Homeless texts

From Refashioning Iran, p9:

In the mid-seventeenth century a purely self-congratulatory view of European civilization as the paragon of universal reason and the concurring “blackmail of the Enlightenment” had not yet been formed. Similarly, Europe’s Oriental-Other had not yet been dehistoricized as only “traditional,” “static,” and “unchanging,” and Muslims were not viewed as “anti-scientific.” More significantly, historical thinking had not yet been confined to the boundaries of modern nation-states. It is during this period that an alternative account of Persianate modernity can be retrieved […] from a large corpus of texts made homeless with the emergence of history with borders, a convention that confined historical writing to the borders of modern nation-states.

The convention of history with borders has created many homeless texts that have fallen victim to the fissure of Indian and Iranian nationalism. Although abolished as the official language of India in the 1830s, the intellectual use of Persian continued and Persian publications in nineteenth-century India outnumbered those produced in other languages. […] Whereas the notion of “Western civilization” provided a safety net supplementing European national histories, no common historiographical practice captures the residues of the colonial and national conventions of historical writing that separates the joint Persianate literary cultures of Iran and India – a literary culture taht is irreducible to Islam and the Islamic civilization. A post-colonial historiography of Indian and Iranian modernity must begin to reactivate the concurring history that has been erased from memory by colonial conventions and territorial divisions.

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