In recent years, scholars from a wide range of disciplines have examined the revival in intellectual and literary cultures that took place during India’s ‘early modern’ centuries. This was both a revival as well as a period of intense disputation and critical engagement. It took in the relationship of contemporaries to their own intellectual inheritances, shifts in the meaning and application of particular disciplines, the development of new literary genres and the emergence of new arenas and networks for the conduct of intellectual and religious debate. Exploring the worlds of Sanskrit and vernacular learning and piety in the subcontinent, these essays examine the role of individual scholar intellectuals in this revival, looking particularly at the interplay between intellectual discipline, sectarian links, family history and the personal religious interests of these men. Each essay offers a fine-grained study of an individual. Some are distinguished scholars, poets and religious leaders with subcontinent-wide reputations, others obscure provincial writers whose interest lies precisely in their relative anonymity. A particular focus of interest will be the way in which these men moved across the very different social milieus of early modern India, finding ways to negotiate relationships at courtly centres, temples, sectarian monasteries, the pandit assemblies of the cosmopolitan city of Banaras and lesser religious centres in the regions.
This bookw as published as a special issue of South Asian History and Culture.
1. Social history in the study of Indian intellectual cultures? Christopher Minkowski, Rosalind O’Hanlon and Anand Venkatkrishnan
2. South meets North: Banaras from the perspective of Appayya Dīkṣita Yigal Bronner
3. ‘Disagreement without disrespect’: transitions in a lineage from Bhaṭṭoji to Nāgeśa Madhav M. Deshpande
4. Public philology: text criticism and the sectarianization of Hinduism in early modern south India Elaine Fisher
5. Eknāth in context: the literary, social, and political milieus of an early modern saint-poet Jon Keune
6. Freed by the weight of history: polemic and doxography in sixteenth century Vedānta Lawrence McCrea
7. Discourses of caste over the longue durée: Gopīnātha and social classification in India, ca. 1400–1900 Rosalind O’Hanlon, Gergely Hidas and Csaba Kiss
8. Darbār, maṭha, devasthānam: the politics of intellectual commitment and religious organization in sixteenth-century South India Valerie Stoker
9. Ritual, reflection, and religion: the Devas of Banaras Anand Venkatkrishnan
10. Envisioning the social order in a southern port city: the Tamil diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai David Washbrook
This books series offers a forum that will provide an integrated perspective on the field at large. It brings together research on South Asia in the humanities and social sciences, and provides scholars with a platform covering, but not restricted to, their particular fields of interest and specialization. Such an approach is critical to any expanding field of study, for the development of more informed and broader perspectives, and of more overarching theoretical conceptions.
The idea is to try to achieve a truly multidisciplinary forum for the study of South Asia under the aegis of which the established disciplines (e.g. history, politics, gender studies) and more recent fields (e.g. sport studies, sexuality studies) will enmesh with each other. A focus is also to make available to a broader readership new research on film, media, photography, medicine and the environment, which have to date remained more specialized fields of South Asian studies.
A significant concern for series is to focus across the whole of the region known as South Asia, and not simply on India, as most ‘South Asia' forums inevitably tend to do. The series is most conscious of this gap in South Asian studies and works to bring into focus more scholarship on and from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other parts of South Asia.