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American Mediterranean
Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation
Matthew Pratt Guterl
Harvard University Press, 2013
How did slave-owning Southern planters make sense of the transformation of their world in the Civil War era? Matthew Pratt Guterl shows that they looked beyond their borders for answers. He traces the links that bound them to the wider fraternity of slaveholders in Cuba, Brazil, and elsewhere, and charts their changing political place in the hemisphere.Through such figures as the West Indian Confederate Judah Benjamin, Cuban expatriate Ambrosio Gonzales, and the exile Eliza McHatton, Guterl examines how the Southern elite connected—by travel, print culture, even the prospect of future conquest—with the communities of New World slaveholders as they redefined their world. He analyzes why they invested in a vision of the circum-Caribbean, and how their commitment to this broader slave-owning community fared. From Rebel exiles in Cuba to West Indian apprenticeship and the Black Codes to the “labor problem” of the postwar South, this beautifully written book recasts the nineteenth-century South as a complicated borderland in a pan-American vision.
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Aso Ebi
Dress, Fashion, Visual Culture, and Urban Cosmopolitanism in West Africa
Okechukwu Nwafor
University of Michigan Press, 2021

The Nigerian and West African practice of aso ebi fashion invokes notions of wealth and group dynamics in social gatherings.  Okechukwu Nwafor’s volume Aso ebi investigates the practice in the cosmopolitan urban setting of Lagos, and argues that the visual and consumerist hype typical of the late capitalist system feeds this unique fashion practice. The book suggests that dress, fashion, aso ebi, and photography engender a new visual culture that largely reflects the economics of mundane living. Nwafor examines the practice’s societal dilemma, whereby the solidarity of aso ebi is dismissed by many as an ephemeral transaction. A circuitous transaction among photographers, fashion magazine producers, textile merchants, tailors, and individual fashionistas reinvents aso ebi as a product of cosmopolitan urban modernity. The results are a fetishization of various forms of commodity culture, personality cults through mass followership, the negotiation of symbolic power through mass-produced images, exchange value in human relationships through gifts, and a form of exclusion achieved through digital photo editing. Aso ebi has become an essential part of Lagos cosmopolitanism: as a rising form of a unique visual culture it is central to the unprecedented spread of a unique West African fashion style that revels in excessive textile overflow. This extreme dress style is what an individual requires to transcend the lack imposed by the chaos of the postcolonial city.

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At Home in the World
Cosmopolitanism Now
Timothy Brennan
Harvard University Press, 1997

From every quarter we hear of a new global culture, postcolonial, hybrid, announcing the death of nationalism, the arrival of cosmopolitanism. But under the drumbeat attending this trend, Timothy Brennan detects another, altogether different sound. Polemical, passionate, certain to provoke, his book exposes the drama being played out under the guise of globalism. A bracing critique of the critical self-indulgence that calls itself cosmopolitanism, it also takes note of the many countervailing forces acting against globalism in its facile, homogenizing sense.

The developments Brennan traces occur in many places--editorial pages, policy journals, corporate training manuals, and, primarily, in the arts. His subject takes him from George Orwell to Julia Kristeva, from Subcommandante Marcos to Julio Cortázar, from Ernst Bloch to contemporary apologists for transnational capitalism and "liberation management," from "third world" writing to the Nobel Prize, with little of critical theory or cultural studies left untouched in between. Brennan gives extended treatment to two exemplary figures: the Trinidadian writer C. L. R. James, whose work suggests an alternative approach to cultural studies; and the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, whose appreciation of Cuban popular music cuts through the usual distinctions between mass and elite culture.

A critical call to arms, At Home in the World summons intellectuals and scholars to reinvigorate critical cultural studies. In stripping the false and heedless from the new cosmopolitanism, Brennan revitalizes the idea.

