Veronique Benei has written an elegant and tantalizing book, impressive in its finely engraved argumentation. The book is about the role of schools in the burgeoning of nationalism in Maharashtra, India. Veronique hangs her ethnography of schoolchildren and teachers on three ideas: The first is that nationalism, and its accompanying violence, is best seen not as a crisis phenomenon but as a daily, habitual experience that includes the taken for granted and even the boring. The second idea is that much of the learning of nationalism takes place in the site of the school, and this includes children smaller than supposed. And finally, she presents the idea of preverbal and verbal, emotional, affective, habitual practice as “sensorium” and embodiment. These key ideas apart, there are also discussions of the implications of nationalism and the doing of anthropology.

Benei's most interesting notion is the idea of sensorium, or how the senses...

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