A prominent US university has approved a new course under which students would examine the rise of Hinduism from colonial period to the present day.
The new course called “Modern Hinduism” was approved by the faculty of the DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana -- a private, national liberal arts college.
Founded in 1837, the university has Methodist heritage and was originally known as Indiana Asbury University -- named after Francis Asbury, the first American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
“The main objective is to “encourage an understanding of the embedded nature of modern Hinduism within the historical matrices of culture, society, politics and economics in South Asia,” the university said in a statement after the course was approved by its faculty last week by show of hands.
Senior Melissa Zimmerman, a religious studies major, said the course is a natural component to the current religious studies class catalogue.
“I think it definitely sounds like a useful class. There are modern courses in Islam and Christianity, so why not Hinduism?” she said, adding that the course description seems to embody the goals of the religious studies programme.
“Religious studies allow us to look at the various religions of the world from a perspective we don’t typically do otherwise,” she said.
“We are able to learn what people say and why they say it rather than making value judgments.”