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The Beneficiary
Bruce Robbins
Duke University Press, 2017
From iPhones and clothing to jewelry and food, the products those of us in the developed world consume and enjoy exist only through the labor and suffering of countless others. In his new book Bruce Robbins examines the implications of this dynamic for humanitarianism and social justice. He locates the figure of the "beneficiary" in the history of humanitarian thought, which asks the prosperous to help the poor without requiring them to recognize their causal role in the creation of the abhorrent conditions they seek to remedy. Tracing how the beneficiary has manifested itself in the work of George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Jamaica Kincaid, Naomi Klein, and others, Robbins uncovers a hidden tradition of economic cosmopolitanism. There are no easy answers to the question of how to confront systematic inequality on a global scale. But the first step, Robbins suggests, is to acknowledge that we are, in fact, beneficiaries.
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Community, Cosmopolitanism and the Problem of Human Commonality
Vered Amit and Nigel Rapport
Pluto Press, 2012

In this follow up to their widely read earlier volume, The Trouble with Community, Vered Amit and Nigel Rapport ask: 'Do notions of community remain central to our sense of who we are, in the dislocating context of globalization, or can we see beyond community closures to a human whole?'

This volume explores the variable nature of contemporary sociality. It focuses on the ethical, organizational and emotional claims and opportunities sought or fashioned for mobilizing and evading social collectivities in a world of mobile subjects. Here is an examination of the tensions and interactions between everyday forms of fluid fellowship, culturally normative claims to identity, and opportunities for realizing a universal humanity.

The book offers a new perspective on human commonality through a dialogue between two eminent anthropologists who come from distinct, but complementary positions.

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The Cosmopolitan Lyceum
Lecture Culture and the Globe in Nineteenth-Century America
Tom Wright
University of Massachusetts Press, 2013
From the 1830s to the 1900s, a circuit of lecture halls known as the "lyceum movement" flourished across the United States. At its peak, up to a million people a week regularly attended talks in local venues, captivated by the words of visiting orators who spoke on an extensive range of topics. The movement was a major intellectual and cultural force of this nation-building period, forming the creative environment of writers and public figures such as Frederic Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Anna Dickinson, and Mark Twain.

The phenomenon of the lyceum has commonly been characterized as inward looking and nationalistic. Yet as this collection of essays reveals, nineteenth-century audiences were fascinated by information from around the globe, and lecturers frequently spoke to their fellow Americans of their connection to the world beyond the nation and helped them understand "exotic" ways of life. Never simple in its engagement with cosmopolitan ideas, the lyceum provided a powerful public encounter with international currents and crosscurrents, foreshadowing the problems and paradoxes that continue to resonate in our globalized world.

This book offers a major reassessment of this important cultural phenomenon, bringing together diverse scholars from history, rhetoric, and literary studies. The twelve essays use a range of approaches, cover a wide chronological timespan, and discuss a variety of performers both famous and obscure. In addition to the volume editor, contributors include Robert Arbour, Thomas Augst, Susan Branson, Virginia Garnett, Peter Gibian, Sara Lampert, Angela Ray, Evan Roberts, Paul Stob, Mary Zboray, and Ronald Zboray.
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The Cosmopolitan Tradition
A Noble but Flawed Ideal
Martha C. Nussbaum
Harvard University Press, 2019

“Profound, beautifully written, and inspiring. It proves that Nussbaum deserves her reputation as one of the greatest modern philosophers.”
Globe and Mail


“At a time of growing national chauvinism, Martha Nussbaum’s excellent restatement of the cosmopolitan tradition is a welcome and much-needed contribution…Illuminating and thought-provoking.”
Times Higher Education


The cosmopolitan political tradition in Western thought begins with the Greek Cynic Diogenes, who, when asked where he came from, said he was a citizen of the world. Rather than declare his lineage, social class, or gender, he defined himself as a human being, implicitly asserting the equal worth of all human beings.

Martha Nussbaum pursues this “noble but flawed” vision and confronts its inherent tensions. The insight that politics ought to treat human beings both as equal and as having a worth beyond price is responsible for much that is fine in the modern Western political imagination. Yet given the global prevalence of material want, the conflicting beliefs of a pluralistic society, and the challenge of mass migration and asylum seekers, what political principles should we endorse? The Cosmopolitan Tradition urges us to focus on the humanity we share rather than on what divides us.

“Lucid and accessible…In an age of resurgent nationalism, a study of the idea and ideals of cosmopolitanism is remarkably timely.”
—Ryan Patrick Hanley, Journal of the History of Philosophy

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Cosmopolitanism
Carol A. Breckenridge, Sheldon Pollock, Homi K. Bhabha, and Dipesh Chakrabarty, eds.
Duke University Press, 2002
As the final installment of Public Culture’s Millennial Quartet, Cosmopolitanism assesses the pasts and possible futures of cosmopolitanism—or ways of thinking, feeling, and acting beyond one’s particular society. With contributions from distinguished scholars in disciplines such as literary studies, art history, South Asian studies, and anthropology, this volume recenters the history and theory of translocal political aspirations and cultural ideas from the usual Western vantage point to areas outside Europe, such as South Asia, China, and Africa.
By examining new archives, proposing new theoretical formulations, and suggesting new possibilities of political practice, the contributors critically probe the concept of cosmopolitanism. On the one hand, cosmopolitanism may be taken to promise a form of supraregional political solidarity, but on the other, these essays argue, it may erode precisely those intimate cultural differences that derive their meaning from particular places and traditions. Given that most cosmopolitan political formations—from the Roman empire and European imperialism to contemporary globalization—have been coercive and unequal, can there be a noncoercive and egalitarian cosmopolitan politics? Finally, the volume asks whether cosmopolitanism can promise any universalism that is not the unwarranted generalization of some Western particular.

Contributors. Ackbar Abbas, Arjun Appadurai, Homi K. Bhabha, T. K. Biaya, Carol A. Breckenridge, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Ousame Ndiaye Dago, Mamadou Diouf, Wu Hung, Walter D. Mignolo, Sheldon Pollock, Steven Randall

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Cosmopolitanism and Solidarity
Studies in Ethnoracial, Religious, and Professional Affiliation in the United States
David A. Hollinger
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006
    "Who are we?" is the question at the core of these fascinating essays from one of the nation's leading intellectual historians. With old identities increasingly destabilized throughout the world—the result of demographic migration, declining empires, and the quickening integration of the global capitalist economy and its attendant communications systems—David A. Hollinger argues that the problem of group solidarity is emerging as one of the central challenges of the twenty-first century.  
    Building on many of the topics in his highly acclaimed earlier work, these essays treat a number of contentious issues, many of them deeply embedded in America's past and present political polarization. Essays include "Amalgamation and Hypodescent," "Enough Already: Universities Do Not Need More Christianity," "Cultural Relativism," "Why Are Jews Preeminent in Science and Scholarship: The Veblen Thesis Reconsidered," and "The One Drop Rule and the One Hate Rule." Hollinger is at his best in his judicious approach to America's controversial history of race, ethnicity, and religion, and he offers his own thoughtful prescriptions as Americans and others throughout the world struggle with the pressing questions of identity and solidarity.
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Cosmopolitanism in Mexican Visual Culture
By María Fernández
University of Texas Press, 2014

Since the colonial era, Mexican art has emerged from an ongoing process of negotiation between the local and the global, which frequently involves invention, synthesis, and transformation of diverse discursive and artistic traditions. In this pathfinding book, María Fernández uses the concept of cosmopolitanism to explore this important aspect of Mexican art, in which visual culture and power relations unite the local and the global, the national and the international, the universal and the particular. She argues that in Mexico, as in other colonized regions, colonization constructed power dynamics and forms of violence that persisted in the independent nation-state. Accordingly, Fernández presents not only the visual qualities of objects, but also the discourses, ideas, desires, and practices that are fundamental to the very existence of visual objects.

Fernández organizes episodes in the history of Mexican art and architecture, ranging from the seventeenth century to the end of the twentieth century, around the consistent but unacknowledged historical theme of cosmopolitanism, allowing readers to discern relationships among various historical periods and works that are new and yet simultaneously dependent on their predecessors. She uses case studies of art and architecture produced in response to government commissions to demonstrate that established visual forms and meanings in Mexican art reflect and inform desires, expectations, memories, and ways of being in the world—in short, that visual culture and cosmopolitanism are fundamental to processes of subjectification and identity.

