The Reform of Time: Magic and Modernity
Publisher: Pluto Press | ISBN: 0745317286 | edition 2001 | PDF | 192 pages | 2,73 mb
Many readers, so I’m told, turn to the Acknowledgements on first opening a book. I share this interest in someone else’s friendships and debts, though perhaps with a faint trace of guilt at reading the least ‘important’ bit of a book first, and of allowing it to influence my expectations about what comes next. Is the popularity of this practice because readers hope to find the author’s true voice - to give a special insight into what follows? If that is so, then I hope that the reader of The Reform of Time will find evidence of something ‘personal’ in more than just these few lines. At several points in the body of the text I have tried to convey a sense of debt to modern postcolonial theory, which has in recent years offered me new and empowering ways of formulating a lifetime’s experiences of race, gender and class. At the same time I have tried to practise an empirically-based historical methodology, respecting the specificity of particular contexts. Debates within the academy have sometimes suggested that these two endeavours – theory and empiricism – might be mutually antagonistic. If I have managed at all to combine an interest in cultural theory with a regard for accurate historical facts founded on textually based research, it will be due in large part to Roger van Zwanenberg, who has encouraged me from the outset to be more courageous in my claims. I am enormously grateful to him for hearing an implicit politics in my earlier work and urging me to make it more explicit. If I still fail to be quite as brave as he would like, the work is in progress.
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