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Planetary ModernismsProvocations on Modernity Across Time$
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Susan Stanford Friedman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231170901

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231170901.001.0001

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Stories of Modernity

Stories of Modernity

Planetary Scale in the Longue Durée

(p.83) Three Stories of Modernity
Planetary Modernisms

Susan Stanford Friedman

Columbia University Press

The chapter argues that the Western metanarrative of its own invention of modernity after 1500 is an ideological formation developed to justify its imperial designs. Drawing on concepts of scale and narrative theory, the chapter uses the diachronic archive of world history, especially the pre-1500 modernities of the sedentary Tang Dynasty and nomadic Mongol Empire, to demonstrate the inaccuracy of the Eurocentric metanarrative of the West’s exceptionalism. Arguing against the Eurocentric concepts of modernity common to such disparate scholars as Wallerstein, Huntington, Jameson, and Hall, the chapter argues for an expansive concept of plural, recurrent, and interlocking modernities in the longue durée. The chapter incorporates multiple short narratives of modernities (e.g., in Latin America, Asia, Africa) that challenge the dominant Eurocentric narrative of modernity as the invention of the “West” in post-1500 world history.

Keywords:   modernity, the “West”, World History, Tang Dynasty, Mongol Empire, Eurocentrism, Narrative, scale

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