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4 Provincialising Europe or Exoticising India? Towards a Historical and Categorial Critique of Postcolonial Studies

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Chapter Summary

This chapter closely analyses two major texts, namely, Dipesh Chakrabarty's Provincializing Europe and Ranajit Guha's Domination without Hegemony, for the insights they provide into what has been called late Subaltern Studies, or perhaps more accurately the post-colonial turn of Subaltern Studies. To grasp the key contentions of Provincializing Europe, one almost has to turn to the end, where after over 250-odd pages Chakrabarty summarises his argument. A distinctive feature of Dominance without Hegemony is its emphasis on an 'Indian historiography of India', with a critique of 'colonialist elitism and bourgeois-nationalist elitism' as a necessary preamble. Provincializing Europe is not devoid of politics. The starting point for Chakrabarty's attack on historicism is, of course, to define the term itself. Historicism is what allowed European domination of the world, Chakrabarty asserts, thereby correcting one's naive assumption that it must have been the heavy artillery of imperialism.

Keywords: Hegemony; imperialism; post-colonial; Provincialising Europe



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