This article seeks to clarify how scholarship in postcolonial studies and new ontology (the “ontological turn”) has construed the problem of modernity as a problem of translation. Drawing on resources from the field of secular studies, it suggests that projects to provincialize or repudiate the universalism of modern thought, as well as the translations this universalism enables, tend to reinscribe the very translational problematic these projects aim to mitigate or overturn.

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