Basically, it seems Holland wants to do to Islam what has happened to Christianity over the past few centuries in the West: Though a fair number of traditionalist Christian believers exist, many people who say they are Christians are often quite aware of revisionist theories about their religion. As the title indicates Moss challenges one of the foundational beliefs about the rise of early Christianity:
The spirit of friendship lives in the shadows cast by raised banners and gleaming standards, and in thc midst of the cut and thrust of argumentation, friendship seeks out the unconditional voice of conversation.
For conversation, as vou might hear it atnong the Chatterjees and the Banterjees at a Calcutta adda, chooses to follow the improvisational over the instrumental. All that 1 know about the utter seriousness of idle conversation, 1 learned from Dipesh Chakrabarty during our early morning telephone calls in Chicago.
While they jogged, our tongues wagged. Suddenly the midwestern morning would be painted in the distant colors of other daos, dawning belatedly in Calcuna and Bombay, or turning to dusk in Canberra and 1 ondon.
What we shared in [hose mcetings of everyday voices was a desire to be at honre in Che place and time in which we found ourselves. And that desire was no less true for being unrealizable. The uncannyhoming instinct that we shared did not come from a belief, or a sense ofrelief, in Che sufficiency of our present situations.
No one has understood better than Joseph Conrad what compels Che joyous and difficult conversations of those who wander "over the face of Che earth, Che illustrious and Che obscure, earning beyond thc seas our fame, our money or only a trust of bread.
What is Che task of Che foreword written out of friendship, and cast in Che conversarional mude? The friend toros to the finished text in a spirit of dialogue that is contingent, interruptive, insurgent. His purpose is to protect Che author from Che embrace of Che sententious.
This is Che jagged lifeline of the text that will be revived, long afrer thc work is published, each time it is read and reread. The author performs his histrionic gestures of sincerity and authenticity in order ro conquer Essay habitation in modernity study subaltern wake world with Che facility of Che phrasemaker or the compass of Che mapmaker.
The writer, on the other hand, risks his very integrity and singulariry in order to touch a world that he can no more conquer [han he can master language. In disclosing what human history renders disjunct or diverse, the wrirer reveals a worldly knowledge that draws humaniry together in a practice ofdoubt, a kind of knowledge that avises not hecause modero man knows roo much for trush to be resolved, but because "human kind cannot bear very much reality.
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The task of the foreword is to ask, What, my friend, have you risked in this work? Are you willing to drive us beyond Che limit of our understanding and Che directive line ofyour reasoning?
Are you declaiming these truths from Che repose of your disciplinary divan, making disciples of os all? Or will you set us free to wander in [hose places that you leave open to the future- those gaps where emotions and insights have yerto find adequate forms of speech?
Tell os why suddenly your voice fails, and your passion Cakes shape, in Che inchoate, the interruptive, the contingent? And why is it that in that very fading of your voice we see you practice Che art of a darker doubt in which your words bind us to a common history and a shared conversation?
My friendship with Dipesh has provoked [hese questions "in Che name of that doubt which is Che inseparable part of our knowledge," and reading Habitations of Modernity now helps me understand them. This line of argument often leads to the injunction "Only Historicize" and seeks to emancipare [hose who have been "hidden from history.
When they arrive at Che signposts ofprogress, they are shorn oftheir stories and traditions; they are no longer hidden from history, but they have turned into spectral figures, transparent testimonies to Che worldly triumph of a secular capitalist moderniry.
When modero world history contemplares its achievements and transformations in this light, it fails to represen[ the passions and perversities of those modernities that have a pre- or postcolonial genealogy.
In Che company of Ranajit Guha and Ashis Nandy, Dipesh argues that Che modero social sciences may develop philanthropic pedagogies that seek to spread "scientific rationality, democratic politics, and modera aesthetics" p. We cannot see finto them, noteverywhere" p.
When Che glass of theory turras dark, must we abandon ourselves to experience and pragmatism? Do we espouse a practice of doubt only when our speculative systems are defeated?
Enter that historical and theoretical darkness, Dipesh argues, free oneself and others from Che benighted conditions of oppression, but also register a deep doubt about Che enlightened career of Che "self-inventing hero of modero life" p.
The dynamic of darkness and doubt leads Dipesh ro probe what progressive historians have roo easily dismissed as the "problem of the undesirable pass" as it encroaches on contemporary politics. But the dream of a total root-and-hranch social nanstormation-be it liberal, socialist, anarchist, or marxist- -e ven uc hen it is dreamed on behall of the righrs of the subaltern or thc oppressed, is parr of a political imaginary that can onla think in terms of "the wltole called thc sea te" p.
Can we imagine another moment of subaltern history, une in which we stay-permanently, not simply as a master of political tactic-with that which is fragmentary and episodic? What kind of modern social justice would one envisage as one embraced the fragment?
This is an ideal figure. No actual member of the subaltern ctasses would resemble what 1 imagine here. The question is, Are there moments in the life practices of the subaltern ctasses that would allow us to construct such an agent?My favourite celebrity essay essay habitation in modernity study subaltern wake ched dissertation assistance in other worlds essays in culture political journal ucl .
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