scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question

Showing papers in "Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and The Middle East in 2016"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Bholakpur, in the city of Hyderabad, India, is one such place and there are hundreds like it scattered around the country as mentioned in this paper, where people who work and reside there are continuously abjected by civil society's proper-tied classes, who view them with anxiety and loathing, as a source of crime, nuisance and detriment.
Abstract: Capitalist value making is underwritten by the production and disposal of waste through a complex, often invisible economy of informal waste recycling. This infra-economy is anchored by nodes that process and circulate variegated forms of waste generated in cities and their adjoining hinterlands. Bholakpur, in the city of Hyderabad, India, is one such place. There are hundreds like it scattered around the country. Even as they perform the double function of reproducing the urban economy while inoculating it from the injurious effects of its own detritus, places like Bholakpur and the people who work and reside there are continuously abjected by civil society’s propertied classes, which view them with anxiety and loathing, as a source of crime, nuisance and detriment. Thus, “waste” as concept-matter but also a locus where labor and ecology meet is a neglected but powerful site for a critique of both postcolonial capitalism and contemporary urbanization in countries like India.

64 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A constitutional historical geography of dyarchy, focusing on three scales and the forms of comparison they allow, has been proposed in this paper, where Lionel Curtis's political geometries and the international genealogies of his federalist aspirations are explored.
Abstract: The 1919 Government of India Act instituted sweeping constitutional reforms that were inspired by the concept of “dyarchy”. This innovation in constitutional history devolved powers to the provinces and then divided these roles of government into reserved and transferred subjects, the latter of which would be administered by elected Indian ministers. Recent scholarship has been reassessing the local biopolitical potential unleashed by the 1919 Act. In this paper I revisit dyarchy at the national scale to show how this “All-India” re-visioning of Indian sovereignty was actually negotiated in relation to its imperial and international outsides and the exigencies of retaining governmental control inside the provinces. This paper will propose a constitutional historical geography of dyarchy, focusing on three scales and the forms of comparison they allow. First, Lionel Curtis’s political geometries and the international genealogies of his federalist aspirations are explored. Secondly, the partially democratic level of the province is shown to have been rigorously penetrated by, and categorically subordinated to, the central tier of colonial autocracy, which orchestrated a political geography of exclusion and exception. Finally, rival conceptions of time and sequentiality will be used to examine the basis for nationalist criticisms and exploitations of dyarchy’s reconfigurations of democracy, biopolitics, and the vital mass of the people.

30 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors suggests that understanding recent patterns of homophobia in Nigeria requires understanding local cultures of same-sex practice and the anxieties underlying political attempts to regulate sexuality, and makes some preliminary suggestions for how such an account might be attempted by looking at long-standing contradictions in systems for evaluating sexual morality in northern Nigeria and how those might help inform recent discussions of sexual immorality.
Abstract: Recent political homophobia in Nigeria, including vigilante violence and repressive legislation, is often imagined to be a reaction to outside forces: religious movements like evangelical Christianity and reform-ist Islam or the spread of Western homosexual identities. This article suggests this is unlikely and that understanding recent patterns of homophobia requires understanding local cultures of same-sex practice and the anxieties underlying political attempts to regulate sexuality. The article also makes some preliminary suggestions for how such an account might be attempted by looking at long-standing contradictions in systems for evaluating sexual morality in northern Nigeria and how those might help inform recent discussions of sexual immorality.

24 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper looked at nationalism, internationalism, and cosmopolitanism as an interconnected triad of political ideas and movements in twentieth-century India and found that anticolonial nationalism is limited.
Abstract: This paper looks at nationalism, internationalism, and cosmopolitanism as an interconnected triad of political ideas and movements in twentieth-century India. Militant Indian nationalists and communists created a distinction between the internationalism of empire and that of the anticolonial national movements. In the period of the Cold War and decolonization, a movement among nonaligned countries sought to preserve the legacy of anticolonial internationalism. Until the 1960s, the violation of human rights was largely seen as related to the persistence of colonial rule and racial discrimination. Contemporary proposals for a cosmopolitan order frequently reject the legacy of anticolonial nationalism and appeal to the tradition of the liberal internationalism of empire. Specific global movements that point to future transnational political arrangements are an important new development, but they do not yet offer a blueprint for a cosmopolitical order. Compared to the historical legacy of anticolonial nationalism in countries like India, the appeal of cosmopolitanism is limited.

