Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Autobiography of an ArchiveA Scholar's Passage to India$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nicholas Dirks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169677

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169677.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Castes of Mind

Castes of Mind

The Original Caste

(p.83) 4 Castes of Mind
Autobiography of an Archive

Nicholas B. Dirks

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the importance of caste in understanding India and Hinduism. In comparative sociology and in common parlance, caste has become a central metaphor for India. A long history of writing, such as the general anthropology of Louis Dumont, has identified caste as the basic form and expression of Indian society. Caste has been seen as always there in Indian history and as one of the major reasons why the country has no history, or at least no sense of history. Caste defines the core of Indian tradition, and caste is today the major threat to Indian modernity. Theories of caste are not only about society but also about politics and history. The chapter reflects on caste in relation to religion, politics, orientalism, and colonialism. It also examines Colin Mackenzie's role in the rescuing of southern India's precolonial historiography, along with the debate over H. H. Risley's emphasis on the racial basis of caste. Finally, it argues that the history of discourses on caste cannot be separated from the full institutional history of British colonialism.

Keywords:   caste, India, Hinduism, sociology, Indian society, politics, history, colonialism, Colin Mackenzie, H. H. Risley

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .