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At this stalled and disillusioned juncture in postcolonial history when many anticolonial utopias have withered into a morass of exhaustion corruption and authoritarianism David Scott argues the need to reconceptualize the past in order to reimagine a usable future He describes how prior to independence anticolonialists narrated the transition from colonialism to postcolonialism as romance as a story of overcoming and vindication of salvation and redemption Scott contends that postcolonial scholarship assumes the same trajectory and that this imposes conceptual l 39 stars I enjoyed it and found it stimulating and I recommend it overall It seems to offer a novel reading of CLR James's The Black Jacobins However something about Scott's broader historiographical intervention felt lackingA few of the critical scholarly reviews I've read take other issues with the book the centering of Toussaint Louverture in tragedy as a great man arising from history rather than taking into account collective history of the Haitian peoplerevolutionaries the sidelining of other important figures in the revolution and of the Cuban Revolution and the focus on present and historical moments as homogenous we are in the postcolonial contemporary problem space but none seem to take direct hits at the central thesis which is the part that feels underwhelming to me My reading of Scott's argument is After Bandung we moderns setting aside the aforementioned definitional problems there face not the Romantic vindicationism of anticolonial revolution but tragic postcolonial conditions in which our choice for possible futures is not between colonialism and some alternative future or a return to before colonialism but between choices within modernity ie rendering us conscripts of modernity Scott calls on postmodern intellectuals not to exercise anticolonial attitudes but rather the tragic sensibility inherent in recognizing the ambiguity and complexity of the postcolonial conditions that shape our choices in the first place Our rational faculties he argues should employ compassion and humility recognizing that enlightened principles are always subject to chance and contingency that which is beyond human controlThis doesn't seem very interesting to me not because I disagree but because it's all been said before right? The book itself implicitly admits this; the discussion of tragedy and moralpolitical theory largely draws on prior scholarship and merely drops it into the postcolonial setting the seamlessness of that drop in is also worth interrogating I'm also unclear what exactly it means to recognize the limits of one's rationality; how does that help postmodern intellectuals negotiate their so called tragic choices other than a vague exercise of compassion and open mindedness to contingencychanceideas not one's own? As a reading of The Black Jacobins the book is great But as a broader intervention I fail to see the novelty Or am I misreading something?Also three other things 1 Isn't it interesting perhaps to think about how we can reshape these conditions in the first place to combat modernity's positive power structures with our own restructuring? In that sense Scott's call to the tragic seems awfully passive 2 Doesn't Foucault's discussion of heterotopias in The Order of Things and Of Other Spaces grapple with the ambiguitycomplexity of modern structures thereby undermining the FoucaultHabermas dynamic which forms a central impasse that Scott attempts to answer or move past? 3 Scott says uite a lot about decentering Eurocentric scholarship but almost all of his references are Euroamerican so ? Like the focus on tragedy alone seems pretty Eurocentric; surely there are many other narrative forms that might allow us to rethink ambiguitycomplexitycontingency see eg Dipesh Chakrabarty's The Calling of HistorySide gripe Why is the DR not mentioned once?

Summary å PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ☆ David Scott

Conscripts Of Modernity The Tragedy Of Colonial Enlightenment

Revolution as one of romantic vindication In the second edition published in the United States in 1963 James inserted new material suggesting that that story might usefully be told as tragedy Scott uses James’s recasting of The Black Jacobins to compare the relative yields of romance and tragedy In an epilogue he juxtaposes James’s thinking about tragedy history and revolution with Hannah Arendt’s in On Revolution He contrasts their uses of tragedy as a means of situating the past in relation to the present in order to derive a politics for a possible futu I learned at SCAs that dude is snarky as fuck and has a smooth ass Caribbean accent Don't know if I like his book yet Essential but Unplanned yields of romance and tragedy In an epilogue he juxtaposes James’s thinking about tragedy history and revolution with Hannah Arendt’s in On Revolution He contrasts their uses of tragedy as a means of situating the past in relation to the present in order to derive a politics for a possible futu I learned at SCAs that dude is snarky as fuck and has a smooth ass Caribbean accent Don't know if I like his book The Knight (High Kingdom, yet

David Scott ☆ 5 characters

Imitations He suggests that tragedy may be a useful narrative frame than romance In tragedy the future does not appear as an uninterrupted movement forward but instead as a slow and sometimes reversible series of ups and downsScott explores the political and epistemological implications of how the past is conceived in relation to the present and future through a reconsideration of C L R James’s masterpiece of anticolonial history The Black Jacobins first published in 1938 In that book James told the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the making of the Haitian Scott rereads CLR James The Black Jacobins and articulates some fascinating ideas about the tragedy of the postcolonial condition


9 thoughts on “Conscripts Of Modernity The Tragedy Of Colonial Enlightenment

  1. says:

    Amazing book bursting with ideas Drawing on RG Collingwood and uentin Skinner among others Scott engages with CLR James' The Black Jacobins to rethink the postcolonial present through the colonial past The only thing missing from this book I feel is a closer engagement with the text of the Black Jacobins itself While this might not be the task that Scott sets for himself why tread after all where the mighty Robert Hill has already tread but when Scott does engage the text his close readings are so compelling that you wish he had dedicated the whole book to an exegesis of Jacobins


