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Journal Article

Toward a History on Equal Terms: A Discussion of "Provincializing Europe"

Carola Dietze
History and Theory
Vol. 47, No. 1 (Feb., 2008), pp. 69-84
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25478725
Page Count: 16
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Toward a History on Equal Terms: A Discussion of "Provincializing Europe"
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Abstract

This essay is a critical discussion of Dipesh Chakrabarty's book "Provincializing Europe" as well as a first sketch of a History on Equal Terms. After giving a short summary of "Provincializing Europe", I first argue, against Chakrabarty, that there is no necessary connection between the discipline of history and the metanarratives of modernity. To the contrary: the founding idea of the discipline of history was a turn against such grand narratives. With his attempt to deconstruct the narratives of the European Enlightenment and of modernity, Chakrabarty therefore has to be regarded as a thinker of radical historicism rather than as a critic of the discipline of history. Second, I criticize the use of the term "modernity" in "Provincializing Europe" and the concept of modernity in general. Instead of a deconstruction of the discipline of history, I propose a deconstruction of the concept of modernity. This could open up the way for a History on Equal Terms situated within the discipline of history, that is, a historiography that would-just as Chakrabarty rightly demands-in principle pay the same attention to and expect relevant results from any region in the world, depending only on the focus of research.

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