History, Culture, and Religion in Early India
This course surveys the major cultural, religious and social factors that shaped the course of Indian history from 2500 BCE to 1200 CE. This course covers: the Harappan civilization, the Vedas and Upanisads, urbanization and the rise of states, agrarian expansion, Buddhism and Jainism, classical Hinduism, the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the development of temples to Shiva, Vishnu and the Goddess, and medieval devotional movements. In addition to secondary readings, we will read select primary sources, including Vedic and Buddhist and Jain texts, Puranas and medieval temple inscriptions. Major objectives of the course will be to draw attention to India's early cultural and religious past and to assess contemporary concerns and ideologies in influencing our understanding and representation of that past.