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Max Weber’s Hinduism and Buddhism: Reflections on a Sociological Classic 100 Years On

Max Weber

Various Speakers

Date: 8 September 2016Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 10 September 2016Time: 1:15 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Type of Event: Conference

Following the successful Weber and China conference at SOAS University of London in September 2013, attention turns to another anniversary. In April and December 1916 and May 1917 the Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik published two long articles on the religions and the social and political structures of South Asia in historical perspective. Hinduism and Buddhism was Weber’s second essay (after Confucianism and Taoism) on the economic ethics of the world religions. ‘Indian religiosity, theoretically and practically, was the cradle of the most world denying form of religious ethic that the world has ever brought forth.’

Certain weaknesses of his analysis have received attention in previous conferences and publications: his overreliance on the sacred texts rather than on how religion was lived, the biases of western Indology, his conceptualization of caste. Equally, Weber thought a modern India would emerge in the process of nation state formation, just as he noted the emergence of modern capitalism in Shanghai in 1911. South and East Asia are now shaping capitalism in the twenty-first century according to their own requirements.

Hinduism and Buddhism marks Weber’s intense preoccupation with the religions and ethics of South Asia and their diffusion throughout the region. He reaches back to texts, which today can only be reckoned ancient, brilliantly characterizing their fundamental precepts and attitude to inner and outer worlds. Weber lacked the knowledge to interrelate religions to social, political and economic currents according to today’s much richer scholarly sources. But his handling of a number of themes remain classic and exemplary, issues so fundamental that they remain unresolved and just as relevant today.

Conference Programme

18.00-19.30 Thursday, 8th September 2016 - Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS
Time Event
18.00 Romila Thapar (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Revisiting Max Weber on the Religion of India
19.30 Reception Brunei Gallery Suite
9.00-18.00 Friday, 9th September 2016 - Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS
Time Event
9:00 Tea and Coffee
First Session:
9.15 Stephen Kalberg (Boston University)
The Uniqueness of India: A Weberian Comparative Analysis
10.00 Andreas Buss (University of Ottawa) 
EIGENGESETZLICHKEIT: Or Relations between the Political and the Religious Domain in India and in the Occident
10.45 Tea & Coffee
Second Session:
11.15 Hermann Kulke (University of Kiel) 
Max Weber's Concept of Legitimation Revisited
12.00 Wolfgang Schluchter (University of Heidelberg) 
The Two Great Heterodoxies in Ancient India: An Example of Max Weber's Anti-Hegelian Approach
12.45 Group Photo
13.00 Lunch: Brunei Gallery Suite
Third Session:
14.00 Richard Gombrich (University of Oxford) 
Max Weber’s Work and the Study of Buddhism Today
14.45 Peter Flügel (SOAS) 
Max Weber's Sociology of Jainism Revisited
15.30 Susantha Goonatilake (Royal Asiatic Society, Colombo) 
Max Weber’s Buddhism: Viewed from 21st Century Asia
16.15 Tea & Coffee
Fourth Session:
16.30 Sam Whimster (Max Weber Studies, London) 
The Transition to Capitalism : Max Weber's Ideal Type of Modern Capitalism and its Applicability to Present Day India
17.15 Meghnad Jagdishchandra Desai (House of Lords, London) 
India and Modernity
18.00 Brief Break
18.15 Roundtable Addressing the theme: "Max Weber’s Hinduism and Buddhism 100 Years on"
19.00 Final Remarks
9.00-13.00 Saturday, 10th September 2016 - Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS
Time Event
9.00 Tea and Coffee
First Session:
9.15 Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer (Lichtenberg-Kolleg Göttingen) 
Asia in General and India in Particular – Max Weber’s Conclusions on the Role of the Literati in Hinduism and Buddhism
10.00 David Gellner (University of Oxford) 
Max Weber and Sheldon Pollock: Poles Apart?
10.45 Tea & Coffee
Second Session:
11.00 Hans G. Kippenberg (Jacob’s University Bremen) 
The Dialectics of Disenchantment: Changes of Religions in Modernity
11.45 Laura R. Ford (Bard College, New York) 
Dharma & Natural Law: Max Weber’s Comparison of Hindu and Christian Legal Traditions
12.30 Martin Fuchs (Max Weber Kolleg, Erfurt) 
Sociology of World Relations: Confronting the Complexities of Hindu Religions. A Perspective Beyond Max Weber
13.15 Final Remarks

The conference has been organised by Peter Flügel (SOAS) and Sam Whimster (Max Weber Studies) in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London, Nehru Centre London, Max Weber Kolleg Erfurt, and the British Sociological Association.

Free and open to all !

Maximum attendance 125. Please RSVP Contact: pf8@saos.ac.uk

Contact email: pf8@soas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: Peter Flügel

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Universität Erfurt

 

German Historical Institute London

 

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