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

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9780195393019: Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India

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, led to 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 the categories 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 imperial Britain.

Religion, Science, and Empire will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the colonial and postcolonial history of religion in India.

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About the Author:


Professor and Chair, Department of Religion, Wesleyan University

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"This study of the many-faceted systems of classification of South Asian culture and society employed by the British from the 18th century to the present is necessary reading for historians, religionists, political scientists, anthropologists, and ethnographers" --CHOICE


"Gottschalk therefore offers a rich book in terms of the data he explores and the nuanced description showing that 'religion and science derive often from ultimately entwined and interrelated currents of interest and tradition' (21). For this reason Religion, Science, and Empire is an important book concerning the emergence of various disciplines and the imperial production of knowledge." --Religion & Theology


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Peter Gottschalk
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Book Description Oxford University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 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, led to 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 the categories 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 imperial Britain. Religion, Science, and Empire will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the colonial and postcolonial history of religion in India. Salient Features Provides a new, grassroots examination of the British and Indian construction of Hindu-Muslim difference Demonstrates how disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, and demographics have portrayed Indians as an inherently religious people Shows how these how these disciplines and their religious categorization of Indians relied upon both Christian and scientific forms of classification Table of Contents Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Glossaries Note on Transliteration Foreword by Peter Lake Introduction Chapter One: Religion, Science, and Scientism Chapter Two: Cartography, the Ideal of Science, and the Place of Religion First Interlude: The Dynamics of Comparison and Classification Chapter Three: Christocentric Travel Writing: Dynamics of Comparison and Classification Second Interlude: The Five Modes of Comparison Chapter Four: Humanist Travel Writing: Ascent of Empiricism and the On the Spot Third Interlude: Classification in the Natural Sciences Chapter Five: Categories to Count On: Religion and Caste in the Census Chapter Six: A Raja, a Ghost, and a Tribe: Studies in Ethnology, Folklore, and Religion Chapter Seven: Popularizing Chainpur's Past: Archaeology in Place and in Museums Chapter Eight: Chainpur Today Conclusion Appendices Notes Index Printed Pages: 416. Size: 16 x 24 Cm. Bookseller Inventory # 037684

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Peter Gottschalk
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Book Description Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India, 2013. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. 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, led to 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 the categories 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 imperial Britain. Religion, Science, and Empire will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the colonial and postcolonial history of religion in India. Printed Pages: 416. Size: 16.5 x 24.5 Cm. Bookseller Inventory # 037948

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc. Hardback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW PRINT ON DEMAND., Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India, Peter Gottschalk, 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, led to 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 the categories 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 imperial Britain. Religion, Science, and Empire will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the colonial and postcolonial history of religion in India. Bookseller Inventory # B9780195393019

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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. PRINT ON DEMAND Book; New; Publication Year 2016; Not Signed; Fast Shipping from the UK. No. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780195393019_lsuk

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.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, led to 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 the categories 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 imperial Britain. Religion, Science, and Empire will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the colonial and postcolonial history of religion in India. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195393019

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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, led to 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 the categories 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 imperial Britain. Religion, Science, and Empire will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the colonial and postcolonial history of religion in India. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195393019

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. 448 pages. Dimensions: 9.4in. x 6.4in. x 1.6in.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. Englands 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, led to 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 the categories the British instituted through projects like the Census of India, the Archaeological Survey of India, and the India Museum. Todays propogators of Hindu-Muslim violence often cite scientistic formulations of difference that descend directly from the categories introduced by imperial Britain. Religion, Science, and Empire will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the colonial and postcolonial history of religion in India. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Bookseller Inventory # 9780195393019

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