HIS 382N • Hindu Temple in History
This interdisciplinary seminar, designed expressly for students with a range of backgrounds and interests, will examine various aspects of the Hindu temple within the context of Indian history as a whole. During the course of the semester, we will survey the cultural dimensions of temples, investigate specific major temples as case-studies, and analyze recent debates on the role of temples and temple patronage. Special emphasis will be given to the institutional aspects of the Hindu temple and its involvement in the larger economy, society, and polity surrounding it. Students will be assigned readings in common throughout the semester but will also have the opportunity to pursue individualized research on topics of their choice, including the temple's religious and art-historical significance. The format of the course will be mostly group discussion, with occasional short lectures by the instructor as well as oral presentations by students. By the end of the semester, students should have a better understanding both of the temple's place in Indian society and of the ways in which the study of temples can yield insights into India's past.