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Folks, let's talk about the difference between academic study versus belief / faith / practice. THREAD #AcademicTwitter #Academia #AcademicChatter #history #religion
This subject doesn't come up so much for me these days because I'm in a history department. I teach, in part, the history of religions. But still, the insider-outsider debate is housed in Religious Studies (a field in which I taught for three years as a postdoc).
I wrote about the insider-outsider issue when I was teaching Indian religions at Stanford University. You can read my short article (along with two others, by two of my colleagues at other institutions) here: audreytruschke.com/truschke-bazza…
In that article, I talk about teaching Hinduism to Hindus, especially what happened when one student wanted to take my class on the epics (Mahabharata and Ramayana) because she thought it would be enriching for her personal faith. Read the article for more on how that worked out.
To answer some basic questions:

Can non-Hindus teach Hinduism at universities?
Yes

Can Hindus teach Hinduism at universities?
Yes

Do both of these happen in real life?
Yes

Is this any different than for other religions (e.g., Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc.)?
No.
To put it bluntly: Professors teach, we do not preach. You - no matter your faith or lack thereof - are free to teach any religious tradition, so long as you have the proper academic qualifications to do so.
And so views like the one below are simply mistaken. It is not intuitive to everyone, but we separate (even if it is a messy separation sometimes) between the academy study of religion and the practice of religion.
To circle back - I teach history now. Is anybody an insider to history? For premodernity, my area of speciality, I would answer: No. Who alive has experienced the Mughal Empire, after all, which ceased to exist in 1857-58?
Those who have the greatest access to Mughal India are people able to access the evidence. That means, in large part, people who read the relevant primary sources, in their original languages. That would be people like me, trained academics in various fields.
Sort of proving my point here...

My claim to know stuff about the Mughals rests on my training, not my personal identity.

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