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Cosmopolitanism
Millennial Quartet IV, Volume 12
Dipesh Chakrabarty
Duke University Press
This final installment of the Millennial Quartet addresses the question of whether cosmopolitanism—ways of thinking, feeling, and acting beyond one’s particular society—is simply the universalism of a Western particular. Assembling scholars from an array of disciplines including English literature and language, romance languages, art history, South Asian studies, and anthropology, this special issue of Public Culture recenters the theory and history of translocal political aspirations and cultural ideas from the traditional Western vantage point to areas outside Europe, such as South Asia, China, and Africa. By examining new archives, framing new theoretical formulations, and suggesting new possibilities of political practice, these essays stretch the term cosmopolitanism to new definitions. On the one hand, cosmopolitanism may be taken to promise a form of supraregional political solidarity, but on the other, it may erode precisely those cultural differences that derive their meaning from a particular place and tradition. Given that most cosmopolitan political formations, from the Roman imperium to European imperialism to contemporary globalization, have been coercive and unequal, can there be a noncoercive and egalitarian cosmopolitan politics? At the most elevated level of conceptualization, while cosmopolitanism may promise a universalism of knowledge, it more typically represents an unwarranted generalization of a European idea or practice.
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Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews
Cathy S. Gelbin and Sander L. Gilman
University of Michigan Press, 2017
Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews adds significantly to contemporary scholarship on cosmopolitanism by making the experience of Jews central to the discussion, as it traces the evolution of Jewish cosmopolitanism over the last two centuries. The book sets out from an exploration of the nature and cultural-political implications of the shifting perceptions of Jewish mobility and fluidity around 1800, when modern cosmopolitanist discourse arose. Through a series of case studies, the authors analyze the historical and discursive junctures that mark the central paradigm shifts in the Jewish self-image, from the Wandering Jew to the rootless parasite, the cosmopolitan, and the socialist internationalist. Chapters analyze the tensions and dualisms in the constructed relationship between cosmopolitanism and the Jews at particular historical junctures between 1800 and the present, and probe into the relationship between earlier anti-Semitic discourses on Jewish cosmopolitanism and Stalinist rhetoric.

 
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Crossing Empires
Taking U.S. History into Transimperial Terrain
Kristin L. Hoganson and Jay Sexton, editors
Duke University Press, 2020
Weaving U.S. history into the larger fabric of world history, the contributors to Crossing Empires de-exceptionalize the American empire, placing it in a global transimperial context. They draw attention to the breadth of U.S. entanglements with other empires to illuminate the scope and nature of American global power as it reached from the Bering Sea to Australia and East Africa to the Caribbean. With case studies ranging from the 1830s to the late twentieth century, the contributors address topics including diplomacy, governance, anticolonialism, labor, immigration, medicine, religion, and race. Their transimperial approach—whether exemplified in examinations of U.S. steel corporations partnering with British imperialists to build the Ugandan railway or the U.S. reliance on other empires in its governance of the Philippines—transcends histories of interimperial rivalries and conflicts. In so doing, the contributors illuminate the power dynamics of seemingly transnational histories and the imperial origins of contemporary globality.

Contributors. Ikuko Asaka, Oliver Charbonneau, Genevieve Clutario, Anne L. Foster, Julian Go, Michel Gobat, Julie Greene, Kristin L. Hoganson, Margaret D. Jacobs, Moon-Ho Jung, Marc-William Palen, Nicole M. Phelps, Jay Sexton, John Soluri, Stephen Tuffnell
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Cultural Citizenship
Cosmopolitanism, Consumerism, and Television in a Neoliberal Age
Toby Miller
Temple University Press, 2006
What does it mean to be a "citizen" today, in an age of unbridled consumerism, terrorism, militarism, and multinationalism? In this passionate and dazzling book, Toby Miller dares to answer this question with the depth of thought it deserves. Fast-moving and far-ranging, Cultural Citizenship blends fact, theory, observation, and speculation in a way that continually startles and engages the reader. Although he is unabashedly liberal in his politics, Miller is anything but narrow minded. He looks at media coverage of September 11th and the Iraq invasion as well as "infotainment"—such as Food and Weather channels—to see how U.S. TV is serving its citizens as part of "the global commodity chain." Repeatedly revealing the crushing grip of the invisible hand of television, Miller shows us what we have given up in our drive to acquire and to "belong." For far too long, "cultural citizenship" has been a concept invoked without content. With the publication of this book, it has at last been given flesh and substance.
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Decentering Rushdie
Cosmopolitanism and the Indian Novel in English
Pranav Jani
The Ohio State University Press, 2010

Interrogating current theories of cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and aesthetics in Postcolonial Studies, Decentering Rushdie offers a new perspective on the Indian novel in English. Since Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981, its postmodern style and postnational politics have dominated discussions of postcolonial literature. As a result, the rich variety of narrative forms and perspectives on the nation that constitute the field have been obscured, if not erased altogether.

Reading a range of novels published between the 1950s and 1990s, including works by Nayantara Sahgal, Kamala Markandaya, Anita Desai, and Arundhati Roy, Decentering Rushdie suggests an alternative understanding of the genre in postcolonial India. Pranav Jani documents the broad shift from nation-oriented to postnationalist perspectives following the watershed crisis of the Emergency of the 1970s. Recovering the “namak-halaal cosmopolitanism” of early novels—a cosmopolitanism that is “true to its salt”—Decentering Rushdie also explains the rise and critical celebration of postnational cosmopolitanism.
 
Decentering Rushdie thus resituates contemporary literature within a nuanced history of Indian debates about cosmopolitanism and the national question. In the process, Jani articulates definitions of cosmopolitanism and nationalism that speak to the complex negotiation of language, culture, and representation in postcolonial South Asia.
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Desiring China
Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality, and Public Culture
Lisa Rofel
Duke University Press, 2007
Through window displays, newspapers, soap operas, gay bars, and other public culture venues, Chinese citizens are negotiating what it means to be cosmopolitan citizens of the world, with appropriate needs, aspirations, and longings. Lisa Rofel argues that the creation of such “desiring subjects” is at the core of China’s contingent, piece-by-piece reconfiguration of its relationship to a post-socialist world. In a study at once ethnographic, historical, and theoretical, she contends that neoliberal subjectivities are created through the production of various desires—material, sexual, and affective—and that it is largely through their engagements with public culture that people in China are imagining and practicing appropriate desires for the post-Mao era.

Drawing on her research over the past two decades among urban residents and rural migrants in Hangzhou and Beijing, Rofel analyzes the meanings that individuals attach to various public cultural phenomena and what their interpretations say about their understandings of post-socialist China and their roles within it. She locates the first broad-based public debate about post-Mao social changes in the passionate dialogues about the popular 1991 television soap opera Yearnings. She describes how the emergence of gay identities and practices in China reveals connections to a transnational network of lesbians and gay men at the same time that it brings urban/rural and class divisions to the fore. The 1999–2001 negotiations over China’s entry into the World Trade Organization; a controversial women’s museum; the ways that young single women portray their longings in relation to the privations they imagine their mothers experienced; adjudications of the limits of self-interest in court cases related to homoerotic desire, intellectual property, and consumer fraud—Rofel reveals all of these as sites where desiring subjects come into being.

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Diaspora Identities
Exile, Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Past and Present
Edited by Susanne Lachenicht and Kirsten Heinsohn
Campus Verlag, 2009

Historical work on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries suggests that as nation-states were solidifying throughout Western Europe, exiled groups tended to develop rival national identities—an occurrence that had been fairly uncommon in the two preceding centuries. Diaspora Identities draws on eight case studies, ranging from the early modern period through the twentieth century, to explore the interconnectedness of exile, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism as concepts, ideals, attitudes, and strategies among diasporic groups.

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Fluid New York
Cosmopolitan Urbanism and the Green Imagination
May Joseph
Duke University Press, 2013
Hurricane Sandy was a fierce demonstration of the ecological vulnerability of New York, a city of islands. Yet the storm also revealed the resilience of a metropolis that has started during the past decade to reckon with its aqueous topography. In Fluid New York, May Joseph describes the many ways that New York, and New Yorkers, have begun to incorporate the city's archipelago ecology into plans for a livable and sustainable future. For instance, by cleaning its tidal marshes, the municipality has turned a previously dilapidated waterfront into a space for public leisure and rejuvenation.

Joseph considers New York's relation to the water that surrounds and defines it. Her reflections reach back to the city's heyday as a world-class port—a past embodied in a Dutch East India Company cannon recently unearthed from the rubble at the World Trade Center site—and they encompass the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. They suggest that New York's future lies in the reclamation of its great water resources—for artistic creativity, civic engagement, and ecological sustainability.

