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Jain Approaches to Plurality

Identity as Dialogue

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Melanie Barbato

In Jain Approaches to Plurality Melanie Barbato offers a new perspective on the Jain teaching of plurality ( anekāntavāda) and how it allowed Jains to engage with other discourses from Indian inter-school philosophy to global interreligious dialogue. Jainism, one of the world’s oldest religions, has managed to both adapt and preserve its identity across time through its inherently dialogical outlook. Drawing on a wide range of textual sources and original research in India, Barbato analyses the encounters between Jains and non-Jains in the classical, colonial and global context. Jain Approaches to Plurality offers a comprehensive introduction to anekāntavāda as a non-Western resource for understanding plurality and engaging in dialogue.

“Building upon earlier work in this field without simply reduplicating it, Melanie Barbato’s work delves deeply into the question of the relevance of Jain approaches to religious and philosophical diversity to contemporary issues of inter-religious dialogue, and dialogues across worldviews more generally. (…) This work is a most welcome contribution to the conversation.”

— Jeffery D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Elizabethtown College. April 2017. Author of Jainism: An Introduction.
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Christoph Senft

This study offers a comprehensive overview of Indian writing in English in the 21st century. Through ten exemplary analyses in which canonical authors stand next to less well-known and diasporic ones Christoph Senft provides deep insights into India’s complex literary world and develops an argumentative framework in which narrative texts are interpreted as transmodern re-readings of history, historicity and memory. Reconciling different postmodern and postcolonial theoretical approaches to the interpretation and construction of literature and history, Senft substitutes traditional, Eurocentric and universalistic views on past and present by decolonial and pluralistic practices. He thus helps to better understand the entanglements of colonial politics and cultural production, not only on the subcontinent.