In This Lesson
R&E videos connected to segments listed below.
- computers with Internet access
- LCD projector and projection screen
Brodd, Jeffrey. WORLD RELIGIONS: A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 2003.
Eck, Diana. A NEW RELIGIOUS AMERICA. New York: HarperOne, 2002.
Flood, Gavin. AN INTRODUCTION TO HINDUISM. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Geaves, Ron. KEY WORDS IN HINDUISM. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2006.
Hemenway, Priya. HINDU GODS: THE SPIRIT OF THE DIVINE. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2003.
Knott, Kim. HINDUISM: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998
RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY
“Teaching the World’s Religions”
DVD on world religions, including several episodes on Hindu holidays and worship. To request a copy of this free DVD, e-mail your mailing address and school affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(In addition to transcripts and video, most of the R&E Web pages listed below also include links to additional related resources and related reading.)
- “Arranged Marriages” (no online video)
June 18, 1999
Features customs of arranged marriages in certain religions. A portion of the segment covers arranged marriage between two Hindu Americans.“Devotion to Kali”
October 24, 2003
Kali, a powerful Hindu goddess, encompasses all the opposites of life and experience: she is the goddess of both creation and destruction.
November 9, 2001
For Hindus, this festival of lights marks the beginning of the New Year.
October 27, 2006
The Hindu festival of Diwali (Divali) also celebrates the end of the year and many events in the lives of some of Hinduism’s most important deities.
September 24, 2004
This 11-day Hindu festival honors one of the most popular gods of India, Lord Ganesha. S. N. Sridhar, an Indian studies professor at SUNY Stony Brook, explains the reasons for the elephant-headed god’s wide appeal and describes the rituals of Hindu worship.
January 12, 2001
Doctor Uma Mysorekar, President of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, describes the festival Kumbh Mela, a purification ritual, as well as other Hindu beliefs.
“Hinduism in America,” Part I & Part 2 (no online videos)
Two-part series focused on a Hindu immigrant family’s arrival and settling in America.
Part 1: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week248/cover.html
July 30, 1999
Part 2: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week249/cover.html
August 6, 1999
“Hindus in America”
August 17, 2001
Explores the growing influence of Hindus in America and how the integration of their religion and culture into American society represents their coming of age as first-generation immigrants.
“Hindu Temple Dedication”
October 18, 2002
Explores how the growth of Hinduism in the United States has resulted in the religion’s ancient traditions coming together in new ways to provide a greater freedom of worship styles for American Hindus.
September 8, 2006
The Hindu festival of Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, the most highly venerated deity in the Hindu pantheon.
“Minnesota Religious Diversity”
April 27, 2007
Includes interviews with the state’s first Hindu legislator, an Indian immigrant couple, and a member of the Hindu Society of Minnesota.
July 21, 2006
A modern example of ancient Hindu devotional music.
- “American Made”
Film about a fictional Sikh American family that touches upon the conflict between faith and freedom, assimilation, and modernization — themes that immigrants continue to struggle with when re-creating family in a new world.
- “The New Americans”
Series about a diverse group of immigrants and refugees who leave their homes and families behind and learn what it means to be new Americans in the 21st century.
- “American Made”
- “Bringing East and West Together”
Article centered on Hindu American teens discussing their dual identity.
- “Coming of Age”
Article addressing Hindu traditions from which Hindu American youth are somewhat removed.
- “Hinduism: The Next Generation”
Article discussing how older Hindus, mostly of the baby-boom era, are trying to rejuvenate their faith to appeal to their “Generation X” children.
- “Camp Joins Summer Fun with Teaching Hindu Faith” July 21, 2007
Report on how Hindu parents try to teach their American-born children ancient religious traditions and help maintain their Indian identity at special summer camps.
- “Family Ties and the Entanglements of Caste” October 24, 2004
Article exploring how the search for a husband eludes Hindu tradition for a Hindu family in America.
- “For Hindus and Vegetarians, Surprise in McDonald’s Fries” May 20, 2001
Article reporting on the reaction of observant Hindus, who consider cows sacred, to McDonald’s admission that its fries were cooked in vegetable oil but were also seasoned with beef flavoring.
- “Bringing East and West Together”
The American Immigration Law Foundation
“The Passage from India”
Brief history of Indian immigration to the United States.
American Museum of Natural History
“Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion”
Photographic portraits and many resources on Hindu worship.
CHARLOTTE NEWS & OBSERVER
“Hindus adapt to U.S.: Followers Find New Ways to Teach Faith,” September 8, 2006
An Associated Press report on how Hindus in America carry on their traditions and pass the faith on to a younger generation.
Internet home for all Hindus living in North America that provides resources on Hinduism as well as a place to celebrate the American expression of Hinduism and unite all American Hindus, regardless of tradition.
Hindu American Foundation
A human rights group that provides a voice for the two million strong Hindu American community.
Hindu Education Foundation
A project of U.S. Hindus, this organization works to correct “misconceptions” about India in general and about Hinduism and Hindus.
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA
A social and cultural organization that aims to organize the Hindu community in order to preserve, practice, and promote Hindu ideals and values and educate Americans about Hinduism.
The Hindu Universe
Multiple Hindu-centered resources.
Institute for Cultural Partnerships
http://www.culturalpartnerships.org/community/hindu.asp Provides background on Hinduism, with segments that discuss how Hinduism is practiced in America and how the religion has influenced American culture.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Pluralism Project
A Harvard University effort to engage Americans with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources. Includes extensive material on Hinduism.
