This penetrating book re-examines `the project of modernity'. It seeks to oppose the abstract, idealized vision of modernity with an alternative `ethnographic' understanding. The book defends an approach to modernity that situates it as embedded in particular and historical contexts. It examines cases of `popular modernism' in the United States, Britain and colonial Malaysia, drawing out the specific cultural and religious assumptions underlying popular modernism and concludes that modernism is implicated in a diversity of forms of cultural and racial exclusion.

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