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.
Table of Contents
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
Saurabh Dube is Professor-Researcher, Distinguished Category, at the Centre for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México; and holds the highest rank in the National System of Researchers (SNI), México. His authored works include Untouchable Pasts (1998, 2001); Stitches on Time (2004); After Conversion (2010); and Subjects of Modernity (2017, 2019). Dube has also written a quintet (2001-2017) in historical anthropology in the Spanish language as well as authoring the critical anthology El archivo y el campo (2019), all published by El Colegio de México. Among his more than fifteen edited volumes are Postcolonial Passages (2004); Historical Anthropology (2007); Enchantments of Modernity (Routledge, 2009, 2019); Modern Makeovers (2011); Crime through Time (2013); and Unbecoming Modern (second edition: Routledge, 2019). Dube is Series Editor of "Routledge Focus on Modern Subjects."
Saurabh Dube has been Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, New York; the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick; the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla; the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study, South Africa; and the Max Weber Kolleg, Germany. He has also held visiting professorships, several times, at Cornell University, the Johns Hopkins University, and Goa University (where he presently occupies the DD Kosambi Chair).
Sanjay Seth is Professor of Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is also Director of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies. He has written extensively on postcolonial theory, social and political theory, and modern Indian history, including Subject Lessons: The Western Education of Colonial India (Duke University Press 2007, and Oxford University Press India 2008), Marxist Theory and Nationalist Politics: Colonial India (Sage, 1995) and essays in a variety of journals including The American Historical Review, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Social Text, Positions, Cultural Sociology, International Political Sociology and Journal of Asian Studies. A number of these have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese, and a collection of his essays in Portuguese translation has been published as História e Pós-colonialismo (History and Postcolonialism), Edições Tinta-da-china, Lisboa, 2019. He is a founding editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies, and is currently completing a book tentatively titled "Beyond Reason?: Postcolonial Theory and the Social Sciences".
Ajay Skaria is Professor in the Department of History and Institute for Global Studies at the University of Minnesota. His research till the early 2000s focused primarily on environmental history, Adivasi history and historical theory; more recently, his research interests have been in twentieth century Indian intellectual history, modern caste politics, postcolonial studies, and political theory. In addition to articles in these fields, he is the author of Hybrid Histories: Forests, Frontiers and Wildness in Western India (1999) and Unconditional Equality: Gandhi’s Religion of Resistance (2015). He is currently working on a book on Ambedkar. He was a member of the Subaltern Studies editorial collective from 1995 till its dissolution, and coedited Subaltern Studies Vol XII: Muslims, Dalits and the Fabrications of History (2006). He is currently working on two books—a short essay, What is Secularism, and a longer monograph tentatively titled Ambedkar’s Religions: Between Secularism and Navayana Buddhism.