The Dissertation Proposal: Hinduism and the Boundaries of Nineteenth Century American Culture

Two weeks ago I successfully defended my dissertation proposal. I thought it might be worthwhile to share an abridged version so anyone interested might get a sense of what this project is shaping up to be. I’d love to hear feedback and suggestions. In this abridged version I’ve cut out the literature review.

“This extensive and populous country…retains its peculiar manners which have stamped the people as a peculiar race from the earliest periods of history.”1 So writes Samuel Goodrich in 1845, using the pseudonym Peter Parley, under the heading “Hindostan” in his schoolbook Manners and Customs of the Principal Nations of The Globe. For, Goodrich, and for the children reading his grade school book, India was quite different from America. As common schools began to grow in the middle third of the nineteenth century, writers like Goodrich believed that children in America needed to have a global view. A view that included Asia and India. In his The Tales of Peter Parley About Asia (1845) Goodrich describes the people of India for his readers: “I shall now tell you of a people, who may be regarded as the most interesting of all the inhabitants of Asia, I mean the Hindoos…the Hindoos, in personal appearance, in disposition, in character, and in religion, are a distinct and peculiar nation.”2 Children would find the Hindus interesting because they were so different from Americans—so “peculiar.” As Goodrich pointed out, they looked different, lived differently, and believed in a different religion.

About a decade later, Henry David Thoreau bathed his mind in “the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy” of the Bhagavad Gita during his mornings at Walden Pond. For Thoreau, the sacred book of India made the modern world “and its literature seem puny and trivial.” Laying the book aside, Thoreau made his way down to his well to draw water. The Gita still in his thoughts, at the well he met “the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahama and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Veda, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug.” Thoreau’s meditation on the Gita brought him to a place where “the pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”3 For Thoreau, the Brahman at the foot of the tree reading the Veda represented everything missing from his industrial American society. Through his romantic vision, Hindu religious culture represented an ancient spiritual wisdom that Thoreau believed American industrial society had lost.

In 1884 the Methodist run Christian Advocate offered a very different image of India’s religions. The magazine published a report from the Rev. Samuel Knowles on “The Devi Patan Mela,” a religious festival in India. Knowles narrates the scene his group of missionaries arrived to find: “Thirsty tired, and full of dust, we entered under the grand grove of tamarind trees that surrounds the gloomy temple of the blood-deluged idol goddess…it was calculated that one animal a minute was sacrificed sunrise to sunset of every day for a week.” Like Thoreau, Knowles also sees Brahmins. “A number of blood-stained priests stand behind a stone in front of the temple,” waiting to help devotees offer sacrifices to “the dishonored shrine.”4

These three examples illustrate the variety of ways Americans imagined and represented Hindu religions in the nineteenth century. For the schoolbook writers, India was a land of barbarous, dark skinned, heathens that stood in contrast to the virtues of white, enlightened, Christian America. For Thoreau and his ilk, Indian religions held a spiritual truth that was missing in American Protestant culture. Americans needed to “bathe their minds” in India’s spiritual waters as an antidote to rising materialism and industrialism. Missionaries, like the Methodists in the Advocate, viewed Hindu religions as dark heathenism in need of the conquering light of the Gospel. As these examples indicate, Americans held a variety of reactions and ideas about India and its religious culture, but all of these reactions shared a common understanding of religious difference. Whether viewed positively or negatively, all Americans believed that Hindu religions were altogether different from America’s.

Furthermore, these visions of Hindu religions preceded the arrival of Hindus themselves. Swami Vivekananda’s speech at the World’s Parliament of religion is often cited as the beginning for Hinduism’s history in America. On the one hand, this is true insofar as Vivekananda’s Vedanta Society became the first Hindu religious institution to attract a following among Americans. But on the other hand, such a history fails to outline the events and ideas that made Vivekananda’s movement possible. The history of Hinduism in America begins a century before Vivekananda when Americans first encountered Hindu religions through missions work, trade, travel narratives, and the popular press. By examining the representations of Hinduism that preceded Vivekananda, this dissertation traces out the ideas and images in American culture that made Vivekananda’s work possible, thinkable even. In short, I point out the ground rules Vivekananda, and Hindus that would follow him, had to play by.


