During the colonial period in British-ruled India a variety of religious reformers began efforts to convince Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs to reform their religious practices and beliefs. An intensive period of outreach by reformers during this period transformed every aspect of religious practice and identity to their more modern version with which we are familiar today. Using educational outreach, print media, and lecture tours preachers and reformers travelled all through Colonial India, seeking to influence their own religious communities, but also often engaging in polemical attacks on others. Our class will review the literature from this period to understand what religious identity and practice meant to people of this time, how religious identity changed in this transformative period, and how such transformations had wide reaching impacts on politics, nationalism, family structure, education, and the role of women in society.
Student learning goals
Gain a broad understanding of religious identity and change in Colonial India, roughly the 19th and early 20th century
Understand how to read and interpret primary sources from a variety of perspectives
Understand the multiple historical contexts in which change occurred and the contingencies that individual actors faced, as well as how these shaped their actions
Develop good analytical and writing skills
General method of instruction
primarily through discussion of readings--short lectures at the start of each class will be used to set up a context for the readings
No pre-requisites--desire to participate in discussion a must
Class assignments and grading
short writing assignments, three 5p. papers, 1 page journal entries every week.
3 short 5p. papers, with mandatory revision of 2 lowest scoring papers, discussion journal, class participation