Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India by Peter GottschalkReligion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India by Peter Gottschalk

Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India

byPeter Gottschalk

Hardcover | December 18, 2012

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Peter Gottschalk offers a compelling study of how, through the British implementation of scientific taxonomy in the subcontinent, Britons and Indians identified an inherent divide between mutually antagonistic religious communities. England's ascent to power coincided with the rise of empirical science as an authoritative way of knowing not only the natural world, but the human one as well. The British scientific passion for classification, combined with the Christian impulse to differentiate people according to religion, ledto a designation of Indians as either Hindu or Muslim according to rigidly defined criteria that paralleled classification in botanical and zoological taxonomies. Through an historical and ethnographic study of the north Indian village of Chainpur, Gottschalk shows that the Britons' presumed categories did not necessarily reflect the Indians' concepts of their own identities, though many Indians came to embrace this scientism and gradually accepted thecategories the British instituted through projects like the Census of India, the Archaeological Survey of India, and the India Museum. Today's propogators of Hindu-Muslim violence often cite scientistic formulations of difference that descend directly from the categories introduced by imperialBritain.Religion, Science, and Empire will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the colonial and postcolonial history of religion in India.
Peter Gottschalk is Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Wesleyan University.
Title:Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British IndiaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:December 18, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195393015

ISBN - 13:9780195393019

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsList of IllustrationsGlossariesNote on TransliterationPeter Lake: ForewordIntroduction1. Religion, Science, and Scientism2. Cartography, the Ideal of Science, and the Place of ReligionFirst Interlude: The Dynamics of Comparison and Classification3. Christocentric Travel Writing: Dynamics of Comparison and ClassificationSecond Interlude: The Five Modes of Comparison4. Humanist Travel Writing: Ascent of Empiricism and the On the SpotThird Interlude: Classification in the Natural Sciences5. Categories to Count On: Religion and Caste in the Census6. A Raja, a Ghost, and a Tribe: Studies in Ethnology, Folklore, and Religion7. Popularizing Chainpur's Past: Archaeology in Place and in Museums8. Chainpur TodayConclusionAppendicesNotesIndex