1st Edition

Hinduism in the Modern World

Edited By Brian A. Hatcher Copyright 2016
    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    Hinduism in the Modern World presents a new and unprecedented attempt to survey the nature, range, and significance of modern and contemporary Hinduism in South Asia and the global diaspora. Organized to reflect the direction of recent scholarly research, this volume breaks with earlier texts on this subject by seeking to overcome a misleading dichotomy between an elite, intellectualist "modern" Hinduism and the rest of what has so often been misleadingly termed "traditional" or "popular" Hinduism. Without neglecting the significance of modern reformist visions of Hinduism, this book reconceptualizes the meaning of "modern Hinduism" both by expanding its content and by situating its expression within a larger framework of history, ethnography, and contemporary critical theory. This volume equips undergraduate readers with the tools necessary to appreciate the richness and diversity of Hinduism as it has developed during the past two centuries.

    List of maps and illustrations. Notes on contributors. Introduction—Brian Hatcher. Part I: Hinduism Today: Three Perspectives. 1. Hinduism in South India—Leela Prasad. 2. Hinduism in North India—Brian Pennington. 3. Transnational movements—Hanna Kim. Part II: The Colonial Backdrop. 4. Debates within Colonial Hinduism—Amiya P. Sen. 5. Colonial devotional paths—Jason Fuller. 6. Hinduism and colonial law—Donald Davis and Timothy Lubin. Part III: Movements and Relocations. 7. Hinduism in Fiji, Africa and Trinidad—Anantanand Rambachan and Usha Shukla. 8. Hinduism in Britain—Maya Warrier. 9. Hinduism in the United States—Prema Kurien. Part IV: Networks of Meaning 10. Modern Monks and Global Hinduism—Tim Dobe. 11. Modern Yoga and Tantra—Lola Williamson. 12. Renunciation and domesticity—Meena Khandelwal. 13. Modern Vedic ritual— Frederick M. Smith. 14. Visual and Media Culture—Karline McLain. Part V: Critical Social and Political Issues. 15. Public Hinduism and Hindutva—Pralay Kanungo. 16. Caste and untouchability—Rupa Viswanath. 17. Gender and Sexuality—Ruth Vanita. 18. Ecology and the environment—Eliza Kent. Conclusion—Brian Hatcher. Glossary. Index.


    Brian A. Hatcher is Packard Chair of Theology at Tufts University, where he is also Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion. He is the author of several monographs on Hindu reform movements in colonial Bengal, the dynamics of modern Hindu eclecticism, and the life and activities of the social reformer, Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar. In his other published work he has explored the transformation of Sanskrit learning in colonial Bengal, highlighted the world of vernacular intellectual life, and worked to understand contemporary Hinduism against the backdrop of colonial history and postcolonial theory.

    "I have to say that I find this book to be among the best. The insistence on examining modernity is crucial and it is done very well…. I would most assuredly use this book for my class on modern Hinduism and I expect that many other teachers will as well."

    Ariel Glucklich, Georgetown University, USA

    "Finally! Here is a collection of essays on Hindus in the modern world that takes full account of the rich and complicated range of their beliefs, practices, and experiences. These essays explore modern Hinduism as something simultaneously historical and reformed, ancient and contemporary, Indian and global. This is exactly the kind of comprehensive treatment of Hindu modernity that students have long needed."

    Richard Davis, Bard College, USA

    "Hinduism in the Modern World brings together a group of excellent essays which reflect current scholarship on the diversity of Hinduism in its modernities within India and its worldwide distribution."

    Paul B. Courtright, Emory University, USA  

    In this addition to the "Religions in the Modern World" series, Hatcher (theology, Tufts Univ.) seeks to provide a context for an understanding of contemporary Hinduism on the Indian subcontinent and beyond. Including essays by well-known scholars in multiple fields, the collection takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. By offering essays in area studies, colonial history, and modern politics as well as contemporary religious movements, Hatcher's volume succeeds in encapsulating the great breadth of the contemporary Hindu world. In addition, as experts in their fields the contributors bring depth to the broader discussion. Though not explicitly marketed as such, this collection would make an excellent textbook for a course in contemporary Hinduism or for a general survey class. And it is certainly a valuable resource for those new to the subject.

    N. A. Weiss, Naropa University, October 2016 issue of CHOICE

    "This book has engaging discussions that make it unputdownable to the diligent scholar. The language is crisp and clear. The editor has well accomplished the unenviable task of finding coherence through different standpoints. .. This book covers almost all major areas of academic research on religion and could prove to be an inspiration for serious research on Hinduism."

    Swami Narasimhananda, editor of Prabuddha Bharata. http://readingreligion.org/books/hinduism-modern-world