Eurocentric History The point of AP World History
The Theft of History • Eurocentric history = the study of history from a European perspective • Examples: democracy, capitalism, freedom, individualism, love (romantic love), urban familyDID NOT appear first in 12th century Europe • The point: Bronze Age civilizations in Asia and Europe run along in roughly parallel lines, yet most of history teaches us that Europe is some how ahead of other groups.
Whose got the time? • Problem one: colonial conquest • Expansion requires time-keeping and maps • Literacy (first in Europe) • Time is arbitrary (Europe = sidereal, Islam and Buddhist = lunar) • Length of week(China, Africa, US) • Religion and time • Clocks (tick tocks (clockwork) vs sundials, water clocks, etc)
Space • Every one maps out their space • Religion isn’t as strong as Time (Except Israel) • Latitude and Longitude – one ancient, one made up • Islam – the center of the world? (map makers prejudice)
Periodization • Dream time to modern day • Eskimaux are one of the few societies that think the world has always been as it is today. • Christ vs Muhammad = example • BC = Before Christ, AD= Anno Domini – In the year of our lord
Language • History was created with Europe in mind • Antiquity and feudalism
Progress • Western History = history is stages, each pushing the next higher • Progress = the values of our culture • Progress = growth in sciences, economics, civilization, and human rights. • Environmental? • Spiritual?
Questions to Ponder • Can History only be viewed through stages? • What are some other ways we can describe history? • What can we do about the problem of Eurocentric History? (alternatively, CAN we do anything?)
Sources • The Theft of History by Jack Goody provided many of the ideas of this lecture. I highly recommend the book.