it was easy for e. m. forster to have exhorted the human sub-
ject to “always connect.” The problem with the gestation and the pro-
duction of this book was that everything seemed to connect. That, I
repeat, was a problem of the highest order. I needed help in sorting out
the connections to save the work from the sin of seamlessness. Fortu-
nately, I received several invitations to present aspects and parts of this
work in various venues. I am deeply grateful to my hosts and to the
audiences who engaged with my work and gave me so much precious
and insightful feedback. I wish to thank in particular Prafulla Kar; the
Forum for Contemporary Theory (Baroda, India) for requesting that I
present my work on Ranajit Guha and historiography; the Indian In-
stitute of Technology, Guwahati; the dynamic informal reading group
in Murray Krieger Hall, University of California, Irvine, organized by
Lindon Barrett; Steve Mailloux and the Critical Theory Emphasis at the
University of California, Irvine, for inviting me to present my chap-
ter on Edward Said and humanism; Sumathi Ramaswamy and Valerie
Traub at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for having me over to
present my thoughts on poetry, ontology, and historiography; to Rita
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