This article analyzes the historical semantics of the concept of unnati in the nationalist discourse in Hindi between 1870 and 1900. The article first outlines the basic features of the Enlightenment concept of progress using Koselleck's analysis. It then goes on to discuss the place of the concept of progress in the colonial ideology of a “civilizing mission,“ and concludes by taking up the analysis of the usage of the term unnati in the nationalist discourse in North India.
Reflections on the Concept of Unnati (Progress) in Hindi (1870–1900)
Making Object Biographies
Margareta von Oswald and Verena Rodatus
In Germany, the new cultural center Humboldt Forum (to open in 2019) has become a major site of debate. It will include the contested collections of both the Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art, which contributed to the negotiation of the role of colonial legacies and their reverberances on contemporary Germany. We took those contestations as a point of departure for the exhibition Object Biographies (2015), part of the program Humboldt Lab Dahlem designed to experiment with innovative displays for the Humboldt Forum. Here we reexamine our research collaboration with the Beninese art historian Romuald Tchibozo that was part of the exhibition. His call for the “decolonization of research” was the central guideline in our museum practice aiming for cosmo-optimistic futures. We argue that focusing on processes and questions engaged by the exhibition project can transform contested museum spaces to enable negotiations on ownership, representation, and memory politics.
New Granada, 1818–1853
Francisco A. Ortega
Spanish American countries exhibited during the nineteenth century many of the features Koselleck associated with the Sattelzeit, the transitioning period into our contemporaneity. However, the region’s history was marked by social instability and political upheaval, and contemporaries referred to such experiences of time as precarious. In this article I explore the connection between this precarious time and the emergence of the sociopolitical concept of morality in New Granada (present-day Colombia) during the first thirty- five years of the republic (1818–1853). I focus on two conceptual moments as exemplified ed by the reflections put forth by Simón Bolívar (1783–1830), military and political leader of the independence period, and José Eusebio Caro (1817–1853), publicist, poet, and political ideologue of the Conservative Party.
Olive Schreiner, the Short Story and Grand History
Olive Schreiner? South African writing at the crossroads? The title of this issue of Critical Survey connotes contemporaneity: Schreiner died when this century was only twenty years old. Provisionally to lift the weight of this seeming paradox off the reader’s mind – if not wholly to resolve it – I would only suggest that both ‘South Africa’ as an entity and its writing were as much (and critically) at a point of intersection – a choice of paths – in the 1890s as they have been in the 1990s, and that one century’s end speaks eloquently to another. It is of course always and only thanks to our own effort-free hindsight that we can speak of a writer’s foresight: of all those who exerted themselves in gazing forward as the last century ended and this one began, Schreiner scores in my view highest; and not on any yardstick of empirical prediction but rather because her brand of countercultural thinking and imagining is – and here another and harder paradox looms – always so productively non-contemporaneous, always so open to the other and to the future. We find this quality in the shortest no less than in the longer of her fictions, and the thousand or so words of ‘The Woman’s Rose’ from Dream Life and Real Life deliver its effects as strongly as any. Schreiner brings her experience as a woman on the frontier to bear upon the new South Africa that was emerging in the late nineteenth century. The story I have chosen offers a way in to the historical narratives of her formation as well as a commentary upon the ethical and sociopolitical options before the (new) new South Africa a hundred and more years on.