Critically assesses recent debates about the colonial construction of Hinduism. Written by experts in their field, the chapters present historical and empirical arguments as well as theoretical reflections on the topic, offering new insights into the nature of the construction of religion in India.
In recent years, the role of religion in the study and conduct of international affairs has become increasingly important. The essays in this volume seek to question and remedy the problematic neglect of religion in extant scholarship, grappling with puzzles, issues, and questions concerning religion and world affairs in six major areas. Contributors critically revisit the "secularization thesis," which proclaimed the steady erosion of religion's public presence as an effect of modernization; explore the relationship between religion, democracy, and the juridico-political discourse of human rights; assess the role of religion in fomenting, ameliorating, and redressing violent conflict; and consider the value of religious beliefs, actors, and institutions to the delivery of humanitarian aid and the fostering of socio-economic development. Finally, the volume addresses the representation of religion in the expanding global media landscape, the unique place of religion in American foreign policy, and the dilemmas it presents. Drawing on the work of leading scholars as well as policy makers and analysts, Rethinking Religion and World Affairs is the first comprehensive and authoritative guide to the interconnections of religion and global politics.
Religion is an exiting field of study. It invites an ongoing work of interpretation and reinterpretation, thinking and rethinking. This book includes a range of religious studies, interreligious diaologue, and philosophical-theological topics that will be of interest to a wide diversity of readers.
Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia
Author: David Gilmartin
"[Sets] the stage for a rewriting of nearly a thousand years of history to create new understandings of the nature of cultural encounters. . . . The volume breaks free from the polemics of present-day politics and historicist distortions that have seeped into most standard texts."--David Lelyveld, Cornell University This collection challenges the popular presumption that Muslims and Hindus are irreconcilably different groups, inevitably conflicting with each other. Invoking a new vocabulary that depicts a neglected substratum of Muslim-Hindu commonality, the contributors demonstrate how Indic and Islamicate world views overlap and often converge in the premodern history of South Asia. Contents Part 1: Literary Genres, Architectural Forms, and Identities 1. Alternate Structures of Authority: Satya Pir on the Frontiers of Bengal, by Tony K. Stewart 2. Beyond Turk and Hindu: Crossing the Boundaries in Indo-Muslim Romance, by Christopher Shackle 3. Religious Vocabulary and Regional Identity: A Study of the Tamil Cirappuranam, by Vasudha Narayanan 4. Admiring the Works of the Ancients: The Ellora Temples as Viewed by Indo-Muslim Authors, by Carl W. Ernst 5. Mapping Hindu-Muslim Identities through the Architecture of Shahjahanabad and Jaipur, by Catherine B. Asher Part 2: Sufism, Biographies, and Religious Dissent 6. Indo-Persian Tazkiras as Memorative Communications, by Marcia K. Hermansen and Bruce B. Lawrence 7. The "Naqshbandi Reaction" Reconsidered, by David W. Damrel 8. Real Men and False Men at the Court of Akbar: The Majalis of Shaykh Mustafa Gujarati, by Derryl N. MacLean Part 3: The State, Patronage, and Political Order 9. Sharia and Governance in Indo-Islamic Context, by Muzaffar Alam 10. Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States, by Richard M. Eaton 11. The Story of Prataparudra: Hindu Historiography on the Deccan Frontier, by Cynthia Talbot 12. Harihara, Bukka, and the Sultan: The Delhi Sultanate in the Political Imagination of Vijayanagara, by Phillip B. Wagoner 13. Maratha Patronage of Muslim Institutions in Burhanpur and Khandesh, by Stewart Gordon David Gilmartin, professor of history at North Carolina State University, is the author of Empire and Islam: Punjab and the Making of Pakistan. Bruce B. Lawrence, Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Professor of Religion at Duke University, is the author of Shattering the Myth: Islam Beyond Violence and Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt against the Modern Age, which received the 1990 prize for excellence in religious studies awarded by the American Academy of Religion.
Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia
Author: David Gilmartin
Publisher: University Press of Florida
'' Sets] the stage for a rewriting of nearly a thousand years of history to create new understandings of the nature of cultural encounters. . . . The volume breaks free from the polemics of present-day politics and historicist distortions that have seeped into most standard texts.
Understanding the Religions of the World offers a new approach to the study of religion which moves away from the purely descriptive and instead helps students understand how religions actually 'work'. Covering all the main faith traditions, it combines historical context, contemporary beliefs and practices, and original theory, with numerous study features and valuable overviews. A major new student-focused textbook concentrating on contemporary practices and beliefs of world religions Brings together a team of experts to provide a uniquely comprehensive coverage of religious traditions, including African religions and the religions of Oceania, which are rarely covered in detail Integrates original theory by arguing that each religion operates according to its own logic and order, and that they fulfill our need for a point of orientation Incorporates extensive student features including chapter introductions, 'did you know?' sections, boxed examples/material, numerous images and maps, conclusions, study questions, in addition to teaching plans and video footage of rituals and festivals, available on publication at www.wiley.com/go/deming
Is religion an obstacle to the values of modernity? Popular and scholarly opinion says that it is. In a world gripped in a clash of civilizations, religious absolutism seems to threaten the modern virtues of tolerance, reason, and freedom. This collection of historical essays argues that this popular view--religion versus modernity--is used by the politically powerful to construct the religious as irrational and antimodern. The authors study how nationalists, state officials, missionaries, and scholars in the West and in the colonized world defined and redefined the relationship between the political and the religious --From publisher's description.
