A close study of a focused topic that has broad significance in Asian Studies. Normally to be team-taught by two faculty of the department. The approach will be multidisciplinary; the goal of the course will be to explore a subject of interest in Asian Studies that also has suggestive implications for issues in the humanities and social sciences.
Every culture holds something to be sacred, but cultures differ, often dramatically, in the ways in which they distribute sacredness in the world. These differences, moreover, can tell us a great deal about the world views and value systems of the cultures in question. This course focuses on the ways in which Asian civilizations have constructed and projected concepts of the sacred, with special reference to Japan and India. In Asia, as elsewhere, places, objects, and persons can be considered sacred, and these domains will be central to the course. Course readings will include theoretical speculation about the sacred as a human response to the cosmos, as well as material on pilgrimage, iconography, and charismatic leadership in Asian cultures.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professors Babb and Morse.