In this dissertation, I situate my investigation on the boundary of American culture. In the nineteenth century, Americans from a variety of backgrounds produced and consumed representations of Hindu religions. I argue that these representations took a myriad of forms and emphasized various themes about India but they were all predicated on a notion of religious difference—whatever Hindu religions were, they were not American. Thus, Hindu religions marked the edge of American culture. They were always already outside America, though they were then represented by Americans for Americans in American cultural forms. By sketching the borders of American culture in the period and by paying particular attention to the role of religion in maintaining this boundary, this dissertation will explore the different ways Americans used religion as a category for defining America. In a sense, this dissertation gets at “American religion” through the back door, by examining examples of what did not count as American religion during the century.

While other historians, most notably R. Laurence Moore, have argued that American religious history has been typified by “outsiders,” these outsiders have most often still been Americans.5 They’ve been Catholic, Jewish, or Mormon Americans, they’ve been immigrant Americans, but they have been people living in America, nonetheless. I push past these outsiders to a group truly outside the boundaries of America. A group so far outside that it becomes hard to differentiate between imagination and representation. This dissertation, then, is not just about the boundaries of nineteenth century American culture. It is also a project in expanding the boundaries of what counts in American religious history.

Part of that expansionary project involves re-framing American religious history in global terms. Scholars of the American West have unsettled the traditional narrative of American religious history that begins in New England and moves West. Meanwhile, others have emphasized the transatlantic connections between America and Europe. Finally, a move toward accounting for movement and immigration has produced histories that account for the ways religions arrived in America. But all of these various frames are still tied to the geographic space of the American continent as the place where religions arrive. In taking a global view, I argue that Americans constructed religious ideas and practices through processes of movement and exchange that took place around the world. Women reading the Heathen Woman’s Friend imagined life as a Hindu widow and prayed for them. New Englanders encountered images of Hindu gods that had accompanied cotton textiles on a ship from Madras. American Transcendentalists read Hindu texts imported from Britain, translated by officials in the East India Company in Calcutta, and compiled by Hindu pandits. Representations of Hindu religions did not simply arrive in America, rather, they were constructed through process of global travel and exchange. By focusing on global travel, America moves from a the destination point of religions, as in the typical narrative of Pilgrim arrival, to a node in a global network of travel and exchange.

Besides geography, I also push boundaries of historical periodization. While taking account of the Transcendentalists’ interest in Hindu texts, most historians begin the history of Hindu religions in America with the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religion and the arrival of Swami Vivekananda. I end my history there. While 1893 does mark the beginning of Vivekananda’s work in America and the first concerted movement of converts to Hinduism, the history of Hindu religions in America goes back much further. I begin with the America-India trade at the turn of the nineteenth century. This trade between New England and the ports of India brought the first sustained encounters between Americans and Hindus. In the second decade of the century the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent out their first group of missionaries to India. Not to be outdone by their New England cousins, the Unitarians also sent out missionaries in the 1820s and were in correspondence with Hindu reformer Rammohun Roy. During the second half of the century, the Methodist Episcopal Church joined other Evangelical denominations in missionary work in India, Transcendentalists, Theosphists, and other metaphysicals explored Hindu religions, and national media outlets such as Harper’s Monthly published accounts of religious life in India. A plethora of representations of Hindu religions from a variety of perspectives and serving diverse ends moved throughout American culture before Vivekananda ever stepped on stage in Chicago. American encounters with Hinduism in the twentieth century cannot be understood apart from these nineteenth century representations.

Broadly speaking, I organize American representations of Hinduism into three categories. First, some representations of Hindu religions took part in the construction and maintenance of an American national culture. Like the schoolbook example above, these representations combined religious difference with racial, social, and cultural differences to produce a full fledged American national culture that stood in direct opposition to Indian culture. Americans were white, Protestant, hard working, civilized and enlightened. Indians were brown, heathen, lazy, barbarous, and benighted. Second, Evangelical missionaries produced representations of Hinduism that dovetailed the nationalist images in their negativity but emphasized the need to convert Hindus and reform their culture. Where the religious difference was necessary for the production of national culture, the missionary representations sought to eventually erase religious difference through conversion. Hindus were still uncivilized heathens but they could be redeemed through missions work. Finally, the third set of representations differ from the first two because of their more romantic approach to Hindu religions. For metaphysicals like Thoreau, though they were still different from American religions, Hindu religions had something to offer America. Hindu religions possessed a spirituality and wisdom missing from American religious life. Within these broad groups a lot of diversity existed. The representations of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions differed from the Methodist Episcopal Church, Theosophists differed from Transcendentalists in how they represented and appropriated Hindu religions, and American national culture spoke in multiple voices regarding Hindu religions. This diversity points out the large number of nineteenth century Americans who imagined, encountered, and represented Hindu religions.

