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The Modern Spirit of Asia:
The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India
Peter van der Veer

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]

ENDORSEMENTS:

"This wonderful book traces the way interactions with Western imperial power have shaped aspects of nationalism in the two emerging Asian giants, China and India. Peter van der Veer knows these two societies intimately, which is one reason why his study is so perceptive and so informative. At once highly readable and scholarly, The Modern Spirit of Asia is strongly recommended for specialists and nonspecialists alike."--Talal Asad, Graduate Center, City University of New York

"This book gives us interactional history at its best. Van der Veer selects four connected concepts--religion, magic, secularity, and spirituality--which are unavoidably defined in relation to each other. He then traces their redefinitions, transformations, and recombinations in the power interactions of the Age of Empire and its aftermath. The result is a set of striking insights about a host of issues, particularly in relation to the modern history of India and China. The Modern Spirit of Asia offers a remarkable example of how fruitful comparative historical sociology can be for our understanding of the present."--Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age

"Peter van der Veer has written an important book on a fascinating topic. He shows how the secular projects in India and China are central to modernity and state formation in these societies, yet argues that the secular itself is not free from religion, spirituality, and the magical."--Prasenjit Duara, National University of Singapore

"Van der Veer takes seriously the premise that the forms of modernity in India and China must be understood in their own right without prejudging them in relation to Europe, America, or Western scholarship. The Modern Spirit of Asia is a significant, original, and ambitious contribution to the field."--C. J. Fuller, author of The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India

"This is quite simply a marvelous book. Van der Veer is a major pioneering voice in the study of religion and nationalism in India. He knows and cites the social scientific literature on South Asia like the back of his hand. This book now extends that incisive voice and that expert hand onto a robust comparative and global stage. A moment to be celebrated."--Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University

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File created: 4/22/2014

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