The Modern Spirit of Asia: The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India

Princeton University Press
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The Modern Spirit of Asia challenges the notion that modernity in China and India are derivative imitations of the West, arguing that these societies have transformed their ancient traditions in unique and distinctive ways. Peter van der Veer begins with nineteenth-century imperial history, exploring how Western concepts of spirituality, secularity, religion, and magic were used to translate the traditions of India and China. He traces how modern Western notions of religion and magic were incorporated into the respective nation-building projects of Chinese and Indian nationalist intellectuals, yet how modernity in China and India is by no means uniform. While religion is a centerpiece of Indian nationalism, it is viewed in China as an obstacle to progress that must be marginalized and controlled.

The Modern Spirit of Asia moves deftly from Kandinsky's understanding of spirituality in art to Indian yoga and Chinese qi gong, from modern theories of secularism to histories of Christian conversion, from Orientalist constructions of religion to Chinese campaigns against magic and superstition, and from Muslim Kashmir to Muslim Xinjiang. Van der Veer, an outspoken proponent of the importance of comparative studies of religion and society, eloquently makes his case in this groundbreaking examination of the spiritual and the secular in China and India.

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About the author

Peter van der Veer is director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany, and a Distinguished Professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His books include Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain (Princeton) and Religious Nationalism: Hindus and Muslims in India.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 27, 2013
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9781400848553
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / China
History / Asia / General
History / Asia / India & South Asia
Religion / Comparative Religion
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Anthropology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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