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Abstract

This article examines the study of religions of South Asia, in particular of India, from the angle of postcolonial criticism. It argues that the study of state formation provides a crucial perspective for the unraveling of the multiple transformations of religion in the colonial and postcolonial public sphere. The colonial state cannot be studied in isolation from the global framework of imperial interactions between metropole and colony, in which colonial and national modernity is produced. Such a study depends on a postcolonial critique of the very category of “religion” while acknowledging the centrality of that category in colonial and postcolonial politics. The transformation of the public sphere in South Asia shows the increasing importance of religious movements and of the political use of religious images in new communication technologies. One of the most important trends in the present era is the attempt to create a homogenous religious community, not only within the national territorial space, but also in a transnational space. Such attempts offer a violent confrontation with “the Other,” however defined.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.31.040402.085347
2002-10-01
2024-06-19
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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.31.040402.085347
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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