Chainpur Today

Peter Gottschalk

in Religion, Science, and Empire

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195393019
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979264 | DOI:
Chainpur Today

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Scientism and the category of religion have a secure place in Chainpur today. Although the British empire withdrew almost a century ago, the hegemony of its epistemic order has long outlasted its political dominance. While British rule dominates the history learned by school-attending Chainpur residents, few discuss the Britons who visited Chainpur. Yet those visits continue to have ramifications in villagers' lives, whether through the continuation of the decadal census, the Archaeological Survey of India's maintenance of local monuments, the classification of religious communities, or the visitation of American scholars attracted by British era accounts. This situation evidences the simultaneous existence of two information orders: one promoted by, consecutively, the British imperial and independent Indian governments, and the other maintained by Chainpur residents. Given the hegemony of both the imperial and national states and the strength of their respective information orders, the success of local memories to resist the science by which Britons and Indians have sought to know Chainpur illustrates both the qualities and limits of scientism. Daily, residents of this village negotiate rifts and confluences in scientistic and local epistemes that have roots in British rule, ramifications for social classifications, and implications for the future.

Keywords: census; education; Bihar; scientism; census; archaeology; scholarship; American; social memory; archaeological survey of India

Chapter.  15311 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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