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Hinduism

Fall 2017
Religious Studies
RELS 2011
Instructor: Dr. Christopher Austin
Lec. Tues./Thurs. 15:35-16:55
prerequisite: none


Approximately one billion human beings -- some 13% of the world's population -- are Hindu. Half a million are Canadian. Hinduism is a complex body of cultural, religious and philosophical traditions that have been powerfully shaping the world for well over 3000 years. So what do you know about Hinduism?



This course provides the tools for a basic understanding of Hindu religion, myth, ritual, philosophy, culture and society. What is Hinduism? Is it one religion? Several? Who are the gods and goddesses of Hinduism? How and why are they worshiped? How is Hindu society organized, and what practices and commitments make men and women Hindu? These are the fundamental questions explored in this course, which requires no prior knowledge or courses in RELS. We will examine:

  • popular gods and goddesses and their worship traditions
  • renunciation, philosophy and the pursuit of liberation
  • tantra, yoga and techniques of radical bodily transformation
  • mythic and narrative traditions of Hindu India
  • ethics and ideals of Hindu society
  • political contexts of modern and contemporary Hinduism

Registration now open
Classes begin Tues. Sept. 5th 2017
Last day to add fall term courses: Sept. 18th 2017


CLICK HERE [PDF 306 KB] for Fall 2017 Syllabus RELS 2011 Hinduism