The historian Dipesh Chakrabarty, amongst others, has remarked on the extent to which Western theories in historiography and literary studies have embraced the entirety of humanity although 'produced in relative, and sometimes absolute ignorance of the majority of humankind - i.e. those living in non-Western cultures'(Chakrabarty 1992: 2, 3). Asking 'What allowed the modern European sages to develop such clairvoyance with regard to societies of which they were empirically ignorant? Why cannot we, once again, return the gaze?'(ibid.: 3) he advocates the development of what he calls 'symmetrical knowledges' to counter this one-way process which perpetuates, he argues, an 'asymmetrical ignorance'.
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© 1998, 2003 Ania Loomba and Martin Orkin and the contributors. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
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