In The Calling of History Dipesh Chakrabarty develops themes he explored in his iconic book Provincializing Europe. That book was passionate and playful, radical and frustrating at the same time, because the promise of decentering Europe was tempered by the realization that it was indispensable to our thought and life worlds. In The Calling of History, it is Europe in general and Rankean positivist history in particular that are rendered indispensable to the formation of the discipline of history in India. Positivist history, or scientific history, captured the imagination of Indian historians in late colonial India and engendered a set of practices—like archiving and the valence of particular types of evidence—that continues to shape the field. Scientific history was a contagious idea, and its life in India is full of paradoxes. Various types of histories—national, parochial, communitarian, and hagiographical—are written in its name.

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