Religion and Trade in Premodern Asia TRS4113

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course examines the ways in which religious networks are embedded in trade networks in Asia since the rise of Islam to the early modern period. The course focuses on the dynamics of inter-religious encounters and cross-cultural exchanges between West Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia, especially along the Indian Ocean maritime trade routes. We examine the interface between trade and religion as manifested in ritual traditions, sacred landscapes, language and literature, and law. The focal point of reference is South Asia as connecting West and East, with particular emphasis on the Malabar Coast.


1 x 1hr lecture and 1 x 1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Theology and Religious Studies and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Theology and Religious Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Seminar Presentation of 10 minutes - 10%

Essay (1500 words) - 35%

Essay (2500 words) - 55%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ Study the religious history of trade communities in South Asia

■ Examine intra- and inter-religious relations from a trans-regional perspective

■ Contextualise the study of Asian religions in socioeconomic global history

■ Relate historical research on trade networks to the history of religious diversity in Asia

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Apply a historical approach to religious expressions (textual, material or performative)

■ Evaluate the contribution of religious diversity to social and economic history of specific case studies

■ Integrate analytic tools and methods across disciplines (anthropology, archaeology, art history, textual studies, linguistics, area studies etc.) in historical research of trade communities

■ Identify a case study for future research (not necessarily of the period and region covered during the course)

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.