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Growing Stories from IndiaReligion and the Fate of Agriculture$
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A. Whitney Sanford

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813134123

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813134123.001.0001

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The Land in Between:

The Land in Between:

Constructing Nature, Wilderness, and Agriculture

(p.161) Chapter 6 The Land in Between:
Growing Stories from India

A. Whitney Sanford

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter demonstrates parallels between the pastoral paradigm of Vaishnava devotion and the neglect of agriculture in Western environmental thought. It explores how pastoralism and idealized landscapes can create an idyllic view of the natural world and obscures our debt to the earth for subsistence or our reciprocal obligations. For example, both the Braj pastoral and the trope of wilderness in environmental discourse in the United States romanticize the natural world and exclude the possibility of human intervention in the land. Vaishnava pastoralism and Western environmental thought both emphasize romanticized and urbanized views of the natural world that exclude labor, production, and violence. By exploring the role of agriculture in the context of religion, nature, and society, we can understand the persistence of certain stories.

Keywords:   Vaishnava, pastoral, environmental ethics, agriculture, wilderness, Braj, environmental justice, social construction of nature, indigenous agricultural practice, agroecology

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