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Questions of Modernity

2000

Timothy Mitchell, editor

Questions of Modernity

Well-known contributors offer an illuminating look at how modernity develops in non-Western contexts.


Modernity has always laid claim to universal certainty-which meant assigning a different and lesser significance to anything deemed purely local, non-Western, or lacking a universal expression. Focusing on the making of modernity outside the West, eight leading anthropologists, historians, and political theorists explore the production of new forms of politics, sensibility, temporality, and selfhood in locations ranging from nineteenth-century Bengal to contemporary Morocco.

Contributors: Lila Abu-Lughod, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Partha Chatterjee, Veena Das, Nicholas B. Dirks, Stefania Pandolfo, and Gyan Prakash.

Modernity has always laid claim to universal certainty—which meant assigning a different and lesser significance to anything deemed purely local, non-Western, or lacking a universal expression. This book makes those very non-Western, non-universal elements the tools for fashioning a more complex, rigorous, and multifaceted understanding of how the modern comes about. Focusing on the making of modernity outside the West, eight leading anthropologists, historians, and political theorists explore the production of new forms of politics, sensibility, temporality, and selfhood in locations ranging from nineteenth-century Bengal to contemporary Morocco.

Topics include the therapeutics of colonial medical practice, the multiple registers of popular film, television serials and their audiences, psychiatrists and their patients, the iconic figure of the young widow, and the emergence of new political forms beyond the grasp of civil society.

Contributors: Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia U; Dipesh Chakrabarty, U of Chicago; Partha Chatterjee, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta; Veena Das, U of Delhi; Nicholas B. Dirks, Columbia U; Stefania Pandolfo, UC Berkeley; and Gyan Prakash, Princeton U.

Questions of Modernity

Timothy Mitchell is associate professor of politics and director of the Hagop Kevorkian Center at New York University.

Questions of Modernity

Contents

Preface

Introduction Timothy Mitchell

1. The Stage of Modernity Timothy Mitchell
2. Two Poets and Death: On Civil and Political Society in the Non-Christian World Partha Chatterjee
3. Witness to Suffering: Domestic Cruelty and the Birth of the Modern Subject in Bengal Dipesh Chakrabarty
4. Modern Subjects: Egyptian Melodrama and Postcolonial Difference Lila Abu-Lughod
5. The Thin Line of Modernity: Some Moroccan Debates on Subjectivity Stefania Pandolfo
6. The Sovereignty of History: Culture and Modernity in the Cinema of Satyajit Ray Nicholas B. Dirks
7. The Making of Modernity: Gender and Time in Indian Cinema Veena Das
8. Body Politic in Colonial India GyanPrakash

Contributors
Index