Ronald Inden

American academic

Ronald Inden is an American Indologist, and professor emeritus in the Departments of History and of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago and is a major scholar in South Asian and post-colonial studies. Inden has been a lifelong resident of Hyde Park, the Chicago community which contains the University.

Quotes edit

  • We should not be misled by this into thinking that these scholars were anti-racist. They did not have to rely on a theory of race as such, for they had their own global theory that was fully able to inferiorize the languages (and by implication the cultures) of the other purely on linguistic grounds. Max Müller's linguistic taxonomy was a Hegelian hierarchy in which . . . cultural geography [becomes] the same as world history.
    • Quoted from Malhotra, R., Nīlakantan, A. (Princeton, N.J.). (2011). Breaking India: Western interventions in Dravidian and Dalit faultlines

Imagining India, 2001 edit

  • The most important shift, especially in South Asia, has been the rise to prominence of scholarship that returns not to Hegel but to Marx. (154-5)
  • Throughout this book I have argued· that. the problem with orientalism is not just one of bias or o( bad motives and hence, confined to itself. The problem lies in my view, with the way in which the human sciences have displaced human agency on to essences in the first place. Taking up some leads of Collingwood, I have tried to show how an alternative approach that focuses on human agency might be constructed, and how it might be used, as a vantage­ point from which both to criticize previous scholarship and to reconstruct our knowledges of the human world. (264)
  • Independence governments implemented secularism mostly by refusing to recognize the religious pasts of Indian nationalism, whether Hindu or Muslim, and at the same time (inconsistently) by retaining Muslim 'personal law' .
    • also quoted in Adrija Roychowdhury. Secularism: Why Nehru dropped and Indira inserted the S-word in the Constitution. | New Delhi | August 5, 2018 [1]
  • ". . . Euro-American Selves and Indian Others have not simply interacted as entities that remain fundamentally the same. They have dialectically constituted one another. Once one realizes the truth of this, he or she will begin to see that India has played a part in the making of nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe (and America) much greater than the "we" of scholarship, journalism, and officialdom would normally wish to allow. The subcontinent was not simply a source of colonial riches or a stage-setting in which Western hunters could stalk tigers, the sons of British merchants and aristocrats could make a financial killing, or the spiritualist find his or her innermost soul (or its Buddhist absence). More than that, India was (and to some extent still is) the object of thoughts and acts with which this "we" has constituted itself."
    • Inden, Ronald. Imagining India, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Ltd., 1990. as quoted in [2]

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