Contextualizing Religion in South Asia and Eastern Europe

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course offers a comparative discussion of topics relevant to the academic study of religions, based on historical and contemporary material from South Asia and Eastern Europe. Working with selected themes from both areas, the course also provides an introduction to systematic and comparative approaches inthe study of religions. The course has alternating topics, usually a combination of themes, such as religious diversity, religion and ethnicity/language, religious practices, religious mobility, new religiosities, religion and materiality, religion and the arts, and other themes relevant from the perspective of the study of religions.

Learning Outcomes


By the end of the course, the student

  • has a general knowledge of the discussed themes and their cultural contexts
  • has a general knowledge of concepts important for the thematic areas of the course
  • has a general knowledge of comparative and systematic approaches to the study of religions


  • has the capability to draw conclusions of her/his own when dealing with complex themes
  • has the capability to produce examination essays in accordance with the rules for academic writing

General competence

  • has the ability to work with considerable amounts of material within a limited time period
  • has the ability to synthesize, analyze and present the processed material in writing

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

autumn and spring, not regularly

Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Due to course overlap, students cannot take RELV342 in combination with RELV242. If combined, the outcome of credits will be reduced with 15 ECTS credits.
Access to the Course
The course is open to students enrolled in the Master programme at the University of Bergen.
Teaching and learning methods
Approximately 10 lectures (20 hours)
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
A review of one of the books from the reading list (ca. 800 words). The date of submission will be announced on MittUiB. The compulsory assignment will be evaluated with "approved/not approved."
Forms of Assessment

Forms of assessment:

  • a mid-term essay of approx. 3000 words
  • a 5-day take-home examination of approx. 3000 words at the end of the semester

Each essay counts for 50% of the final grade.

Both essays must be passed in the same teaching semester in order to pass the course.

The exam assignment will be given in English.

The exam can be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading Scale
A graded marking scale (A to F) is used. A is the top grade and F means failed.
Assessment Semester
Autumn and spring, but not regularly. There will also be assessment early spring/autumn term (only for students with valid mandatory course requirements), if the course has been taught the term before.
Reading List

The reading list for the course comprises approximately 1200 pages.

The reading list is published by July 1st for the autumn term and December 1st for the spring term.

Course Evaluation
The course unit will be evaluated regularly.
Examination Support Material
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee for The Study of Religions
Course Coordinator
The Programme Committee for the Study of Religions, Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion (AHKR).
Course Administrator
Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies, and Religion (AHKR)