained in them.

Course Learning Outcomes:
At the end of this course, Students will be able to:
1. Interpret texts carefully and rigorously
2. Analyze their literary form, structure, context and nuance
3. Correlate lived Hinduism with its textual tradition
4. Research secondary sources
5. Construct an argument in their own language.

Course Requirements:

1. The course will be conducted in a seminar format, please see point 4 below.
2. Attendance is mandatory. If you miss more than one session, your grade will suffer. If you miss two sessions, you will have to retake the course for a grade. Videos of classes will be provided, but this is not a substitute for attendance. HUA values real-time interaction between teachers and students. Thus, the “video” option is only for emergencies.
3. An online session is exactly like a classroom session., so proper etiquette is expected. Please make sure you secure a quiet place with access to the online session. Please switch off your phones. Do not eat during the class (drinking water, tea or coffee is permitted). Make sure you have access to a camera: if you switch off your camera, you will be marked absent. We will take a 10-minute break halfway through each session.
4. Please keep up with the required reading. This will facilitate participation in discussions. It will also help you get the most out of the course.
5. Each student is required to “adopt” two portions of the text, summarize, and present the material in class. All students will participate in discussion of these presentations.

Textbooks:
The main text we will read exhaustively is the Nārāyaṇīya section of the 12 th parvan: Śāntiparvan and the Anuśāsanaparvan. Since the Critical Edition has not been translated, we will read the Ganguli translation, which is available online. I highly recommend investing $ 200 for M.N.Dutt translation of the entire epic in 9 vols. It has some typographic errors, but it gives the Sanskrit verses and translations, and it is easy to collate that with the digital Critical Edition file. I will provide the CE translations of the other readings listed above in the form of pdf-scans.

Grading:

There will be three short response papers 10-points each; 20 pts for chapter summaries; and 50 pts for a final paper. Think of this paper as a TERM paper, and work on it throughout the semester. You will pick one section of the materials covered in class and write a commentary on it. (50 pts)
PS: HUA now provides you with writing guidance at our new Writing Center. Please make use of it.

Areas of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies  and admission to program of studies

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

Day:-  Every Saturday

Start Date:- July 16, 2022

End Date:-  September 24, 2022

Time:- 10:00 am EST – 1:00 pm EST

Quarter: Summer 2022

Mahābhārata VI: Methods and Scholarship

This module will prepare students to engage actively and critically with Western views of the epic and the latest scholarship on the basis of the philosophical interpretation developed in the previous modules. We will evaluate the views of Western scholars—in particular, the prejudice that the Mahābhārata is a badly composed text, a “literary nonsense” (Winternitz) or a “monstrous chaos” (Oldenberg), and that it is an amalgamation of an older heroic oral bardic epic and Brahmanic philosophical, ritualistic, and didactic elements (the so-called “pseudo-epic” according to Hopkins). Finally, this module will introduce students to concepts in narratology and the question of authorship: Who is the enigmatic author called “Vyāsa”?

Areas of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies or Completed Orientation to Hindu Studies

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

Day:- Every Saturday

Start Date:- 9 January 2021

End Date:-  20 March 2021

Time:- 10:00 am EST – 01:00  pm EST.

Quarter: Summer 2021

Orientation to Hindu Studies

Course Content:

This course will offer a preliminary reflection on the central themes and ideas of Hinduism leading to an understanding of the common foundations of the great variety of traditions and practices within the umbrella of Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism. It will survey the central ideas of Hinduism – covering an Ontology of key Sanskrit terms and the principal ideas that are central to the cosmology, practice, and expressions of Sanatana Dharma. It will include reflections and perspectives on these core concepts, using selected readings from source texts such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Itihaasa, Bhagavad-Gita and Puranas. But it is not a Hinduism 101 course!
The course will also review the complex challenges that arise at the confluence of Hindu and western thought. The Hindu worldview based on Dharma with its emphasis on duties and responsibilities and sustainability of life will be contrasted with contemporary ideologies and their focus on rights and privileges, competition, exploiter-exploited binary, and survival of the fittest. The distinction between a discourse of knowledge and a discourse of power will be drawn out, as two alternate paradigms. Through this, the course will develop an overview and insight into the design of the curriculum offered by the Hindu University of America i.e., the context, and the paradigm that informs that design. It will examine the impact of colonial
discourse on postcolonial Hindu experience and leave students with the pressing urgency of intellectual decolonization. And as it distinguishes between colonial perspectives that constitute the received knowledge on Hinduism, from the lived reality of Hindus, it will present the significance and importance of Hindu studies today, in a deeply moving, inspiring and transformative way.

