Cover: Hinduism Before Reform, from Harvard University PressCover: Hinduism Before Reform in HARDCOVER

Hinduism Before Reform

Add to Cart

Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674988224

Publication Date: 03/10/2020


336 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


This ambitious book challenges some of our basic assumptions about the beginnings of modern Hinduism and our understandings of its present. Brian Hatcher bravely spans the Indian subcontinent, from Arabian Sea to Bay of Bengal, to compare two foundational religious movements of the early nineteenth century. Working outside the usual framework of ‘reform,’ Hatcher explores the fundamental problems and possibilities of religion in early colonial modernity.—Richard H. Davis, author of The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography

Brian Hatcher makes us radically rethink the master tropes of the study of religion. The alternatives he proposes and his delineation of the ‘Empire of Reform’ are of immense value to any project that has not already escaped the strictures imposed by the discourses of coloniality, modernity, and globalization.—Leela Prasad, author of Poetics of Conduct: Oral Narrative and Moral Being in a South Indian Town

In Hinduism Before Reform, Hatcher engages with two important early colonial religious movements in India to argue that what we think of as ‘Hinduism’ is intricately involved in an ‘empire of reform’ bequeathed to us by the British Raj, the Enlightenment, Protestant missionaries, and Indian reformers. The result is at once radically plural, culturally provocative, and intellectually persuasive. Readers are in very good and very sure hands on every page of this sophisticated mind-bender.—Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge

In this major contribution to the discourse on religion and reform, Brian Hatcher spotlights two contemporaneous religious innovators in early colonial India: Rammohun Roy and Swaminarayan. The result is a splendid, nuanced reassessment of what we now call ‘modern Hinduism.’—Paul B. Courtright, author of Gaṇeśa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Strategy of Conflict, by Thomas C. Schelling, from Harvard University Press

Schelling the Trailblazer

Books influence us in untold ways, and the ones that influence us the most are often read in childhood. Harvard University Press Senior Editor Julia Kirby is reminded of this on the anniversary of the birth of one of this country’s most celebrated economists. This month would have brought Thomas Schelling’s one-hundredth birthday—and he got closer to seeing it than many mortals. The Nobel laureate economist died just five years ago, after a brilliant career as both a scholar and an advisor to US foreign policy strategists. What better day to dip into his classic work