Over the last four decades, Dipesh Chakrabarty’s astonishingly wide-ranging scholarship has elaborated a range of important issues, especially those of modernity, identity, and politics – in dialogue with postcolonial theory and critical historiography – on global and planetary scales. All of this makes Chakrabarty among the most significant (and most cited) scholars working in the humanities and social sciences today. The present text comprises substantive yet short, academic yet accessible essays that are crafted in conversation with the critical questions raised by Chakrabarty’s writings.
Now, Chakrabarty holds the singular distinction of making key contributions to some of the most salient shifts in understandings of the Global South that have come about in wake of subaltern studies and postcolonial perspectives, critiques of Eurocentrism together with elaborations of public pasts, and articulations of climatic histories alongside problems of the Anthropocene. Rather than exegeses and commentaries, these original, commissioned, pieces – written by a stellar cast of contributors from four continents – imaginatively engage Chakrabarty’s insights and arguments, in order to incisively explore important issues of the politics of knowledge in contemporary worlds.
This book will be of interest to scholars and graduate students interested in a wide variety of interdisciplinary issues across the humanities and social sciences, especially the interplay between postcolonial perspectives and subaltern studies, between man-made climate change and the human sciences, between history and theory, and between modernity and globalization.
1. Engaging Dipesh Chakrabarty
Saurabh Dube, Sanjay Seth, Ajay Skaria
Part 1: Affect and Intellect
2. Between Critique and Creativity
Some Other Politics of Writing History in Aotearoa New Zealand
3. Rethinking Indian Constitutional History
4. The Significance of Provincializing Europe
Memory, Argument, and the Life of the Book
5. Labor History and "Culture" Critique
Reflections on an Idea
Part 2: Critical Conversations
6. Writing the Void
Homi K. Bhabha
7. Histories, Dwelling, Habitations
A Cyber-Conversation with Dipesh Chakrabarty
8. A Correspondence on Provincializing Europe
Amitav Ghosh and Dipesh Chakrabarty
Part 3: Global Pasts and Postcolonial Differences
9. Rights and Coercion
Adivasi Rights and Coal Mining in Central India
10. When Victims Become Rulers
Partition, Caste, and Politics in West Bengal
11. The Cold War as a Rule of Experts
A View from India
12. Historical Wounds and the Public Life of History
The Stolen Generations Narrative
Part 4: Historical Disciplines and Modern Universals
13. Memory, Historiography and Trauma
The Limits of Representation
14. Thinking Freedom with Gandhi
15. Western Thought as "Indispensable and Inadequate"
Dipesh Chakrabarty and the Paradox of Postcolonial Historiography
16. Translating the Other
Lessons from the World of Medieval Japan
Part 5: The Anthropocene and Other Affiliations
17. History, Anthropogenic Soil and Unbecoming Human
18. Art in the Time of Tricksters and Monsters
Reflections on the Anthropocene
19. Indigenous Histories and Indigenous Futures
20. Figures of Immanence
‘Postcolonial Politics’ is a series that publishes books that lie at the intersection of politics and postcolonial theory. That point of intersection once barely existed; its recent emergence is enabled, first, because a new form of ‘politics’ is beginning to make its appearance. Intellectual concerns that began life as a (yet unnamed) set of theoretical interventions from scholars largely working within the ‘New Humanities’ have now begun to migrate into the realm of politics. The result is politics with a difference, with a concern for the everyday, the ephemeral, the serendipitous and the unworldly. Second, postcolonial theory has raised a new set of concerns in relation to understandings of the non-West. At first these concerns and these questions found their home in literary studies, but they were also, always, political. Edward Said’s binary of ‘Europe and its other’ introduced us to a ‘style of thought’ that was as much political as it was cultural as much about the politics of knowledge as the production of knowledge, and as much about life on the street as about a philosophy of being, A new, broader and more reflexive understanding of politics, and a new style of thinking about the non-Western world, make it possible to ‘think’ politics through postcolonial theory, and to ‘do’ postcolonial theory in a fashion which picks up on its political implications.
Postcolonial Politics attempts to pick up on these myriad trails and disruptive practices. The series aims to help us read culture politically, read ‘difference’ concretely, and to problematise our ideas of the modern, the rational and the scientific by working at the margins of a knowledge system that is still logocentric and Eurocentric. This is where a postcolonial politics hopes to offer new and fresh visions of both the postcolonial and the political.