21.06.2017: Banu Subramaniam

Wed, 21.6.17 | 18-20h | Rotunde (Cartesium)

Counter-Narratives of the Enlightenment: Tales from the edges of Science and Religion in India – Talk in the World-of-Contradiction lecture series

Banu Subramaniam explores the worlds of science and religion in contemporary India. In contrast to other religious fundamentalisms, Hindu nationalism embraces science as an important and critical part of religion. Religious nationalists in contemporary India have selectively, and strategically, used rhetoric from both science and Hinduism, modernity and orthodoxy, western and eastern thought to build a powerful but potentially dangerous vision of a Hindu nation. With aspirations for a global and modern Hinduism, she argues that scientific and religious practices in contemporary India are inextricably interconnected and result in fluid processes and practices of both institutions. In her presentation, she explores how mythological narratives, preternatural tales, and ghostly apparitions mingle effortlessly with animist traditions as well as the material, experimental, and institutional practices of technosciences. This emerging “syncretic pragmatism” challenges us to move beyond the oppositional stances of science and religion, to consider counter narratives to the enlightenment tales of reason and unreason. Ultimately to understand contemporary technoscience in India, we need new epistemological and methodological tools, and story making practices to make visible the many phantasmogoric naturecultural worlds within.