about TAROSA

TAROSA stands for Teaching Across the Religions of South Asia.  We are a group of people working in the Higher Education sector with an interest in the delivery of teaching and learning about South Asian religious traditions.  Our aims are:

  • To promote and showcase shared good practice amongst colleagues teaching Religions of South Asia.
  • To bring together those with a research interest in challenging paradigms when teaching religions of South Asia.
  • To provide an academic forum for publicising research related to the delivery of traditions across South Asian religions.

The TAROSA group was formed in the wake of a one day workshop held in Manchester in January 2011 on the issue ‘Teaching Religions of South Asian Origin’, organised by the Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies Learning and Teaching Support Network (PRS LTSN) in the UK.  At this event we discovered a common interest in challenging the established paradigms through which the religious traditions of South Asia are frequently presented to students, especially the enduring World Religions paradigm, through which South Asian religious traditions are presented primarily as discrete, proximate systems existing side by side in a South Asian religious universe.

Although we recognise the value of this paradigm in a modern context, our intention is to problematise this hegemonic view by presenting materials and research which suggest that the religious traditions of South Asia can and should be viewed in other ways.  As research has shown, such alternative approaches are necessary in order to accommodate the many varied ideas and practices which exceed or transgress the epistemological possibilities provided by the World Religions paradigm.

The TAROSA website aims to present case studies which allow students and other interested communities to explore South Asian religious traditions in different ways.  In particular, our intention is to highlight practices and ideas which seem to cut ACROSS the recognised boundaries between Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and other religious traditions in South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.

As well as case studies, we are keen to promote the value of field trips which can raise an awareness amongst students that the everyday lived religious reality of many South Asians does not always correspond to the bounded definitions that discrete modules on Sikhism and Hinduism seem to promote.

If you are an educator and you have an idea for a case study you would like to contribute to the site, we would be delighted to hear from you.  The TAROSA co-ordinating team are listed below. Contact any one of us with your ideas.

Jacqueline Suthren Hirst (University of Manchester)

Opinderjit Kaur Takhar (University of Wolverhampton)

David Webster (University of Gloucestershire)

John Zavos (University of Manchester)