Drawing on insights from theoretical engagements with borders and subalternity, Beyond Religion in India and Pakistan suggests new frameworks for understanding religious boundaries in South Asia. It looks at the ways in which social categories and structures constitute the bordering logics inherent within enactments of these boundaries, and positions hegemony and resistance through popular religion as an important indication of wider developments of political and social change. The book also shows how borders are continually being maintained through violence at national, community and individual levels. By exploring selected sites and expressions of piety including shrines, texts, practices and movements, Virinder S. Kalra and Navtej K. Purewal argue that the popular religion of Punjab should neither be limited to a polarised picture between formal, institutional religion, nor the 'enchanted universe' of rituals, saints, shrines and village deities. Instead, the book presents a picture of 'religion' as a realm of movement, mobilization, resistance and power in which gender and caste are connate of what comes to be known as 'religious'. Through extensive ethnographic research, the authors explore the reality of the complex, dynamic and contested relations that characterize everyday material and religious lives on the ground. Ultimately, the book highlights how popular religion challenges the borders and boundaries of religious and communal categories, nationalism and theological frameworks while simultaneously reflecting gender/caste society.
Throughout India and Southeast Asia, ancient classical epics—the Mahabharata and the Ramayana—continue to exert considerable cultural influence. Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics offers an unprecedented exploration into South Asia's regional epic traditions. Using his own fieldwork as a starting point, Alf Hiltebeitel analyzes how the oral tradition of the south Indian cult of the goddess Draupadi and five regional martial oral epics compare with one another and tie in with the Sanskrit epics. Drawing on literary theory and cultural studies, he reveals the shared subtexts of the Draupadi cult Mahabharata and the five oral epics, and shows how the traditional plots are twisted and classical characters reshaped to reflect local history and religion. In doing so, Hiltebeitel sheds new light on the intertwining oral traditions of medieval Rajput military culture, Dalits ("former Untouchables"), and Muslims. Breathtaking in scope, this work is indispensable for those seeking a deeper understanding of South Asia's Hindu and Muslim traditions. This work is the third volume in Hiltebeitel's study of the Draupadi cult. Other volumes include Mythologies: From Gingee to Kuruksetra (Volume One), On Hindu Ritual and the Goddess (Volume Two), and Rethinking the Mahabharata (Volume Four).
In recent years exclusionary policies of the Indian state have raised questions concerning social harmony and economic progress. During the last few decades the emergence of identity politics has given new lease of life to exclusionary practices in the country. Castes, communities and ethnic groups have re-emerged in almost every sphere of social life. This book analyses different aspects of social exclusion in contemporary India. Divided into three sections – 1. New Forms of Inclusion and Exclusion in Contemporary India; 2. Religious Identities and Dalits; 3. Ethnicity and Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion in the North-eastern Frontier – the book shows that a shift has taken place in the discourse on inclusion and exclusion. Chapters by experts in their fields explore issues of inclusion and exclusion that merit special attention such as dalit identity, ethnicity, territoriality and minorities. Authors raise questions about developmental programmes of the state aimed at making India more inclusive and discuss development projects initiated to alleviate socio-economic conditions of the urban poor in the cities. As far as North-east region is concerned, the authors argue that there is a tendency to highlight the homogenizing nature of the Indian culture by stressing one history, one language, one social ethos. Diversity is hardly accepted as a social reality, which has adversely affected the inclusive nature of the state. Against this development the final part of the book looks at questions regarding ethnic minorities in the northeast. Offering new insights into the debate surrounding social exclusion in contemporary India, this book will be of interest to academics studying anthropology, sociology, politics and South Asian Studies.
This collection of essays presents groundbreaking work from an interdisciplinary group of leading theorists and scholars representing the fields of history, philosophy, political science, sociology, and anthropology. The volume will introduce readers to some of the most compelling new conceptual and theoretical understandings of secularism and the secular, while also examining socio-political trends involving the relationship between the religious and the secular from a variety of locations across the globe. In recent decades, the public has become increasingly aware of the important role religious commitments play in the cultural, social, and political dynamics of domestic and world affairs. This so called ''resurgence'' of religion in the public sphere has elicited a wide array of responses, including vehement opposition to the very idea that religious reasons should ever have a right to expression in public political debate. The current global landscape forces scholars to reconsider not only once predominant understandings of secularization, but also the definition and implications of secular assumptions and secularist positions. The notion that there is no singular secularism, but rather a range of multiple secularisms, is one of many emerging efforts to reconceptualize the meanings of religion and the secular. Rethinking Secularism surveys these efforts and helps to reframe discussions of religion in the social sciences by drawing attention to the central issue of how ''the secular'' is constituted and understood. It provides valuable insight into how new understandings of secularism and religion shape analytic perspectives in the social sciences, politics, and international affairs.
