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Totalitarian Experience and Knowledge Production

Sociology in Central and Eastern Europe 1945-1989

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Svetla Koleva

Totalitarian Experience and Knowledge Production examines, in a comparative perspective, sociology as practiced in six European Communist countries marked by various forms of totalitarianism in the period 1945-1989. In contrast to normative sociology’s view that such coexistence is essentially impossible, the author argues that sociology could function in these undemocratic societies insofar as sociologists succeeded in establishing relatively autonomous institutional and cognitive zones. Based on the self-reflection of scholars who had practiced their profession during that period, the book reveals the tribulations of the scientific identity of sociology under the specific social-political conditions of totalitarian societies. It becomes evident that the basic principle that made sociological knowledge possible was freedom of thought in search for scientific truth despite the ‘truth’ imposed by political authority.
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Swarupa Gupta

In Cultural Constellations, Place-Making and Ethnicity in Eastern India, c. 1850-1927, Swarupa Gupta outlines a fresh paradigm moving beyond stereotypical representations of eastern India as a site of ethnic fragmentation. The book traces unities by exploring intersections between (1) cultural constellations; (2) place-making and (3) ethnicity.
Centralising place-making, it tells the story of how people made places, mediating caste / religious / linguistic contestations. It offers new meanings of ‘region’ in Eastern Indian and global contexts by showing how an interregional arena comprising Bengal, Assam and Orissa was forged.
Using historical tracts, novels, poetry and travelogues, the book argues that commonalities in Eastern India were linked to imaginings of Indian nationhood. The analysis contains interpretive strategies for mediating federalist separatisms and fragmentation in contemporary India.
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Uncommon Wealths in Postcolonial Fiction engages urgently with wealth, testing current assumptions of inequality in order to push beyond reductive contemporary readings of the gaping abyss between rich and poor. Shifting away from longstanding debates in postcolonial criticism focused on poverty and abjection, the book marshals fresh perspectives on material, spiritual, and cultural prosperity as found in the literatures of formerly colonized spaces.
The chapters ‘follow the money’ to illuminate postcolonial fiction’s awareness of the ambiguities of ‘wealth’, acquired under colonial capitalism and transmuted in contemporary neoliberalism. They weigh idealistic projections of individual and collective wellbeing against the stark realities of capital accumulation and excessive consumption. They remain alert to the polysemy suggested by “Uncommon Wealths,” both registering the imperial economic urge to ensure common wealth and referencing the unconventional or non-Western, the unusual, even fictitious and contrasting privately coveted and exclusively owned wealth with visions of a shared good.
Arranged into four sections centred on aesthetics, injustice, indigeneity, and cultural location, the individual chapters show how writers of postcolonial fiction, including Aravind Adiga, Amit Chau-dhuri, Anita Desai, Patricia Grace, Mohsin Hamid, Stanley Gazemba, Tomson Highway, Lebogang Matseke, Zakes Mda, Michael Ondaatje, Kim Scott, and Alexis Wright, employ prosperity and affluence as a lens through which to re-examine issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and family, the cultural value of heritage, land, and social cohesion, and such conflicting imperatives as economic growth, individual fulfilment, social and environmental responsibility, and just distribution.


CONTRIBUTORS
Francesco Cattani, Sheila Collingwood–Whittick, Paola Della Valle, Sneja Gunew, Melissa Kennedy, Neil Lazarus, John McLeod, Eva–Maria Müller, Helga Ramsey–Kurz, Geoff Rodoreda, Sandhya Shetty, Cheryl Stobie, Helen Tiffin, Alex Nelungo Wanjala, David Waterman
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Agricultural Development in Qing China

A Quantitative Study, 1661-1911

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Zhihong Shi

In Agricultural Development in Qing China: A Quantitative Study, 1661-1911 SHI Zhihong offers for the first time an overview of agricultural development in Qing China in the English language. Being by far the largest sector in one of the largest economies in the world, understanding its development is crucial not only for agricultural studies, but also to advance economic debates such as on the Great Divergence.
Combining the recent quantitative paradigm with the more traditional scholarly approach, this book uses a great number of primary sources to arrive at new and revised estimates of crucial indicators such as land acreage, crop yield, pasture, and total output. Its main conclusion is that a serious economic and social problem occurred since the mid-Qing, where agriculture was increasingly less able to feed a growing population, which was a major factor contributing to the growing crisis in the rule of the dynasty.
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Svetla Koleva and Vladimir Vladov