Hate Male

Audrey Truschke, a philologist and historian of encounters and entanglements in early modern South Asia at Rutgers University – in an essay published in the online magazine The Revealer on July 14 – describes the gendered hate female academics can face when they share their expertise with the public, and in fields of knowledge which followers and apologists of authoritarian and identitarian movements view as their battlegrounds for domination.
 
 
I have a folder on my laptop titled “Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail hate mail.” That virtual folder bears no measurable weight, but it has exerted demonstrable force in shaping my life as an academic over the last five years. Since the fall of 2015, I have received hate mail in response to my scholarship, which is primarily on sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century India, and my tendency to comment on modern Indian politics based on my knowledge of South Asian history. My insights about India’s diverse, multicultural past have aroused the ire of Hindu nationalists who claim that past to be monolithically Hindu in a brazen attempt to erase India’s rich Muslim heritage. The BJP, a Hindu nationalist party, has controlled India’s central government since May 2014, and they have pursued an aggressive agenda of transforming India from a secular democracy welcoming of all faiths into a fascist state meant for martial-minded Hindus alone. During the last six years, anti-Muslim violence has risen sharply, freedom of the press has declined ruinously, and universities have been subjected to relentless assaults. History is a primary battleground for Hindu nationalists who want to rewrite India’s diverse past to justify their present-day oppression and violence, and historians like me get in their way …
 
The full essay can be read at The Revealer.

Audrey Truschke is Associate Professor of South Asian History at Rutgers University and the author of Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court (Columbia University Press, 2016), and Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King (Stanford University Press, 2017). Her article, “A Padshah like Manu: Political Advice for Akbar in the Persian Mahabharata”, has just been published in Philological Encounters, Vol 5, Issue 2, 2020, pp. 112-133. She participated in the 2010 Zukunftsphilologie Winter School “Textual Practices Beyond Europe organized by the Forum Transregionale Studien at the American University in Cairo.

Forum Transregionale Studien

The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien is a research organization that promotes the internationalization of research in the humanities and social sciences. The Forum provides scope for collaboration among researchers with different regional and disciplinary perspectives and appoints researchers from all over the world as Fellows. In cooperation with universities and research institutions in Berlin and the rest of Germany, it carries out research projects that examine other regions of the world and their relationship to Germany and Europe systematically and with new questions.

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