'"The World Rests on the Back of a Tortoise"; Science and Mythology in Indian History'

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Abstract

This paper traces the consilience of science and mythology in the history of fossil research in India; this is a narrative in which Indian fossil research met the Orientalist discovery of the Indian past. The paper demonstrates that in exploring the geological evolution of Indian fossils, British researchers such as Hugh Falconer invoked animals from the Puranas, picking up on a tradition of mythological hermeneutics first developed in India by the likes of William Jones. In elucidating the nuances of this intellectual approach, the paper thus identifies a hitherto obscured historical trajectory regarding the making of geology in colonial India.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-840
Number of pages33
JournalModern Asian Studies
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016

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