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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sareeta Bipin Amrute
HUM 597
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in the Humanities

Credit/no-credit only.

Class description

In preparation for the UW visit of Katz Lecturer Dipesh Chakrabarty, this seminar will devote close study to several selections from Chakrabarty’s work, paying particular attention to his workings out of universal and particular histories.

Course Description: Chakrabarty’s writing emerges out of a sustained engagement with the intimate histories of Bengal, radical approaches to history writing practiced by the Subaltern Studies Group, and the work of Marx and post-Marxian theory. The seminar is framed around three themes useful in approaching his work: Reworking Concepts and Categories, The Political Life of the Nation, and History, Modernity, and Futurity. We will read selections from his major works according to these themes. In the final two sessions we will turn to how his recent work on climate change and accounts of human subjectivity fit into and depart from Chakrabarty’s earlier concerns.

We will meet twice before Chakrabarty’s visit and once following his visit to contextualize his public lecture. In addition to attending all sessions and keeping up with assigned readings, students are required to attend “Between Globalization and Global Warming: the Long and the Short of Human History“ the Solomon Katz Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities given by Chakrabarty on Tuesday, Nov. 17th at 7:00pm in Kane 220 and his follow-up Colloquium on Wednesday Nov. 18th from 9:00-11:00am in Communications 202.

Selections from all readings will be available in electronic format. Provincializing Europe and Rethinking Working Class History have also been order at the University of Washington Bookstore.

Week 1 (Nov. 2): Reworking concepts and categories

Chakrabarty, Dipesh, 1989. Rethinking Working Class History, Bengal 1890-1940. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (especially chs 3-7, pp. 65-230).

Chakrabarty, Dipesh, 2001. “Universalism and Belonging in the Logic of Capital” Public Culture 12(3):653-678.

Week 2 (Nov. 9): The political life of the nation

Chakrabarty, Dipesh 2007 [2000]. Provincializing Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (especially pp. ix-26; 47-71; 117-148; 180-213).

Chakrabarty, Dipesh 2002. “A Small History of Subaltern Studies” in Habitations of Modernity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 3-19.

Recommended: Pandey, Gyan, 2008. “Subaltern Citizens and Their Histories” Interventions 10:3, 271-284.

Ghosh, Amitav and Chakrabarty, Dipesh 2002. “A Correspondence on Provincializing Europe” Radical History Review 83:146-172.

Week 3 (Nov 17 & 18): Katz Lecture and colloquium

No meeting Monday. In preparation for Chakrabarty’s Lecture please read:

Chakrabarty, Dipesh 2009. “The Climate of History: Four Theses” Critical Inquiry 35(2):197-222.

Antonio Y. Vazquez-Arroyo “Universal History Disowned: On Critical Theory and Postcolonialism” unpublished ms. http://faculty.virginia.edu/pol- theoryprogram/Universal%20History%20Disavowed-UVA.pdf

Week 4: History, modernity, futurity

Please review “The Climate of History: Four Theses” for discussion.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh 2007. "In the Name of Politics": Democracy and the Power of the Multitude in India” in From the Colonial to the Postcolonial: India and Pakistan in Transition. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Rochna Majumdar, and Andrew Sartori, eds. London: Oxford University Press.

Charkrabarty, Dipesh 2008. “The Power of Superstition in Public Life in India”, EPW 43(20):16.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh 2009. “The Modern and the Secular in the West: An Outsider’s View” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, pp. 1-11.

Recommended: Chakrabarty, Dipesh 2002. “Kadhi and the Political Man” and “The In-Human and the Ethical in Communal Violence” in Habitations of Modernity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 51-64 and 138-148.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Sareeta Bipin Amrute
Date: 10/02/2009