The Oeuvre of Peter van der Veer

by Irfan Ahmad (MPI-MMG)

Working Papers WP 20-01
March 2020
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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This paper critically evaluates the corpus of writings by Peter van der Veer, a Dutch anthropologist described by Dipesh Chakrabarty ( 2019) as “one of the foremost scholars in comparative studies of religion, nationalism, and urban life in Asia,” and “a globally recognized theorist of comparative studies.” In the first part of this paper, which consists of three parts, I will dwell on van der Veer’s early works from 1985 to 1994. Here, I discuss his contributions to the studies of Hinduism, orientalism and nationalism. In part two of the paper, I analyze his works during the second phase from 1995 to the present. Though diverse, I have arranged the analysis of these works under the overarching category of comparison. The final brief section identifies the style and mode of van der Veer’s interventions the sine qua non of which I call, after Nietzsche, theorization with a hammer. In conclusion, I highlight themes and questions, which van der Veer’s works do not squarely address but gainfully enable future research.  


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