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Looks at Western understandings of South Asian religions and indigenous responses from precolonial to contemporary times.
Focusing on boundaries, appropriations, and resistances involved in Western engagements with South Asian religions, this volume considers both the pre- and postcolonial period in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It pays particular attention to contemporary controversies surrounding the study of South Asian religions, including several scholars’ reflections on the contentious reaction to their own work. Other issues explored include British colonial epistemologies, Hegel’s study of South Asia, Hindu-Christian interactions in charismatic Catholicism and the canonization of Francis Xavier, feminist interpretations of the mother of the Buddha, and theological controversies among Muslims in Bangladesh and Pakistan. By using the themes of boundaries, appropriations, and resistances, this work offers insight into the dynamics and diversity of Western approaches to South Asian religions and the indigenous responses to, involvements with, and influences on them.
“Even before opening this book, students and researchers are challenged to think both expansively and carefully about their own subjectivity, their own location within the fields in which they roam. Critical reflectivity has become a major theme in many fields of humanities research, and this volume of interlinked essays on the study of religion in South Asia in the western academy, carefully put together by [Peter] Gottschalk and Matthew Schmalz, contributes provocatively to this theme.” — Religions of South Asia
Mathew N. Schmalz is Professor of Religious Studies at the College of the Holy Cross. Besides writing regularly as a panelist for the Newsweek/Washington Post “On Faith” website, he has published in various books and journals, including The History of Religion, The Journal of Religious Studies, and Method & Theory in the Study of Religion. Peter Gottschalk is Associate Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University. He is the author of Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Multiple Identity in Narratives from Village India and coauthor (with Gabriel Greenberg) of Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Introduction: Engaging South Asian Religions PETER GOTTSCHALK AND MATHEW N. SCHMALZ
PART ONE: BOUNDARIES
1. A Science of Defining Boundaries: Classification,Categorization, and the Census of India PETER GOTTSCHALK
2. The Repetition of Past Imperialisms: Hegel, HistoricalDifference, and the Theorization of Indic Religions ARVIND MANDAIR
3. Beyond National Borders and Religious Boundaries: Muslim and Hindu Veneration of Bonbibi SUFIA UDDIN
PART TWO: APPROPRIATIONS
4. Boundaries and Appropriations in North IndianCharismatic Catholicism MATHEW N. SCHMALZ
5. The Corpse and Cult of St. Francis Xavier, 1552–1623 WILLIAM R. PINCH
6. Sati or Female Supremacy? Feminist Appropriationsof Gotami’s Parinirvana LIZ WILSON
PART THREE: RESISTANCES
7. Resisting My Attackers; Resisting My Defenders: Representing the Shivaji Narratives JAMES W. LAINE
8. Resisting Assimilation: Encounters with a Small Islamic Sectin Contemporary Pakistan SHAHZAD BASHIR