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Book review: Classifying India

Fuller, C. J. (2014) Book review: Classifying India. Anthropology of This Century (10). ISSN 2047-6345

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Review of: "Religion, science, and empire: classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India" by Peter Gottschalk. Religion, science, and empire adds to the literature on European understandings of Indian society, culture and religion during the period of British rule, which has grown considerably since Bernard Cohn wrote his pioneering papers on the history of the study of India, and the role of the colonial census.[1] Most anthropologists of South Asia are probably familiar with the main lines of enquiry and argument in this literature: for example, the debate about the colonial construction of caste. Anthropologists of the rest of the world, on the other hand, probably reckon that this literature has nothing to do with them. That view, I suspect, stems partly from India’s near-absence from histories of anthropology, especially British social anthropology. India is of course mentioned when Henry Maine and Aryan ‘ancient society’, or W. H. R. Rivers’s pioneering monograph on the south Indian Toda tribe, are discussed. But otherwise the subcontinent mostly vanishes from anthropological history between the decline in Maine’s influence around the 1870s and the development of modern South Asian anthropology and sociology, which began after the Second World War and Independence in 1947. - See more at:

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 AOTC Press
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 16 May 2014 10:31
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2021 23:14

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