Religion and Society in the South Asian World
Lawrence A. Babb (Section 01)
(Also Asian 60.) Observers have long marveled at the sheer number of separate religious traditions that flourish and interact with each other in South Asia. In this single ethnographic region, the Indian subcontinent, we find Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Jews, and others as well. Given this extraordinary diversity, South Asia provides an unparalleled opportunity to study interactions between religious systems in a broad range of social and political contexts. This course takes advantage of this circumstance by exploring, in South Asian settings, a variety of theoretical approaches to the study of religion. Among the subjects to be considered are religion and social hierarchy, religion and gender, religious responses to rapid social change, modern religious movements, religion and modern media, religious nationalism, and South Asian religions in diaspora. Although the course focuses on the South Asian region, it is designed to emphasize theoretical issues of current interest to anthropologists and others who study religion from the perspective of social science. While some background in South Asian studies would be helpful, it is not a prerequisite for this course. Limited to 15 students. Second semester. Professor Babb.