Bengal in Global Concept History: Culturalism in the Age of Capital

Paperback | September 15, 2008

byAndrew Sartori

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Today people all over the globe invoke the concept of culture to make sense of their world, their social interactions, and themselves. But how did the culture concept become so ubiquitous? In this ambitious study, Andrew Sartori closely examines the history of political and intellectual life in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Bengal to show how the concept can take on a life of its own in different contexts.
            Sartori weaves the narrative of Bengal’s embrace of culturalism into a worldwide history of the concept, from its origins in eighteenth-century Germany, through its adoption in England in the early 1800s, to its appearance in distinct local guises across the non-Western world. The impetus for the concept’s dissemination was capitalism, Sartori argues, as its spread across the globe initiated the need to celebrate the local and the communal. Therefore, Sartori concludes, the use of the culture concept in non-Western sites was driven not by slavish imitation of colonizing powers, but by the same problems that repeatedly followed the advance of modern capitalism. This remarkable interdisciplinary study will be of significant interest to historians and anthropologists, as well as scholars of South Asia and colonialism.

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Today people all over the globe invoke the concept of culture to make sense of their world, their social interactions, and themselves. But how did the culture concept become so ubiquitous? In this ambitious study, Andrew Sartori closely examines the history of political and intellectual life in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Bengal ...

Andrew Sartori is assistant professor of history at New York University and coeditor of From the Colonial to the Postcolonial: India and Pakistan in Transition.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:September 15, 2008Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226734943

ISBN - 13:9780226734941

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
 
Chapter One   
Bengali “Culture” as a Historical Problem
 
Chapter Two   
Culture as a Global Concept 
 
Chapter Three   
Bengali Liberalism and British Empire
 
Chapter Four   
Hinduism as Culture
 
Chapter Five   
The Conceptual Structure of an Indigenist Nationalism
 
Chapter Six   
Reification, Rarification, and Radicalization        
 
Conclusion   
Universalistic Particularisms and Parochial Cosmopolitanisms    
 
Notes   
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Sartori presents a highly disciplined, careful, and imaginative intellectual history, and his Marxian history of ideas . . . will incite lively debate and provide a much-needed stimulus to the writing of South Asian intellectual history."