Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference

Dipesh Chakrabarty


Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference

Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference

  • Title: Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference
  • Author: Dipesh Chakrabarty
  • ISBN: 9780691130019
  • Page: 315
  • Format: Paperback



First published in 2000, Dipesh Chakrabarty s influential Provincializing Europe addresses the mythical figure of Europe that is often taken to be the original site of modernity in many histories of capitalist transition in non Western countries This imaginary Europe, Dipesh Chakrabarty argues, is built into the social sciences The very idea of historicizing carries withFirst published in 2000, Dipesh Chakrabarty s influential Provincializing Europe addresses the mythical figure of Europe that is often taken to be the original site of modernity in many histories of capitalist transition in non Western countries This imaginary Europe, Dipesh Chakrabarty argues, is built into the social sciences The very idea of historicizing carries with it some peculiarly European assumptions about disenchanted space, secular time, and sovereignty Measured against such mythical standards, capitalist transition in the third world has often seemed either incomplete or lacking Provincializing Europe proposes that every case of transition to capitalism is a case of translation as well a translation of existing worlds and their thought categories into the categories and self understandings of capitalist modernity Now featuring a new preface in which Chakrabarty responds to his critics, this book globalizes European thought by exploring how it may be renewed both for and from the margins.


Recent Comments "Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference"

Dipesh Chakrabarty argues that all history has had Europe as its subject because the intellectual contributions of Europe (Marxism, enlightenment rationality, secular humanism) have been taken as universals. While recognizing that these intellectual theories have relevance outside of Europe (he is himself a committed Marxist), he argues against the idea that all Modernity must be European bourgeois modernity. He argues against a historicism that posits that all history must be progressive,and ag [...]

Quite simply, and along with Ranajit Guha's Dominance Without Hegemony, one of the most powerful books of postcolonial historiography there is. Chakrabarty sets out to decentre and 'marginalise' Europe by unpacking ways that European histories of India negate India (and by implication, most of the rest of the indigenous and subaltern in Empire). He turns his attention to a range of social sciences as well as history, and quite marvellously exposes ways that Europe ignores and negates India throu [...]

Chakrabarty's project in this book is not so much to subvert the rational-secular view of history, inherited by postcolonial societies from the European enlightenment, as to see around the limitations of that view. In order to do so, one has to give up historicism, the idea of development in history, and of stages in history. Instead, one holds on to the idea of the heterogeneous present, when different world-views are not judged as pre-modern, modern, or even, post-modern (all stageist concepts [...]

Dipesh Chakraborty is a modern day mystic who suffers from an insufferable urge to sound extraordinary. Most of the chapters reflect confusion and worse, deliberate obfuscation. Take for example the chapter on Tagore, his poetry had to power to transform reality, without denying it (whatever that means!) and making the tough middle class lives of colonial Calcutta liveable. Sans the jargon, all he is saying is that playing video games might help us in coping with oppression at work place. South [...]

I still have some difficulties with finding my approach to postcolonial literature. The criticism of European concepts seen as universal is plausible, but it is unclear to me what consequences follow and what alternative concepts they propose. Also, I find a lot of this book just rambling.

The Introduction & Part One are foundational for scholars of any type of history. Chakrabarty deals with the myth of universal, linear history and the problems of trying to study the subaltern by means of historical understanding, theories & methods that do not reflect or originate in subaltern communities. He encourages a de-centering of Europe! Yes, there are other parts of the world! I thoroughly enjoyed reading & being challenged by the intro & part 1. Part Two is perhaps mor [...]

Read for my Europe and the World grad class I was dreading this book. Literally. Like I kinda figured that this would be one of the ones that I just vaguely skimmed through and didn't understand a word of the discussion. I have never been able to just sit down and read theory. I just can't. This book, however, actually hooked me for some reason. I won't pretend that I truly understood every page, or that I didn't have to just put it down and watch some mindless tv a couple of times, but as far a [...]

Absolutely brilliant. Challenges the way we look at history/modernity through the lens of the European enlightement and European thought. In the second half of the book, actually puts his theory in practice by studying Bengal. But what I found to be most critical is this statement: “provincializing Europe is not a project of rejecting or discarding European thought” but rather “becomes the task of exploring how this thought may be renewed from and for the margins."

