Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721-1893

Hardcover | August 15, 2017

byMichael J. Altman

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Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu is a groundbreaking analysis of American representations of religion in India before the turn of the twentieth century. In their representations of India, American writers from a variety of backgrounds described "heathens," "Hindoos," and, eventually "Hindus." BeforeAmericans wrote about "Hinduism," they wrote about "heathenism," "the religion of the Hindoos," and "Brahmanism." Various groups interpreted the religions of India for their own purposes. Cotton Mather, Hannah Adams, and Joseph Priestley engaged the larger European Enlightenment project ofclassifying and comparing religion in India. Evangelical missionaries used images of "Hindoo heathenism" to raise support at home. Unitarian Protestants found a kindred spirit in the writings of Bengali reformer Rammohun Roy. Transcendentalists and Theosophists imagined the contemplative andesoteric religion of India as an alternative to materialist American Protestantism, while popular magazines and common school books used the image of dark, heathen, despotic India to buttress Protestant, white, democratic American identity. Americans used the heathen, Hindoo, and Hindu as an otheragainst which they represented themselves. The questions of American identity, classification, representation and the definition of "religion" that animated descriptions of heathens, Hindoos, and Hindus in the past still animate American debates today.

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Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu is a groundbreaking analysis of American representations of religion in India before the turn of the twentieth century. In their representations of India, American writers from a variety of backgrounds described "heathens," "Hindoos," and, eventually "Hindus." BeforeAmericans wrote about "Hinduism," they wrote ab...

Michael J. Altman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. His research interests include American religious history, Asian religions in America, colonialism, and critical theory.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:200 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:August 15, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190654929

ISBN - 13:9780190654924

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