This chapter presents the study of smell from a general theoretical and methodological perspective. Although South Asian religious discourse and practice abounded in complex smells, until now scholars have frequently reduced these odors to the simple category of “perfume” and then effectively ignored them. The chapter highlights the assumptions implicit in much Western scholarship on smell, and also explores some previous contributions to the study of smell in other disciplines. Finally there is a discussion of the career and work of the scholar P. K. Gode, who effectively paved the way for such studies as the present one.
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