“Other” Texts, Our Contexts

Farah Godrej

in Cosmopolitan Political Thought

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199782062
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919123 | DOI:
“Other” Texts, Our Contexts

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Chapter 4 turns to the question of “self-relocation,” which refers to the relocation of the site of experience and understanding within the Western academy, using the knowledges, methods and practices of inquiry gained from the dislocation process, and bringing them to bear on traditionally-learned frames and modes of inquiry. This chapter presents two possible models or modes of transcultural learning. The first one suggests that texts can speak polyvocally, and that creative interpretation across time and space is a necessary outcome of transcultural borrowing. In so doing, texts and ideas will often mutate in a piecemeal manner, leading to the transcultural application of ideas in a discrete, fractured and disaggregated manner. The second suggests that the only appropriate method of importing texts or ideas across cultural boundaries is one that faithfully preserves organic, holistic nature of the idea or text. Using Gandhi’s theory of nonviolence or ahimsa as an illuminating lens, I argue that pitfalls of transcultural borrowing and creative learning underscore the crucial importance of prior existential engagement with traditions and their cultural products.

Keywords: self-relocation; transcultural borrowing; polyvocal; discrete; piecemeal; holism; Gandhi; non-violence; ahimsa

Chapter.  11607 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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