119 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Hinduism with their New Books

New Books in Hindu Studies Marshall Poe

    • Hinduism
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Interviews with Scholars of Hinduism with their New Books

    Andrea Jain, "Peace Love Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Andrea Jain, "Peace Love Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    In Peace Love Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality (Oxford University Press, 2020), Andrea Jain examines the interconnectedness between global spirituality and neoliberal capitalism through an examination of the global yoga and self-care industries. Building off her work in Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014), Jain examines how spiritual industries and corporations impart neoliberal spirituality, which she contends is a central component of neoliberal capitalism. In broader terms, Jain’s examination of neoliberal spirituality, and yoga more specifically, provides a rich avenue to analyze and understand the role of religion in contemporary society.
    Andrea Jain is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Indianapolis and the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
    Lindsey Jackson is a PhD student at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
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    • 39 min
    Suraj Yengde, "Caste Matters" (India Viking, 2019)

    Suraj Yengde, "Caste Matters" (India Viking, 2019)

    “India is not yet a nation. It is still in an improvisational mode like a jazz band that needs to perform repeatedly together in order to uplift every voice in the chorus,” Suraj Yengde writes in his explosive text, Caste Matters (India Viking, 2019). Yengde, a first-generation Dalit scholar educated across continents, challenges deep-seated beliefs about caste and unpacks its many layers. He describes his gut-wrenching experiences of growing up in a Dalit basti, the multiple humiliations suffered by Dalits on a daily basis, and their incredible resilience enabled by love and humour. As he brings to light the immovable glass ceiling that exists for Dalits even in politics, bureaucracy and judiciary, Yengde provides an unflinchingly honest account of divisions within the Dalit community itself-from their internal caste divisions to the conduct of elite Dalits and their tokenized forms of modern-day untouchability-all operating under the inescapable influences of Brahminical doctrines.
    This path-breaking book reveals how caste crushes human creativity and is disturbingly similar to other forms of oppression, such as race, class and gender. At once a reflection on inequality and a call to arms, Caste Matters argues that until Dalits lay claim to power and Brahmins join hands against Brahminism to effect real transformation, caste will continue to matter.
    In this interview he covers a wide range of topics from feminism to radical love and humor to casteism on a transnational level.
    Suraj Yengde is currently a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and an inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the Initiative for Institutional Anti-racism and Accountability (IARA) at Harvard University. 
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    • 53 min
    Marco Ferrante, "Indian Perspectives on Consciousness, Language and Self" (Routledge, 2020)

    Marco Ferrante, "Indian Perspectives on Consciousness, Language and Self" (Routledge, 2020)

    For many Indian philosophers, language is inextricably tied up with conceptualization. In Indian Perspectives on Consciousness, Language and Self (Routledge, 2020), Marco Ferrante shows how a set of tenth century philosophers living in Kashmir argue for the existence of a self on the basis of the interrelationship between linguistic concepts and mental experience, against the criticism of Buddhists. In his examination of Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta, famous for their membership in the "school of Recognition" or Pratyabhijñā, Ferrante traces connections not only back in time to the Sanskrit grammarian and philosopher Bhartṛhari, but forward in time to contemporary analytic philosophy of language and mind. He argues that these thinkers took first-person subjectivity seriously in their reasoning about our mental lives, bringing together commitments which today might be characterized as a higher-order theory of consciousness, a belief in the existence of qualia, a form of panpsychism, and a kind of lingualism (the dependence of thought on language). The book engages in both textual analysis of important Sanskrit texts, as well as philosophical evaluation of the arguments contained therein, with an eye towards their relevance for philosophy understood broadly.
    Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit philosophy of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras (and stuff).
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    E. Goldberg et al, "Bollywood Horrors: Religion, Violence and Cinematic Fears in India" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

    E. Goldberg et al, "Bollywood Horrors: Religion, Violence and Cinematic Fears in India" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

    Bollywood Horrors: Religion, Violence and Cinematic Fears in India (Bloomsbury, 2020) is a multi-faceted and wide-ranging collection that examines cinematic representations of real-life horror, the religious aspects of horror imagery and themes, and the ways in which Hindi films have projected “cinematic fears” onto the screen. Part I, “Atrocity”, deals with Bollywood's representation of the real horrors of communal violence, rape culture, and human trafficking. In Part II (“Religion”) the role of myth, ritual, and colonial constructions in producing the generic conventions of Hindi horror are discussed. Contributors focus on the stereotype of the tantric magician found in Indian literature beginning in the medieval period; the myth of the fearsome goddess Durga's slaying of the Buffalo Demon; and the surprising role of religion in the importation of Gothic tropes into Indian films, told through the little-known story of Sir Devendra Prasad Varma. The final part - “Cinematic Fears” - explores three particular facets or exemplars of Bollywood horror: the 2002 film Raaz, the role of non-domestic haunted or uncanny spaces in Hindi cinema, and the aesthetics of film posters and song booklets advertising horror films.
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    • 49 min
    Uma Majmudar, “Gandhi and Rajchandra: The Making of the Mahatma” (Lexington Books, 2020)

    Uma Majmudar, “Gandhi and Rajchandra: The Making of the Mahatma” (Lexington Books, 2020)

    This book traces the little-known yet unparalleled influence of Shrimad Rajchandra, Jain zaveri (jeweller)-cum-spiritual seeker, on Mahatma Gandhi. In examining original Gujarati writings of both Gandhi and Rajchandra, Majmudar explores their deeply formative relationship, unfolding the unique impact of Rajchandra’s teachings and contributions upon Gandhi. Through careful examination of the contents and significance of their intimate spiritual discussions, letters, questions and answers, Gandhi and Rajchandra: The Making of the Mahatma (Lexington Books, 2020) illuminates the role of the man who became Gandhi’s most trusted friend, exemplar, mentor and refuge. Dr. Majmudar invites correspondence on her work: email her at majmudaruma@gmail.com.
    For information on your host Raj Balkaran’s background, see rajbalkaran.com/scholarship.
     
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    • 58 min
    Annapurna Garimella, “The Contemporary Hindu Temple: Fragments for a History” (Marg Foundation, 2019)

    Annapurna Garimella, “The Contemporary Hindu Temple: Fragments for a History” (Marg Foundation, 2019)

    Contemporary Hindu temples raise aesthetic, economic, political and philosophical questions about the role of architecture in making a place for the sacred in society. This book presents the Hindu temple from the perspectives of institutions and individuals, including priests, building practitioners and worshippers, to consider what it means when the temple is no longer at the centre of Indic life, but has instead become one among several important sites of social praxis.
    Annapurna Garimella, Shriya Sridharan, A. Srivathsan's The Contemporary Hindu Temple: Fragments for a History (Marg Foundation, 2019) takes as its subject the multiple forms of architecture, design and sociability that Hindu spaces of worship encompass today. The essays cover shrines located in urban and rural India, where Hindu temples are being maintained, resuscitated or newly constructed at a rapid pace. The authors of the essays in this volume take the contemporary as a moment in which historic structures, modern renovations, evolving religiosities and new design and construction practices intersect and converge. This centres the temple in a landscape of automobility, wireless connectivity and economic reformation, at the crossroads of informal acts of insertion, formal planning and governmentality, or as an architect-designed structure consciously being pushed toward the fresh horizons that a changing society offers. By focusing on a variety of structures, large and small, on expansive forms of encroachment, and on incremental acts of negotiation and seemingly insignificant processes, small feelings and pieties, this book nuances and expands our understanding of the Hindu temple today.
    For information on your host Raj Balkaran’s background, see rajbalkaran.com/scholarship.
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    • 44 min

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