Religions of South Asia: An Introduction

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Summer after year 2: Preliminary dissertation research in South Asia. AIIS grant proposal for dissertation research is due July 1 of second year for research to be carried out in fourth year. Year 3: Most grant proposals to fund dissertation research have early fall deadlines.

Prehistoric Foundations

Prepare for the M. Phil exam, which is to be taken in the middle of the spring semester. Complete dissertation prospectus by the end of spring semester. Serve as teaching assistant in fall and spring semesters.

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Year 4: Engage in dissertation research in South Asia. Some students spend more than a year in South Asia. Year 5: Write the dissertation.

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Most students require more than a year to complete the dissertation. For students who receive external funding for their fourth-year research in South Asia, the five years of GSAS funding can extend through the sixth year. By the time they begin their dissertation research abroad, all students are expected to have achieved at least a fourth-year level of competency in one South Asian language and a third-year level competency in a second.

South Asian Religions | Department of Religion

For students of Hinduism, one of these languages will almost invariably be Sanskrit. The second will be a regional, "mother-tongue" language. Some dissertation topics may require an additional third language, in which the student should acquire at least intermediate competency. Alternatively, this exam could explore a complementary field of interest within the span of South Asian religions. In either case, Parts 2 and 3 should draw upon different titles and address different themes or methodologies. A design for a course syllabus that would either be comparative or fall within the South Asian realm.

Humans have inhabited this area for approximately 45, years and originated on the Indian subcontinent. The Austronesian people migrated here from present-day Taiwan around 2, BC.

SOAS University of London

These early inhabitants were successful explorers and traveled as far as Madagascar by sea route which influenced trade among the Asian and European regions. Mobility among different nations had an impact on all aspects of the culture, including religion. With about million adherents, Islam is the most prevalent religion in Southeast Asia. Other religions include Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism.

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  4. Bibliographic Information.
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  8. The earliest practiced religion throughout the region was animism, the belief that plants and animals possess spirits. Indian traders later introduced Hinduism around the 1st century AD which led to the creation of several large and powerful kingdoms. Hinduism was once so popular that it was the state religion of several Southeast Asian countries. This fact held true until around the 13th century. By the 14th century, most places had turned to Buddhism in an attempt to move away from the caste system that is so prevalent in Hinduism.

    Evidence of the religion, however, remains. One example is Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple. In Thailand, people still worship some Hindu gods. Today, the religion is practiced mainly in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. While Hinduism was influential throughout the region, Buddhism took hold and remained prominent in many countries.

    The Appropriation of Religion in Southeast Asia and Beyond

    From the 9th through the 13th centuries, Mahayana Buddhism was the major religious practice, and it went on to influence language, art, and architecture. Unlike other religions, Buddhism spread via the people, not the ruling elite. Today, Thailand is Vietnam , once majority Buddhist, now has a population of By the early 9th century, Arab traders began to play a key role in international trade. In AD, a Muslim settlement was established on the west coast of Sumatra and slowly spread to other communities.