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“Creative and vitally important. The authors don’t just note that modernity is more than a single, homogenous thing, they explore the fissures and fault lines and assess the implications for both scholarly understanding and public discourse. In doing so, they offer a hopeful and intellectually supple alternative to the often repackaged notion of a ‘clash of
civilizations.’ ”—Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council — N/A
“If ‘modernity’ is an invention of the North Atlantic, then so is the desire to escape, negate or transcend it. Going forward would seem to demand that we critically imagine the possibilities of alternative modernities. There is no question more important for cultural studies, or for progressive politics. This volume is a major contribution to this project. It needs to be read and extended.”—Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill — N/A
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The idea of “alternative modernities” holds that modernity always unfolds within specific cultures or civilizations and that different starting points of the transition to modernity lead to different outcomes. Without abandoning the Western discourse on the subject, the contributors to this volume write from the standpoint that modernity is in truth a richly mulitiplicitous concept. Believing that the language and lessons of Western modernity must be submitted to comparative study of its global receptions, they focus on such sites as China, Russia, India, Trinidad, and Mexico. Other essays treat more theoretical aspects of modernity, such as its self-understanding and the potential reconcilability of cosmopolitanism and diversity.
Contributors. Homi Bhabha, William Cunningham Bissell, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, Michael Hanchard, Beatriz Jaguaribe, Leo Ou-fan Lee, Claudio Lomnitz, Thomas McCarthy, Tejaswini Niranjana, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Shahzia Sikander, Charles Taylor, Andrew Wachtel
Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar teaches Rhetoric and Cultural Studies at Northwestern University and is Co-director of the Center for Transcultural Studies.
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