Clarification re: Militancy and non-secularism

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Thu Jan 28 02:15:24 EST 1999


This is just to second the remarks that Laurie Patton has made here. The
offensive ethnic slurs [both real and merely perceived], the name-calling,
and the partisan bickering seem to have pushed scholarly discussion, for
the most part, off the list. I hope that this will pass, and that the
list's proper focus, on scholarship, will return.

George Thompson

At 01:22 PM 1/27/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>        List members,
>        Please forgive my rather intemperate response to this discussion
>which was intended for two friends in Jewish Studies who are conducting a
>literature survey about the use of the term "Semitic" in Asian Studies.
>Let me explain in more professional language what I mean:
>        The words "Indian" "Western" "Semitic" etcetc can be used as
>either descriptive, provisional adjectives, or they can be used as
>totalitarian adjectives. Even as we try to right the various imbalances of
>power in the production of knowledge about India, describing some
>perspectives as "Western" or "Indian" or "Semitic", these adjectives can
>only describe some, but not all, of those culture's or scholars'
>intellectual perspectives.  Once these adjectives become THE
>determining factors of a culture's agenda, or a scholar's agenda, then we
>risk losing academic freedom.  Our nationality or religion is only part
>of what makes us the Indologists that we are, and should never be used
>as determinative.  It is imperative that we pay attention to
>our language when using nationality or religion to describe a particular
>perspective.
>        Thanks, and apologies, lp
>
>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>Laurie L. Patton
>Dept. of Religion, Emory University
>537 Kilgo Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322
>PH: 404-727-5177  FAX: 404-727-7597
>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>Please note: It may be several days before I get a chance to make a
>substantive reply.  Thanks for the patience.
>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>
>On Wed, 27 Jan 1999, Swaminathan Madhuresan wrote:
>
>> > Are increasing militancy and non-secularism appropriate indological
>> > pursuits? If so, it would be interesting to see unemotional
>> scholarship
>> > on why Hindu militancy is rising at a disproportionately higher rate
>> than
>> > other militancy. It would also be interesting to try and relate the
>> ebbs and
>> > tides of secularism in India compared with experiences of other
>> cultures.
>>
>>  India is being remade in the image of Pakistan, Iran and Iraq.
>>  Another aspect of semitic transformation of Hinduism?
>>
>>  Swaminathan Madhuresan
>>
>> _________________________________________________________
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>
>

[admin note: changed date from Fri, 4 Jan 1980 02:15:24 -0500]



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