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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Financing an independent project

Mark Singleton and Jim Mallinson have presented a project called The Roots of Yoga on Kickstarter.com. In case you do not know about it, this website is meant to raise funds for independent projects. The proposer(s) submit a project and put down the amount they need to realise it. Money is raised from everyone who reads the project for a total of 45 days. The sums offered are actually charged on one's credit card only if the amount is actually reached within the given amount of time. If this is not reached, no money is charged at all. The rationale behind this (odd, at first sight) choice is that it is meaningless to partly finance a project. Either the project can be actually realised or not and if not, there is no point in giving its proposers a "tip".

I know J. Mallinson only because of his work and from conferences. Instead, I have met Mark Singleton and really like him. Nonetheless, my knowledge of Yoga is very limited, I only read in Sanskrit the Yogasūtra and the Yogadarśana is not within my closest interests. Long story short, I would have certainly financed a project on Mīmāṃsā, or on the epistemology of testimony or on other similar topics, whereas I tend to think that Yoga-scholars have their own ways to get financed (such as Yoga schools, journals, etc.) and they do not need me. However, after hesitating for some weeks I finally decided to support the project, if only with a relatively small amount of money. Why?

  1. 1. Because we can no longer count on state-funding for research. Mark and Jim have been brave enough to try a different way and this is in itself valuable.
  1. 2. Because their project is well-presented and realistic.
  2. Because the project almost reached the sum it needs to get actually funded. After having reached 45,000 dollars, not getting funded because of only 5,000 dollars is just depressing.
  3. 3. Because I cannot expect other people to finance research in Mīmāṃsā if I am not ready to help research in other fields:-)
The project has only got 3 more days to go and it has not yet reached the total amount needed to get the funding. Thus, if you have some spare 25 dollars (or more), consider funding the project and help a new way of doing Indological research.

You can find the link to the project here.

If you actively decide to fund or NOT to fund the project, I would really appreciate reading your arguments for it. Which other projects (South Asian or unrelated) did you ever fund? What do you think of fund-raising in these fields? And of Mark and Jim's presentation of their project?

As for my personal essays of raising moneys for Indological projects, see this post. For my considerations on the end of state-funded research, see this post.

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