- Series: Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1 edition (November 18, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691130019
- ISBN-13: 978-0691130019
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference - New Edition (Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History) 1st Edition
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Chakrabarty's work gives us a richer, more penetrating language to deal with modernity and the colonial encounter. . . . It is the ambiguity of Chakabarty's own position as both a critic and archivist of modernity that gives his study its poetic undertow and its intelligent irresponsibility.---Amit Chaudhuri, London Review of Books
The great value of this book lies in Chakrabarty's exceptional ability to bring to light what constantly gets glossed over and forgotten when we can only speak the standard languages of the academy. To do this requires the kind of bilingual consciousness which can bring into illuminating relation Adam Smith and Tagore. Chakrabarty makes you regret that so few are capable of doing this with a high degree of eloquence and insight.---Charles Taylor, IWM Newsletter
This masterful re-examination of rationality, universality, and difference in the postcolonial world should prove inspiring for serious historians of all lands.---Alice Ballard, Theory and Society
A slow, detailed, careful reading of the author's positively provocative style will be rich in rewards, generating, in the reader's mind, new ideas with new questions pointing to interdisciplinary, inter-cultural research, dialogue. As a reference reading text, it is rich in direct and implied questions on intricate inter-cultural interactions, gaps in communication, etc. As a discourse on basic themes of socio-political modernism and cultural diversity, it is more a starting point than a store of conclusions on debate dealing with cardinal themes pointing to research in inter-cultural and intersocietal studies. His dialectic, constructive discourse is keen on generating lasting questions and not dogmatic, ephemeral answers.---Wahé H. Balekjian, Online Journal on International Constitutional Law
[T]he analysis of the processes and mechanisms of destruction are well worth reading.---Joyce Apsel, Human Rights Review
Giovanni Federico . . . has compiled an exhaustive and impressive array of historical socioeconomic data heretofore unavailable in one source. . . . One of the book's strengths is the remarkable level of detail and the carefully assembled historical data. It is a rare sort of book and Federico tells the story of agriculture in a very interesting way. His mastery of the subject is plainly visible throughout the book. . . . This is not a text that can be used in undergraduate courses; rather, it is an analysis of economic performance and the history of agriculture that should be core reading for advanced students of agriculture and researchers. It will be a major reference for the foreseeable future and should be on the shelf of every agricultural scientist and anyone else interested in the historical and economic aspects of agriculture.---Krishna Prasad Vadrevu, Development and Change
From the Inside Flap
"The idea of provincializing Europe has been around for some time, but mostly as an insight waiting for elaboration. In this book, Dipesh Chakrabarty develops the idea into a project informed massively by fact and brilliantly by theory. A work of exemplary scholarship, it is a call to raise the level of current debates about modernity and the colonial experience and reexamine our approach to histories and cultures on both sides of the colonial divide. A formidable challenge."--Ranajit Guha
"Chakrabarty offers a fundamental rethinking of the most important and misunderstood of all historical categories--time itself. Never facile, always willing to confront the most intractable dilemmas, Chakrabarty forces us to reconsider our deepest historicizing impulses. His work is must reading for anyone with an interest in the future of historical studies."--Lynn Hunt, University of California, Los Angeles
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His concept of "subaltern pasts" for fragments and practices that will not fit into that "history" has promise, but his exploration of some of those fragments in Indian history does nod quite fulfill that promise
In doing so Chakrabarty covers a wide territory in terms of ideology, time and geography. The chapters on Marx and Heideggar are heavy reading; but it is worthwhile to spend one's energy to go through them. Because, he has very expertly explained the the!oretical basis of the tenets of these philosophies that attract the Indian mind, particularly, the Bengali mind. These chapters provide a good background to understand the basis of cultural differences between the west and the east. I find this extremely valuable not only for the students of humanities, but also students of International business.
Several of the important facets of Indian, Bengali in particular, society are discussed in great length. The chapter on widows and women in general is a very valuable topic. Plight of women Indian society is not new by any means. Even the Indian epic, Mahabharat through the questions of Draupadi to the Kuru elder Bhisma introduces the issue of women's freedom. But neither Bhisma in Mahabharat nor the leaders of Indian society provided a definitive solution. Chakrabarty and I share the view that economic independence (and therefore proper marketable education) is the necessary condition for betterment of women's lot.
<br!>I was delighted to read the chapter on "Adda", a unique Bengali culture. In Europe, café culture comes close to it. The French had the "salon" culture. Having participated in many "adda" in my youth in Calcutta, I miss it while living in the US or in Europe. Chakrabarty does a favor to my occidental friends by properly explaining what it means and what it did for Bengali social system.
Summing up, I would recommend this book to several groups of people. First, if you want to learn about the intricacies of the Indian, particularly Bengali, culture, this book is for you. Second, of course, this book is a required reading for any serious student of India and Indian culture. Third, students of international business should also be interested in this book as it lays the foundation of the many cultural tenets that are important in economic activities.
Secondly, it looks like Dipesh is struggling to enunciate what he really wants to say. He is standing right in the middle of western academics and his experience as a student of Marxism in Bengal. His subconscious realization of interplay between political power, Marxism and religion, that reflects in his work, unfortunately takes a discursive turn, to wander in 'adda stories of Bengal', discussed in wide details. As an author, he continues to discuss details of Bengali life and its currents and yet fails to come out of these details to study it from a subjective height, for making a crucial argument in defense of subaltern history.
Such a move actually proves to be counter productive to the real intent of his soft worded and somewhat (un)enunciated arguments.
Overall, I would see this book as a work done in haste to publish. Although the subject has a potential to open up much wider areas, but that is perhaps an opportunity missed. It would be nice if Dipesh could include the works of other Bengal thinkers like Sri Auribindo, Vivekananda etc. Further, he can also open up his discussions to include areas like caste as a special feature of Indian society, that continues to exist vividly in modern India. This study can be easily taken deeper with the help of psychoanalytical tools and undertaking ontological studies in exploring formation of being that can supplement the data of subaltern studies.
All these areas left behind, I believe, should help to make a stronger revised edition of this book.
This is a fantastic book that unpacks and rejects the historiography that would deprive the 'savage', 'barbarian' and 'precapitalist' communities within colonial states of autonomy and agency in history. Chakravarty brilliantly re-reads the category "capital" in a way that splits its unifying assumptions.
Its about time Marx's categories were themselves historicized - please read this book, and also Ranajit Guha's "Dominance without hegemony".