India: The Seductive And Seduced "other" Of German Orientalism

Hardcover | November 1, 2000

byKamakshi P. Murti

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Although Germany did not colonize India territorially, Germans of various disciplines not only encouraged but actively framed a discourse that gendered India through voyeuristic descriptions of the male and female body. German orientalist experiences of Hindu India have typically been excluded from post-colonial debates concerning European expansion, but this study challenges the German's claim to an encounter with India projected on a spiritual plane of communion between "kindred spirits" and shows that such supposedly apolitical encounters are really strategies of domination. German participation can be perceived as collusion with the British imperialist administration inasmuch as it provided the latter with a justification for existing colonial rule and anticipated future colonial activity. Murti sheds light on the role that missionaries and women, two groups that have been ignored or glossed over until now, played in authorizing and strengthening the colonial discourse. The intertextual strategies adopted by the various partners in the colonialist dialog clearly show that German involvement in India was not a disinterested, academic venture. These writings also betray a bias against women that has not been regarded, until now, as a key issue in the literature discussing Orientalism. Missionaries often actively fostered the British colonial agenda, while women travelers, even those who traveled as a means of escaping patriarchal structures at home, invariably abetted the colonizer. Despite the optimism placed in the "post" of post-colonialism, Murti concludes that the continued presence of European Orientalism can be felt in the late 20th century, hidden under the mantel of globalcapitalism.

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From the Publisher

Although Germany did not colonize India territorially, Germans of various disciplines not only encouraged but actively framed a discourse that gendered India through voyeuristic descriptions of the male and female body. German orientalist experiences of Hindu India have typically been excluded from post-colonial debates concerning Euro...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:160 pages, 9.64 × 6.42 × 0.72 inPublished:November 1, 2000Publisher:Greenwood PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313308578

ISBN - 13:9780313308574

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?One of the many achievements of Murti's book is that it does not close the debate, it furthers it, and leaves the reader with ample pointers to follow up on those questions. As an American Germanist of Indian heritage, who received her education in India and Germany, Murti brings about a fundamental change in the questions about Germany and India. For students and scholars of the colonialism and postcolonialism, her engagement with Edward Said andhis ardent critic Aijaz Ahmad provides and opportunity to escape a simplistic understanding and application of Orientalism . Fr Germanists of non-German heritages, she indicates a possibility of transcultural scholarship beyond the hermeneutics-inspired studies by Alois Wierlacher and others. For students and teachers of German in the United States or elsewhere, she makes clear that is not the person who would teach Herman Hesse without a fair dose of post-colonial irony!??University of Wisconsin-Madison -B.Venkat Mani