Steven Ramey published “Responding to the Wendy Doniger Controversy: The Problems and Possibilities in the Academic Study of Religion“, a follow-up to his posts (here and here) addressing the responses to Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus, in the April 2014 edition of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion.
[M]y intent is not to critique Doniger but to critique the tendency across the field to define religions in ways that give preference to one group over another, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally….
The controversy surrounding Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History reemerged today with word that Penguin India has agreed to withdraw and destroy copies of the book in India to settle a lawsuit alleging that Doniger’s book hurt the religious sentiments of “millions of Hindus”. (The full text of the legal complaint is available online.) The response from scholars in the United States has been anger and shock over Penguin’s decision and concern over the freedom of expression in India. While much can be said on many issues, what intrigues me here is the shifting assumptions in the contested definition of Hinduism. Continue reading “Reversing Roles in the Definition of Hinduism”