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Beyond Nationalist Frames: Relocating Postmodernism, Hindutva, History

Sumit Sarkar (Author)
Synopsis The political context in which the historian of India finds himself today, says Sumit Sarkar, is dominated by the advance of the Hindu Right and globalised forms of capitalism. Simultaneously, the historian’s intellectual context is now dominated by the marginalisation of all varieties of Marxism and an academic shift to cultural studies and postmodern critiques. In this scenario, how may a thinking historian who retains an unfashionable commitment to socialist-feminist values, alongside a democratic political vision formulated within Indian conditions of skewed social development, practice the craft of history? This excellent set of essays collectively constitutes Sumit Sarkar’s answer to this central question. A nostalgic return to the orthodoxies of an earlier age, he argues, would be ostrich-like. An uncritical acceptance of postcolonial positions and postmodern theories, he demonstrates, is intellectually unpalatable. And as for the contemporary fundamentalist directions of Hindu politics, he unearths a rich hoard of suppressions, evasions and distortions of history by which a nation is sidetracked from rationality and hoodwinked into the most modern form of false consciousness. The theme which runs through and unites these essays is Sarkar’s consistent critique of the limits of ‘nationalist frames’. He shows that despite their divergent forms—chauvinistic or benign, political-statist or culturalist—nationalist frameworks have limited modern South Asian history. Sarkar argues forcefully for moving beyond such frames towards a flexibly Marxian social history and politics imbued with democratic, socialist-feminist, and internationalist values. This is a major collection by the best-known historian of modern India.
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About the author

Sumit Sarkar

Sumit Sarkar retired as Professor of History, University of Delhi.  He was earlier the President of the Modern India section of the Indian History Congress, and Secretary of that body.  He has held visiting professorships at the universities of Oxford, Canberra, Paris, and Hawaii.  One of the foremost scholars of modern South Asian history, his publications include Swadeshi Movement in Bengal, 1903-1908 (1973), Modern India, 1885-1947(1983), A Critique on Colonial India (1985), Writing Social History (1999), and Beyond Nationalist Frames (2002).  His many books include Beyond Nationalist Frames: Relocating Postmodernism, Hindutva, History (Permanent Black paperback, 2003).

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Bibliographic information

Title Beyond Nationalist Frames: Relocating Postmodernism, Hindutva, History
Author Sumit Sarkar
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 9788178240268
length vi+265p., 23cm.
Subjects History