Murthy's essay examines Dipesh Chakrabarty's The Calling of History in relation to the author's earlier attempt to specify historical processes that could not be completely subsumed under capitalism and then discusses Chakrabarty's engagement with Jadunath Sarkar's theory of modernity. In The Calling of History, Chakrabarty highlights the way in which Sarkar's character cannot be explained by reference to larger structures such as capitalism and colonialism. Indeed, Chakrabarty himself intuits Sarkar's character through copying. On the other hand, in Sarkar's own work, character plays a key role in the tragic history of the Mughal Empire's failed modernity. Murthy contends that we continue Chakrabarty's project and go further in understanding Sarkar's project through a structural analysis, which would also provide a comparative perspective. Toward the end of the essay, Murthy discusses concepts of tragedy and modernity in the comparative context of recent works on East Asian early modernity.
Viren Murthy; History, Character, and Modernity. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 August 2016; 36 (2): 368–373. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-3603492
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