Sources and Methods

One of the most challenging aspects of this project is the breadth of the source material and the multiple forms it in which it exists. As the project is a study of representations in culture, most of my sources are drawn from published works. All of my research will be archival, however, some of the research will take place in digital archives and some will occur in brick and mortar archives. The digital sources, mostly magazines and popular literature, allow for full text searches. I can search an entire database for the terms “Hindu” or “Hindoo,” for example, and find any text that contains them. This full-text searchability is an indispensable aspect of the project. Much of the material I am able to analyze would have been to hard to find in the past, requiring too much time searching and scanning microfilm or old magazine issues to find the scattered references to Hindu religions. The full text search has opened up a largesse of relevant source material that has gone unstudied. However, it would be shortsighted to rely only on digitized sources. I will also turn to traditional print or microfilm materials for harder to find sources. For example, I will be traveling to Salem, Massachusetts to conduct archival research at the Peabody Essex Museum in their collections relating to the trade between India and New England and I will use the microfilm archive of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. I will also use mostly hard copy primary sources for my research on Theosophy and New Thought.

Besides the division between hard copy and digital sources, the sources for this project fall into three categories: popular sources, religious sources, and professional sources. The popular sources consist of popular magazines such as Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and Harper’s Weekly and common school textbooks. A variety of magazines and journals from evangelical missionaries, Theosophists, Transcendentalists, free religionists, Unitarians, and New Thought writers make up the religious sources. Finally, I also consider publications from professional societies such as the American Orientalist Society along with medical journals and phrenological journals. Again, the goal is diversity. I want to find representations of Hindu religions in as many places as possible in order to emphasize their variety and their widely scattered presence in American culture. These sources represent diverse readerships, diverse Americans, and diverse levels of cultural power.

In approaching this variety of sources I draw on a variety of interpretive methods. Broadly speaking, this project sits at the crossroads of American studies, religious studies, and postcolonial studies. It fits American studies by focusing on the ways representations of Hinduism worked to produce understandings of what it meant to be American through frames of religious difference. But in its investigations into the formation of “Hinduism” as a category of religion in American culture, the project also relates to religious studies. Finally, by focusing on notions of difference, “the other,” and power I engage work from the broad realm of postcolonial studies. Within these broad disciplines, my interpretation of the sources will draw on three themes: power, the nation, and global movement and travel.

In analyzing various representations of Hinduism I will pay particular attention to the ways power works on and through these representations. Influenced by Edward Said and Michel Foucault, this level of analysis investigates how constructions of self and other also construct hierarchies of domination.6 Said and Foucault also open up the discussion of how power works in the construction of categories. For example, the American missionary construction of Hinduism as dark, heathenish, and violent excused the violence of the British “civilizing mission” and maintained a hierarchy of religions with Protestant Christianity at the top. Along with Said and Foucault, I also rely on recent critical work by Tomoko Masuzawa, Talal Asad, David Chidester, and Richard King.7 These writers, in different ways and with different examples, each point to the ways European power is embedded in the category of religion and its subcategories. As I analyze representations of Hinduism I follow these scholars’ example of paying close attention to the role of power in the formation of these representations. How does religious difference between the American and the Hindu work to establish a hierarchy between the two? How are representations of Hinduism used by some Americans, for example Transcendentalists and Theosophists, to resist the power of the Protestant establishment? How are representations of Hinduism constructed in relation to existing colonial and mercantile relationships between Americans, Britons, and Hindus?

In these representations, power is tied up with ideas about the nation. In thinking about the nation, I take Benedict Anderson’s idea of the nation as an “imagined community” as my jumping off point8. From there I follow anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod’s interest in “national culture.” Abu-Lughod argues that “nation-states can be looked at both as cultural artifacts whose technologies of production and imagination can be analyzed and as modes of ordering everyday life that can be ethnographically investigated.”9 I consider all of the sources I outlined above as part of American national culture. An important part of this project is investigating how representations of Hindu religions in these sources work to produce and imagine the American nation. To that end, I am further influenced by recent historians who have emphasized the role of religion, particularly Protestantism, in the American nation during the nineteenth century. Jon Butler, Steven K. Green, James Morone, and David Sehat have all argued, in different ways, for the centrality and power of a Protestant establishment in American culture that worked to Christianize America and buttress its social power during the nineteenth century.10 In analyzing my sources, I will pay close attention to how representations of Hinduism as a religious, cultural, and national Other work to reinforce and maintain a Protestant national American culture. For example, the representations of uncivilized, despotic, and heathen India in schoolbooks reinforced the idea of America as a Enlightened, Protestant, and democratic nation.