19 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Bhattacharyya as mentioned in this paper argues that the regulations surrounding the housing speculation during the 1920s were an early bureaucratic exercise in rationalizing the urban land market in order to make it efficient by regulating the ways in which land and housing accrued value economically.
Abstract: Following World War I Presidency towns in British India witnessed a sudden, abnormal rise in housing and rents, resulting in heated debates about the relation between municipal governance, the market, and private capital. By studying this particular moment, Bhattacharyya’s article uncovers the emergence of a housing and rent market in Calcutta predicated on notions of housing rights as an outgrowth of worker protest and militancy, on the one hand, and market speculation in land and housing on the other. This tension opened up a space for colonial intervention, one that drew upon numerical reasoning driven by discourses of financial calculations of value and potential risks within the emerging urban real-estate market. The article contends that the regulations surrounding the housing speculation during the 1920s were an early bureaucratic exercise in rationalizing the urban land market in order to make it efficient by regulating the ways in which land and housing accrued value economically.

19 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Jabbari as discussed by the authors argues for a shared discourse of modernity shared between early twentieth-century Iranian and Indian intellectuals, and examines how these intellectuals made use of premodern materials for their modernizing projects, and how nationalism shaped this process.
Abstract: This article makes an argument for literary modernity as a shared discourse produced through scholarly exchange between Iranians and Indians reworking their shared Persianate literary heritage, considering literary history as an important and perhaps overlooked site for the production of literary modernity. Arguing for a verbal as well as textual discourse of modernity shared between early twentieth-century Iranian and Indian intellectuals, Jabbari examines how these intellectuals made use of premodern materials for their modernizing projects, and how nationalism shaped this process. Four aspects of modern literary history writing receive particular focus here: engagement with the tazkirah tradition, inclusion of extraliterary national figures alongside poets, use of a shared set of references and sources, and new sexual aesthetics that break with the homoerotic Persianate past.

14 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the main question that the articles in the special section “After the Persianate” endeavor to answer: How should we write the histories of societies that emerged from the Persianates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?
Abstract: Mana Kia and Afshin Marashi’s introduction asks the main question that the articles in the special section “After the Persianate” endeavor to answer: How should we write the histories of societies that emerged from the Persianate ecumene in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

12 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Shani et al. as mentioned in this paper investigated the process of devising the instructions for the preparation of the preliminary draft electoral roll on the basis of adult franchise, in anticipation of the constitution.
Abstract: Shani’s article examines a key aspect of the rupture from colonial rule in the making of independent India, which was critical to its process of democratization. This undertaking was the preparation of the first elections on the basis of universal suffrage. Implementing and planning for the enrollment of almost 174 million people was a staggering bureaucratic undertaking. This article investigates the process of devising the instructions for the preparation of the preliminary draft electoral roll on the basis of adult franchise, in anticipation of the constitution. It suggests that in effect, this process became an all-India administrative exercise in guided democratic political imagination, which diffused the notion of universal franchise within the administrative machinery around the country. This exercise resulted in instituting and operationalizing the procedural aspect of the idea of equality. It also set in motion the creation of a new national polity for India. By contrasting this process with colonial discourses on franchise and preparation of electoral rolls, focusing particularly on the enrollment of women and the attitudes toward other groups at the margins of the franchise, the article explores key changes in the bureaucratic political imagination in the transition from colonial rule to independence.

12 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article examined the figure of the Indian friend in late nineteenth-century Persian-language modernist writings, specifically those by Fath ‘Alī Ākhūndzādah, Jamāl al-Dīn “al-Afghānī,” and writers published in the Calcutta newspaper Habl alMatīn.
Abstract: This article examines the figure of the Indian friend in late nineteenth-century Persian-language modernist writings, specifically those by Fath ‘Alī Ākhūndzādah, Jamāl al-Dīn “al-Afghānī,” and writers published in the Calcutta newspaper Habl al-Matīn . These writings drew on older Persianate ideas of moral refinement and ethical behavior to put forth modern visions of self and collective association. This process posed a self that was Iranian but identifiable according to Persianate notions of collectivity, allowing for simultaneous broader affiliations with Muslims, Indians, and Asians. That the intimate friend involved in this process of Persianate self and collective constitution was Indian suggests the need to consider Iranian and Indian modernity as part of an interconnected process informed by the lingering memory of a shared Persianate past and new modes of engagement into the early twentieth century.

11 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors compare the 1950s and 1960s short story writing of two influential yet underexamined women writers, Mannu Bhandari and R. Chudamani, who are considered key representatives of the Hindi and Tamil literary canons, respectively.
Abstract: This article compares the 1950s and 1960s short story writing of two influential yet underexamined women writers, Mannu Bhandari (1931–) and R. Chudamani (1931–2010), who are considered key representatives of the Hindi and Tamil literary canons, respectively. Mani demonstrates that from within their specific geographic and historical contexts, Bhandari’s and Chudamani’s writing provides insight into literary discourses of gender equality circulating in the immediate postindependence moment. In particular, she argues that these women writers broadened the scope of feminist thought and literary expression existing at the time through their rhetorical use of a language of entitlement that universalizes feminine desire in humanist terms. They did so through the portrayal of female characters who express the desire to possess sexual freedom, economic independence, and human equality on the same terms as the male characters. Feminist scholarship has characterized the 1950s and 1960s as a moment of paucity in women’s writing and decline in feminist politics. Yet Bhandari’s and Chudamani’s distinct uses of a language of entitlement offer a deeper understanding of the role of the literary in shaping feminist thought. Their work thus provides alternative genealogies of the categories of feminism and women’s writing in India.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article argued that earlier sets of debates between Iranian and Indian authors, particularly on the status of the Persian language, were now inflected through nationalism, imperialism, and cosmopolitanism, and traces how these new cultural articulations were often the outcome of crossings among Iran, India, and Europe for educational, journalistic, and missionary purposes.
Abstract: It is often assumed that Indo-Iranian cultural entanglements disappeared by the early twentieth century because of the rise of imperialism and colonialism, exclusionary forms of nationalism, and the accompanying loss of certain linguistic competencies. This article calls into question the supposed disappearance of exchange between Iran and India in linguistic, literary, and religious realms. Instead, it posits that earlier sets of debates between Iranian and Indian authors, particularly on the status of the Persian language, were now inflected through nationalism, imperialism, and cosmopolitanism. It traces how these new cultural articulations were often the outcome of crossings among Iran, India, and Europe for educational, journalistic, and missionary purposes. Through these crossings, cosmopolitan understandings of language, religion, and politics, albeit with their own hierarchies and exclusions, often coexisted paradoxically side by side with nationalism. Shared Indo-Iranian religious connections, either through Zoroastrianism or Islam, became grounds for new modes of imagining transnational solidarities, while viewing Persian as a beleaguered Asian lingua franca became a way of challenging the imperial hegemony of the English language.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors consider the validity and terms of comparison and commensurability between the Indian and Ottoman/post-Ottoman cases and offer a sketch of how the three concepts play out in the more indeterminate political world of the Ottoman space.
Abstract: This essay, written as a response to Partha Chatterjee’s on the same three concepts—nationalism, internationalism, and cosmopolitanism—in India (published in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 36, no. 2), first considers the validity and terms of comparison and commensurability between the Indian and Ottoman/post-Ottoman cases. It then goes on to offer a sketch of how the three concepts play out in the more indeterminate political world of the Ottoman space, looking not to cases of formal colonialism in the Middle East, but to the beginning and endpoints of the devolution of the Ottoman world and its transformation into the many nation-states of the post-Ottoman world. It poses the emergence of Greece (in the 1820s) and of Turkey one century later as crystallizing moments in a different but related process to that of the colonization and decolonization of the Indian subcontinent. The goal of the exercise is to use the three concepts of nationalism, internationalism, and cosmopolitanism to arrive at a new kind of comparison, and perhaps a new kind of model of power in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for areas that were not formally colonized but were nevertheless crucial to the formation of modern relations of power.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In South Africa issues of political economy, including the land question, are necessarily coming face-to-face with a resurgent politics of difference informing long-standing histories of dispossession, whose continuities with such politics are frequently denied as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: Today in South Africa issues of political economy, including the land question, are necessarily coming face-to-face with a resurgent politics of difference informing long-standing histories of dispossession whose continuities with such politics of difference are frequently denied. Despite the country’s “transition” to democracy a genuinely decolonial present has not, as yet, come into being. But from #Rhodes-MustFall to #FeesMustFall to the October 6, 2015, anti-outsourcing campaign there is a growing sense that the incompletion of the transition to democracy is being contested and that the interregnum is drawing to a close as something genuinely new is trying to be born.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Elangovan as discussed by the authors suggests that the moment of implementation of the Indian Government of India Act may have contained a third moment, a possibility of constitutional imagination that severely curtailed the political ambitions of both the imperial and the nationalist forces.
Abstract: The Government of India Act, 1935, is often discussed for Britain’s imperial intent in holding India to the empire and the Indian nationalists’—especially the Congress’s—critique of the act. In this essay, by focusing on the prominent but little-known bureaucrat Sir Benegal Narsing Rau (1887–1953), Elangovan suggests that the moment of implementation of the act may have contained a third moment, a possibility of constitutional imagination that severely curtailed the political ambitions of both the imperial and the nationalist forces. He traces the possibilities and limits of this moment to foreground the often under-appreciated tensions among colonialism, nationalism, and constitutionalism.


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors traces the Persian artistic revival of two separate but interdependent communities: the Parsis of the British Raj and the reformist Muslims and Zoroastrians of Qajar Iran.
Abstract: This essay traces the Persian artistic revival of two separate but interdependent communities: the Parsis of the British Raj and the reformist Muslims and Zoroastrians of Qajar Iran. The two communities, with their own distinct, though at times overlapping, art historical developments, conceived and erected architectural edifices from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1930s. In a typically nineteenth-century eclectic style, each aimed to appeal to a (differing) notion of the Persianate and, thus, to revive the grandeur of antique Iran at the service of divergent ideologies.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines a hypothetical supplement to Rudyard Kipling's famous poem "If-If" scripted by the judge during the Jacob Zuma rape trial in 2006 and argues for the importance of interrogating specters of colonial patriarchy in South Africa's contemporary post-rainbow nation.
Abstract: This essay examines a hypothetical supplement to Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If—” scripted by the judge during the Jacob Zuma rape trial in 2006. It places this into conversation with State of Peril: Race and Rape in South African Literature (2012) and argues for the importance of interrogating specters of colonial patriarchy in South Africa’s contemporary post–“rainbow nation” epoch. During the trial, Zuma invoked in his defense a certain masculine ideal of Zuluness, and the judge’s invocation of Kipling similarly points to the ways in which nodes of masculinity and power in contemporary South Africa are deeply haunted by a colonial and apartheid-era past. On account of a history of brutal racism, various patriarchies have been at odds in this country, but they continue to work together in mutually constitutive ways, at the expense of black women, and with an even greater cost to queer black women.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors analyzes Zoo City as a complicated set of allegories of environmental disaster, HIV/AIDS, xenophobic violence, and contemporary African identity, and argues that Zoo City, as a speculative fiction of sorts, is deeply informed by South African history and particularly the history of Johannesburg in both the apartheid and postapartheid eras.
Abstract: This essay analyzes Lauren Beukes’s 2010 novel, Zoo City, as a complicated set of allegories of environmental disaster, HIV/AIDS, xenophobic violence, and contemporary African identity. It argues that Zoo City, as a speculative fiction of sorts, is deeply informed by South African history and particularly the history of Johannesburg in both the apartheid and postapartheid eras. The central conceit of the novel, the “animalled,” or “zoos,” marks a working through of the persistence of forms of stigmatization, violence, and exclusion in its present.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines how a transnational religious movement that originated in British India, the Ahmadiyya movement, deployed the norm of religious freedom in the course of its expansion outside the British Empire.
Abstract: This article examines how a transnational religious movement that originated in British India, the Ahmadiyya movement, deployed the norm of religious freedom in the course of its expansion outside the British Empire. Ostracized by mainstream Muslims, Ahmadis used their position as imperial subjects to demand that the British protect their right to religious freedom in political spheres beyond the British Empire and irrespective of territorial jurisdiction. British authorities responded to this transnational activism by considering anew the practical meanings of this right. This article argues that this Ahmadiyya-British encounter had the effect of constituting a transnational sphere in which the place of religious freedom was contested and negotiated, both in terms of the actual physical place in which British colonial subjects could enjoy religious freedoms and the place of Ahmadis with respect to entitlement to religious freedoms. It further demonstrates that the British routinely drew on their assumptions about Islam and imperial notions of religious noninterference to subvert Ahmadiyya claims about religious freedom.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Partha Chatterjee and Kalyan Sanyal as discussed by the authors discuss post-colonization and post-colonial development in the context of Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality, and Post-Colonial Capitalism.
Abstract: “Rethinking Postcolonial Capitalist Development” is a conversation between the political theorist and historian Partha Chatterjee and Kalyan Sanyal (1951–2012), author of Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality, and Postcolonial Capitalism . In this interview Chatterjee and Sanyal discuss capitalist growth, postcolonial development, and other issues raised by Sanyal’s book.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors analyzes the connections between past dispossession and contemporary rural land and natural resource struggles in the Limpopo and North West provinces, contending that addressing South Africa's vexed present requires a fuller reckoning with its past.
Abstract: Contemporary postapartheid South African land struggles are haunted by the long shadow of historical dispossession. While apartheid-era forced removals are justifiably infamous, these traumatic events were moments in the more extended, less frequently referenced, and more expansive process that fundamentally shaped the South African terrain well before 1948. The South African Republic’s mid-nineteenth-century assertion of ownership of all land north of the Vaal River and south of the Limpopo marked the start of a long process of racialized dispossession that rendered black people’s residence in putatively white areas highly contingent and insecure throughout the former Transvaal. This article analyzes the connections between past dispossession and contemporary rural land and natural resource struggles in the Limpopo and North West provinces, contending that addressing South Africa’s vexed present requires a fuller reckoning with its past.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Clarke as mentioned in this paper explores Siba Grovogui's publication of Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy: Memories of International Order and Institutions as a way to ponder how histories of international relations are told.
Abstract: This essay explores Siba Grovogui’s publication of Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy: Memories of International Order and Institutions as a way to ponder how histories of international relations are told. Clarke considers Grovogui’s central point concerning the relationship between Western intellectual anxieties and postcolonial methods and modes of thought. One domain for interrogating the contemporary significance of the work is the call for new ontologies and interpretive humility. This commentary examines these new ontologies through the rethinking of ways that agents engage in particular political projects through an examination of the way that particular forms of meaning production are invigorated through communicative forms that can involve critical shifts to the moral order. Finally, the essay examines the shifts related to the formation of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine and the related aesthetic modalities that are changing the way mainstream adherents understand new democratic forms of participation. This example represents an attempt to consider what this means for the way we understand the transformation of contemporary democracy and how Grovogui’s work has set the stage for these transformations.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy: Memories of International Order and Institutions Siba Grovogui begins with a lyrical form of subversion as he speaks to those in International Relations whom he finds participating in moral justifications of a politics of death.
Abstract: In Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy: Memories of International Order and Institutions Siba Grovogui begins with a lyrical form of subversion as he speaks to those in International Relations whom he finds participating in moral justifications of a politics of death. Grovogui’s assemblage of the colonial archive points to its operation at multiple registers. It is a site of contested possibility and regenerative change and it belongs to the whole world for a world otherwise. As a response to Grovogui’s book, this essay argues that open-ended, multiple engagements can disrupt strategies of bifurcation problematizing asymmetrical zonings and scale making, thereby redefining the nature and terms of science (itself a naturalized modern knowledge formation) without fantasizing a greater sense of knowing or transcendence from ontological specificities and multiplicities.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, Grovogui presents a theoretical critique of IR theory, underlined by the assumption that Europe alone as a site of reason with other cultures as violent, thus setting up "Europe as a trustee" of human civilization.
Abstract: Mamdani introduces this Kitabkhana on Siba Grovogui’s book Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy , which is presented for a broader discussion on the tenth anniversary of its publication. Grovogui presents a theoretical critique of IR theory, underlined by the assumption that contrasts “Europe alone as a site of reason” with “other cultures as violent,” thus setting up “Europe as a trustee” of human civilization. The darker side of European modernity, Grovogui argues, is the tendency to ignore the subjectivity of the rest; this “absence of critical comparative studies sustains Eurocentrism.” Against this backdrop, Grovogui presents decolonization as a confrontation with historicism. Grovogui’s larger point is that the neglect of non-Western traditions hinders the capacity of theorists to envision different futures. To correct this bias, he presents the thought of three African activist scholars at a time when the French Republic had collapsed under the Nazi assault and the African colonized elite was in revolt, intellectually and politically. Mahmood’s introduction is followed by an assessment of the Grovogui’s book by a number of scholars.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Mignolo as discussed by the authors discusses how both modernity and coloniality engendered all kinds of reactions, from the violent anti-imperial to the more hopeful decolonial, from Waman Puma de Ayala in the sixteenth century to Frantz Fanon and the evolues in Algeria.
Abstract: Mignolo’s essay engages with Siba Grovogui’s text Beyond Eurocentrism and Anarchy , focusing specifically on coloniality. Mignolo discusses how both modernity and coloniality engendered all kinds of reactions, from the violent anti-imperial to the more hopeful decolonial, from Waman Puma de Ayala in the sixteenth century to Frantz Fanon and the evolues in Algeria—Felix Eboue, Gabriel d’Arboussier, and Ouezzin Coulibaly—in the twentieth.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Purohit as discussed by the authors analyzed the arguments through which Iqbal denounced Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's religious authority and branded his teachings heretical, using the work of sociologists such as Georg Simmel and Pierre Bourdieu.
Abstract: Purohit’s essay discusses the polemical writings of Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938) against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908), the founder of the Ahmadi movement. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s vision of Islam was in many ways similar to Iqbal’s: both figures were modernist and promoted renewal and reform through the idea of Muslim unity. However, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s religious authority was charismatic: he was not only recognized as a mujaddid (renewer) but also claimed to be the masih-i-mawud (promised messiah). This article analyzes the arguments through which Iqbal denounced Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s religious authority and branded his teachings heretical. Using the work of sociologists such as Georg Simmel and Pierre Bourdieu, this piece reflects on the idea of heresy as a sociological rather than theological phenomenon—thereby calling into question entrenched theological critiques of the Ahmadis. The intra-Muslim criticisms against the Ahmadis that continue today must be examined, Purohit argues, in light of the modernist polemic against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, exemplified in the writings of Iqbal.


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Kantor as discussed by the authors examines the way that two distinct communities (rural villagers and the writers who represent them in fiction)marshal filth as an ethical term in the discussion of the same problem: dys-function and socioeconomic stagnation in rural South Asia.
Abstract: Kantor’s article examines the way that two distinct communities—rural villagers and the writers who represent them in fiction—marshal filth as an ethical term in the discussion of the same problem: dys-function and socioeconomic stagnation in rural South Asia. Shrilal Shukla’s Raag Darbari , Upamanyu Chatterjee’s English, August , Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger , and Moshin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia all link soiling substances with larger critiques of rural life. These critiques echo, but do not always neatly overlap with, the discourses of actual rural people. In these novels, filth is characterized by its ability to cling and to spread, such that the only solution seems to be the creation of physical distance between the novel’s protagonists and the rural sphere. Ethnographic fieldwork in rural Bihar, however, complicates this view. Villagers express ambivalence about filth: bemoaning the dirtiness of their everyday lives but also deploring others’ emotional distancing as filthy. In order to unpack their divergent perspectives, this article brings together several fields of scholarship: social science debates about filth in public space in postcolonial India; literary theories of irony and the sublime; and philosophical writings on the relationship between aesthetics and ethics.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argues that non-European historicism was so vulnerable that its collapse resulted in a chronic inability to access and process the past, thus ushering in a traumatic mode of ahistorical existence.
Abstract: How does the European historiographical apparatus, or historicism, translate to a non-European context such as that of India? Drawing on Dipesh Chakrabarty’s work The Calling of History, this essay suggests that instead of providing a rigid definition of “non-European” historicism, we should attempt to salvage its Indian and non-European specificity. The dense correspondence that Chakrabarty uncovered allows us to examine the interpersonal and noninstitutional process by which Indian historiography emerged during the first half of the twentieth century. The Calling of History exposes how a set of balances, such as the one between “public” and “cloistered” life of the historical discipline, guaranteed the status of historical veracity as a major value. Reflecting on this process from a Middle Eastern standpoint, this essay argues that non-European historicism was so vulnerable that its collapse resulted in a chronic inability to access and process the past, thus ushering in a traumatic mode of ahistorical existence.