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Meera Nanda

Visiting Scholar (Sep 2017-Jan 2018)

PhD, Visiting Faculty, Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research

After training as a microbiologist (PhD, Biotechnology, IIT-Delhi, India) and following a stint as a science correspondent for the The Indian Express in New Delhi, I turned to history and the philosophy of science (Indiana University, USA) and later to science studies (PhD, Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA, 2000).

Since 2009, I have been a Visiting Professor of the history of science at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Mohali, India, prior to which I received numerous research fellowships.

I am currently interested in the cultural history of science in India, from its early beginnings to the present. During my stay at MPIWG, I hope to work on my new book project, which critically examines the various strategies for harmonization (or "hybridization," to use a postcolonial term) of scientific theories (from Copernican astronomy and Darwin’s theory of evolution to quantum physics) with spiritualist-idealist strains of Hinduism. My objective is to show how this kind of hybridization covers up contradictions and turns modern science into a source of legitimation for Hinduism and Hindu nationalism. 

Projects

Ancients and Moderns: A Cultural History of Modern Science in India (1600–2000)

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Selected Publications

Nanda, M. (2016). Ambedkar’s gita. Economic and Political Weekly, 51(49), 38-45.

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Nanda, M. (2016). Science in saffron: skeptical essays on history of science. New Delhi: Three Essays Collective.

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Nanda, M. (2011). The god market: how globalization is making India more Hindu. New York: Monthly Review Press.

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Nanda, M. (2010). Madame Blavatsky’s children: modern Hindu encounters with Darwinism. In J. R. Lewis (Ed.), Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science (pp. 279-344). Leiden: Brill.

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Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

"Pseudoscience and Psuedo-history of Science in India Today"

Conference, Information Technology Institute, Afker-e-Taza: Rescuing the Past, Shaping the Future, Lahore, Pakistan

"Is the Idea of India relevant without secularism?"

Lecture, Aarhus University, Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus, Denmark

"Pseudoscience and Resemblance thinking in Construction of Modern Yoga"

Conference, University of Vienna, Conference on Yoga in Transformation: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on a Global Phenomenon

"Relevance of Enlightenment Values in Contemporary India"

Endowment lecture, Government College for Women, Trivandrum, Kerela, India

"HSS102: Introduction to the History of Science" (Core course for first-year students)

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, Punjab, India