[INDOLOGY] The place of Indology in the Academy

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Mon Oct 27 14:44:07 UTC 2014

In most American Universities, the word "Indology" is almost unheard of
these days.  After Edward Said's "Orientalism", the word "Oriental"
survives in a few universities only as an exception.  The Department of
Oriental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania where I earned my Ph.D.
in 1972 became Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in 1992.  "India" has been
largely replaced by "South Asia" in most places.  Once I introduced to
someone as being an Indologist, and the person asked me if that was a
department in the hospital!


On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 10:14 AM, Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com>

> In Germany, there are (still) departments of Indology.  In a sense, such
> German departments are conceptually parallel to departments of Classics.
> In most universities elsewhere, Indology "lives" somewhere within a larger
> unit, such as Religious Studies, Classics, Asian Studies (or Oriental
> Studies), Philosophy or History.
> Institutionally speaking, where does Indology flourish best?  For what
> reasons?
> Clearly there are determining issues, perhaps principally, "how many
> Indologists are we talking about?"  If there is one Indological faculty
> member, she would normally be appointed within History, Philosophy or
> Religious Studies, etc.   But if there are three or four faculty members
> (not so common?), a critical mass is beginning to form that requires its
> own institutional recognition.  What is this critical mass?
> The faculty or department with which Indology shares space will also
> therefore form the main group of competitors for Indological resources
> (faculty positions, library budget, teaching room allocation, etc.).  With
> whom do Indologists compete successfully?  Perhaps this always reduces to
> issues of personality and local dynamics.
> Best,
> Dominik
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Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor of Sanskrit and Linguistics
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
202 South Thayer Street, Suite 6111
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608, USA

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