This volume brings together a collection of essays by contemporary thinker and social scientist S.N. Balagangadhara which develop an alternative theoretical framework for a comparative study of Western and Asian cultures. These essays illustrate how ‘decolonisation of social sciences’ is a cognitive task and offer novel hypotheses about human beings and society. They demonstrate the implications of cultural difference in the study of domains such as psychology, political theory, ethics, religion, sociology, translation, law, Indology, and philosophy.
The book addresses new questions in the study of Western and Indian culture and social sciences, and discusses themes like selfless morality and the moral self; knowledge and action; critical representations of Indian traditions and classical literature; law, religion and culture; translation and interpretations; and varna and social systems.
Part of the Critical Humanities Across Cultures series, this interdisciplinary volume will be an essential read for scholars and researchers of philosophy, philosophy of science, ethics, religious studies, postcolonial studies, sociology and social anthropology, cultural studies, literature, comparative studies and Global South studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Studying Other Cultures in the 21st Century
1. Selfless Morality and the Moral Self
2. Knowing to Act and Acting to Know
3. How to Speak for the Indian Traditions
4. Law, Religion and Culture
5. Seven Problems in Translation: The Case of India
6. The Vedic Society and a Brain Stasis
7. The Indology and Sociology of Varna
8. Knowledge, Bullshit and the Study of India
S.N. Balagangadhara is former Professor in the Department of Comparative Science of Cultures at Ghent University, Belgium. He is the author of "The Heathen in His Blindness…": Asia, the West and the Dynamic of Religion (1994/2005) and Reconceptualizing India Studies (2012). In these books and other works, he has developed a research programme called ‘Comparative Science of Cultures’.
Jakob De Roover is Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Science of Cultures at Ghent University, Belgium. He is the author of Europe, India, and the Limits of Secularism (2015).
Sarika Rao is Assistant and a doctoral student in the Department of Comparative Science of Cultures at Ghent University, Belgium. Her research focuses on the secularisation of religion.