This book changes the way we look at the history of early medieval India (c. 600-1300 CE). Deftly tackling issues of periodization and continuities, it highlights the complex and multilinear nature of historical processes. From feudalism and state formation and economic and social structures in villages and cities to explorations in religion, art, and intellectual history of the period, this book sheds light on the economic, political and cultural history of the pre-Sultanate and non-Sultanate early medieval India.
This volume addresses the idea of ghost in the Ancient Near East, Egypt, Europe, India, and China. It proposes a multi-cultural apprach to construct a wider and complicated picture of the phenomenon of ghosts and spirits in human societies.
Rethinking Public Religion in the Contemporary World
Author: David Herbert
This book presents the first full-length study of the relationship between religion and the controversial concept of civil society. Across the world in the last two decades of the twentieth century religions re-entered public space as influential discursive and symbolic systems apparently beyond the control of either traditional religious authorising institutions or states. This differentiation of religion from traditional institutions and entry into secular public spheres carries both dangers and possible benefits for democracy. Offering a fresh interdisciplinary approach to understanding religion in contemporary societies, this book provides an invaluable resource for students and researchers in religious studies, sociology, politics and political philosophy, theology, international relations and legal studies. Part one presents a critical introduction to the interaction between religion, modernization and postmodernization in Western and non-Western settings (America, Europe, the Middle East and India), focussing on discourses of human rights, civil society and the public sphere, and the controversial question of their cross-cultural application. Part two examines religion and civil society through case studies of Egypt, Bosnia and Muslim minorities in Britain, and compares Poland as an example of a Christian majority society that has experienced the public reassertion of religion.
The overwhelming majority of people in the world--85%--are religious, and more religions are now practiced in the United States than in any other country. Religion plays a critical role in international politics, in the global economy, and in a wide variety of social and cultural interactionson the domestic front. Even though religion is such an integral part of today's world, many Americans have difficulty discussing it publicly. They are often unfamiliar with any religion but their own, finding other religions mysterious or even threatening. Offering a brief and accessible point of entry into the subject, Rethinking Religion: A Concise Introduction begins by highlighting the significance of religion in modern society and providing a simple definition that goes beyond vague notions of "faith" or "belief in God." Drawing materialfrom a diverse range of religions--including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and primal religions--author Will Deming walks readers through thirty examples of how religions "work," exploring the significance of religious events and pronouncements. He also considers several topicsthat continue to fascinate and challenge Westerners: the ethics of studying someone else's religion, the "truth" of religion, the possibilities for preferring one religion over another, religious pluralism, and the contentious dialogue between science and religion. Enhanced by an innovative glossary of religious terms and numerous pictures and analyses of everyday religious activities, Rethinking Religion: A Concise Introduction is ideal for introducing students to the concept of religion and for courses in comparative and world religions. It is alsocaptivating reading for theologians, scholars, and anyone interested in the topic.
This book combines the mainstream liberal arguments for religious tolerance with arguments from religious traditions in India to offer insights into appropriate attitudes toward religious ‘others’ from the perspective of the devout. The respective chapters address the relationship between religions from a comparative perspective, helping readers understand the meaning of religion and the opportunities for interreligious dialogue in the works of contemporary Indian philosophers such as Gandhi and Ramakrishna Paramhansa. It also examines various religious traditions from a philosophical viewpoint in order to reassess religious discussions on how to respond to differing and different religious others. Given its comprehensive coverage, the book is of interest to scholars working in the areas of anthropology, philosophy, cultural and religious diversity, and history of religion.
Recent years have seen the emergence of a virulent version of Hindu nationalism and fundamentalism in India under the banner of Hindutva. This xenophobic movement has obfuscated and mystified the notion of Hindu identity and reinforced its stereotypes. Its arguments range from the patently unscientific - humankind was created in India, as was the first civilisation - to historical whitewash: Hinduism has continued in one, unchanged form for 5000 years; Hinduism has always been a tolerant faith. 'Rethinking Hindu Identity' offers a corrective based on a deep and detailed reading of Indian history. Written in a riveting style, this study provides a fresh history of Hinduism - its practices, its beliefs, its differences and inconsistencies, and its own myths about itself. Along the way, the book systematically demolishes the arguments of Hindu fundamentalism and nationalism, revealing how the real history of Hinduism is much more complex.