Finally, representations of Hindu religions appeared in American culture through processes of travel and movement. In the study of American religious history many scholars have pointed to the transatlantic connections between America and Britain.11 Meanwhile, the study of Hinduism in colonial India has begun to emphasize the need to consider the relationship between the colony and the metropole and investigate them together.12 To account for the movement of representations, this project will triangulate between America, Britain, and India. Representations of Hindu religions traveled into America from Britain and India. Evangelicals exchanged missionary reports about India between New England and London, Theosophists traveled to India, medical reports filtered to America from India, and schoolbook writers borrowed from British sources. Texts, images, narratives, and representations moved about between the three countries and part of my analysis involves accounting for this travel and how it shaped American ideas about Hindu religions.

Outline of Chapters

One of the major goals of this project is to emphasize the diversity of the representations of Hinduism Americans produced during the nineteenth century. To that end, I believe a broad essayist approach that examines a variety of case studies is in order. However, a logic runs throughout the dissertation that ties the various cases together. First, the cases are laid out in a general chronological order building from the early nineteenth century and ending in 1893. Second, the cases expand in geographic scope. The first section of the dissertation is focused on New England. The next section broadens out to consider sources tied to the larger northeast and then the third section takes on sources with a national scope.

The dissertation will begin with an introduction that opens up the central question of the project: What do representations of Hinduism as a religious Other tell us about nineteenth century American culture? I will then turn to a brief theoretical argument about the function of representation and difference in the constitution of cultural norms. In short, how “we” define “us” through “them.” I will also situate my project within larger conversations in American religious history, studies of Hinduism in America and debates about the construction of “religion” and “Hinduism” as categories.

The body of the dissertation will be organized into three parts organized more or less chronologically. Part I begins in New England and focuses on a series of connections between India and America formed through institutions there. Part II moves to a discussion of various metaphysical religions that took an interest in Hindu religions. This part begins in New England with the Transcendentalists but then expands to account for Theosophists and New Thought practitioners. Part III moves to a discussion of popular and national culture. Here representations of Hinduism are analyzed from a variety of cultural forms—some more blatantly religious than others. The dissertation concludes where most histories of Hinduism in America begin, at the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religion. While many scholars have seen the Parliament as the dawning of religious pluralism in America or even the beginning of Hinduism in America, I argue that the Parliament was a multi-vocal event comprised of missionary, metaphysical, and nationalistic representations of Hinduism. Indeed, part of Swami Vivekananda and other Asian speakers’ success at the Parliament relied on their ability to work with and around the variety of representations that preceded them.

Part I. Yankee Hinduism

Chapter 1. From Salem to Calcutta

After a brief discussion of very early American ideas about religion in India found in sources such as Cotton Mather’s India Christiania, I turn to focus this chapter around the early nineteenth century trade between New England and India, specifically the East India Marine Society. The Society was formed by merchants involved in the India trade who brought back various artifacts from India and set up a museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The collection is still held in Salem at what is now called the Peabody Essex Museum. Based on archival research at the museum I will first investigate the role of the India trade in producing representations and ideas of Hindu religions in New England and, second, the role of the Society and its museum in giving New Englanders access to these representations. The early contrast between American merchants and Hindu traders provides the first instance of a nationalist representation. Through the trade, American merchants posited a contrast between American culture and Hindu religions.

2. From the Haystack to the Orient

During this period of trade between New England and India, the first American Protestant missionaries left New England and went to India aboard merchant ships. Chapter 2 looks at the The Panoplist and the Missionary Herald, two publications that carried news from and about the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The ABCFM, a mostly Congregationalist organization, sent the first American missionaries to India in the first decades of the nineteenth century. This chapter will offer a brief history of the British Evangelical influences that led to the founding of the ABCFM and then analyze the representations of Hindu religions found in the organizations publications. This chapter offers the first example of the missionary representations of Hindu religions, where Hindu religions were approached as a darkness to be overcome by the light of Evangelical Christianity.