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Inhuman Conditions
On Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights
Pheng Cheah
Harvard University Press, 2006
Globalization promises to bring people around the world together, to unite them as members of the human community. To such sanguine expectations, Pheng Cheah responds deftly with a sobering account of how the "inhuman" imperatives of capitalism and technology are transforming our understanding of humanity and its prerogatives. Through an examination of debates about cosmopolitanism and human rights, Inhuman Conditions questions key ideas about what it means to be human that underwrite our understanding of globalization. Cheah asks whether the contemporary international division of labor so irreparably compromises and mars global solidarities and our sense of human belonging that we must radically rethink cherished ideas about humankind as the bearer of dignity and freedom or culture as a power of transcendence. Cheah links influential arguments about the new cosmopolitanism drawn from the humanities, the social sciences, and cultural studies to a perceptive examination of the older cosmopolitanism of Kant and Marx, and juxtaposes them with proliferating formations of collective culture to reveal the flaws in claims about the imminent decline of the nation-state and the obsolescence of popular nationalism. Cheah also proposes a radical rethinking of the normative force of human rights in light of how Asian values challenge human rights universalism.
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Istanbul
Living with Difference in a Global City
Fisher-Onar, Nora
Rutgers University Press, 2018
Istanbul explores how to live with difference through the prism of an age-old, cutting-edge city whose people have long confronted the challenge of sharing space with the Other. Located at the intersection of trade networks connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa, Istanbul is western and eastern, northern and southern, religious and secular. Heir of ancient empires, Istanbul is the premier city of a proud nation-state even as it has become a global city of multinational corporations, NGOs, and capital flows. 

Rather than exploring Istanbul as one place at one time, the contributors to this volume focus on the city’s experience of migration and globalization over the last two centuries. Asking what Istanbul teaches us about living with people whose hopes jostle with one’s own, contributors explore the rise, collapse, and fragile rebirth of cosmopolitan conviviality in a once and future world city. The result is a cogent, interdisciplinary exchange about an urban space that is microcosmic of dilemmas of diversity across time and space.  
 
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Moscow, the Fourth Rome
Stalinism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Evolution of Soviet Culture, 1931–1941
Katerina Clark
Harvard University Press, 2011

In the early sixteenth century, the monk Filofei proclaimed Moscow the “Third Rome.” By the 1930s, intellectuals and artists all over the world thought of Moscow as a mecca of secular enlightenment. In Moscow, the Fourth Rome, Katerina Clark shows how Soviet officials and intellectuals, in seeking to capture the imagination of leftist and anti-fascist intellectuals throughout the world, sought to establish their capital as the cosmopolitan center of a post-Christian confederation and to rebuild it to become a beacon for the rest of the world.

Clark provides an interpretative cultural history of the city during the crucial 1930s, the decade of the Great Purge. She draws on the work of intellectuals such as Sergei Eisenstein, Sergei Tretiakov, Mikhail Koltsov, and Ilya Ehrenburg to shed light on the singular Zeitgeist of that most Stalinist of periods. In her account, the decade emerges as an important moment in the prehistory of key concepts in literary and cultural studies today—transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, and world literature. By bringing to light neglected antecedents, she provides a new polemical and political context for understanding canonical works of writers such as Brecht, Benjamin, Lukacs, and Bakhtin.

Moscow, the Fourth Rome breaches the intellectual iron curtain that has circumscribed cultural histories of Stalinist Russia, by broadening the framework to include considerable interaction with Western intellectuals and trends. Its integration of the understudied international dimension into the interpretation of Soviet culture remedies misunderstandings of the world-historical significance of Moscow under Stalin.

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Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire
Seema Alavi
Harvard University Press, 2015

Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire recovers the stories of five Indian Muslim scholars who, in the aftermath of the uprising of 1857, were hunted by British authorities, fled their homes in India for such destinations as Cairo, Mecca, and Istanbul, and became active participants in a flourishing pan-Islamic intellectual network at the cusp of the British and Ottoman empires. Seema Alavi traces this network, born in the age of empire, which became the basis of a global Muslim sensibility—a form of political and cultural affiliation that competes with ideas of nationhood today as it did in the previous century.

