This course is discontinued

SAS2502 – Religion in South Asia

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course deals with the diverse religions and religious movements, their literatures and contemporary expressions that developed in South Asia. We will deal with the Vedic religion, Buddhism and Jainism and their diverse branches which are prevalent in India and other parts of South and South East Asia today, various ascetic movements, religious reform movements answering to changing contexts, various forms of Hinduism (such as and Sant and Bhakti movements in mediaeval and contemporary India), so-called “folk religion”, and Islam. Here not only public expressions of religious beliefs and practice, but also domestic religiosity, questions of the interconnection of Brahmanic concepts of purity, the varṇa and the caste systems, and contemporary expressions of religion in new media such as the internet will be dealt with. How and why did and do new religions emerge? How did religious leaders reinterpret South Asian religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) in the context of colonialism? How do local and trans-regional expressions of religiosity intersect? What are the major means of expressing one’s religious affiliation, and how does this affect everyday life?

Learning outcome

On the basis of ancient, mediaeval and contemporary examples this course aims at providing you with a basic knowledge of and tools for understanding and analysing religious beliefs and practices in South Asia.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Singular course students may register after January 9th 2009 depending on capacity.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

SAS1500 - Innføring i moderne sørasiatisk historie

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with SAS1502 – Religion and Politics in South Asia (discontinued)


The course consists of 14 weekly double hours of lectures throughout the semester, a total of 28 hours, of which 8 will be seminars. Active student participation (written and verbal assignments) and preparation for the seminars in advance is expected.
Students will submit 2 minor assignments during the course, both in English. 1 of 2 must be approved by the course teacher before the student is allowed to take the final exam. The assignment must be 2-3 pages long (2300 characters per page, not including spaces) and shall be submitted in Fronter. The Obligatory statement concerning cheating must be submitted along with the assignment. Due dates for the assignments will be published in the detailed teaching plan.
Students are responsible for obtaining information regarding the approval of their assignments.
See Retningslinjer for obligatorisk undervisningsaktivitet ved IKOS


1 of 2 assignments must be approved before the student is allowed to take the final exam.
Evaluation: 3-day take-home exam at the end of the semester.
Students will have 3 days to complete the exam. The length of the exam should be approximately 4-6 pages long (2300 characters per page, not including spaces). The exam must be submitted in Fronter. Together with the take-home exam, students shall submit the Obligatory statement regarding cheating.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






The course will not be taught spring semester 2010: This course overlaps with REL2220 - Hinduismen.


The course is replaced by REL2220 Hinduismen

Teaching language