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Classifying the Natives in Early Modern Ethnographies

Henry Lord's A Display of Two Foreign Sects in the East Indies (1630)

Amrita Sen and Jyotsna G. Singh

This article examines the politics and rhetorics of early modern ethnography via Henry Lord's famous treatise A Display of Two Foreign Sects in the East Indies (1630). Lord, a chaplain with the East India Company, attempted to classify Indian religious and caste identities—particularly those of the Banians—at a time when England's trading fortunes in India were still tenuous, though promising. Turning to the Shaster which he understands as the Banian Bible, Lord offers his readers a glimpse into Hindu mythologies—stories of genesis and the flood—which result in the creation of the four Indian castes. Understood in terms of humoral, psychological, and moral taxonomies these castes fall within emergent proto-racial hierarchies. Simultaneously, the journeys of the four brothers—Brammon, Cuttery, Shuddery, and Wyse—progenitors of their respective castes reenact familiar tropes of European travel writing combining the logic of profit with the “discovery” of hitherto unclaimed lands and erotic bodies.

Open access

Whose Reality Counts?

Emergent Dalitbahujan Anthropologists

Reddi Sekhara Yalamala

Annihilation of Caste , which was written in the 1930s, and the anti-Brahmin Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu ( Ambedkar 2004 ; Nanda 2003 ). While there are many linguistic and cultural differences between ST, SC and OBC groups, the majority are poor – either

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Citizenship in religious clothing?

Navayana Buddhism and Dalit emancipation in late 1990s Uttar Pradesh

Nicolas Jaoul

dominant castes. Relying on old stereotypes of communal discourse, Muslims are depicted as an example of this physical courage when their religion has been at stake, while Brahmins should be emulated for their ability to unite on religious grounds in spite

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Giving and Taking without Reciprocity

Conversations in South India and the Anthropology of Ethics

Soumhya Venkatesan

in South India: the first between 1997 and 2003 among Muslim householders, and the second, ongoing from 2006, among Brahmin Hindu temple priests who are also householders. I thus bring South Asian Islamic understandings of charitable gifts and

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Beyond citizenship

Adivasi and Dalit political pathways in India

Nicolas Jaoul and Alpa Shah

. First, he criticizes the Dalit movement’s obsession with the culturalist critique of Brahminism, which he sees as irrelevant to the present scenario where the non-Brahminical intermediate castes have become the most vehement perpetrators of anti

Open access

Narmala Halstead

-exceptionality of exception’ in India, in pointing to multiple exceptions’ paradigms. They indicate the different forms of exceptions for high caste Brahmins, officiating over social order which also provided for their rigid distancing from the Dalits, the lowest of

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“Let Us Be Giants”

Masculinity Nostalgia and Military Edutainment in South Asian War Comics

Tehmina Pirzada

of India's diverse communities into a Brahmin monolith also reinforces the preferential mentoring and treatment offered to boys in Indian society. Attributing this preferential bias to Brahminic Hindu scriptures, Anuja Madan (2020) argues in her

Open access

Ben Page, Olga R. Gulina, Doğuş Şimşek, Caress Schenk, and Vidya Venkat

, which has resulted in unequal opportunities for development. As Tumbe points out in chapter 3, Brahmins and Banias are two social groups who benefitted the most from historical migration and the opportunities for jobs and businesses it brought. They form

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Post-war Blood

Sacrifice, Anti-sacrifice, and the Rearticulations of Conflict in Sri Lanka

Neena Mahadev

decade prior, Rohan Bastin (2002) reports that at the shrine it was typically Sinhala Buddhist individuals who bade the non-Brahmin Tamil priest officiants to perform animal sacrifices on their behalf. More recently, as mentioned above, practices of

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Mariske Westendorp, Bruno Reinhardt, Reinaldo L. Román, Jon Bialecki, Alexander Agadjanian, Karen Lauterbach, Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Kate Yanina DeConinck, Jack Hunter, Ioannis Kyriakakis, Magdalena Crăciun, Roger Canals, Cristina Rocha, Khyati Tripathi, Dafne Accoroni, and George Wu Bayuga

shaped her. “I was an un-Brahmin-Brahmin and an unwomanly woman” (p. 21); “slowly I became more observant. I neatly plastered my hair with oil and adorned my forehead with kumkum” (p. 23); “caste and gender slowly imprinted themselves on me” (p. 23) are