CLST 029. Mythology of India

Stories are one of the foremost narrative tools in Indian society. Characters including gods, sages, kings, and the like are often used to present morals, virtues, and a blueprint for living a civilized life. Stories from ancient Indian texts and oral culture find their way into modern Bollywood dramas, soap operas, comic books, novels, music, and countless other Indian media. In modern Indian political discourse, these characters are often used as examples for what should and should not be done. Beyond India, Hindu gods and goddesses can be seen in art, architecture, Hollywood, TV shows, album covers, and more. At the same time, there are countless stories from the various cultures in India that are untold in popular media, with differing perspectives, deviant morals, and contrary visions of the world. 

This course will broadly sample mythological narratives in India from Vedic times until the present. This will include dominant Hindu cultural stories, but also stories of minority cultures existing within India such as those of Dalits, Adivasis, and other religious traditions in oral, textual, visual, and performative forms. Discussion about the stories we encounter will give students the opportunity to problematize and complexify their understanding of terms like "myth," "religion," "culture," and "history."
1 credit.
Eligible for ASIA
Spring 2024. Khanna.
Catalog chapter: Classics  
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