On our Winter Term course to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, we will encounter the diversity of contemporary Indian identities, devoting particular attention to religion, caste, and gender. We will interact and enter into a wide range of Indian religious spaces associated with Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish traditions and come into direct contact with Indians from an array of caste backgrounds, education levels, and occupations, allowing them to develop an informed appreciation of the diversity of the world’s largest democracy. Through daily interactions with Indians who live and work in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala, we will consider the nature of religious identity and practice; explore cultural expectations regarding gender (including arranged and other forms of marriage); assess the ways in which caste does and does not matter in contemporary society; and analyze how tradition and modernity interact in this rapidly changing nation.
To prepare for this course, we, the Elon students, are taking a one credit hour prep course to provide some background on the wonderful country we will be visiting. In this course, we have read articles on gender, caste, and religion, all of which have given us more and more background and helpful information. Our Maryville friends are also learning a lot of background about India that they’ll need too!
Be sure to check the blog page for more posts about our adventures in India!