Loving India Back? Routine Violence and Rewriting History in a British Airways Ad

Parker Evans is a junior majoring in English and Religious Studies, with a minor in the Blount Scholars Program. This post was written for Dr. Ramey’s ​class on Religion and Identity in South Asia. 

Take a few minutes to consider the violence in this advertisement for British Airways:

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“You don’t know what that means!”

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By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now working on her M.A. in Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

Several weeks back, I came across College Humor’s “If Gandhi Took A Yoga Class” video. In the clip, they have Gandhi challenging “western” yoga practices and understandings. Take a look… (Warning, there is some foul language)

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Science and Religion

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The relationship between the categories “science” and “religion” retains great significance within contemporary society. Exactly what that significance is, though, depends on the person’s conceptions and interests. For example, some want to emphasize the value of one over the danger of the other, while some work to bridge the apparent divide separating them. An article that a student pointed out to me last week connects the two categories by asserting scientific explanations for particular practices and traditions that the author labeled Hindu. (Thanks, Lexi.)

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The 12th Annual Aronov Lecture

aronovkingOn March 4, 2014, Dr. Richard King, Professor of Buddhist and Asian Studies at the University of Kent, UK, delivered his “From Mysticism to Spirituality: Colonial Legacies and the Reformulation of ‘the Mystic East'” as the Department of Religious Studies’ 12th Annual Aronov Lecture, named after the late Aaron Aronov — the founder of Aronov Realty and the person for whom the Department’s endowed chair in Judaic studies is also named. To learn a little more about Dr. King, take a look at his interview. Continue reading

Competing Representations

Nicole Goulet

T. Nicole Goulet is a Sessional Instructor at the University of Manitoba and Brandon University.  Having completed her Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba on textual representations of Sarada Devi, Dr. Goulet continues her research on the intersection of colonial politics and religious practice in India, with special reference to gender. After an online conversation about the recent Doniger/Penguin affair it was evident that she had something new to say about this episode and so we invited this post.

In the past few weeks, various groups, including scholars, media outlets, and members of the population at large, have weighed in on the Wendy Doniger/Penguin Publications case.  For those not in the know, Doniger’s almost 800 page tome, The Hindus, An Alternative History, will no longer be published by Penguin Books India nor sold in Indian book stores.  This after a four year legal battle with the Hindu nationalist group Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti (Save Education Movement) spear-headed by Dinanath Batra, ended with the capitulation by Penguin Books before any court ruling was made. Media coverage has tended to focus on  the issue of freedom of speech in India, and the state of the publishing industry and liberal scholarship in general. Some Penguin authors currently published in India have requested their contracts be voided and their own publications pulped in similar fashion to The Hindus as protest. And on February 17th, the University of Chicago Divinity School sent a letter to the New York Times, signed by 43 various and unnamed scholars, as a defence of Doniger’s right to “freedom of scholarship and expression.” Continue reading

“Let Us Pray…?”

The-first-prayer-in-congress-1774Bill Would Require Reading of Congressional Prayers in Alabama Schools read the headline a few days ago in The Anniston Star. As the story opened:

MONTGOMERY — Teachers in Alabama classrooms would be required to read a Congressional prayer every day under a bill filed in the state Legislature. Continue reading

Power/Knowledge in Real Time

HindusbookHave you been following the controversy over Wendy Doniger’s recent book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, published by Penguin? It is now being reported that the publisher has agreed to withdraw and pulp the book, in the near future, due to a 2011 court case in India, arguing it was insulting to Hinduism. Continue reading

There and Back Again, Part 3

gradtales3On February 5, 2014, we sponsored the third “There and Back Again: A Grad’s Tale,” this time hosted by Prof. Ramey. Our guest was Ben Simmons, who graduated from UA in 2009, with a B.A. in Religious Studies and History, and who came to town for the night with his wife (also a grad of UA) and their young son. Continue reading