Publication: Scholars and Prophets

Roland Lardinois, Scholars and Prophets. Sociology of India from France 19th-20th centuries. New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2013

Scholars and ProphetsSociology of India from France 19th – 20th centuries is being translated from L’invention de I’ Inde. Entre ésotérisme et science, and deals with the historical genesis of the long and rich scholarship on India in France since the beginning of 19thcentury, with particular reference to the work of Louis Dumont. It considers the works of scholars and the essayists, poets, or esotericists who published on India and shows that Dumont has been influenced by both groups. This understanding illuminates the main criticism that is still addressed to Homo hierarchicus, that in this book Dumont mistook the internal Brahminical view point on the caste system for a sociological view. In the last chapter, the book contrasts Dumont’s work with issues raised by McKim Marriott’s project and the Subaltern Studies from India. It defends that the core issue dealt with by all scholars is the epistemic status given to scientific knowledge of Indian society. In the course of explaining the French intellectual tradition, the author relates many fascinating interactions and little known anecdotes of famous men and women which capture the intellectually vibrant climate of the time. Both scholars and students of the social sciences will find this book very useful.”

Contents:

Introduction: Genesis of the sociology of India
Prologue: René Daumal and the autofiction of the cultural field
Part One
The Genesis of a Savant Milieu (1795-1927)
Chapter 1. The struggle for academic legitimacy
Chapter 2. Orientalist knowledge and prophetic discourses
Chapter 3. The Struggle for institutional autonomy
Part Two
Scholars and Prophets (The interwar period)
Chapter 4. The field of scholarship on India in the 1930s
Chapter 5. Scholarly practices
Chapter 6. Prophetic strategies
Chapter 7. Hinduism as a disciplinary issue
Part Three
Social Science and Indigenous Science
(Second half of the 20th century)
Chapter 8. Louis Dumont and the indigenous science
Chapter 9. Louis Dumont and the cunning of reason
Chapter 10. The Avatara of scholarship on India
Conclusion. Sociology put to the test of India
Postscript. Note on the construction of a research subject
Appendix: Multi Correspondence Analysis
Postface to the English-language edition
List of documents, tables, figures
Sources and bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments

Reviews:

Jules Naudet, « The Fascination for India », La Vie des idées, 11 March 2013. Available online.

Rosane Rocher, “New Perspectives on the History of Indian Studies in Continental Europe”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 129, N.4, Oct.Dec. 2009. Available online.

François Leclercq, « Roland Lardinois, L’invention de l’Inde: Entre ésotérisme et science », South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, January 2010. Available online.

Gisèle Sapiro, “Roland Lardinois, L’Invention de l’Inde. Entre ésotérisme et science“, TRANSEO, Ausgabe 01 – January 2009. Available online.


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