Autobiography of an Archive

Autobiography of an Archive

A Scholar's Passage to India

  • Author: Dirks, Nicholas
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Serie: Cultures of History
  • ISBN: 9780231169660
  • eISBN Pdf: 9780231538510
  • Place of publication:  New York , United States
  • Year of digital publication: 2015
  • Month: February
  • Language: English
The decades between 1970 and the end of the twentieth century saw the disciplines of history and anthropology draw closer together, with historians paying more attention to social and cultural factors and the significance of everyday experience in the study of the past. The people, rather than elite actors, became the focus of their inquiry, and anthropological insights into agriculture, kinship, ritual, and folk customs enabled historians to develop richer and more representative narratives. The intersection of these two disciplines also helped scholars reframe the legacies of empire and the roots of colonial knowledge.

In this collection of essays and lectures, history's turn from high politics and formal intellectual history toward ordinary lives and cultural rhythms is vividly reflected in a scholar's intellectual journey to India. Nicholas B. Dirks recounts his early study of kingship in India, the rise of the caste system, the emergence of English imperial interest in controlling markets and India's political regimes, and the development of a crisis in sovereignty that led to an extraordinary nationalist struggle. He shares his personal encounters with archives that provided the sources and boundaries for research on these subjects, ultimately revealing the limits of colonial knowledge and single disciplinary perspectives. Drawing parallels to the way American universities balance the liberal arts and specialized research today, Dirks, who has occupied senior administrative positions and now leads the University of California at Berkeley, encourages scholars to continue to apply multiple approaches to their research and build a more global and ethical archive.
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Passage to India
  • Part I. Autobiography
    • 1. Annals of the Archive: Ethnographic Notes on the Sources of History
    • 2. Autobiography of an Archive
    • 3. Preface to the Second Edition of The Hollow Crown
  • Part II. History and Anthropology
    • 4. Castes of Mind
    • 5. Ritual and Resistance: Subversion as a Social Fact
    • 6. The Policing of Tradition: Colonialism and Anthropology in Southern India
  • Part III. Empire
    • 7. Imperial Sovereignty
    • 8. Bringing the Company Back In: The Scandal of Early Global Capitalism
    • 9. The Idea of Empire
  • Part IV. The Politics of Knowledge
    • 10. In Near Ruins: Cultural Theory at the End of the Century
    • 11. G. S. Ghurye and the Politics of Sociological Knowledge
    • 12. South Asian Studies: Futures Past
  • Part V. University
    • 13. Franz Boas and the American University: A Personal Account
    • 14. Scholars and Spies: Worldly Knowledge and the Predicament of the University
    • 15. The Opening of the American Mind
  • Notes
  • Permissions
  • Index


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