Winter 2024 Courses

ASIAN 580: Philosophy of Sikhism

About: This course examines the philosophical teachings of Sikhism, one of the younger spiritual-philosophical traditions of India. We examine key concepts developed by the Sikh Gurus and ask how  they address themes such as the nature of death, rebirth, karma, liberation, time/language, the nature of self and mind, consciousness, theism/atheism, spirituality, ethics. Students will learn how to apply Sikh philosophical concepts to contemporary global issues e.g. mental health, social & political activism, political violence, climate change, psychology, medical ethics etc. Students will learn how to apply their knowledge of the concepts to such issues and develop a podcast around it in consultation with the instructor. Taught as a combined graduate and undergraduate seminar, this course will be of particular interest to students interested in global philosophies, Asian psychology and spiritualities.  Classes will meet once a week for 3 hours. Assessment will be based on weekly responses and a collaborative podcast project. 

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ASIAN 338: Indian Philosophy & Spirituality

About: This course surveys a selection of ancient and contemporary philosophical and spiritual systems that have emerged in India. We will look at a variety of traditions including Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sufi and Sikh and their contribution to the broader cultural framework of South Asia. Possible topics include the nature of reality, knowledge, karma and rebirth, death, love, the individual, the point of human life, and the problem of suffering. We’ll study texts from these traditions to help us ask questions such as: What is the nature of reality? What are the relationships between reality and mind? What is the self, and does it endure through time? Is science the only way to cognition? Is intuition an alternative (or supplement) to the scientific approach? What is the importance of spiritual practice? Does spiritual practice lead to a genuine cognition?