Skip to main content

One More from the Enfant Terrible of Med Ind and the Med Cosmos ...


Sanjay Subrahmanyam
Three Ways to be Alien
Travails and Encounters in the Early Modern World

This book looks at individual trajectories in an early modern global context. It draws on the lives and writings of a trio of marginal figures who were cast adrift from their traditional moorings into an unknown world.

The subjects include

v  a “Persian” prince of Bijapur in Central India held hostage by the Portuguese at Goa
v  an English traveller and global schemer whose writings reveal a nimble understanding of realpolitik in the emerging world of the early seventeenth century
v  an insightful Venetian chronicler of the Mughal Empire in the later seventeenth century who drifted between jobs with the Mughals and various foreign entrepôts, observing all but remaining the eternal outsider

In telling the fascinating story of floating identities in a changing world, Subrahmanyam injects humanity into global history and shows that biography still plays an important role in contemporary historiography.


“Through case-studies of three quite remarkable ‘aliens’ and ‘border-crossers’ Sanjay Subrahmanyam has given us a startling new vision into the intricacies and the day-to-day realities of the always unsteady, always conflictual nature of cultural ‘encounters’ across and within the European and Muslim empires of the early-modern world. With his wry humor, keen eye for detail, and gift for startling juxtaposition, no one can match him.”—Anthony Pagden

“Integrating biography, microhistory, and world history in the study of cultural border crossers, Subrahmanyam’s book will probably initiate a whole new generation of studies in the field of cultural encounters in which individual lives figure prominently. Few scholars in the world can match his mastery of the political and economic history of the Early Modern empires of Asia and Europe, or the ease with which he crosses historiographical traditions to bring their history together in this lucid and innovative study.”—Stuart B. Schwartz

Hardback / 248pp / Rs 595 / ISBN 81-7824-339-3 / South Asia rights / 2011
Copublished with Brandeis University Press

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE GREAT AGRARIAN CONQUEST by NEELADRI BHATTACHARYA

BUY THE PAPERBACK       FROM THE REVIEWS   Review in SOCIAL HISTORY, USA by Benjamin Siegel The Great Agrarian Conquest represents a massive intervention into the contemporary historiography of South Asia, elaborating upon some conventional wisdom but upending a great deal more of it. Readers might well place this book in conversation with works like Ranajit Guha ’ s A Rule of Property for Bengal (1963) and Bernard Cohn ’ s Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1997), to which The Great Agrarian Conquest owes some preliminary inspiration. Yet what Bhattacharya o ff ers is a wholly original account of the transformation to agrarian colonialism . . .   Few volumes in South Asian history have been more awaited than this monograph, Neeladri Bhattacharya ’ s fi rst. One of the most celebrated mentors and researchers at New Delhi ’ s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Bhattacharya retired in 2017 after a decades-long career. His formal scholarly output, limited to sev

PARTHA CHATTERJEE: THE TRUTHS AND LIES OF NATIONALISM as narrated by Charvak

"While the Covid-19 pandemic was still raging in the autumn of 2020, I found, one evening, placed outside the door of my home in Kolkata, a sealed packet. Apparently, it had been left there sometime during the day. It did not come by post or any of the courier services that usually deliver mail because, if it had, someone would have rung the bell and I was home all day. In fact, the parcel did not bear any seal or inscription except my name and address written in English script in a confident cursive style rarely seen these days. My curiosity was aroused because the package did not look like a piece of junk mail. The thought that it might contain something more sinister did strike my mind – after all, the times were not exactly normal. But something in the look of the packet persuaded me that it should be examined. After dutifully spraying the packet with a disinfectant, I unwrapped it and found, within cardboard covers and neatly tied in red string, what looked like a manuscript

THE BOOK OF INDIAN ESSAYS

Indians have been writing prose for 200 years, and yet when we think of literary prose we think of the novel. The “essay”   brings only the school essay to mind. Those of us who read and write English in India might find it hard to name an essay even by someone like R.K. Narayan as easily as we would one of his novels, say Swami and Friends or The Guide . Our inability to recall essays is largely due to the strange paradox that while the form itself remains invisible, it is everywhere present. The paradox becomes even more strange when we realise that some of our finest writers of English prose  did not write novels at all, they wrote essays. The anthology is an attempt at making what has always been present also permanently visible. Arvind Krishna Mehrotra   • A collection of the finest essays written in English by Indians over the past two hundred years. • The Book of Indian Essays is a wide-ranging historical anthology of the Indian essay in English – the f