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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2021 - 2022

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is to explore the cultural traditions commonly known as ‘religions’ through an introductory engagement with a number of these traditions with historical origins in South Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. The module will problematize and critically interrogate the concept of ‘religion’ and consider its usefulness or applicability to the cultural traditions under discussion. The closely related concept of ‘world religion’ will also be problematised. Through engaging with these traditions of South Asian origin, students will reflect critically on the discipline of Religious Studies and its historic development. Particular attention will be paid to the historical relationships between knowledge and power in the context of the European colonial enterprise in South Asia. The module will also examine a number of religious traditions whose origins lie outside South Asia in their South Asian context: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Students will develop skills in reading primary source texts and the evaluation and use of appropriate secondary sources.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an ability to problematize the designation religion with particular reference to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism
2. Display a broad knowledge of the geographic, historical, and cultural background of South Asia in the formative period of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism
3. Demonstrate specialist knowledge of a number of key texts from the South Asian religious traditions and their roles as sources of religious authority
4. Describe in detail a range of practices, beliefs and cultural complexes of South Asian religious traditions
5. Identify key critical issues in the study of South Asian religious traditions, such as Orientalism

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study101No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction and Scope of the Module

Issues in the Study of Religions of South Asian Origin

Historical, Geographical and Linguistic Contexts

The Vedic Period






Judaism, Christianity and Islam in South Asia

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Hillary P. Rodrigues: 2016, Introducing Hinduism, 2nd, Routledge, London, 9780415549660
  • Charles S. Prebish,Damien Keown: 0, Introducing Buddhism, 2nd, Routledge, London, 9780415550017
  • Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby (eds): 2017, Religions of India, 2nd, Routledge, London,
  • Michael Carrithers: 1983, The Buddha: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford Paperbacks, 9780192854537
  • Damien Keown: 2013, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 9780199663835
  • Matthew T. Kapstein: 2013, Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 9780199735129
  • Stephen Jacobs: 2010, Hinduism Today, A&C Black, 9780826430656
  • Sue Hamilton: 2001, Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford Paperbacks, 9780192853745
  • Alexander Wynne: 2014, Buddhism, I.B. Tauris, 9781848853973
  • Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh: 2011, Sikhism, I.B. Tauris, 9781848853201
  • Jeffery D. Long: 2009, Jainism, Macmillan, 9781845116255
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes