Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 43, No 2 (2014)

Responding to the Wendy Doniger Controversy: The Problems and Possibilities in the Academic Study of Religion

Steven Ramey
Issued Date: 22 Apr 2014


The controversy over Penguin India withdrawing Wendy Doniger's book, announced in February 2014, provides an occasion to consider the problems and possibilities within the academic study of religion. As the controversy centered on representations of what both Doniger and her opponents termed Hinduism, the problems with adjudicating contested definitions of religions or the category religions becomes apparent. Rather than assuming that we can present a normative definition of any of these terms, I argue that scholars should avoid applying these contested labels themselves and recognize instead whose application of contested labels that they use. This approach facilitates a more robust analysis of the ways these terms enter the negotiation of various conflicts and the interests and assumptions behind them, making religious studies more relevant to contemporary society.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/bsor.v43i2.37


Doniger, Wendy. 2009. The Hindus: An Alternative History. New York: Penguin.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy