"Pots don't speak", nor do they vote

Dean Michael Anderson eastwestcultural at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 15 00:11:17 EDT 2015

Ihave created this new thread because I will acquiesce to the wishesof those who don't wish to talk more about the IVC. There is,however, a broader methodological issue that I feel needs to beaddressed.MichaelWitzel is fond of quoting his teacher "pots don't speak".And, I would add: they don't have a race either.Themain point of which I wish to remind people is well-stated byStephanie Jamison, Professor of Indo-Iranian Literature, UCLA;translator of Rig Veda (along with Joel Brereton):"Forwe must not confuse movements of languages with movements of peoples.Languages can spread to new territories in a number of ways, only oneof which is through the migration (or "invasion") of peoplewho speak the language."Aswith languages, so with cultures: they don't have a race. The samecan be said of academic research: the theorists may be racists butthe objects of study are not (languages, cultures, pots) . Numerousscholars on this list, like Hans Hock, have pointed out quiteconvincingly the shortcomings of the Out of India theories. Anycompeting theories will have to address those issues, which has notbeen done; but they should have the freedom to try. As I mentionedbefore, the study of the effect of ideology on objective research isa different topic altogether; and a valid one. They should not beconflated.Tobrand a particular field of objective academic research off-limits bydeclaring it racist or chauvinist is not only making this mistake, itis also quite troubling from the viewpoint of academic freedom. Best,DeanAnderson----Jamison, Stephanie.2006. “Bryant, Edward F. & Laurie L. Patton, Eds., TheIndo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History(2005). Reviewed by Jamison, Stephanie W.” Journalof Indo-European Studies34: 255ff. Can be downloaded at:http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/Bryant_Patton.review.pdf    

  From: Jesse Knutson <jknutson at hawaii.edu>
 To: Dean Michael Anderson <eastwestcultural at yahoo.com> 
Cc: "Hock, Hans Henrich" <hhhock at illinois.edu>; Matthew Kapstein <mkapstei at uchicago.edu>; George Thompson <gthomgt at gmail.com>; Indology List <indology at list.indology.info> 
 Sent: Monday, June 15, 2015 3:08 AM
 Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Article about the politics surrounding Indology at the IHRC
Yet I still think it's correct to call Hindutva and Bharavaj's project racist, albeit implicitly and convolutedly so, because there is an implicit judgment of racial superiority. And chauvinism/triumphalism rarely come in some kind of pure form, free of a racist sediment. Explicit racism is highly tolerated in right-wing political/academic circles in India today as you all know. It might be a more confusing type of racism for us to disentangle because it is not as black and white, involving complex judgments about people's origins via caste, language, and way of life etc.  But racism is very real both in life and "scholarship". 
Jesse Ross Knutson PhD
Assistant Professor of Sanskrit and Bengali, Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and LiteraturesUniversity of Hawai'i at Mānoa
452A Spalding

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