3. Unitarians and Their Raja

In response to trinitarian missionaries such as the ABCF, the Unitarians began to send missionaries to India in the 1820s. Also in the 1820s many Unitarians became interested in Rammohun Roy, a Hindu reformer who wrote a text entitled The Precepts of Jesus that summarized Jesus’ ethical teachings from the New Testament. The Unitarians began to review and reprint Rammohun Roy’s writings in their publications and corresponded with him and his Hindu reform organization the Brahmo Samaj. Chapter three narrates the relationship between the Unitarians, Rammohun Roy, and the Brahmo Samaj and analyzes the representation of Rammohun Roy’s and the Brahmo’s Hinduism in American Unitarian publications.

PART II. The Metaphysicals

4. The Gita, The Yogi, and the Over-Soul

Chapter 4 signals a transition from considering New England’s encounters with Hindu religions to accounting for representations of Hindu religion constructed by Americans interested in metaphysical religion. I use the term “metaphysical” religion following the recent work of Catherine Albanese and in this chapter I begin with the Transcendentalists. Paying particular attention to Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, I argue that Hindu religions represented an “Eastern spirituality” for metaphysical Americans that contained everything missing in contemporary American culture. The Transcendentalists along with other American religious liberals, such as Walt Whitman, believed America’s industrialization was leading to spiritual impoverishment and turned to Hindu religions as a solution. A good example of this turn is Whitman’s poem “A Passage to India” where he paints a picture of a world that combines the industrious West with the mystical East. The Bhagavad Gita and the Laws of Manu, two Hindu texts translated by British East India Company officials, played an important role in how these metaphysical Americans represented India. This chapter will analyze the representations of Hindu religions produced by Transcendentalists and trace the influences of Hindu texts and British Orientalism on these representations.

5. American Mahatmas

Chapter 5 continues the discussion of metaphysical religion but begins to transition outside of New England by analyzing representations of Hindu religions in Theosophy and New Thought. While I need to conduct more research into exactly what Theosophists said and wrote about Hindu religions, my preliminary research indicates that they shared a similar view to the Transcendentalists. They represented Hindu religions, especially Hindu texts, as possessing a mystical ancient wisdom. They differed from the Transcendentalists in their emphasis on the esoteric nature of that wisdom. In this chapter I will analyze representations from Theosophists, most notably Madame Helena Blavastky, and writers in Theosophical journals and magazines along with New Thought writers, such as Ida Craddock.

PART III. Hinduism in American National Culture

6. Hindus in the Schools

I begin Part III, with its emphasis on the relationship between representations of Hindu religions and the American nation, with a chapter on images of Hindu religions in American common school textbooks. Antebellum common schools tried to educate American children and prepare them to be good American citizens. Educators emphasized virtue and knowledge as key components of the citizenry of the new republic. To that end, geography books gave students systems for gaining knowledge about other parts of the world. Through categories of difference built around race, religion, and society these schoolbooks tried to help students understand who they were and who other people were. The next step was to flesh out these categories with examples and authors did so in histories, readers, and even letter-writers. By presenting students with images of the horrors and immorality of Hindu religions and the benefits of British control, schoolbooks reinforced the importance and value of Christianity, democracy, “civilized” society, and white imperial control. By teaching about religious and cultural difference, these schoolbooks reinforced American traditions and attempted to educate the next generation of American citizens.

7. Methodist Hinduism

This chapter returns to missionary representations of Hindu religions and analyzes representations appearing in publications of the Methodist Episcopal Church, namely, the Christian Advocate, The Ladies’ Repository, and the Heathen Woman’s Friend. While the ABCFM materials date to the early part of the century, these Methodist sources are from the second half of the nineteenth century. As Methodism rose in influence in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the MEC’s publications became nationally circulated and a part of American popular culture. This chapter offers an analysis of evangelical Protestant representations of Hindu religions and pays special attention to the role of these representations in the construction of a national evangelical culture. I am particularly interested in seeing what role representations of the Hindu other may have played in constructing an idea of America as a Christian (read Evangelical Protestant) nation.

8. Hindus in Harper’s

Continuing with an investigation into American national culture, chapter 7 analyzes representations of Hindu religions in Harper’s Weekly and Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. The representations in these magazines continue the investigation into popular sources but they also mark the first examples of Hindu religions represented in sources that were not specifically religious or spiritually minded. While the Harper family was Methodist, their goal was to sell magazines not to spread the Gospel. The representations in the Harper’s publications emerge at the intersection of American cultural Protestantism and the commodities of popular culture. The Harpers were also famous for their illustrations and their magazines provided some of the first popular images of Hinduism in America. In these popular bourgeois magazines Hindu religions became sources of entertainment, worldly knowledge, and a contrast to American values.

