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Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment Paperback – Dec 3 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Duke Univ Pr (Tx); unknown edition (Dec 3 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822334445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822334446
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 2 x 22.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #457,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"For some time now, David Scott has been puzzling about where critical inquiry goes next. . . . In a radical expansion of [his] argument, his new book, "Conscripts of Modernity" proposes not that we give better answers to the old questions, but that the questions themselves are no longer relevant--because they belong to a different 'problem space' and need to be radically refashioned."
--Stuart Hall, Bomb

""Conscripts of Modernity" is an important contribution to world knowledge. . . . And it should do much to displace the easy assumptions about temporality and power apparently so much a part of the academy's horizon of possibility today."--John F. Collins" Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History"

"I derived immense pleasure from reading this book, a book that offers a challenging, insightful set of questions to postcolonial theory and to scholars of C. L. R. James."--Sophie McCall, "Topia"

"Scott's strikingly original argument about the need for a tragic mode of criticism in the postcolonial present is developed through a stunning critical reading of "the" foundational text in Atlantic studies. This is C.L.R. James' "The Black Jacobins.""--David Lambert, "Cultural Geographies"

"The lessons of the book are pertinent to anthropological writing as much as historical writing. . . . Although its focus on theory and history may be disconcerting to the general anthropological audience, Scott moves through his argument slowly, and the book's novel and powerful theoretical approach make it well worth the effort. It is a significant achievement that contributes to the development of new analytical models fit for a postcolonial world."--Emma Kowal, "Oceania"

"[R]eaders... will find it a provocative and insightful challenge for postcolonial studies of the Caribbean and other world regions.... "Conscripts of Modernity "marks a significant step forward in the project of exploring critical histories of the postcolonial present in the Caribbean and around the globe."--Jacob Campbell, "Transforming Anthropology"

"Conscripts of Modernity" is a highly original and lucidly argued text, a major advance in David Scott s effort to elaborate a new form of postcolonial criticism in the wake of the collapse of the emancipatory hopes embodied in the anticolonialist moment. Scott s position will be found controversial by some. But it will not and cannot be ignored. Stuart Hall, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, The Open University"

"Conscripts of Modernity" is an important contribution to world knowledge. . . . And it should do much to displace the easy assumptions about temporality and power apparently so much a part of the academy s horizon of possibility today. --John F. Collins, " Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History""

I derived immense pleasure from reading this book, a book that offers a challenging, insightful set of questions to postcolonial theory and to scholars of C. L. R. James. --Sophie McCall, "Topia""

Scott s strikingly original argument about the need for a tragic mode of criticism in the postcolonial present is developed through a stunning critical reading of "the" foundational text in Atlantic studies. This is C.L.R. James "The Black Jacobins." --David Lambert, "Cultural Geographies""

The lessons of the book are pertinent to anthropological writing as much as historical writing. . . . Although its focus on theory and history may be disconcerting to the general anthropological audience, Scott moves through his argument slowly, and the book s novel and powerful theoretical approach make it well worth the effort. It is a significant achievement that contributes to the development of new analytical models fit for a postcolonial world. --Emma Kowal, "Oceania""

"[R]eaders will find it a provocative and insightful challenge for postcolonial studies of the Caribbean and other world regions . "Conscripts of Modernity "marks a significant step forward in the project of exploring critical histories of the postcolonial present in the Caribbean and around the globe."--Jacob Campbell, "Transforming Anthropology""

"This book is fascinating, and I recommend it highly. . . . Tremendously thought-provoking and relevant."--Danny Postel, " opendemocracy.net"

"This is a well-argued, rich book raising pertinent questions about the writing of history. . . . Historians interested in the postcolonial era should take note of this important study."--Rosemarijn Hoeft, "American Historical Review"

From the Back Cover

""Conscripts of Modernity" is a highly original and lucidly argued text, a major advance in David Scott's effort to elaborate a new form of postcolonial criticism in the wake of the collapse of the emancipatory hopes embodied in the anticolonialist moment. Scott's position will be found controversial by some. But it will not and cannot be ignored."--Stuart Hall, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, The Open University

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ff41204) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ff5ef78) out of 5 stars Beautiful March 19 2009
By Irami Osei-Frimpong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Scott serves up a trenchant rehearsal of C.L.R. James' historical, moral, and political imagination, and what these qualities mean for the project of doing history.

Briefly, Scott takes James' "Black Jacobins" as a point of departure to talk about the work of history. By employing Hayden White's scholarship, Scott understands James' initial release of the "Black Jacobins," in 1938, to be an anti-colonial historical Romance, a telling of the Haitian Revolution that plots Toussaint Louverture as the heroic symbol of indomitable freedom on the march. Scott then views the 1963 re-release as of the "Black Jacobins" as a post-colonial Tragedy, suggesting that the political facts of post-colonial violence and corruption during the intervening years between 1938 and 1963 moved James' from an anti-colonial historian to a post-colonial thinker. Scott sees James as making key changes in the narrative to reflect his growing ambivalence about the moral probity of post-colonial politics and life.

Scott argues that the anti-colonial "problem spaces" that yielded the vibrate Romance of The Black Jacobins in 1938 is substantively different from the post-colonial "problem space" of 1963, due to James' growing understanding of modern material, political, and cultural conditions, and the balance of the book concerns the question, what kind of things are history, politics, and narrative prose discourse, such that 25 five years in the twentieth century can drastically change the telling of a revolution that happened in the 18th and 19th Century?

In discussing this shift in historical plot from Romance to Tragedy, Scott draws ably from Aristotle, Hegel, James, White, Aeschylus and Shakespeare among others to craft a beautiful and compelling narrative about what we do when we do history. I don't agree with him every step of the way, and I found the prose at the beginning to be slightly affected in trying to lead the reader through his project, but once he gets going, the journey is richly satisfying. As ever, do not buy this book from Amazon, buy it from your local independent bookstore.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ff5f444) out of 5 stars Five Stars March 9 2015
By Mom with Ph.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very thoughtful and original project.


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