The Biopolitics of Hindu Nationalism
- PUBLISHED: June 2019
- SUBJECT LISTING: Science and Technology Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Asian Studies / South Asia
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 312 Pages, 6 x 9 in
- SERIES: Feminist Technosciences
- ISBN: 9780295745596
Behind the euphoric narrative of India as an emerging world power lies a complex and evolving relationship between science and religion. Evoking the rich mythology of comingled worlds where humans, animals, and gods transform each other and ancient history, Banu Subramaniam demonstrates how Hindu nationalism sutures an ideal past to technologies of the present to make bold claims about the Vedic Sciences and the scientific Vedas. Moving beyond a critique of India’s emerging bionationalism, this book explores the generative possibility of myth and story, interweaving compelling new stories into a rich analysis that animates alternative imaginaries and “other” worlds of possibilities.
Authors & Contributors
Banu Subramaniam is professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of Ghost Stories for Darwin: The Science of Variation and the Politics of Diversity, winner of the 2016 Ludwik Fleck Award from the Society for the Social Studies of Science.
A brilliant, persuasive analysis of the multiple, complex, braided narratives of 'scientized religion' and 'religionized science' at the heart of Hindu nationalism in India. Subramaniam is a masterful storyteller—she draws on postcolonial feminist science and technology studies and moves seamlessly between the histories and ecologies of science, religion, and, gender to offer compelling counternarratives that resist and transcend the racist, masculinist, capitalist, caste-based biopolitics of Hindu nationalism. A must-read for anyone committed to understanding and countering the rise of authoritarian nationalisms around the world.- Chandra Talpade Mohanty, author of Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity
Subramaniam’s innovative analyses—presented alongside entertaining accounts of Indian biopolitics that complicate our grasp of science and society’s interconnections—reanimate and deepen considerations of India’s always ambivalent, hybrid engagements with modernity. Inviting reflection on how the modern West has never in fact succeeded in disenchanting its own sciences—and how the West’s assumptions to the contrary prevent it from successfully reimagining the planetary environmental salvation it seeks—this text should become a classic resource in the history and philosophy of science, in science and technology studies, and in social and political theory.- Sandra Harding, Distinguished Research Professor, Departments of Education and Gender Studies, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California Los Angeles
At a time when nationalism and populism are flourishing, Subramaniam draws on her unique expertise at the intersection of the life sciences and studies of identity politics to help readers understand how it is that science and religion have become bedfellows in Hindu nationalist ideology.- Kath Weston, author of Animate Planet: Making Visceral Sense of Living in a High-Tech Ecologically Damaged World
Analytically nuanced, intellectually rigorous, politically engaged, and imaginatively written. A hopeful blueprint for the future grounded in a passionate recollection of a more inclusive, tolerant, and plural past. An excellent and timely book.- Projit Bihari Mukharji, author of Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies, and Braided Sciences