Practicing Caste

9780823282265: Hardback
Release Date: 4th December 2018

9780823282258: Paperback
Release Date: 4th December 2018

9780823282272: EPUB
Release Date: 4th December 2018

9780823282289: PDF
Release Date: 4th December 2018

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 256

Edition: 1st Edition

Series Commonalities

Fordham University Press

Practicing Caste

On Touching and Not Touching

Written by
Aniket Jaaware
Foreword by
Anupama Rao
Practicing Caste attempts a break from the tradition of caste studies, using versions of phenomenology, structuralism and post-structuralism; and gives a description of touchability and untouchability in terms of a rhetoric and semantics of touch.
Hardback / £103.00
Paperback / £27.99
EPUB / £32.00
PDF / £32.00

Practicing Caste attempts a fundamental break from the tradition of caste studies, showing the limits of the historical, sociological, political, and moral categories through which it has usually been discussed. Engaging with the resources phenomenology, structuralism, and poststructuralism offer to our thinking of the body, Jaaware helps to illuminate the ethical relations that caste entails, especially around its injunctions concerning touching. The resulting insights offer new ways of thinking about sociality that are pertinent not only to India but also to thinking the common on a planetary basis.

Foreword by Anupama Rao vii

Introduction 1

1. Touch and Its Elements and Kinds 11

2. Touch—An A Priori Approach 37

3. Touch in Its Social and Historical Aspects I 61

4. Touch in Its Social and Historical Aspects II 93

5. Touch and Texts: Ancient and Modern 119

6. (Un)touchability of Things and People 148

7. Society, Sociality, Sociability 170

8. Recapitulation with Variations 190

Coda 205

Notes 209

Bibliography 223

Index 233

Aniket Jaaware (Author)
Aniket Jaaware is Professor of English at Shiv Nadar University. He is the author of Simplifications: An Introduction to Structuralism and Post-structuralim; a volume of short stories, Neon Fish in Dark Water; and several translations into English and Marathi.
Anupama Rao (Foreword By)
Anupama Rao is Associate Professor of History at Barnard College. She is the author of The Caste Question (California, 2009).

“The book is a remarkable exercise in showing what is possible when we attend to caste as if we were confronting it for the first time, bracketing the extensive scholarship about it, and refusing to adopt a ready political stance against caste discrimination and inequality. Practicing Caste asks what new ways of thinking about caste are enabled when we approach ‘caste’ ignorantly, that is, when we forget the weight of its millennial history and turn to caste less as an exception than an occasion to rethink the grounds of sociability. . . . Jaaware is deeply resistant to [the] politics of identity that has resulted from the institution of Dalits as figures of social suffering in the contemporary political public sphere. Instead, his own effort is to read Dalit literature as destitute literature, as writing that stages caste’s persistent and brutal dehumanization as occasion for ethical decision. In posing caste as a problem for ethics, Jaaware returns to that fundamental question of what it means to be-with-others in a startlingly new manner. Aniket Jaaware has written a breathtakingly beautiful book whose form and content mirror the provocation to unlearn what we think we know about caste. We would do well to travel a while with a text that has so much to teach us about being together and apart.”

Anupama Rao, from the Foreword

“This spellbindingly orchestrated book develops its philosophical theory of caste as a practice of touching and not-touching, luminously disclosing caste as a way of regulating, coding, and living an originary and unconditioned touch. It reveals the ethics and politics of touchability as a secret structure of Indic and other modernities. Putting Derrida, Foucault, and Heidegger into conversation with Ambedkar and Phule, Practicing Caste explodes the discussion of caste from its South Asian enclosure. Required reading for anyone interested in a world-spanning comparative account of modernity.”

Ben Conisbee Baer, Princeton University