Rao’s piece introduces the six essays included in “Insurgent Thought,” the special section of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, volume 34, number 1. These essays feature a group of emerging scholars who are concerned with understanding the relationship between forms of life and modes of thought. The “thought” under consideration is distinctive for its commitment to remaking political and ethical life, and attention to the fugitive or unruly forms by which insurgent thought is transmitted, e.g., through poetry, fiction, and autobiography in addition to standard polemical tracts and sustained treatises. In turn the insurgent thinker-activists around whom this section is framed are figures who challenged established traditions of thought and action—critical theory as such—by imagining political and ethical possibilities that were global in scope yet deeply engaged with forms of subaltern difference.

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