The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories / Edition 1

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Overview

In this book, the prominent theorist Partha Chatterjee looks at the creative and powerful results of the nationalist imagination in Asia and Africa that are posited not on identity but on difference with the nationalism propagated by the West. Arguing that scholars have been mistaken in equating political nationalism with nationalism as such, he shows how anticolonialist nationalists produced their own domain of sovereignty within colonial society well before beginning their political battle with the imperial power. These nationalists divided their culture into material and spiritual domains, and staked an early claim to the spiritual sphere, represented by religion, caste, women and the family, and peasants. Chatterjee shows how middle-class elites first imagined the nation into being in this spiritual dimension and then readied it for political contest, all the while "normalizing" the aspirations of the various marginal groups that typify the spiritual sphere.

While Chatterjee's specific examples are drawn from Indian sources, with a copious use of Bengali language materials, the book is a contribution to the general theoretical discussion on nationalism and the modern state. Examining the paradoxes involved with creating first a uniquely non-Western nation in the spiritual sphere and then a universalist nation-state in the material sphere, the author finds that the search for a postcolonial modernity is necessarily linked with past struggles against modernity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1994

"[This] is a work of magisterial erudition, the product of a mind working at the fullest command of its critical and creative powers . . . destined to become a landmark, not just in its field but in that most important of histories which is the evolving narrative of our self-awareness."--The Calcutta Telegraph

The Calcutta Telegraph
[This] is a work of magisterial erudition, the product of a mind working at the fullest command of its critical and creative powers . . . destined to become a landmark, not just in its field but in that most important of histories which is the evolving narrative of our self-awareness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691019437
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/18/1993
  • Series: Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 1,429,442
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Whose Imagined Community? 3
Ch. 2 The Colonial State 14
Ch. 3 The Nationalist Elite 35
Ch. 4 The Nation and Its Pasts 76
Ch. 5 Histories and Nations 95
Ch. 6 The Nation and Its Women 116
Ch. 7 Women and the Nation 135
Ch. 8 The Nation and Its Peasants 158
Ch. 9 The Nation and Its Outcasts 173
Ch. 10 The National State 200
Ch. 11 Communities and the Nation 220
Notes 241
Bibliography 263
Index 273
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