• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Identity Politics in India and Europe combines qualitative methods (20 interviews) with historical and philosophical analysis. The first part of the book discusses the history of perceptions between the Europe of Latin Christianity and the so-called Muslim world, starting from the 7th century onwards. The second part is devoted to a discussion on the emergence of modernity and how it changed the identity politics of earlier times. The third part explores the role that intellectual elites have to play. It comprises interviews of eminent scholars and thinkers in India such as Imtiaz Ahmad and Ashis Nandy. These make for an insightful read, especially as subtle ideological differences surface in their responses to a set of common questions.

Late Antiquity to the Beginnings of the Modern Era
Late antiquity to the beginnings of the modern era

For centuries, the self-perception of Western Europe has been construed as against its ‘other’, the Orient, which was largely perceived as the world of Islam. At least since the work of Edward Said, one has become wary of this distinction.1 However, with rising Islamophobia in ‘the West’, the juxtaposition of ‘Europe’ and ‘the Muslim world’ has again become widespread. Discourses on European identity in the context of Europe's struggle for a future constitution are increasingly framed in the old terminology of the predominantly Islamic Orient and a predominantly Christian Occident.

This sweeping and facile imagery is marred by entities that do not quite fit into the bipolar divide. Europe ...

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