Course Learning Objectives:
In this course students will be able to:
a) Explore alternate paradigms, various options and trajectories available within the Hindu Studies Program
b) Distinguish the central ideas and concepts that constitute the Foundations of Hindu Dharma
c) Evaluate different elective areas of study and Courses offered: Sanskrit Studies, Texts and Traditions, Yoga Studies, History and Method, Post-Colonial Hindu studies and Conflict and Peace studies.
d) Distinguish between pathways towards a deep study of Hindu thought, or towards deep engagement with western thought from a Hindu perspective
e) Discover and Create pathways for engagement with the Hindu Studies curricula

Class Structure:
There will be a minimum of 1.5 contact hours with one or more faculty every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on self-study and reflection each week. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 90 minutes, the discussion time will be free format, and can continue for an additional 30 minutes. During the course, students will be required to submit one short essay. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students' self-reflection on what they have learnt and assimilated so far, and what has touched and inspired them deeply.

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundation

Program: Certificate Program in Hindu Studies (C.P.H.S), Community Education Program (C.E.P), Doctor of Philosophy in Hindu Studies, Master of Arts in Hindu Studies (M.A.H.S)

Required/ Elective: This course is a prerequisite for admission into Masters’ and Doctoral program in Hindu Studies. It is also a required Core course for the Certificate Program in Hindu Studies.

Prerequisites: None.

Faculty: Mr. Kalyan Viswanathan(along with others)

Time: 09:00 pm EST – 10:30 pm EST

Start Date: October 14, 2022

End Date: December 23, 2022

Day: Friday

Quarter Offered: Fall 2022

Race & Modern Hinduism

Course content: Readings in race theory from early theoreticians of race; the development of the “two stocks” theory of humankind by Friedrich Schlegel; its development and application in the “biracial theory” of India by his brother A. W. Schlegel; the anchoring of the “biracial theory” in Indian history by Schlegel’s student Christian Lassen through his researches into the Mahābhārata; the expansion of this concept to explain all aspects of Indian culture, including its aesthetics, religion, philosophy, worldview, and its textual productions; the application of this principle to separate, date, and refashion Indian texts; the racism espoused by German Indologists; the rise of Aryan ideology and its interaction with German anti-Semitism; the impact of Indologists’ racist theories on Indian intellectuals in the twentieth century; the turn to physical, sociological, and mechanical explanations of Indian texts.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Learn about the theological roots of the concept of race.
  2. Trace how the concept was scientized, reified, and universalized.
  3. How the concept has shaped modern humanities.

Class Structure

The class will meet for three hours each week. Students will be required to summarize and present one reading and to write a final paper on the author of their chosen reading.

Area of Study: History & Methods

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study / Concurrently enrolled or completed Orientation to Hindu Studies. 

Faculty / InstructorDr. Joydeep Bagchee

Day: Sunday

Start Date: 17 January 2021

End Date: 28 March 2021

Quarter Offered: Winter 2021

Race and Hindu Reform

Course Content:

Our aim is to trace the encounter between Hinduism and the Western historicist episteme, how Hindu thinkers responded to the incursion of this episteme, and how their responses shaped contemporary Hinduism. We shall particularly focus on the role of an English-speaking elite in this process, especially those active in the major reform movements, Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj. Throughout, we shall contrast traditional modes of self-relation, guided by ethical reflection and individual self-discipline (askesis), with modern views of Hinduism, including its cultural, nationalistic, and assimilated expressions. For critical perspectives, we shall look at the work of Weber, Arendt, Fanon, and others.

Course Objectives

In this course students will be able to:
1. Extend and apply their understanding of the concept of race.
2. Understand how colonization impacted Hindu society.
3. Reexamine the role of social reformers and modernizers in shaping modern India.

Class Structure

There will be a minimum of 3 contact hours with the faculty every week.

Areas of Study: History & Methods

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Must have enrolled in Orientation to Hindu Studies or Completed Orientation to Hindu Studies

This course is the second part of a two-part course sequence that begins with HAM6403-Race and Modern Hinduism. However, with the faculty’s permission, students may take these courses in either sequence i.e. begin with Race and Hindu Reform and then take Race and Modern Hinduism.

Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee  

Day: Sunday

Start Date:-18th July 2021

End Date:- 26th September 2021

Time:- 10:00 am EST 01:00 pm EST

Quarter: Summer 2021

Reason and Revelation in Hindu Philosophy

Course Description:
This basic course in Hindu philosophy introduces the theory of knowledge and valid criteria for obtaining knowledge (i.e., the pramāṇas). After a brief introduction to the six schools of Hindu philosophy and an overview of the texts of the tradition beginning with the Veda, the course will carefully investigate the methods of knowledge according to Advaita Vedanta. This course combines a historical survey of Indian philosophy with logical, epistemological, and ontological inquiries. Of particular concern ,will be the relationship to scripture and final liberation as the goal of all philosophy. This course fulfills the core requirement for Indian philosophy.

Course Objectives:
This course provides students with:
1. An overview of Vedic philosophical texts.
2. Basic knowledge of the twelve schools of Indian philosophy, including the difference between āstika and nāstika schools of philosophy.
3. An overview of key concepts in Hindu philosophy such as pramāṇa, darśana, dharma, veda, śabda, mokṣa, tarka, etc.
4. An in-depth understanding of the texts and arguments of Advaita.
5. Parallels with other systems of thought, especially in Western philosophy.

