This course offers an introduction to the study of religion in Asian societies. We will begin by discussing classical approaches to defining religion and studying its role in society. We will then answer two critical questions about religion. First, what do religious beliefs and practices look like in various parts of Asia? Second, how do these beliefs and practices inform people’s everyday lives? We will explore each of these questions at the level of society, at the level of organizations within society, and at the level of individuals.
This course surveys a broad range of religious ideas and practices belonging to different Asian traditions. Our survey includes Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. These religious traditions are important factors in the history, cultures, and literatures of South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia.