RELG 108. Poets, Saints, and Storytellers: The Poetry and Poetics of Devotion in South Asian Religions

A study of the major forms of Hindu religious culture through the lenses of its varied regional and pan-regional literatures, with a focus on the literature of devotion (bhakti), including comparative readings from Buddhist and Islamic traditions of India. The course will focus on both primary texts in translation (religious poetry and prose narratives in epic and medieval Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, Hindi, Pali, Sinhala, Sindhi, and Urdu) as well as pertinent secondary literature on the poetry and poetics of religious devotion. We will also pay close attention to specific literary forms, genres, and regional styles, as well as the performance (music and dance) and hagiographical traditions that frame the poems of Hindu saint-poets, Buddhist monks, and Muslim mystics. Along with a chronological and geographical focus, the seminar will be organized around major themes such as popular/vernacular and "elite" traditions; the performance and ritual contexts of religious poetry; the place of the body in religious emotion; love, karma, caste, and family identity; asceticism and eroticism; gender and power; renunciation and family obligations.
2 credits.
Eligible for ASIA, MDST
Fall 2023. Hopkins.
Catalog chapter: Religion  
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