[INDOLOGY] The place of Indology in the Academy

Greg Bailey Greg.Bailey at latrobe.edu.au
Mon Oct 27 17:56:27 EDT 2014


Patrick, Dominik and Madhav,

I agree entirely with Patrick's sentiments. Indology will only survive in a larger department, usually of Asian Studies or Religious Studies.  In Australia the situation is very difficult and even Asian Studies is under threat.  The Neo-Liberal state is concerned only with knowledge–preferably information–that can be measured in numerical terms.

Greg Bailey

From: Patrick Olivelle <jpo at uts.cc.utexas.edu<mailto:jpo at uts.cc.utexas.edu>>
Date: Tuesday, 28 October 2014 3:00 AM
To: Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com<mailto:wujastyk at gmail.com>>
Cc: Indology <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] The place of Indology in the Academy

Dominik, Madhav, and all:

My own experience being a Chair for longer than I care to remember is that there is no one "optimum" institutional setting or home for "Indology", by which we mean, I think, the study of classical/ancient India. It is easy to come up with abstract optimum settings, but they are of little value unless local conditions are taken into account. As we know, all "classical" studies are under institutional and budgetary threat -- note the elimination of classical archeology etc. even in Britain. My experience is "being small means being under threat". So, it is safer to have a broader and larger home in which factors such as student enrollments can be better managed to satisfy the number crunchers. In the US, in general Indological areas are represented in several larger settings: South Asian Studies, Asian Studies (thus including East Asia), and Religious Studies. Individual Indological faculty members may be located in other departments: Classics (Brown), History, Linguistics, etc. I think the most advantageous setting is Departments of South Asian OR Asian Studies, mainly because all areas of Indology can be represented there -- from Philology, Grammar, and Literature to Mathematics, Philosophy, and Medicine. Religion Departments offer only a narrow spectrum, but because they are many in the US they do offer the best employment opportunities to our students!!

Patrick



On Oct 27, 2014, at 10:31 AM, Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com<mailto:wujastyk at gmail.com>> wrote:

Dear Madhav,

Yes, quite.  So, could you reframe the basic question as one about the pros and cons of different institutional locations of "South Asian Studies"?

Best,
Dominik


On 27 October 2014 15:44, Madhav Deshpande <mmdesh at umich.edu<mailto:mmdesh at umich.edu>> wrote:
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!

Madhav

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