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Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and "The Mystic East" First Paperback Edition Edition
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-Russell McCutcheon, Southwest Missouri State University
"An insightful and provocative contribution to recent series of studies that can be best characterized as 'colonial discourse analysis'."
-Gerald Larson, Indiana University
"This is an important book. The main theme, the 'othering' of the East, is highly significant and original, painstakingly documented, and with major implications for western scholarship."
-Grace Jantzen, University of Manchester
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
King's account draws quite explicitly on the work of Michel Foucault and Edward Said, but King deals creatively with both Foucault and Said in generating his own unique approach to the study of the "West's" colonial encounter with India. King is not content with an account that denies the agency of native Indians. He thus focuses on how "native informants," often in reaction against colonial forces, ironically helped perpetuate, and indeed bring into being, the "Hinduism" created by Orientalist scholars.
This book should interest all students of religion, as it is part of a growing recognition that the use of the term "religion" when discussing non-western or ancient cultures is highly problematic. Indeed, a possible difficulty for King is his insistence that there were indigenous "religions" in India before the colonial encounter (as on p. 103). Orientalism and Religion should greatly impact specialists in Hinduism, but it is also accessible for the general reader willing to put forth a little extra effort.
As a devout follower of Edward Said, I always enjoy others bouncing off his work (as Said intended). Unfortunately, King not only fails as critic of Orientalism, he fails as a critic of Edward Said. King describes what Orientalists did, but he never says what the true nature of polytheist Indian beliefs is. In other words, he'll point out what Hinduism isn't, but won't say then what Hinduism is. (Interestingly, he criticizes Said for doing the same thing.)
He also has a very good conclusion that native Indians (Gandhi, Roy, etc.) adopted this "Hindu religion" to develop a resistance movement which successfully pushed out the British. In other words, he takes Said to the next level. Not just how the West stereotypes the East, but how the East reacts to these stereotypes (and sometimes accepts them as true).
(P.S. The person with sloppy English who claims that this book needs to realize that Hinduism is a Western invention, and we need to go read so and so, has obviously neither read the book, not the summary. Ignore that review, the whole point of this book is that Hinduism is made in the West.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must-have for anyone serious about critically studying religion and especially for students of Hindu studies.Published 18 months ago by Vineet Chander
Although this book is a mine of information on historical aspects of Neo-Hinduism and Neo-Buddhism it is a deeply misleading misrepresentation of Hindu-Buddhist understanding. Read morePublished on June 7, 2007 by Mr Sutapas Bhattacharya
This is an excellent book that does much to dispel both the Eurocentric and mystifying Orientalist myths that have grown up around the relation of East and West. Read morePublished on June 26, 2003 by Jeff Wilson