Dates: 12/02/2017 - 18/03/2017
Mode of Delivery: Online
Level: 6 (Year 3)
Credit Value: 20 (for regular BA Theology and Religious Study)
This module focuses on the transformations of Hinduism during modernity and late modernity, while covering, as background, the development of Hinduism and the bhakti movement during Islamic rule. One of the key objectives of the module is to understand the history of modern Hinduism as part of the cultural, social, and philosophical contexts of its time, attending especially to how the tension between nondualistic and personalistic worldviews take varied shapes in these contexts. Central to our historical approach will be attention to the growth and development of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
To gain a rich and nuanced understanding, we will do close readings of original sources and secondary literature and will take note of various relevant scholarly approaches to the study of religion in the contemporary world. In addition to taking broad perspectives on our subject, we will also narrow our focus by exploring the lives and thought of key persons such as Rammohun Roy and Mahatma Gandhi.
This module will enable students to understand the challenges that Hindus and Vaishnavas have faced during and after the colonial period, particularly with reference to key figures such as Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It will also foster analytical thinking about the emergence of missionary movements and modern institutions in the contexts of contemporary India and globalization.
Pranava Dasa teaches Modern Hinduism at year 3. He has previously taught courses such as The Six Classical Indian Philosophies and Science and Religion. He started his academic career in the year 2000 and has been a teacher at the Bhaktivedanta College since 2002. He has completed a M.A. and Ph.D. in History of Religions at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. He is the academic director of the Bhaktivedanta Research Centre in Kolkata and a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He and his wife, Kamala Priya, live in Stockholm.
Expected Student Learning Activity and Contact Hours
200 hours notional learning hours of which 32 hours will be contact time
Students are expected to attend all lectures and seminars
The module covers the following topics: • The Moghul Influence (971-1757). • The Rise of Popular forms of Hinduism. • Hinduism and the British (1650 – 1950). • Christianity and Hinduism: a consideration of the settlements, impressions and influence of Christian missionaries on the Hindu tradition. • 19th Century Bengal and the rise of the Bhadraloka (intellectual elite of Bengal). • Ram Mohan Roy and the Brahmo Samaj. • Dayananda Sarasvati and the Arya Samaj. • Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vivekananda. • Aurobindo Ghose: a consideration of his life, teachings and influence. • Bhaktivinoda and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. • Gandhi: a study of his life, main religious teachings, and his attitude to modernity caste and gender. • Hindu Nationalism and Hinduism as a World Religion: a consideration of contemporary trends in Hinduism today and issues surrounding its emergence as a world religion. • Bhaktivedanta Swami, ISKCON and Hindu Reform: a consideration of ISKCON as a reform movement in the context of modern Hindu reform movements.
To provide students with:
a background to the emergence of Modern Hinduism
a detailed understanding of the lives and teachings of the Hindu reformers that shaped it.
Methods of Learning and Teaching and Formative Assessment
Lecturing, whole class discussions, group discussions, debate, prepare and exhibit, video, PowerPoint.
Students will demonstrate:
- A critical understanding of a range of historical and social influences that have shaped the development of modern Hinduism.
- A comprehensive knowledge of the lives and teachings of the Hindu reformers most influential in the development of modern Hinduism.
- An ability to critically analyse contemporary trends in Hinduism as it emerges as a world religion and assess the role of ISKCON in these developments.
- An ability to critically evaluate the interpretation of Hindu theology and practice from a range of different perspectives.
Assessment and Reassessment Components and Weighting
1. A two-hour written exam (50%) [LO 1, 3, 4].
2. A 2,000-word essay (50%) [LO 1, 2, 4].
Reassessment: As assessment.
Beckerlegge, G. (2006). Swami Vivekananda’s Legacy of Service: A Study of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Dasa, N. Shukavak (1999). Hindu Encounter with Modernity. Los Angeles, SRI publications.
Halbfass, W. (1988). India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding. Albany, State University of New York Press.
Hatcher, B.A. (1999). Eclecticism and modern Hindu discourse. New York, Oxford University Press.
Majumdar, R.C. (1988). British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance Part 1. Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Majumdar, R.C. (1994). The Mughal Empire. Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Radice, W. (ed.) (1999). Swami Vivekananda and the Modernisation of Hinduism. New Delhi, Oxford University Press.
Sardella, F. (2012). Modern Hindu Personalism: The History, Life and Thought of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Oxford University Press.
Sen, Amiya P. (1993). Hindu Revivalism in Bengal 1872-1905. New Delhi, Oxford University Press.
Sharma, A. (2002). Modern Hindu Thought: The Essential Texts. New Delhi, Oxford University Press.
Smith, D. (2003). Hinduism and Modernity. Malden, Blackwell’s Publishing.