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Race & Modern Hinduism

This course traces the construction of “race” in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe, beginning with the theological, political, and scientific source texts and culminating in a close examination of how the concept of race guided the reception of Indian texts in the Western Academy. The central argument of the course will be made by a close study of key texts produced by German and French Indologists in contributing to a race theory. The concluding portion of the course will look at the repercussions of the concept of race on modern Hindu thinkers.

$900.00

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Course Code: HAM 6403

Credit Hours: 3

Course Level: 600

$900.00

This course traces the construction of “race” in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe, beginning with the theological, political, and scientific source texts and culminating in a close examination of how the concept of race guided the reception of Indian texts in the Western Academy. The central argument of the course will be made by a close study of key texts produced by German and French Indologists in contributing to a race theory. The concluding portion of the course will look at the repercussions of the concept of race on modern Hindu thinkers.

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Description

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.

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

Additional information

Quarter Offered

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