Fall 2016 - HIST 468W D100

Problems in the History of Religion (4)

Pacifism & Vegetarianism

Class Number: 4778

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    AQ 5020, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including nine units of lower division history.



An advanced examination into the concepts and methodology of the history of religion. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 468W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Writing.


Pacifism & Vegetarianism (the history of ahimsā)

This semester we look at the world history of the practice and theory of ahimsā, non-harm. Although scholars debate what specifically constitutes ahimsā, this semester we consider two of the ideas most commonly identified with non-harm:  pacifism and vegetarianism.  Concentrating on the relationship between  ahimsā and religion, we track the origins and development of pacifism and vegetarianism from pre-history to today, globally but especially in Asia and Europe.  Because states tend to react against pacifism with considerable violence, we may be spending time with anarchism as well.  Students will have opportunities to do readings and writing projects related to their own interests.


  • Seminar participation 25%
  • First eight-page paper 30%
  • Second eight-page paper 35%
  • Two referats (formal presentations on research) 10%



Antony Adolph, Peace: A World History (2009) (ISBN 0745641261)

Eknath Easwaran, Nonviolent Soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan (1999) (ISBN 1888314001)

Colin Spencer, Vegetarianism: A History (2016) (ISBN 9781910690215)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html