The distinctiveness of German Indology – and its expression in German philosophy

German Indological scholarship was something of an anomaly given the link between colonial power and colonial knowledge. The German fascination surrounding “ancient Indian wisdom” unfolded in
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Unlike England, France, Holland, Spain, and Portugal, Germany scarcely enjoyed vast or prosperous overseas colonies. Late to develop its navy, Germany entered into the notorious “scramble for Africa” toward the closing years of the 19th century, and would soon lose (or give away, if the story is true) what it had recently acquired, early on in the 20th century. Prior to the Chancellorship of Otto von Bismarck (who became active in the 1860s), Germany was just not a salient participant in the so-called Europeanization of the earth. For those powers that were (like England and France), it was quite expected to witness the cultivation and development of new domains of knowledge pertaining to the regions under colonial rule. Where else would we expect an institution devoted to the languages, customs, religions, laws, history, and politics of the various nations of Asia and Africa than right in the metropolitan centre of a great colonial power? The Ecole Spéciale des Langues Orientales of. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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