Temples of Modernity uses ethnographic data to investigate the presence of religious ideas and practices in Indian science and engineering. Geraci shows 1) how the integration of religion, science and technology undergirds pre- and post-independence Indian nationalism, 2) that traditional icons and rituals remain relevant in elite scientific communities, and 3) that transhumanist ideas now percolate within Indian visions of science and technology. This work identifies the intersection of religion, science, and technology as a worldwide phenomenon and suggests that the study of such interactions should be enriched through attention to the real experiences of people across the globe.
Robert M. Geraci is professor of religious studies at Manhattan College.
1. Navigating Science and Technology in Bangalore
2. Religious Science and the Building of a Nation
3. Nationalism and the Political Enchantment of Technology
4. Hindu Icons, Images, and Rituals in Scientific Spaces
5. India’s Transhumanist Landscapes
6. Reinventing Religion, Reimagining Science
Temples of Modernity is a painstaking and sensitive work that engages deeply with the internal worlds of scientists in a postcolonial society. It makes interesting points about how religious rituals and festivals help
build scientific communities, and argues that the seeds of today’s aggressive expressions of belief in Vedic technology were contained in the same nationalist movement that gave rise to Nehru and his modernist conception of science. India’s scientific institutions, the author suggests, are “temples of modernity” in more ways than one.
This fascinating study documents how religion flourishes in environments of technological innovation and scientific inquiry, and, in particular, how some scientists and engineers in contemporary India visualize technology and science through the lens of religion and mythology. Geraci shows the complexity in the relationship of religion, technology, and science in this Indian context and he succeeds in making the religious flourishing in scientific and technological environment understandable.
This excellent monograph examines the interactions of science, technology, religion, and nationalism in the context of India. Geraci offers an in-depth reading of cultures of technology(s) in India and explores ethnographically the importance of studying cultures of technologies in different locations. This book is not about the religious lives of technologies in India, and it is equally not about the secular lives of technologies in the West. It is essentially a book on technology(s) and culture(s). Although the book is about India, it has the potential to explain the religious workings of technology in the ‘secular’ West as well. This ethnographically rich monograph will be an important contribution in the field of science(s) and religion(s).
The relationship between science and religion often is treated as one about beliefs. Geraci describes and analyzes the interplay of religion and science in India as one about practices and politics rather than about beliefs. He thus provides us with an opportunity to learn about India and an occasion to rethink our own assumptions about science, religion, modernity, and secularization.