It has become commonplace to argue that European imperialism and colonialism were premised upon ideologies of racial or historical difference. The animating question for us: what is the relation between colonialism and discourses of equivalence, that is, the emergence and institutionalization of ways of thinking or being that enable different peoples to be compared and evaluated upon a common, quantifiable measure? What are the tacit assumptions or premises that make it possible to talk about difference within this horizon of the same, as attested to perhaps by the terms 'market', 'exchange' and 'the economy'? How does this inform our understanding of imperialism? What would a cultural or literary criticism that does not take for granted this coding of value look like? People we are likely to study: Smith, Marx, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Polanyi, Foucault, Guha, Chatterjee, Said, Spivak.