This chapter offers an empirical sketch of how a dialogue can be carried out by focusing on the ways in which certain twentieth-century Indian actors read the sixteenth-century French political philosopher Jean Bodin. It shows how these readings were transregionally entangled with French, American and British intellectual and political formations. The chapter argues that Bodin thus became a signifier of sovereignty, even as sovereignty itself became a metonym for a protean array of practices of power and violence. Transcultural, transversal and global intellectual histories can be invitations for performing dialectics: they may summon a presentist urge to liberate arguments from lives of master–subaltern bondage. The chapter urilizes notions of the ‘transcultural’ to think about how concepts are produced at the confrontation of the elite and the subaltern, or the Herr and the Knecht. It also offers the term ‘transversal’ as a capacious heuristic mode of analysing forms of concept-production and argumentation which cross various kinds of borders.