1. TOWARD A HISTORY ON EQUAL TERMS: A DISCUSSION OF PROVINCIALIZING EUROPE

Authors


ABSTRACT

This essay is a critical discussion of Dipesh Chakrabarty's book Provincializing Europe as well as a first sketch of a History on Equal Terms. After giving a short summary of Provincializing Europe, I first argue, against chakrabarty, that there is no necessary connection between the discipline of history and the metanarratives of modernity. To the contrary: the founding idea of the discipline of history was a turn against such grand narratives. With his attempt to deconstruct the narratives of the European Enlightenment and of modernity, Chakrabarty therefore has to be regarded as a thinker of radical historicism rather than as a critic of the discipline of history. Second, I criticize the use of the term “modernity” in Provincializing Europe and the concept of modernity in general. Instead of a deconstruction of the discipline of history, I propose a deconstruction of the concept of modernity. This could open up the way for a History on Equal Terms situated within the discipline of history, that is, a historiography that would—just as Chakrabarty rightly demands—in principle pay the same attention to and expect relevant results from any region in the world, depending only on the focus of research.

Ancillary