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Autobiography of an ArchiveA Scholar's Passage to India$
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Nicholas Dirks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169677

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169677.001.0001

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Preface to the Second Edition of The Hollow Crown

Preface to the Second Edition of The Hollow Crown

(p.70) 3 Preface to the Second Edition of The Hollow Crown
Autobiography of an Archive

Nicholas B. Dirks

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the second edition of the book The Hollow Crown, which explores the character of colonial change by focusing on the princely state, one of a myriad number of dominant symbols of old India that simultaneously exemplified tradition yet legitimated British colonial rule. The Hollow Crown argues that in ethnographic fieldwork, “one can find that the categories of culture and history rub against each other, opening up supplemental readings of caste that made it seem as much a product of rule as a condition for it, and of the state that made its apparent weakness seem an effect of colonial rule rather than the explanation for it.” In writing The Hollow Crown, the book's author came to see culture differently, using history against anthropology and textual analysis and anthropology against history. After publishing the book, the author focused on the works of Colin Mackenzie and Edgar Thurston.

Keywords:   princely state, India, The Hollow Crown, culture, history, caste, colonial rule, anthropology, Colin Mackenzie, Edgar Thurston

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