Religion and Modernity in India and Britain
By (author) Peter van der Veer
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Imperial Encounters by Peter van der Veer
Book DescriptionPicking up on Edward Said's claim that the historical experience of empire is common to both the colonizer and the colonized, Peter van der Veer takes the case of religion to examine the mutual impact of Britain's colonization of India on Indian and British culture. He shows that national culture in both India and Britain developed in relation to their shared colonial experience and that notions of religion and secularity were crucial in imagining the modern nation in both countries. In the process, van der Veer chronicles how these notions developed in the second half of the nineteenth century in relation to gender, race, language, spirituality, and science. Avoiding the pitfalls of both world systems theory and national historiography, this book problematizes oppositions between modern and traditional, secular and religious, progressive and reactionary. It shows that what often are assumed to be opposites are, in fact, profoundly entangled. In doing so, it upsets the convenient fiction that India is the land of eternal religion, existing outside of history, while Britain is the epitome of modern secularity and an agent of history. Van der Veer also accounts for the continuing role of religion in British culture and the strong part religion has played in the development of Indian civil society. This masterly work of scholarship brings into view the effects of the very close encounter between India and Britain--an intimate encounter that defined the character of both nations.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691074788
(229mm x 152mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 20-Mar-2001
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Peter van der Veer
Handbook of Religion and the Asian City, Hardback (June 2015)
Presents a creative and innovative role of urban aspirations in Asian world cities. This book shows how projects of secularism come up against projects and ambitions of a religious nature, a particular form of contestation that takes the city as its public arena.
Modern Spirit of Asia, Paperback (November 2013)View all books by Peter van der Veer
Challenges the notion that modernity in China and India are derivative imitations of the West, arguing that these societies have transformed their ancient traditions in distinctive ways.
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Author Biography - Peter van der Veer
Peter van der Veer is Professor of Comparative Religion and Director of the Research Center for Religion and Society at the University of Amsterdam. His books include Gods on Earth The Management of Religious Experience and identity in a North Indian Pilgrimage Centre, Religious Nationalism; Hindus and Muslims in India. and Modern Orientalism. He is the editor of Nation and Migration The Politics of Space in the South Asian Diasporo. Conversion to Modernities: The Globalization of Christianity, and with Hartmut Lehmann, Nation and Religion Perspectives on Europe and Asia (Princeton).
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