Looks at Western understandings of South Asian religions and indigenous responses from pre-colonial to contemporary times.
Focusing on boundaries, appropriations, and resistances involved in Western engagements with South Asian religions, this edited 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' reflection on the contentious reaction to their own work. Other chapters consider such issues as British colonial epistemologies, the relevance of Hegel for the study of South Asia, the canonization of Francis Xavier, feminist interpretations of the mother of the Buddha, and theological dispute 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 them, that avoids simple active/passive binaries.
Mathew N. Schmalz is Associate 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 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.
"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