Globalisation and Difference: Cosmopolitanism Before the Nation-State

Akhil Gupta

Abstract


In this paper, I have tried to reflect on what cosmopolitanism might mean in a very different era of globalisation than the present. Although cosmopolitanism, as an expansive and sociable vision, is often contrasted with the geographically limited perspective and claustrophobic affinities of nationalism, the term originates in a historical period before the rise of nationalism in Europe. I argue that the residents of the civilisations around the Indian Ocean in the medieval and early modern world were cosmopolitan even by the standards of the high modernist meaning of the term. Not only did a range of people transact and translate across different languages, but they also knew how to conduct themselves in different cultural settings with people of different religious beliefs, while respecting the disparate religious, social, and cultural practices of their neighbours.

Full Text:

PDF

References


Abu-Lughod, Janet L. (1989) Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350. New York: Oxford University Press.

Battuta, Ibn (1994) The Travels of Ibn Battuta. Compiled and edited by H.A.R. Gibb. Translated by C.F. Beckingham. London: The Hakluyt Society.

Chaudhuri, K.N. (1985) Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750. New York: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107049918

Cheah, Pheng (1998) "The Cosmopolitical Today" in Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation, (eds.) Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 20-41.

Clifford, James (1998) "Mixed Feelings", in Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation. In Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation, (eds.) Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 362-70.

Clifford, James (1997) Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Cohn, Bernard S. (1998) "The Past in the Present: India as Museum of Mankind." History and Anthropology 11, no. 1: 1-38. https://doi.org/10.1080/02757206.1998.9960906

The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971.

Ghosh, Amitav (1993) In an Antique Land. New York: Vintage.

Hakluyt, Richard (1598, 1907, 1962) Voyages of Richard Hakluyt. London: Everyman's Library.

Lach, Donald and Flaumenhaft, Carol (eds) (1965) Asia on the Eve of Europe's Expansion. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Major, R.H., (ed.) (1857) India in the Fifteenth Century. London: The Hakluyt Society.

Malinowski, Bronislaw (1961) Argonauts of the Western Pacific. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press.

Pollock, Sheldon. (2000) "Cosmopolitan and Vernacular in History" Public Culture 12, no. 3: 591-625. https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-12-3-591

Rabinow, Paul (1986) "Representations Are Social Facts: Modernity and PostModernity in Anthropology" in Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, (eds.) James Clifford and George E. Marcus. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 234-61.

Robbins, Bruce (1998) "Actually Existing Cosmopolitanism" in Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation. In Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation, (eds.) Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 1-19.

Scott, David (2001) "Nikitin's Conversion in India to Islam: Wielhorski's Translation Dilemma." EnterText 1, no. 3: 132-61.

Shastry, B.S. (2000) Goa-Kanara Portuguese Relations, 1498-1763. New Delhi: Concept.

Thackston, Wheeler M., (ed.) (1996) and trans. The Baburnama:Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

Tilly, Charles (1975) "Reflections on the History of European State-Making" in The Formation of National States in Western Europe. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, pp. 3-83.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/tfc.v3i2.921