Philosophy and Critical Theory

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Disciplines of modernity

Entanglements and ambiguities


Saurabh Dube

This chapter discusses aspects of the interplay between the disciplines and modernity, as mediated by temporal-spatial imperatives. It focuses on the relationship between anthropology and history in order to discuss formations of modern knowledge as themselves forming critical subjects and crucial procedures of modernity. Time and temporality are usually projected as the stuff of history, quite as culture and tradition are implicitly understood as subjects of anthropology. Staying with and thinking through the formative ambivalences of ethnography make it possible to approach anew anthropology in non-Western worlds through temporal-spatial considerations. The temporality of anthropological others could only emerge as being external to and lagging behind the space and time of the writing of ethnography. The chapter considers the presence of ambivalence and ambiguity at the core of recent renovations of anthropology and history, often overlooked by presumptions of progress in explanations of disciplines and their makeovers.