South Asian Area Studies in Transatlantic Dialogue

South Asian Area Studies in Transatlantic Dialogue Nalini Natarajan he following essay reflects my engagement with South Asian area udies as an outsider to the field, for I am primarily a literary critic.1 I begin by ehasizing that area udies has made valuable grounded contributions to the knowledge about South Asia, even though the paradigm does have its limitations, which I discuss in the course of this essay. I argue that these limitations are somewhat mitigated by considering the transatlantic influences that have affected area udies. In area udies’ attets to tackle a diant peninsula as an object of knowledge there is a persient ambivalence. On the one hand, the region is myified as unique, special, and “different,” owing to its colex millennial atus, the consequent heterogeneity of its cultural forms, and the proliferation (of informal) or paucity (of formal) sources, allowing multiple readings of hiory. On the other hand, it is placed within paradigms that one may call “universal” or “transcultural”: paradigms of the onward march of capital or eire, ancient and modern trade circuits, the eternal ruggle between cultures of accumulation and subsience, or the hiory of landownership and tenant exploitation. Within this major duality from the Weern perspective, South Asia as “different” and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East Duke University Press

South Asian Area Studies in Transatlantic Dialogue

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2007 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1089-201X
eISSN
1089-201X
DOI
10.1215/1089201x-2007-035
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Nalini Natarajan he following essay reflects my engagement with South Asian area udies as an outsider to the field, for I am primarily a literary critic.1 I begin by ehasizing that area udies has made valuable grounded contributions to the knowledge about South Asia, even though the paradigm does have its limitations, which I discuss in the course of this essay. I argue that these limitations are somewhat mitigated by considering the transatlantic influences that have affected area udies. In area udies’ attets to tackle a diant peninsula as an object of knowledge there is a persient ambivalence. On the one hand, the region is myified as unique, special, and “different,” owing to its colex millennial atus, the consequent heterogeneity of its cultural forms, and the proliferation (of informal) or paucity (of formal) sources, allowing multiple readings of hiory. On the other hand, it is placed within paradigms that one may call “universal” or “transcultural”: paradigms of the onward march of capital or eire, ancient and modern trade circuits, the eternal ruggle between cultures of accumulation and subsience, or the hiory of landownership and tenant exploitation. Within this major duality from the Weern perspective, South Asia as “different” and

Journal

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle EastDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2007

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