History of religions, concentrating on religions that have developed in South Asia and East Asia. Primary attention to Hinduism and Buddhism; other important Asian religions are discussed in relation to them, with emphasis on basic conceptual and symbolic structures.
Students will be introduced to the history, beliefs, and practices of major religious traditions of India and East Asia--Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto. They will learn the essential elements of the religions--myth and legend, significant scriptures and doctrines, paths of transformation, ritual and moral codes. They will also learn how Buddhism in East Asia modified, and was modified by, the religious orientations of indigenous traditions.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lectures and films/videos.
The best preparation for success in the course is regular attendance to and active participation in lectures and discussion sections. Students are also strongly recommended to read the assigned materials prior to lectures.
Class assignments and grading
Reading assignment will be a combination of primary sources (translation of scriptures) and secondary sources (descriptive accounts of major elements). Students are expected to read 50-60 pages per week.
Grading will be based on four exams (one for each segment; 20% each), discussion section participation (20%). Exams will not be cumulative, and will be based on lectures (which will not be summaries of readings), assigned readings, and films shown in class.