Eric Steinschneider (Ph.D. Religion, University of Toronto 2016) is a scholar of religion in South Asia. His research examines how religious traditions change in modernity and the manner in which they participate in the production of local conceptions of history, authority, and personhood. Eric’s dissertation examined the colonial-era reception of a body of theological poetry composed in the Tamil language, and its role in the formation of a distinctively vernacular modern Hindu discourse in Southern India. Other interests include religion and the Tamil historical novel, and the relationship between ecology and the politics of religious contestation. Eric has taught courses on Hinduism, world religions, and religious pluralism in modern India.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Hinduism, Religion in South Asia
This course is an introduction to multiple concepts of the divine in South Asia. We will explore the different ways that the religious traditions of South Asia understand supernatural beings and forces. In order to do this we will read portions of primary texts in translation, examine iconography, and watch rituals as they unfold. In addition to learning about the South Asia traditions, we will put those conceptions of the divine in conversation with those rooted in a European context, forcing you to learn to think critically about the ways people from different cultures view the world around them.
The objective of this course is to introduce you to the study of the phenomenon called 'religion'. What makes people religious? How is religion defined? What are the different approaches to understanding religion in all of its diversity? Through a reading of texts from diverse backgrounds and approaches, this course will illuminate the complex and multi-dimensional elements of religion, and how the study of religion can open up new ways of seeing the world.
Overview of the traditional Hindu narratives found in the Vedic, epic, and puranic literature and in their many forms in regional literary and artistic forms, and the narratives influence on culture, philosophy, literature, and folklore.