Harshita Mruthinti Kamath

Assistant Professor of Religion

Phone: work802.443.5627
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:30
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Harshita Mruthinti Kamath teaches courses on South Asian religious traditions, including Hinduism and Islam.  Her research focuses on the construction of gender in classical textual and performance traditions in the south Indian language of Telugu.  Trained in the Indian classical dance style of Kuchipudi, Professor Kamath incorporates a broad range of methodologies and disciplines into her research and teaching, including performance theory, South Asian studies, gender and sexuality studies, and ethnography.  Professor Kamath came to Middlebury College in January 2013.



Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

RELI 0140 - Hindu Traditions of India      

Hindu Traditions of India AT
In this course we will identify and examine key themes and issues in the study of Hindu religious traditions in India, beginning with the defining of the terms Hinduism, religions, and religious. We will primarily focus on the ways Hindu religious traditions—texts, narratives, and practices—are performed, received, and experienced in India. Essential aspects of Hindu religious traditions will be examined, including: key concepts (darsan, dharma, karma and caste), key texts (the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana), and major religious deities (Shiva, Devi and Vishnu). The course will also cover contemporary Hindu-Muslim encounters, and the emerging shape of Hinduism in the American diaspora. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.


Spring 2013, Fall 2013

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RELI 0242 / DANC 0242 - Dance & Knowledge India      

Dance & Embodied Knowledge in the Indian Context
In this theory-practice course in religion, dance, and South Asian studies we will analyze the nature of embodied knowledge and the creative power of performance in the Indian context. During two class sessions per week we will contextualize embodied movement with discussions of Hindu mythology, Hindu devotionalism (bhakti), Sanskrit aesthetic theory (rasa), western performance theories, and Indian classical dance history. One class session per week will be devoted to learning basic movements in south Indian classical dance, culminating in an informal performance of one dance piece. We will highlight the difference ways in which the body and dance are perceived in religious mythology, aesthetic theory, historical context, and dance movement. No dance experience required. 2 hrs. lect./disc., 1 hr. dance


Fall 2013

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RELI 0254 - Islam in South Asia      

Islam in South Asia AT
Islam has played a significant role in shaping the culture and politics of South Asia, from the seventh century to the present. In this course we will consider the historical, socio-cultural, religious, and political impact of Islam in South Asia. We will begin with the introduction of Islam into the South Asian landscape, covering a range of historical moments, including the Delhi Sultanate, the rise of Mughal rule, colonial interactions, and the development of new nation states. We will then examine Islam as it is lived, practiced, and experienced in contemporary South Asia, focusing on themes such as mysticism and sainthood; issues of gender; and Hindu-Muslim encounters. 3 hrs. lect./disc.


Spring 2014

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RELI 0341 / GSFS 0341 / WAGS 0341 - Gender Sexuality S. Asian Rel      

Gender and Sexuality in South Asian Religions
In this course we will focus on historical and ethnographic scholarship on Hinduism and Islam in South Asia. We will initially draw on the theories of Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and third world feminists to examine issues of gender and sexuality. Then we will examine a range of case studies—including colonial interpretations of the Hindu practices of sati, the experiences of devadasis in Telugu south India, an account of a female Muslim healer in Hyderabad, and the religious practices of third-gendered hijras—to address how gender and sexuality are constructed in the religious landscape of South Asian Hinduism and Islam. Prior study of religion or women’s and gender studies is required. 3 hrs. sem.


Spring 2013, Spring 2014

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RELI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
(Approval Required)

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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RELI 0700 - Senior Project in Religion      

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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RELI 0701 - Senior Thesis in Religion      

Senior Research for Honors Candidates
Approval required

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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RELI 1033 - Three Hundred Ramayanas      

Three Hundred Ramayanas: The Life of a Hindu Epic
In a well-known essay, scholar A.K. Ramanujan asks: “How many Ramayanas? Three hundred? Three thousand?” Featuring prince Rama, his wife Sita, and brother Laksmana, the Ramayana is a complex narrative that has been told and retold in numerous contexts for the past twenty-five hundred years. Beginning with Valmiki’s Sanskrit text, we will examine various retellings of the Ramayana in South Asia. We will then shift to discussing the performative life of the text, including dramatic Ramlila performances, Ramanand Sagar’s well-known television serial, and the popular comic book Amar Chitra Katha. We will conclude by examining the political significance of the Ramayana in contemporary Hindu-Muslim interactions. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1399)


Winter 2014

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