Hindu History as it is reconstructed in school and college textbooks suffers from both commissions and omissions. The course will examine the glaring omissions i.e. the knowledge-systems of the ancient Indians, and their impact on the world in various periods of time and make a strong case for an ancient Hindu civilization that was knowledge-based. It will explore the ancient knowledge systems of the Hindus in such diverse fields as (a) Philosophy; (b) Medicine; (c) Math; (d) Astronomy; (e) Music; (f) Technology; (g) Arts; (h) Sciences; (i) Textiles; (j) Metallurgy; (k) Architecture and many others. It will also explore available evidence for the outflow of knowledge from India to the world, from ancient through current times.
Hindus note with dismay the significant omissions in their western-reconstructed History, which is nevertheless presented as uncontestable historical truth, certified by the western expert. More often than not, a Hindu cannot recognize their own civilization in the contemporary presentation of Hindu History. This 1-credit course will (a) expose the student to original sources and efforts to reconstruct a more authentic narrative about Hindu History; (b) build the foundations used to challenge the existing narratives, and (c) present an evidence-based alternative narrative for the deep history of Hindus. The course will be multi-disciplinary and draw from various original sources and curated content from published research papers in various disciplines, as well as classic textbooks by various authors. Course handouts will include key papers and class notes.
This course is for the person who wants a rational, logical understanding of ancient Hindu history, and wants to understand the evidence from multi-disciplinary fields. The background required to understand the various subject areas will be covered in the course itself.
Course Learning Objectives:
In this course the student will be able to:
- Explore the approaches that can be used to construct an authentic historical narrative about the Hindus
- Discover and investigate both original sources as well as contemporary research into these sources, for building alternative narratives on Hindu history.
- Evaluate the evidence from these fields that have a bearing on these historical narratives.
- Acquire critical evaluation skills to analyze alternative narratives.
- Transform their knowledge and understanding of Hindu history and culture.
The Instructor will provide a strong understanding of the evidence from these areas, and how that contributes to a strong, bold, inspiring, factual new narrative on the Hindu civilization.
The course outline is as follows, where each topic is expected to run for 75 minutes. Each class will have about 50 minutes of instruction, followed by about 25 minutes of interaction, Q&A. The first 10 topics will be handled in the 1st term, where a strong foundation will be laid for the antiquity of Hindus. The remaining topics will be handled in the second term, where we will address the knowledge systems of the Hindus.
The class is structured into supplement classroom instruction with discussions and self-study each week. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 50 minutes, the discussion time will be free format and can continue for an additional 25 minutes maximum. Quizzes will evaluate students understanding of the material. Students will either write a final paper on a topic of their choice from within the course syllabus or take a final exam at the end of each term.
Faculty: Dr. Raj Vedam
Required / Elective: Elective
Prerequisites: Admission to Program of Study
Area of Study: History & Methods
Program of Study: Community Education Program (CEP), Certificate Program in Hindu Studies (CPHS)
Start Date: TBD
End Date: TBD
Quarter Offered: Winter 2021