There is a group of historians—and some other social scientists—who have made a career out of resisting the newness of globalization. I have been the target of their criticisms from time to time. The main charge is that in my 1996 book, Modernity at Large, I display a certain breathlessness and naivete about the newness of globalization (Appadurai 1996). There may be some merit in these criticisms, though the central chapters of that book were distinctly historical, and especially anchored in the history of colonialism in India. Still, my concern here is not to defend myself but to ask another question: why the rush to show how globalization has a history (a trivial point that nevertheless seems to be an obsession)? These social scientists belong to many fields, such as political science, economics, sociology, and—of course and especially—history (Cooper 2001). So this leads me to a critique of...

You do not currently have access to this content.