The Malabar Coast (Kerala) and Cosmopolitanism Cosmopolitanism
We could sum up cosmopolitanism, albeit only imperfectly, as a set of practices and a perspective here coming out of complex connected histories in the Indian Ocean. It implies both a position—for instance, insertion in broad networks of exchange, intellectual and knowledge flows, travel, though it is important to note that none of these in itself seems to be absolutely necessary for cosmopolitanism to arise—as well as a vision of belonging in a common world constructed not in spite of diversity but through it (though, again, this may not be essential). In its most basic and common philosophical expression, cosmopolitanism brings with it a notion or condition of being connected to the world (or a desire to be a world citizen), instead of to a specific place. Cosmopolitanism is also famously a political project in the well-known view of Immanuel Kant, undoubtedly its foremost philosopher in the past two hundred-odd years. We could therefore venture that, however defined, it is both a condition and a project. Different scholars talk about rooted (Cohen 1992; Appiah 2006; Werbner 2008), lived (Gabriel and Ribeiro 2012), discrepant (Clifford 1998), vernacular (Bhabha 1996), working-class (Werbner 1999), subaltern (Sousa Santos 2005), visceral (sic—Nava 2007), and elite (Peterson 2011) cosmopolitanism, or yet the cosmopolitical (Cheah and Robbins 1998).
KeywordsIndian Ocean Local Society British Colonialism Port City Ancient History
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