By demonstrating that these Muslim networks depended on European empires and that their sensibility was shaped by the West in many subtle ways, Alavi challenges the idea that all pan-Islamic configurations are anti-Western or pro-Caliphate. Indeed, Western imperial hegemony empowered the very inter-Asian Muslim connections that went on to outlive European empires. Diverging from the medieval idea of the umma, this new cosmopolitan community stressed consensus in matters of belief, ritual, and devotion and found inspiration in the liberal reforms then gaining traction in the Ottoman world. Alavi breaks new ground in the writing of nineteenth-century history by engaging equally with the South Asian and Ottoman worlds, and by telling a non-Eurocentric story of global modernity without overlooking the importance of the British Empire.

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The Perils of Belonging
Autochthony, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Africa and Europe
Peter Geschiere
University of Chicago Press, 2009

Despite being told that we now live in a cosmopolitan world, more and more people have begun to assert their identities in ways that are deeply rooted in the local. These claims of autochthony—meaning “born from the soil”—seek to establish an irrefutable, primordial right to belong and are often employed in politically charged attempts to exclude outsiders. In The Perils of Belonging, Peter Geschiere traces the concept of autochthony back to the classical period and incisively explores the idea in two very different contexts: Cameroon and the Netherlands.

            In both countries, the momentous economic and political changes following the end of the cold war fostered anxiety over migration. For Cameroonians, the question of who belongs where rises to the fore in political struggles between different tribes, while the Dutch invoke autochthony in fierce debates over the integration of immigrants. This fascinating comparative perspective allows Geschiere to examine the emotional appeal of autochthony—as well as its dubious historical basis—and to shed light on a range of important issues, such as multiculturalism, national citizenship, and migration.

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Perpetual War
Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence
Bruce Robbins
Duke University Press, 2012
For two decades Bruce Robbins has been a theorist of and participant in the movement for a "new cosmopolitanism," an appreciation of the varieties of multiple belonging that emerge as peoples and cultures interact. In Perpetual War he takes stock of this movement, rethinking his own commitment and reflecting on the responsibilities of American intellectuals today. In this era of seemingly endless U.S. warfare, Robbins contends that the declining economic and political hegemony of the United States will tempt it into blaming other nations for its problems and lashing out against them.

Under these conditions, cosmopolitanism in the traditional sense—primary loyalty to the good of humanity as a whole, even if it conflicts with loyalty to the interests of one's own nation—becomes a necessary resource in the struggle against military aggression. To what extent does the "new" cosmopolitanism also include or support this "old" cosmopolitanism? In an attempt to answer this question, Robbins engages with such thinkers as Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Anthony Appiah, Immanuel Wallerstein, Louis Menand, W. G. Sebald, and Slavoj Zizek. The paradoxes of detachment and belonging they embody, he argues, can help define the tasks of American intellectuals in an era when the first duty of the cosmopolitan is to resist the military aggression perpetrated by his or her own country.

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Science Without Frontiers
Cosmopolitanism and National Interests in the World of Learning, 1870–1940
Robert Fox
Oregon State University Press, 2016
In his long career, Robert Fox has specialized in the history of the physical sciences, particularly in France since 1700. In Science without Frontiers, he explores the discipline of science as a model for global society.
 
Fostered by international congresses and societies, scientific collaboration flourished across linguistic and national borders from the mid-nineteenth century up until, and even after, the First World War. Projects such as the universal language Esperanto and the Dewey decimal system relied on optimistic visions of the future and were fueled by dramatic improvements in communications and transportation. The Institut international de bibliographie, founded in Brussels in 1895, emerged as a center for this collaborative endeavor.
 
After the First World War, scientific internationalism met with new challenges as governments increasingly sought to control the uses of science and technology. Fox details the fate of cooperative scientific internationalism in Europe and the challenges posed to it by the rise of totalitarianism and the increasingly conflicting force of nationalism. He explores public expressions of scientific nationalism in museum exhibits and, most tellingly, in rival national pavilions at the Paris International Exposition of 1937.
 