Puja: Expressions of Devotion
Online teacher’s guide based on an exhibition about Hindu worship at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Hinduism: The World’s Third Largest Religion
Web site of a group of consultants in Ontario, Canada offering background on world religions, including Hinduism.
United Religions Initiative
Introduces basics of Hinduism.
“Senate Prayer Led by Hindu Elicits Protest” July 2007
Article about Hindu clergyman making history delivering the U.S. Senate’s daily morning prayer.
Youth and Religion Project
“Growing up Hindu in America: A Surprising Success Story”
A 2002 report by University of Illinois sociology professor R. Stephen Warner on Hindu youth’s challenges and successes in balancing Hinduism and American life.
- student graphic organizers
- chart paper and markers
- sticky notes, largest size or large index cards with adhesive <!–don’t know what these are?
- teacher documents (detailed in lesson)–>
Preview the lesson plan’s R&E videos and transcripts (particularly for segments without video) and related online content before presenting them to your class. Decide whether the class will view the entire video or specific segments (others than those noted in the lesson) you select to expand lesson concepts and topics.
Bookmark relevant Web sites on each computer in your classroom, and/or create a handout that lists recommended sites and resources that supplement the lesson; or upload all links to an online bookmarking utility, such as www.portaportal.com, so that students can access the information on these sites. Make sure that your computer has the necessary media players, like RealPlayer or Windows Media Player, to show streaming clips (if applicable).
If desired, provide students with background on Hinduism.
Introductory Activity: Somewhere New: Changes We Might Make
(one classroom period)
Ask students to think about how a move to a different country might affect their lives. (Students may also work in small groups.) Pose either or both of the following discussion questions:
- How might their lives be different? (things that would change)
- What might they do to adjust to this new place?
Students may discuss aloud or first generate a list of “changes” before discussing as a class. Document responses; guide students in categorizing them under headers that include way of dress, religious practice, language, etc. Have students discuss how these changes and adaptations would make them feel in a new place, and how they might balance their cultural origins with their new experiences. Place their responses in the context of new Americans: what might the immigrant experience be like? (If there are new Americans in the class, or children of new Americans, encourage them to share their experiences.) Explain to them aspects of acculturation.
Activity 1: The Shape of Hinduism in America
(2 classroom periods)
Tell students they will watch short videos on Hindus in America; explain that the segments will build on the experiences and knowledge about new immigrants they explored in the introductory activity. As they watch, they should jot down some of the acculturation/adaptation issues that emerge for Hindus in the United States. Center them first on changes that occur in the way Hindus practice their religion and what might impede or influence their traditional beliefs.
After students have watched the films, distribute the worksheet Hindus in America (PDF). Divide students into small groups to complete the worksheet. Engage them in a discussion about what they learned about how Hindu immigrants live in America: changes they have made, choices they make, challenges they face, the ways Hinduism and American culture collide and/or mesh, etc.
Activity 2: Hindu American Youth
(one or two classroom periods)
Ask students to think about what they do differently from their parents/families. For example, do they eat the same types of food? Do they dress the same? What are some things their parents/families do that they don’t? Have them discuss why they might do things differently from their families/caregivers: what influences this type of behavior?
Divide students into triads. Distribute the R&E transcripts of “Hinduism in America,” Part 1 & Part 2. (Depending on the number of groups, divide the pieces equally: three groups get Part 1 and three others get Part 2, for example. If necessary, modify the pieces to address varied reading levels. Allow students to read sections aloud, stop and discuss them, and continue with this process until they have completed the transcripts. If desired, select additional readings from the resource list that focus on Hindu youth.)
Distribute sticky notes or index cards to the groups. Have a group recorder note, based on student discussion, what issues and influences Hindu youth face with regard to their origins, ethnicity, and religious traditions (guide student definitions of the terms, if necessary).
Have each group post its findings around the classroom; invite the groups to circulate and read all the findings and then as a class, determine the primary ways Hindu American youth interact with their religious and ethnic origins. Instruct students to predict how Hinduism in America will evolve with each new generation of Hindu Americans.
(two or more classroom periods)
(Options allow classrooms to select activities according to school and community resource availability.)
- OPTION A: Students organize a panel of varied generations of Hindu Americans to talk about their acculturation experiences and share views on what the Hindu American community of the future may look like.OPTION B: Students conduct interviews via phone, face-to-face, or digitally with Hindu American youth to learn more about how these young people balance their ethnicity, culture, and religious traditions with their American lives (guide students in defining ethnicity and culture, if appropriate). Students then create a virtual slide show with narrative or a booklet speaking to the experience of Hindu American youth.
OPTION C: Students investigate and create a multimedia presentation that reflects how Hinduism has become a part of American culture.
OPTION D: Students organize a field trip to a local Hindu temple and/or a class visit with the local paper’s religion reporter to learn more about Hindu faith communities in their area.
- Research the Immigration Act of 1965, which allowed more non-Europeans to come to the United States. Then they can create a social science booklet on immigrant groups that came during this time and have grown over the years; the booklet will document their growth, challenges, and present socioeconomic status. Jump-start Web sites include:
- Center for Immigration Studies
Three Decades of Mass Immigration: The Legacy of the 1965 Immigration Act
http://www.cis.org/articles/1995/back395.htmlNational Public Radio
1965 Immigration Law Changed Face of America
Immigration Act of 1965
- Compare and contrast, in a multimedia presentation, how other new Americans have adapted to the United States and/or incorporated American culture into their practices.
- Analyze and write a news analysis on the concept and formation of a “global culture” and how it would materialize in the United States.