Andrew Sartori's Bengal in Global Concept History: Culturalism in the Age of Capital is an exceptional assessment of Bengal's intellectual history. Sartori sets out to explain why modern Bengali identity has always been articulated through “a problematic of culture” (p. 4). He argues that from the eighteenth century onward, “culture” emerged as a “unitary, if differentiated” concept that was adopted globally as a framework to make sense of the world. It is thus limiting to try to understand the Bengali bhadralok's endlessly discursivized fascination with culture within the limits of Bengal. We can understand the analytics of the culture concept only by examining structures that are themselves global, namely, “the abstract structures of social interdependence that characterize modern capitalist society” (p. 22).

Sartori reminds us that although the roots of culture as a concept lie within the Western intellectual tradition, it is more meaningful to try to understand why...

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