2023-2024 Catalog

RELS 276 Empire and Religion in Asia and the Pacific

Mainstream historical accounts of empire tend to focus on political and economic reasons for state expansion, leaving students with little insight into the experience of colonialism and imperialism "on the ground" for both the colonizers and the colonized.  This course will offer methodological tools that encourage an understanding of everyday, non-elite voices into the study of empire in Asia and the Pacific by focusing on religious experience.  Studying religion -- which was used as both a tool for colonial domination, as well as for resistance -- complicates ideas of empire as straightforward and as a mono-directional process.  Case studies in this course will explore the interaction between empire and religion across a range of regions and historical moments. Students will then embark on their own research project related to a place and theme of their choice.  In the end, the course will give students an insight into how Asian and Pacific societies variously responded to imperialism while also influencing the societies of the colonizer.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Global Connections