Summary: _ History is really just the history of Europe, even when other states are being addressed, they are examined vis-a-vis this story. I feel that this is on the list merely to let us know that a post-colonial perspective exists, and that it is important to realize that the accounts we get of non-European histories are constructed with Europe as the base line. Idea of having to ‘provincialize Europe’ is (I think) nothing more than putting European History back in its place of one of many contested and contestable stories of the present.
After an introduction and first chapter alerting the reader to the difficulties of studying non-European history, Chakrabarty leads us on a journey of many stages before he presents us much of his South Asian material.
The provocation for his exegesis arises from how historicism-the impulse to locate particular human experience within a general developmental framework-carries with it deep assumptions about time, place, and identity that can obscure defining features of subaltern experience.
The epilogue argues that the modern historical consciousness creates a certain way of living in the world as it defines a specific set of connections to the past. These connections constrain us from imagining more creative ways to draw upon the past to form new and more desirable futures.
“European thought is at once both indispensable and inadequate in helping us to think through the experience of political modernity in non-Western nations, and provincializing Europe becomes the task of exploring how this thought-which is now everybody’s heritage and which affects us all-may be renewed from and for the margins” (p. 16).