This book offers a wide range of critical perspectives on how secularism unfolds and has been made sense of across Europe and Asia. The book evaluates secularism as it exists today – its formations and discontents within contemporary discourses of power, terror, religion and cosmopolitanism – and the focus on these two continents gives critical attention to recent political and cultural developments where secularism and multiculturalism have impinged in deeply problematical ways, raising bristling ideological debates within the functioning of modern state bureaucracies.
Examining issues as controversial as the state of Islam in Europe and China’s encounters with religion, secularism, and modernization provides incisive and broader perspectives on how we negotiate secularism within the contemporary threats of terrorism and other forms of fundamentalism and state-politics. However, amidst the discussions of various versions of secularism in different countries and cultural contexts, this book also raises several other issues relevant to the antitheocratic and theocratic alike, such as: Is secularism is merely a nonreligious establishment? Is secularism a kind of cultural war? How is it related to "terror"? The book at once makes sense of secularism across cultural, religious, and national borders and puts several relevant issues on the anvil for further investigations and understanding.
Reviewed in: Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture (Routledge, 2014) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504630.2014.892216?journalCode=csid20#.UxH6hvmSzuU Reviewed in The Heythrop Journal (Wiley Blackwell, 2015) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/heyj.12249_65/abstract
‘It is a refreshing and needed salve to a discussion that is often disapprovingly myopic and Eurocentric or one that merely gestures at Asia (perhaps with a nod to Turkey and India). If any critique could be levelled at the book’s clear structure and aims, it may be why the work was not also expanded to Africa as well, but constraints and other issues may have prevented such a move. Regardless, works on the secular and sacred need to become ever more globalized and far reaching to begin to do those terms justice if seeking to move through and beyond the provincial and local. Ghosh’s edited collection is important in this regard…’ Peter Admirand, The Heythrop Journal, Vol. 56, Issue 3, May, 2015.
Edward Said is widely recognized for his work as a critic and theorist of Orientalism and the Palestine crisis, but far less attention has been devoted to his considerable body of literary and cultural criticism. In this edited collection, the contributors - many among the foremost Said scholars in the world - examine Said as the literary critic; his relationship to other major contemporary thinkers (including Derrida, Ricoeur, Barthes and Bloom); and his involvement with major movements and concerns of his time (such as music, Feminism, New Humanism, and Marxism). Featuring freshly carved out essays on new areas of intervention, the volume is an indispensable addition for those interested in Edward Said and the many areas in which his legacy looms. This volume consists of 14 short essays, all of high quality. Though each essay briefly engages only a part of Said's large, influential oeuvre, the inevitable variety of perspectives does not detract from the whole. Ghosh (Univ. of North Bengal, India) and his fellow contributors are respectful of Said's achievement even as they engage oversights in his work: Elleke Boehmer on the absence of women in Said's postcolonialism and Parry on Said's incomplete engagement with Marxism are the two strongest of many such essays. Shaobo Xie and others contribute long overdue analyses of Said's debt to Antonio Gramsci's penetrating work on Italy; Graham Allen looks at Said and Giambattista Vico. Nicholas Harrison's nuanced account of the ‘literary’ in Said’s Orientalism (CH, Apr'79) and Caroline Rooney's exceptionally learned and elegant essay on Jacques Derrida and Said will be among those scholars cite. Though new works on Said continue to appear with regularity the present volume stands out. Summing Up: Essential. **** Graduate students, researchers, faculty. CHOICE, American Library Association
‘In a characteristically ill-mannered obituary on Daniel Pipes’s “Campus Watch” website, David Frum (the conservative journalist and former scriptwriter for George Bush, Jr.), not content with smearing Said as a liar and an anti-Semite, declared that “if the United States was caught unawares on 9/11, Edward Said’s name belongs high on the list of those responsible”. The contributors to Ranjan Ghosh’s stimulating new collection have nothing to do with this risible nonsense. Nonetheless, they approach Said’s work with the kind of critical consciousness that he always entreated. They are at once respectful and sceptical, prepared to applaud Said’s passionate political commitments and his pathbreaking analyses of the relationship between culture and empire, but unwilling to overlook his omissions, blind spots and exaggerations. Others limit themselves to summaries of what Said thought about, say, humanism, American foreign policy, and, in a characteristically puckish essay by Ghosh himself, the role of the intellectual: skilful summaries without question, although Said’s thoughts must be familiar enough by now to the kind of audience reached by such books….These essays are “beginnings” in Said’s sense: improvised departures from (and not obedient ratifications of or, for that matter, clean breaks with) established ideas and practices. If origins require slavish compliance from those who are required to perpetuate their rulings, then beginnings, by contrast, necessitate an innovative and even subversive willingness to deviate intentionally from customary ways of thinking and acting. One might say of Said,having read this invigorating book, what the young Wordsworth said of Toussaint l’Ouverture: “thou hast left behind powers that will work for thee”, powers that continue the conversations which Said stimulated and that cultivate his distrust of received truth.’
