In their analyses of traditional medical systems such as Ayurveda, postcolonial critics of science and technology have often pointed to the hierarchies, inequalities and asymmetries between western and non-western, biomedical and traditional, knowledge claims and practices. This dissertation explores Ayurvedic knowledge-making itself as a site that consolidates hierarchies, produces power, and confers privilege. Ethnographically situated at an Ayurvedic laboratory, this study argues that `open-minded science' - a relatively recent articulation by a Hindu science elite to name the collaborative production of contemporary Ayurvedic knowledge - produces new forms of exclusions that express their cultural authority through a scientific discourse on the revitalization of the Indian medical heritage. Central to this project are the ways in which contemporary Ayurvedic practice brings into view a wider set of relationships - those between knowledges that come to be characterized as codified and folk, between experts and community, and ultimately, between science and politics.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2012. Major: Anthropology. 1 computer file (PDF);vi, 169 pages. Advisors: Jean M. Langford, Karen-Sue Taussig.
Staging `open-minded science': culture and evidence in contemporary Ayurvedic Laboratory research in India.
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