9. Explaining Hinduism

The final chapter of the dissertation pushes the furthest away from blatantly “religious” sources and considers representations of Hindu religions in scientific and medical sources. The nineteenth century saw the rise of professional science and professional medicine in America. This chapter examines four overlapping sources for representations of Hindu religions. First, some phrenologists believed their new science could explain religious belief and practice. In an 1874 issue of The American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany an article titled “Phrenology of the Hindoos” attempted to do just that for Hindu religions. Second, American medical journals often took account of cholera outbreaks in India and noted the ways religious ritual factored into the spread of the disease. In these representations Hindu religions spread disease. Third, many leading doctors in the late nineteenth century, including William Osler, were part of the Charaka Club, a group dedicated to the history of medicine, especially its ancient history. The papers of this club often covered topics on ancient Hindu healing and were almost a more scientific version of the Theosophists’ occult representations of ancient Hindu religions. Lastly, the American Oriental Society had its own academic and scientific approach to Hindu religions and produced its own representations based in the European tradition of Orientalist research. As I pursue more research into these sources my hypothesis is that they will yield more diverse representations of Hindu religions and further complicate the diversity of reactions Americans had to Hindu religions in this period.

Conclusion- Not the Dawn, but the Noontime: Hinduism and the World’s Parliament of Religion

I will conclude the dissertation with the World’s Parliament of Religion for two reasons. First, I want to make a historiographical point. Where most scholars would begin the history of Hinduism in America I choose to end mine. The Parliament was not the dawning of American religious pluralism and it was not the dawning of Hinduism in America. The Parliament served as a transition point between Hinduism as imagined and represented in American culture and Hinduism as presented (that is, as present) in gurus such as Swami Vivekananda. Second, many of the themes that emerge from the different representations analyzed in the previous chapters are present at the Parliament. The Parliament was part of a great nationalistic fair organized along a boundary of difference that kept the great Western culture on the fairgrounds and put the rest of the world on the midway. There were many missionaries and metaphysicals involved with the World’s Parliament of religions. Also, the newspaper coverage of the Parliament and many of its Hindu delegates relied on the representations covered in this dissertation as context and background. My conclusion, then, argues that the various representations of Hindu religions all came to bear on the Parliament and were swirling around Vivekananda and the other Hindu delegates as they took the stage and found their way into the print media. I want to push back against the idea that the Parliament was either liberal Protestant triumph or the dawning of American religious pluralism and, instead, point out that it was a cacophony of diverse voices, images, and representations that resists a singular interpretation—just like Americans’ reactions to Hindu religions.

1Samuel Goodrich, Manners and customs of the principal nations of the globe. (Boston: Bradbury Soden, 1845), 24.

2Samuel Griswold Goodrich, The tales of Peter Parley about Asia (Thomas, Cowperthwait & co., 1845), 108-109.

3Henry Thoreau, Walden and, Resistance to Civil Government : authoritative texts, Thoreau’s journal, reviews, and essays in criticism, 2nd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992), 199.

4Samuel Knowles, “The Devi Patan Mela,” The Christian Advocate, June 12, 1884.

5R. Laurence Robert Laurence Moore, Religious Outsiders and the Making of Americans (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

6Edward W Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979); Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge ; and, The Discourse on Language (New York: Pantheon Books, 1972).

7Tomoko Masuzawa, The Invention of World Religions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005); Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993); David Chidester, Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996); Richard King, Orientalism and Religion : Postcolonial theory, India and “the mystic East” (London ;;New York: Routledge, 1999).

8Benedict R. OʼG Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Rev. and extended ed. (London: Verso, 1991).

9Lila Abu-Lughod, Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), 9.

10Jon Butler, Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People, Studies in cultural history (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1990); Steven K. Steven Keith Green, The Second Disestablishment: Church and State in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); James A Morone, Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003); David Sehat, The Myth of American Religious Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

11Richard Carwardine, Transatlantic Revivalism: Popular Evangelicalism in Britain and America, 1790-1865 (Greenwood Press, 1978); Mark A Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys (InterVarsity Press, 2003).

12David Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance; the Dynamics of Modernization, 1773-1835 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969); Bernard S Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997); Peter van der Veer, Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2001); Brian Pennington, Was Hinduism Invented?: Britons, Indians, and the Colonial Construction of Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

One thought on “The Dissertation Proposal: Hinduism and the Boundaries of Nineteenth Century American Culture

  1. Amazing! Its genuinely awesome piece of writing, I have ggot much clear
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