T4220 RELIGION AND CULTURE IN THE VILLAGES OF INDIA
December 30, 2013-January 27, 2014
Kochi, Kottayam, Thekkady, Periyakulam, Tiruvannamalai, Mahabalipuram
After his lengthy travels in India, Mark Twain wrote “this is indeed India; the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, . . . , the country of a hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, . . . , the one land that all men desire to see.” Some of Twain’s words were an exaggeration, but India is a land of incredible variety and diversity, making it one of the most fascinating places on earth. This course will explore India’s religious pluralism, focusing especially on Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. While it is commonly known that India gave birth to Hinduism, it also gave birth to some of the oldest Christian churches in the world, the Syrian churches of Kerala. Several centuries later, Muslims arrived through the spice trade and later arrivals ruled India for centuries.
The course will take place in the southernmost states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In Kerala the class will visit areas brimming with temples, churches, and mosques. In Tamil Nadu we will stay at two of the great “temple towns” and experience the three day Hindu festival of Pongal. We will also enter deep into Indian ways by staying five nights with families in a village in Kerala, and six nights with families in a village in Tamil Nadu. The class will visit the major cities of Cochin, Madurai, Tiruvannamalai, and Mahabalipuram, but the majority of the course will take place in the countryside. Through these experiences students will gain a strong sense of the religious fabric of the world, becoming aware of diverse religions and diversity within religions. Further, they will learn a variety of positive ways in which Christians, Muslims, and Hindus have approached religious differences.
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.
Comprehensive Fee Includes: Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, accommodations in hotels and host families, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. (subject to change)
A minimum of one course in theology or religious studies.
Tharoor, Shashi. India: From Midnight to the Millenium.
Miller, Barabara (trans.). Bhagavad-Gita.
Booklet of readings. [This booklet will include readings from various Hindu scriptures, Vasudha Narayanan, A Concise Introduction to World Religions, and Lonely Planet’s South India.]
Edward Ulrich, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas (651) 962-5307
Barbara Sain, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas (651) 962-5327
Description of Faculty Directors
Dr. Ulrich is a Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas and has studied India since childhood and holds a Ph.D. specializing in the comparative study of Hindu and Christian thought. He taught world religions courses at St. Thomas for the past ten years, attended the 2004 NEH Summer Seminar on India, and published eight scholarly articles involving India, and one book chapter on interreligious dialogue. He has lead seven UMAIE programs and this will be his fouth time leading this UMAIE course in India.
Dr. Sain is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas. She holds a Ph.D. in Christian systematic theology and has taught theology at St. Thomas since 2003. Dr. Sain has taught two previous off-campus courses.
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2013
For more information on course content, contact Prof. Edward Ulrich
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.