Review by Robert Spencer, Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. 46, No. 2, May 2010, 225–239 (Routledge)
Arundhati Roy is not only an accomplished novelist, but equally gifted in unraveling the politics of globalization, the power and ideology of corporate culture, fundamentalism, terrorism, and other issues gripping today’s world. This volume – featuring prominent scholars from throughout the world – examines Roy beyond the aesthetic parameters of her fiction, focusing also on her creative activism and struggles in global politics. The chapters travel to and fro between her non-fictional works – engaging activism on the streets and global forums – and its underlying roots in her novel. Roy is examined as a novelist, non-fiction writer, journalist, activist, feminist, screenwriter, ideologist, and architect. This volume presents Roy's interlocking network of the ideas, attitudes and ideologies that emerge from the contemporary social and the political world.
Opposing all claims that theory has come to an end, this book presents a fresh perspective on our reading, understanding, and application of theory and its affect on our interpretation of texts. (In)fusion theory challenges efforts to see theory as inhibiting by presenting an approach that is innovative, eclectic, and subtle in order to draw out competing and constellating ideas and opinions. This collected volume of essays examines (In)fusion theory and demonstrates how the theory can be applied to the reading of various works of Indian English novelists such as Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Anita Desai, and Vikram Seth.
We have heard about the death of theory for a decade, but of course the real question is what are the possibilities of theory now. This volume, with its sterling cast of contributors, offers some answers. It argues for a programmatic heterogeneity, fusing theories without disciplinary prejudice.
— Jeffrey J. Williams, Editor, Editor,The Minnesota Review; Co-Editor The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
Theory has always been interdisciplinary in its aims and purposes. But with the proliferation of Theory in the last decades, theories tended to degenerate into mere variants of the outmoded disciplinary approaches. So what we presently need, above all, is an interdisciplinary approach to Theory. This is what the (In)fusion paradigm proposed in this volume admirably realizes. It does so not only by means of theoretical reflection, but by also giving convincing examples of what the new paradigm may bring
— Frank Ankersmit, Groningen University
Romancing Theory, Riding Interpretation reaffirms the need to look into the productive inventiveness of theoretical approaches and the consequences that this might have on our understanding of literature. (In)fusion Approach is one deeply provocative example, pregnant with possibilities. Through an innovative cluster of essays, this book shows the romance that theory can bring into our interpretation of literature within the terrain of Salman Rushdie’s fiction. It challenges the conventional, the reified, and the institutional ways of thinking and evaluation, leading to a fusion and frission of critical thought and traditions of ideas. Romancing Theory, Riding Interpretation, in its border-crossed, concerted, and compelling arguments, is sure to find its niche in courses on theory, reading habits of literature, postcolonial seminars, as well as in modules of interdisciplinary studies.
'Asserting that theory has consequences and requires responsiveness, Ranjan Ghosh gives us a volume that persuasively demonstrates the consequences of an (in)fusion approach to literary interpretation partly through the invited responses of critics who challenge, extend, and apply this hermeneutic theory. Ghosh skillfully sets up the demonstration with a provocative introduction that explains his (in)fusion approach as a creative cross-cultural appropriation of interpretive concepts and ideational correspondences. The collected essays then enact the very cross-cultural critical engagement Ghosh advocates, as they move from theory to practice beginning with theoretical comparisons to Foucauldean reception study and ending with an array of applied readings of Salman Rushdie’s novels. Romancing Theory, Riding Interpretation definitely shows that theory is alive and well in the so-called post-theory age.' (Steven Mailloux, President’s Professor of Rhetoric, Loyola Marymount University)
Ghosh (Univ. of North Bengal, India) has assembled 13 outstanding essays that review Beckett's most popular drama. The volume's contributors engage the play in meaningful contexts that have important implications for performance, production, and scholarship. Standout essays explore the political contexts of site-specific productions in Sarajevo and post-Katrina New Orleans; the affinities and contrasts of Godot to classical Greek tragedy; Beckett and allegory; and the psychodynamics of friendship and coupling. Beckett's attempt to redefine theater in postwar Europe is also explored, as are the ways in which Beckett's experiences in the French resistance suffuse this play and his other postwar writing. The essays contemplate the drama within a range of political and philosophical contexts, including issues of torture and human rights, Marxist and psychoanalytic thought, philosophical reflections on the eternal return, Aristotle's Poetics, poststructuralism, and Hindu philosophy. Taken together they shed contemporary light on this drama in ways that are suggestive for actors, directors, and scholars, and provide valuable insights into the criticism and practices of this most popular of Beckett’s plays. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. -- CHOICE, American Library Association, J. S. Baggett, Lander University
Godot’s 'Underground Ancestry,' 'Vladimir’s Tragic Recognition,' 'The Feminine' in play, motifs of 'Speculation' and 'Infantile Politics,' editor’s Ghosh’s own placing the theme of work and play within what he has called elsewhere 'the wordling of the drama'—what a rich collection of approaches to Waiting for Godot! And as someone who works in the theatre, I also find this commentary wonderfully suggestive for both actors and directors.
— Sidney Homan, University of Florida
This varied and provocative collection of essays on Beckett's most famous play animates new and productive dialogues with an extraordinary array of thinkers. Situating the writing and performance of Godot in a range of historical contexts, the essays involve Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Hindu philosophy, Adorno, Gramsci, Brecht, Derrida, Sontag, Foucauld, Aristotle and Agamben in intertextual engagement with this profoundly though perversely allusive drama.
— Robert Gordon, Goldsmith College, University of London