  2. says:

    Great commentary on CLR James that made me appreciate The Black Jacobins even as a central document of modernity I felt there was a bit too much what I intend to show and not enough showing although I feel the book is well worth the time of any fan of The Black Jacobins


  3. says:

    39 stars I enjoyed it and found it stimulating and I recommend it overall It seems to offer a novel reading of CLR James's The Black Jacobins However something about Scott's broader historiographical intervention felt lackingA few of the critical scholarly reviews I've read take other issues with the book the centering of Toussaint Louverture in tragedy as a great man arising from history rather than taking into account collective history of the Haitian peoplerevolutionaries the sidelining of other important figures in the revolution and of the Cuban Revolution and the focus on present and historical moments as homogenous we are in the postcolonial contemporary problem space but none seem to take direct hits at the central thesis which is the part that feels underwhelming to me My reading of Scott's argument is After Bandung we moderns setting aside the aforementioned definitional problems there face not the Romantic vindicationism of anticolonial revolution but tragic postcolonial conditions in which our choice for possible futures is not between colonialism and some alternative future or a return to before colonialism but between choices within modernity ie rendering us conscripts of modernity Scott calls on postmodern intellectuals not to exercise anticolonial attitudes but rather the tragic sensibility inherent in recognizing the ambiguity and complexity of the postcolonial conditions that shape our choices in the first place Our rational faculties he argues should employ compassion and humility recognizing that enlightened principles are always subject to chance and contingency that which is beyond human controlThis doesn't seem very interesting to me not because I disagree but because it's all been said before right? The book itself implicitly admits this; the discussion of tragedy and moralpolitical theory largely draws on prior scholarship and merely drops it into the postcolonial setting the seamlessness of that drop in is also worth interrogating I'm also unclear what exactly it means to recognize the limits of one's rationality; how does that help postmodern intellectuals negotiate their so called tragic choices other than a vague exercise of compassion and open mindedness to contingencychanceideas not one's own? As a reading of The Black Jacobins the book is great But as a broader intervention I fail to see the novelty Or am I misreading something?Also three other things 1 Isn't it interesting perhaps to think about how we can reshape these conditions in the first place to combat modernity's positive power structures with our own restructuring? In that sense Scott's call to the tragic seems awfully passive 2 Doesn't Foucault's discussion of heterotopias in The Order of Things and Of Other Spaces grapple with the ambiguitycomplexity of modern structures thereby undermining the FoucaultHabermas dynamic which forms a central impasse that Scott attempts to answer or move past? 3 Scott says uite a lot about decentering Eurocentric scholarship but almost all of his references are Euroamerican so ? Like the focus on tragedy alone seems pretty Eurocentric; surely there are many other narrative forms that might allow us to rethink ambiguitycomplexitycontingency see eg Dipesh Chakrabarty's The Calling of HistorySide gripe Why is the DR not mentioned once?


  4. says:

    A Benjaminian style awareness of the re production of history built atop the tragedy of anticolonial utopias becoming postcolonial nightmaresHe reexamines James' The Black Jacobins and redeems the narrativistic construction of this history which characterized Toussaint on a scale comparable to the greek icons in HomerMost beautifully Scott finds in the genre of tragedy a philosophical logic that mythopoetically challenges the dialectic of enlightenment seemingly building on Adorno's critiue


  5. says:

    Scott rereads CLR James The Black Jacobins and articulates some fascinating ideas about the tragedy of the postcolonial condition


  6. says:

    In Conscripts of Modernity The tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment David Scott utilizes his anthropological acumen to excavate his hypothesis by asking the appropriate uestions as it relates to politics; and where the concept of anticolonial revolution stands in this present age Scott states that antiuated uestions are no longer adeuate for the present age He states “ the way one defines the alternative depends on the way one has conceived the problem; conseuently reconceiving alternatives depends in significant part on reconceiving the object of discontent and thus the longing that stimulates the desire for an alternative” Scott applauds the view that it is not the anticolonial nationalist’s answers that have needed changing so much as the postcolonial theorist’s uestions that needed dissolving In other words Scott says it is the old object of anticolonial discontent that needs reformulation


  7. says:

    Ok so I am almost done with this one while i like the fact that he is trying to engage with the politics and discursive nature of history I am sort of enthused by the overindulgence in continental philosophy and what seems to be an uncritical distinguishing between the anticolonialism of the moment that CLR James wrote the black jacobins and now I guess I am pedestrian in my thinking about that difference but really its not clear to me Overall interesting ideas about historical narrative worth reading but also not earth shattering


  8. says:

    I learned at SCAs that dude is snarky as fuck and has a smooth ass Caribbean accent Don't know if I like his book yet


  9. says:

    read for 240a interesting points valuable reminder of the politics of writing serious uestions about the linearity of time in the piece as well as his appraisals of our present in ruins