Terms and Concepts

If we had a category/tag for "petty annoyances", this post would be in there. Having just finished a year of taking a course on South Asia, I propose the following terms no longer be used until someone thoroughly deconstructs them and rebuilds them to be relevant to actual South Asian societies, their political economy, and their history:

caste (this is being done)
class (this has started, but it's not done)
feudalism (hello?)
"identity"
"the economy"
law
"the state" (this is being done)
Islamic law / shariat (I don't know if this has been done...fully)

I actually think that categories can be useful in communicating about societies, but I agree that a lot of these words are either wholly irrelevant or so thoroughly unreconstructed that it makes it fruitless to try and engage in a discussion about them and their effects. Agreed?

That is all. :)

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Comments

Paramahansa Yogananda is an

Paramahansa Yogananda is an "idiot"?

Oh my..........

Language is fluid, language

Language is fluid, language evolves. The term “oriental” is no more offensive, benign or friendly than the person using it.

He owned “oriental” one way, you another.

No biggie.

I repeat:

How about “utterly unexposed to the last 30 years of writing on how knowledge was constructed and used for power by the British and other European colonialists in a way that’s still reflected in writing on South Asia today?”

ahhh...good ones. I've got a

ahhh...good ones. I've got a fairly good understanding of "South Asia" which basically means "Greater India" or "where all the brown people are from that we can't find a good name for" or "former British colonies in Asia where all the brown people are from." but then, we could start with "brown" right after this, but the other two are right on the button.

Language is fluid, language

Language is fluid, language evolves. The term "oriental" is no more offensive, benign or friendly than the person using it.

He owned "oriental" one way, you another.

No biggie.

My three naya paise worth, I

My three naya paise worth, I add,

religion

Hindu

South Asia

I suggest we do not do the

I suggest we do not do the proscribing exercise, but continue to use these and many other such terms. Let them continue to get reworked or reconstructed or lost or found in the process of their continued problematic use. I feel discourse is sometimes enabled by struggling terminology. Personally, at least, I find 60% of your list wholly relevant to my context.

Sorry...I was being a bit sardonic...recovering from exam frustration :) I agree many of these terms should continue to be developed and deconstructed and reconstructed, but the way they've been dealt with at moments in my education has been so lacklustre that it completely turned me off of Western conceptual vocabulary. But, once driven by an interest (class and economics for me) it's hard to shed and so you start attacking the disciplinary boundaries through dismanting (and making relevant) the terminology :)

How about the School of

How about the School of Oriental and African Studies?

well now we get into the british / american thing with terms.

We rednecks and other normal, common-folk don’t use no hifalutin words like dat.

lol :) but you use hifalutin spelled properly? :)

Nobody uses the term

Nobody uses the term "oriental" or "orientalism" anymore anyway.

This is a non-issue.

Next?

How about the School of

Interesting. Im just now

Interesting. Im just now reading THE YOGA OF JESUS by Paramahansa Yogananda and he asserts that in order to really "get" Jesus, one must adopt the "oriental mindset". He uses that term quite alot.

he asserts that in order to

he asserts that in order to really “get” Jesus, one must adopt the “oriental mindset”. He uses that term quite alot.

That's probably because he's an idiot. I sort of get Jesus, and it has mroe to do with the moneylenders' table in the temple and his self-sacrifice than the 'oriental mindset.'

Paramahansa Yogananda is an

Paramahansa Yogananda is an “idiot”?

Oh my……….

How about "utterly unexposed to the last 30 years of writing on how knowledge was constructed and used for power by the British and other European colonialists in a way that's still reflected in writing on South Asia today?"

Academics. We rednecks and

Academics.

We rednecks and other normal, common-folk don't use no hifalutin words like dat.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure Edward

Yeah, I'm pretty sure Edward Said still does (or did).

I suggest we do not do the

I suggest we do not do the proscribing exercise, but continue to use these and many other such terms. Let them continue to get reworked or reconstructed or lost or found in the process of their continued problematic use. I feel discourse is sometimes enabled by struggling terminology. Personally, at least, I find 60% of your list wholly relevant to my context.

Basically it's a recovery of

Basically it's a recovery of specificity, which has been so discredited by Orientalism and parochialism of all kinds.

You have to be able to

You have to be able to extract authoral intent when reading something. It is not neccessary for everyone in the world to keep up with the changing meanings of words. What Yogananda was getting at is that in order to understand a prophet like Jesus (or whoever), one has to have some understanding of the region, culture and era they were living and teaching in.

There is no need to get offended over such use of the word "oriental".

Not everything has to be a fight.

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