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Spiritual Despots – Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule

J. Barton Scott


Although attacks on priestcraft were ubiquitous in colonial India, the period’s rich archive of anticlerical writing has seldom been systematically studied. As this book shows, however, the spectre of the crafty priest was crucial to how the politics of religion were understood at this time. At least as important to British rule as the Orientalist representation of Hinduism and other religious traditions was the effort to reform human subjects by freeing them from external religious influence. This book traces how the critique of spiritual despotism in colonial India gave rise to ideal of the ... More

Keywords: comparative religion, colonialism, India, Victorian religion, Hinduism, postcolonial theory, asceticism, anticlericalism, Max Weber, Secularism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780226368672
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226368702.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

J. Barton Scott, author
University of Toronto