An intelligent, productive book, though I'm afraid its reputation may be a bit inflated.The argument is somewhat damaged by Chakrabarty's rather monolithic view of European history, surprising from someone so influenced by Marx. Occluded from his account are the fissures that made European modernity less a smooth, telelogical unfolding than a contested battleground.

Very dense reading. Opened my mind.

I liked the way he outlines the relationship between multiple epistemologies of history.

Postcolonialist paean to antihistoricist adumbrations of Bengali bromance.

also for chapter three, re-reading parts -- such an amazing, insightful book

240b. like it more and more. history 1 and 2 as an interesting way of thinking of history in general. carving out spaces of liveability.

A masterful book on the ways in which "Europe works as a silent referent in historical knowledge". It's exceptionally readable, and this is an important plus, given the generally abstruse style of much postcolonialist and postmodernist theory. Recommended to all, and a key text for historians of anything.

Provincializing Europe is a bizarre text. It is characterized by all the ways it departs from the project stated in the 1992 essay that serves as the text's inspiration and first chapter. Seven years later, when Chakrabarty returns to the notion of provincializing Europe, his thoughts seem altogether more conventional and proceed with a caution and precision not seen in the audacious 1992 essay. Still, Chakrabarty's text is no less useful for its care. Chakrabarty departs from his sweeping theor [...]

La ironía del libro de Chakrabarty es que al criticar el historicismo lo reduce a una teoría «etapista» bastante limitada, que postula un desarrollo histórico lineal (desde las sociedades tradicionales a las sociedades modernas secularizadas y universales), ignorando así en la práctica la utilización predominante del término que se hace en los estudios culturales contemporáneos, una utilización plenamente respaldada y practicada por el propio Chakrabarty: la relativización histórica [...]

An advocacy against historicism: I have been introduced to this book during a historiography class at the university, where I had to read an extract from it. Though unfamiliar with indian history and culture, I found two points raised by Chakrabarty very relevant: 1- Analytical tools coming from western social sciences (especially those coming from the intellectual production of Marx, Heidegger and Hobbes), though helpful and performant, are not enough to measure a non-western society 2- The rej [...]

I enjoyed part I, learned a lot and it was a good recapitulation of known things. Maybe sometimes too elaborate? Part II could be a second book. It is connected, a continuation, an example given, but still maybe it was beter separated.My main critique is that even postmodernist and post colonial scholars talk too easy about Europe as a homogeneous cultural entity or block or whatever. Even in Europe the situations and histories are much more complicated and heterogenous. (And please don't forge [...]

The Big Daddy of the engagement of Indian post-colonial studies with Continental Theory, this work looks at the question of historicity that specifically emerged through the colonial encounter. Written in the form of a series of seemingly disparate essays, Chakrabarty brings his profound understanding of the fractured histories of modernity to shed light on the multiplicity of experiential past and the impossibility of situating it within the Western modes of knowledge production.

This book presents a very interesting discussion on Historicism and Marxism, followed by a set of intriguing case studies in Indian subaltern studies. However, the author seems unable to escape the broader teleology of the Historicism he attempts to criticize, despite his more successful attacks on the rationalist structure of a Historicist notion of progress.

I enjoy Chakrabarty but this isn't his best work. His project, however, is compelling and certainly has applications to any social scientist working from a postcolonial perspective, whether they would use that term to frame their methodology or not.

Goodnight nurse! Marx, Heidegger, and some bedtime stories from upper class Kolkata on "difference"! Does Marx really open up a History 2 for wiggle room? Should we really trust Heidegger, a crazy man? I can't tell for sure! I found the argument aesthetically pleasing.

One of the worst college textbooks I ever read. The basic argument is that Europe is part of a larger world; and historians should not focus on how Europeans have changed other cultures; but how diverse cultures affect each other.

Absolutely a must-read for anyone interested post-colonialities, Marxism, modernity, and history. I would also recommend this to linguist anthropologists who are preparing to read, or have read Richard bauman's 'voices of modernity' as they pair well.

This is a study of how European ideas regarding development and capitalism as a stage in Marxist theory were adapted to other nations in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Partially read for school.

Interesting and important book, although I expected more due to its prominence in postcolonial studies. Not the easiest read in terms of writing style.

Dipesh ChakrabartyAuthor

More coherent than Derrida, that's for sure. My favorite of the theory for Menon's class. Thank god that class is almost over. 10 days. 10 days.


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    Published :2019-02-21T21:00:56+00:00