World War II might have shattered internationalist ideals for good, but grounds for optimism remain in the successes of international organizations like UNESCO and in the potential of electronic media as a way to achieve a vision of universal access to knowledge. Science without Frontiers offers a new way to think about science and culture and its relationship to politics amid the crises of the twentieth century.
 
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The Travelers' World
Harry Liebersohn
Harvard University Press, 2006

In a beautifully crafted narrative that transports the reader from the salons of Europe to the shores of Tahiti, Harry Liebersohn examines the transformation of global knowledge during the great age of scientific exploration. He moves beyond the traditional focus on British and French travelers to include Germans, Russians, and some Americans, as well as the Tahitian, Hawaiian, and other Pacific islanders they encountered. Germany gets special attention because its travelers epitomized the era’s cosmopolitanism and its philosophers engaged most fully in a multicultural understanding of humanity.

Famous adventurers like Captain Cook make appearances, but it’s the observations of such naturalists as Philibert Commerson, George Forster, and Adelbert von Chamisso that helped most to generate a new understanding of these far-flung societies. These European travelers saw non-Europeans neither as “savages” nor as projections of colonial fantasies. Instead the explorers accumulated a rich storehouse of perceptions through negotiations with patrons at home, collaborators abroad, salon philosophers, and missionary rivals.

Liebersohn illuminates the transformative nature of human connections. He examines the expectations these servants of empire brought to the peoples they encountered, and acknowledges the effects of Oceanian behaviors, including unexpected notions of sexuality, on the Europeans. Equally important, he details the reception of these travelers upon their return home.

An unforgettable voyage filled with delightful characters, dramatic encounters, and rich cultural details, The Travelers’ World heralds a moment of intellectual preparation for the modern global era. We now travel effortlessly to distant places, but the questions about perception, truth, and knowledge that these intercontinental mediators faced still resonate.

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front cover of Victorian Poetry, Europe, and the Challenge of Cosmopolitanism
Victorian Poetry, Europe, and the Challenge of Cosmopolitanism
Christopher M. Keirstead
The Ohio State University Press, 2011

The scope and complexity of the encounter with Europe in Victorian poetry remains largely underappreciated despite recent critical attention to the genre’s global and transnational contexts. Providing much more than colorful settings or a convenient place of self-exile from England, Europe—as destination and idea—formed the basis of a dynamic, evolving form of critical cosmopolitanism much in tune with attempts to theorize the concept today. Christopher M. Keirstead’s Victorian Poetry, Europe, and the Challenge of Cosmopolitanism synthesizes the complex relationship between several notable Victorian poets, including Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, and A. C. Swinburne, and their respective attitudes toward Europe as a cosmopolitan whole. Examining their international relationships and experiences, the monograph explores the ways in which these poets worked to reconcile their emotional and intellectual affinity for world citizenship with their British identity.

 
This book reveals how a diverse range of poets sought to resituate the form within a broad European political and cultural frame of reference. At the same time, a strong awareness of the difficulties of sustaining genuine, transformative contact between cultures permeates the work of these poets. The challenge of cosmopolitanism thus consisted not only in the threat it posed to entrenched assumptions about what was normative, natural, or universal but also in the challenge cosmopolitanism posed to itself.
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front cover of When Borne Across
When Borne Across
Literary Cosmopolitics in the Contemporary Indian Novel
Bishnupriya Ghosh
Rutgers University Press, 2004

India’s 1997 celebration of the Golden Jubilee marked fifty years of independence from British colonial rule. This anniversary is the impetus for Bishnupriya Ghosh’s exploration of the English language icons of South Asian post-colonial literature: Salman Rushdie, Vikram Chandra, Amitav Ghosh, Upamanyu Chatterjee, and Arundhati Roy. These authors, grouped together as South Asian cosmopolitical writers, produce work challenging and expanding preconceived notions of Indian cultural identity, while being sold simultaneously as popular English literature within the global market. This commodification of Indian language and identity reinforces incomplete and simplified images of India and its writers, and at times counteracts the expressed agenda of the writers. In When Borne Across, Ghosh focuses on the politics of language and history, and the related processes of translation and migration within the global network. In so doing, she develops a new approach to literary studies that adapts conventional literary analysis to the pressures, constraints, and liberties of our present era of globalization.

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