PhD candidate Amy Hyne teaching at Huston-Tillotson University
interviewed by Jennifer Tipton, graduate coordinator
Posted: March 10, 2014
Amy Hyne with three of her students at Explore UT. Students pictured are Leland Adams, Jarrett Evans, and Martineau Jeffrey-West.
Amy Hyne is a PhD candidate in Asian Cultures and Languages. Her dissertation explores the social, religious, and political motivations behind ascriptions of "madness" in India. Her work is comparative in nature, utilizing both classical Sanskrit texts and interviews conducted in India during the 2012-2013 term. This semester, Amy is teaching a course at Huston-Tillotson University.
Jennifer: Tell us a little about the class.
Amy: This class was made possible by a collaboration between Huston-Tillotson and the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. The course number is REL 3308.1 Religions of India, and it is offered by the Religious Studies department. It’s an introductory survey course on the religious landscape of India. Beginning with the Indus Valley Civilization and ending with a discussion of the religious plurality of contemporary India, we examine the history of various religious, cultural, political, architectural and technological developments of the subcontinent. Covering many traditions, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism, this is a bit of a whirlwind class that seeks to focus both on historical foundations and contemporary practices. Since it is an introductory class on Religion, I also introduce students to some of the critical approaches and debates engaged in the academic study of Religion.
Jennifer: Have you taught it before or plan to teach it again once you graduate?
Amy: This is my first time teaching my own course, though I have taught Sanskrit as a Teaching Assistant in the past. I do plan to teach this course again when I graduate.
Jennifer: How many students are registered? Are they mostly Religious Studies majors?
Amy: There are 13 students in the class, ranging from Freshmen to Seniors, from many different majors (Criminal Justice, Sociology, Religion, Business).
Jennifer: How are you enjoying it?
Amy: We are mid-semester now and this has already been an incredible experience. The students are motivated and thoughtful, often asking questions and bringing insights to the discussion I hadn’t previously considered. Teaching at a university like Huston-Tillotson has been great because the class sizes are small, so I get a chance to know the students and every student has the opportunity to be heard in discussions.