Antinomies of Modernity

Essays on Race, Orient, Nation

Antinomies of Modernity

Book Pages: 368 Illustrations: Published: April 2003

Globalization and Neoliberalism, History > Asian History, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Antinomies of Modernity asserts that concepts of race, Orient, and nation have been crucial to efforts across the world to create a sense of place, belonging, and solidarity in the midst of the radical discontinuities wrought by global capitalism. Emphasizing the continued salience at the beginning of the twenty-first century of these supposedly nineteenth-century ideas, the essays in this volume stress the importance of tracking the dynamic ways that race, Orient, and nation have been reworked and used over time and in particular geographic locations.

Drawing on archival sources and fieldwork, the contributors explore aspects of modernity within societies of South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Whether considering how European ideas of Orientalism became foundational myths of Indian nationalism; how racial caste systems between blacks, South Asians, and whites operate in post-apartheid South Africa; or how Indian immigrants to the United States negotiate their identities, these essays demonstrate that the contours of cultural and identity politics did not simply originate in metropolitan centers and get adopted wholesale in the colonies. Colonial and postcolonial modernisms have emerged via the active appropriation of, or resistance to, far-reaching European ideas. Over time, Orientalism and nationalist and racialized knowledges become indigenized and acquire, for all practical purposes, a completely "Third World" patina. Antinomies of Modernity shows that people do make history, constrained in part by political-economic realities and in part by the categories they marshal in doing so.

Neville Alexander, Andrew Barnes, Vasant Kaiwar, Sucheta Mazumdar, Minoo Moallem, Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, A. R. Venkatachalapathy, Michael O. West


"Given the many political contexts in which critiques of 'globalization' are being mobilized, Antimonies of Modernity offers a timely intervention. This collection of essays . . . provides an essential rethinking and historicization of a globalized sense of modernity through the lenses of colonialism, race, Orientalism, and nation." — Svati P. Shah, Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History

"The publication of this book is timely for those seeking to understand what it means to be modern, as well as those trying to place the project of Al-Qaeeda and the 'War against Terror' in context. . . . [E]xcellent." — Goolam Vahed , H-SAfrica, H-Net Reviews

"This is an interesting and thoughtful collection. . . . Rather than confining themselves to a particular area or ethnic group, the editors have taken an approach that thinks outside the perimeters of the established frameworks of national and regional studies. In doing so they provide us with a very worthwhile addition to the field." — Nayantara Pothen , Asian Studies Review

Antinomies of Modernity is a fundamental contribution to scholarship decentering Eurocentric epistemic perspectives. Vasant Kaiwar and Sucheta Mazumdar have collected impressive essays, including their own articles and introduction, showing the epistemic potential of ‘antinomies of modernity’ in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. This collection makes a signal contribution toward a paradigm showing us the way beyond postmodernism and postcolonialism.“ — Walter D. Mignolo, Duke University

"Truly international in its engagement, Antinomies of Modernity is an important, original, and timely collection. As cultural studies turns global, we will need more anthologies like this one." — Christopher Connery, University of California, Santa Cruz


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Vasant Kaiwar is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Duke University.

Sucheta Mazumdar is Associate Professor of History at Duke University. She is the author of Sugar and Society in China: Peasants, Technology, and the World Market. From 1981 until 2002 they served as coeditors of the journal Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction / Vasant Kaiwar and Sucheta Mazumdar 1

The Aryan Model of History and the Oriental Renaissance: The Politics of Identity in an Age of Revolutions, Colonialism, and Nationalism / Vasant Kaiwar 13

Aryanizing Projects, African “Collaborators," and Colonial Transcripts / Andrew E. Barnes 62

Orientalism's Genesis Amnesia / Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi 98

Coining Words: Language and Politics in Late Colonial Tamilnadu / A. R. Venkatachalapathy 126

An Anticolonial International?: Indians, India, and Africans in British Central Africa / Michael O. West 146

The “Moment of Manoeuvre": “Race," Ethnicity, and Nation in Postapartheid South Africa / Neville Alexander 180

Cultural Nationalism and Islamic Fundamentalism: The Case of Iran / Minoo Moallem 196

The Politics of Religion and National Origin: Rediscovering Hindu Indian Identity in the United States / Sucheta Mazumdar 223

Race, Orient, Nation in the Time-Space of Modernity / Vasant Kaiwar and Sucheta Mazumdar 261

Select Bibliography 299

Contributors 325

Index 329
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3046-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3011-0
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