Required / Elective: Elective

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundation

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study/Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies or Concurrently enrolled in OTHS.

Faculty / Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee 

Quarter Offered: Winter 2022

Start Date: January 15, 2022

End Date: March 20, 2022

Day: Every Saturday

Time: 02:00 pm EST – 05:00 pm EST

Research and Writing Preparatory Seminar

Learning Outcome

This course will address four main obstacles students face in writing papers: (1) finding a suitable topic for their paper, (2) developing that topic, (3) ensuring that the topic has a suitable scope for a paper, and (4) ensuring that sufficient literature exists on which to build their thesis. It will also teach them the essential skills for writing a persuasive and well-supported paper: (1) formulating the central inquiry of the paper, (2) developing arguments and supporting them with research, (3) structuring the paper and providing suitable headings and internal connections, (4) creating a bibliography, summarizing existing literature, and situating the paper’s thesis vis-à-vis existing scholarship.

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations

Required / Elective: Required/ Must have completed or Concurrently enrolled into Orientation to Hindu Studies

Faculty: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee

Day: Every Thursday

Start Date: 9 July 2020

End Date: 17 September 2020

Time: 10:00 am -01:00 pm EST

Quarter:  Summer 2020

Textual Criticism

Students will gain a grounded knowledge of textual criticism. They will learn basic concepts and terms used in textual criticism, along with the skills to read and use a critical edition. They will also learn how to edit texts themselves. The course will prepare students to critically analyze current editions, including editions or textual reconstructions applying the “text-historical method.”

Areas of Study: History and Methods

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee

 

The Bhagavadgītā and the West

Course Content

Under “Reception” we shall study the arrival of the Bhagavadgītā in the West and the concerns that dominated its early reception. Here, we shall see how the Bhagavadgītā (and the Mahābhārata more generally) served as a foil for German nationalism and for Protestant Christian anxieties. Under “Reconstruction” we shall study how, in response to these anxieties, scholars manufactured a putative history of the text, reflecting their notions of the corruption of the original revelation, the subordination of the people by the church, and the usurpation of authority from the kings by the priesthood. Under “Research,” we shall then trace how these ideas about an original text, the so-called Ur-Gītā, and its subsequent interpolation percolated to contemporary Indian writers, using Meghnad Desai as an example. Finally, we shall also read excerpts from six authors (Brockington, Davis, Doniger, Rambachan, and Malinar) to understand the central issues alive in Gītā scholarship today (Brahmanism, nationalism, violence, caste, and racism). Optional assignments include looking at Christian apologists’ view of the Bhagavadgītā.

Course Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, students will:

  1. Acquire a comprehensive overview of the Western reception of the Bhagavadgītā.
  2. Understand the various concerns that drove this reception, including the many pseudo-problems (e.g., the “original” Gītā and the so-called problem of the unity of the Gītā) that they engendered.
  3. Develop a thorough knowledge of the Bhagavadgītā as an object of research, as well as of the latest scholarship on the Bhagavadgītā.
  4. Equip themselves with basic principles of textual criticism and the logic required for evaluating this scholarship.
  5. Explore ways of reading the Bhagavadgītā meaningfully as a coherent work of philosophy.

Class Structure

There will be a minimum of 3 contact hours with the faculty every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion, dialogue, and debate based on the study of and reflection on study materials each week. The content discussed in each class and the discussions that follow will continue for about 180 minutes. The Faculty will distribute a detailed syllabus and give a bird’s eye view of the course at its very beginning.

Area of Study: History and Method

Program of Study: Community Education Program (CEP), Master of Arts in Hindu Studies (MA HS), Doctor of Philosophy in Hindu Studies (Ph.D. HS), Certificate Program in Hindu Studies (CPHS),

Required/Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Faculty/Instructor Dr. Joydeep Bagchee

Start Date: April 11, 2021

End Date: June 20th, 2021

Time: 10:00 am EST – 01:00 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Spring 2021

The Enlightenment

A key focus of this course is to examine the way the Enlightenment framed the relationship of religious authority to prejudice. Students will additionally learn how the Enlightenment set the terms of debate for issues that continue to affect the twenty-first century, including the conflict between tradition and modernity, science and faith, reason and revelation, the private and the public, and the religious and the secular spheres. They will learn to critically analyze these issues, provide historical context, and engage with contemporary political debates.

Areas of Study: History and Methods

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee

 

The Humanities and the University – I

In this course, students will make the university itself—as a historical creation, a social body, and an institution—into an object of analysis. They will reflect on problems with the university, its relation to the wider public, and the dangers that concentration and specialization pose for learning. They will also gain critical insight into the university as an instrument of social segregation and control. Student projects can include: examining education access and outcomes for black vs. white students, graduate placement, and contemporary debates over affirmative action and discriminatory admission policies (e.g., at Harvard and other Ivy Leagues)

Area of Study: History and Methods

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee