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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

This module covers the Mahābhārata’s reception in the commentaries and 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.

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. Joydeep Bagchee Dr. Vishwa Adluri

Day:- TBD

Start Date:-TBD

End Date:-  TBD

Time:- TBD

Quarter: TBD

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:

An overview and insight into the design of the curriculum offered by the Hindu University of America. A survey of 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. The course – orientation to Hindu studies- will include reflections and perspectives on these core concepts, using selected readings from source texts such as the Vedas, Upaniṣhads, Sutras, Itihaasa, Bhagavad-Gītā, Purāṇas and Dharma-Śhāstras. The Hindu world-view 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 and survival of the fittest. The distinction between a discourse of knowledge and a discourse of power will be drawn out.

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundation

Program: Certificate Program in Hindu Studies, Community Education Program, Doctor of Philosophy in Hindu Studies, Master of Arts in Hindu Studies

Required/ Elective: 

Prerequisites: This course is a recommended prerequisite for all students who wish to enter into the Graduate program.

Faculty: Mr. Kalyan Viswanathan(along with others)

Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to: 

  1. Explore various options and trajectories available within the Hindu Studies Program
  2. Distinguish the central ideas and concepts that constitute the Foundations of Hindu Dharma; Reflect on the Hindu Studies Foundations area.
  3. Inquire into and evaluate different elective areas of study and Courses offered: Sanskrit Studies, Texts and Traditions, History and Method, Post-Colonial Hindu studies, and Conflict and Peace studies.
  4. Distinguish between pathways towards a deep study of Hindu thought, or towards deep engagement with western thought from a Hindu perspective
  5. Discover and Create customized pathway for engagement with the Hindu Studies curricula

Time: 09:00 pm EST – 10:30 pm EST

Start Date: October 8, 2021

End Date: December 17,  2021

Day: Friday

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

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

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

 

The Humanities and the University – II

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 and completion of HAM 7401 – The Humanities and the University I

Instructor: Dr. Joydeep Bagchee