Tuesday, June 29, 2010

History After the Three Worlds

edited by Arif Dirlik

Anthology of historiographical articles. Some useful opening analysis into the field of world history, and makes a commendably nuanced effort to move beyond Eurocentric views and into the direction of more progressive politics. Looses a lot of credibility with me for its characterization of and assault against postmodernism and postcolonialism, definign them (misleadingly) as overly general and insufficiently grounded, proving counter-leftist by effect if not intention. There’s a kernel of a good critique in here and it’s probably a dialog worth having, but this collection demonstrates too much simplisticity in layout and redundancy in elaborating claims to really feel productive. The pieces actually written by Dirlik are the weakest, some of the ones by other people get into more specifics of different regional or thematic issues and deliver more productive histories.

Worse than: Orientalism by Edward Said
Better than: Reading After Theory by Valentine Cunningham

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