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Castes of Mind : Colonialism and the Making of Modern India

Castes of Mind : Colonialism and the Making of Modern India - 01 edition

ISBN13: 978-0691088952

Cover of Castes of Mind : Colonialism and the Making of Modern India 01 (ISBN 978-0691088952)
ISBN13: 978-0691088952
ISBN10: 0691088950
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 01
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Published: 2001
International: No

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Castes of Mind : Colonialism and the Making of Modern India - 01 edition

ISBN13: 978-0691088952

Nicholas B. Dirks

ISBN13: 978-0691088952
ISBN10: 0691088950
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 01
Publisher: Princeton University Press

Published: 2001
International: No
Summary

When thinking of India, it is hard not to think of caste. In academic and common parlance alike, caste has become a central symbol for India, marking it as fundamentally different from other places while expressing its essence. Nicholas Dirks argues that caste is, in fact, neither an unchanged survival of ancient India nor a single system that reflects a core cultural value. Rather than a basic expression of Indian tradition, caste is a modern phenomenon--the product of a concrete historical encounter between India and British colonial rule. Dirks does not contend that caste was invented by the British. But under British domination caste did become a single term capable of naming and above all subsuming India's diverse forms of social identity and organization.

Dirks traces the career of caste from the medieval kingdoms of southern India to the textual traces of early colonial archives; from the commentaries of an eighteenth-century Jesuit to the enumerative obsessions of the late-nineteenth-century census; from the ethnographic writings of colonial administrators to those of twentieth-century Indian scholars seeking to rescue ethnography from its colonial legacy. The book also surveys the rise of caste politics in the twentieth century, focusing in particular on the emergence of caste-based movements that have threatened nationalist consensus.

Castes of Mind is an ambitious book, written by an accomplished scholar with a rare mastery of centuries of Indian history and anthropology. It uses the idea of caste as the basis for a magisterial history of modern India. And in making a powerful case that the colonial past continues to haunt the Indian present, it makes an important contribution to current postcolonial theory and scholarship on contemporary Indian politics.

Author Bio

Dirks, Nicholas B. : Columbia University

Nicholas B. Dirks is Franz Boas Professor of History and Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom and the editor of Colonialism and Culture and In Near Ruins. He has taught at the University of Michigan, the California Institute of Technology, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociale in Paris.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations


PART ONE: THE "INVENTION" OF CASTE
One: Introduction: The Modernity of Caste
Two: Homo Hierarchicus: The Origins of an Idea
Three: The Ethnographic State


PART TWO: COLONIZATION OF THE ARCHIVE
Four: The Original Caste: Social Identity in the Old Regime
Five: The Textualization of Tradition: Biography of an Archive
Six: The Imperial Archive: Colonial Knowledge and Colonial Rule


PART THREE: THE ETHNOGRAPHIC STATE
Seven: The Conversion of Caste
Eight: The Policing of Tradition: Colonial Anthropology and the Invention of Custom
Nine: The Body of Caste: Anthropology and the Criminalization of Caste
Ten: The Enumeration of Caste: Anthropology as Colonial Rule


PART FOUR: RECASTING INDIA: CASTE, COMMUNITY, AND POLITICS
Eleven: Toward a Nationalist Sociology of India: Nationalism and Brahmanism
Twelve: The Reformation of Caste: Periyar, Ambedkar, and Gandhi
Thirteen: Caste Politics and the Politics of Caste
Fourteen: Conclusion: Caste and the Postcolonial Predicament
Coda: The Burden of the Past: On Colonialism and the Writing of History


Notes
Index


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