The Theft of History by Jack Goody

By Jack Goody

Within the robbery of historical past Jack Goody builds on his personal past paintings to increase additional his hugely influential critique of what he sees because the pervasive Eurocentric or occidentalist biases of a lot western old writing, and the resultant 'theft' by means of the West of the achievements of alternative cultures within the invention of (notably) democracy, capitalism, individualism and love. Goody, one of many world's so much distinctive anthropologists, increases questions about theorists, historians and method, and proposes a brand new comparative method of cross-cultural research which permits for extra scope in reading background than an East as opposed to West variety.

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As with theology and literature, comparative aspects have been brought in rather recently as a sop to global interests. In reality comparative history is still largely a dream. As we have seen, it has been claimed by J. 15 There is a limited truth in this remark for simple, pre-literate societies, who have little knowledge of any ‘progression’ of cultures. Among the LoDagaa, neolithic axes were sometimes turned up in the fields, especially after rain storms, dating from a period before iron hoes were available.

But the mapping of the heavens was developed by the literate Babylonians and later by the Greeks and Romans. Such knowledge disappeared in Europe during the Dark Ages but continued to be pushed forward in the Arabic-speaking world, as well as in Persia, India, and China. The Arabic world in particular, using complex mathematics and many new observations, produced excellent star charts and fine astronomical instruments, exemplified in the astrolabe of Muhammad Khan ben Hassan. It was on this basis that further European advances were made.

But it is an error to suppose that an understanding of the powers of formal speechmaking40 and of politics,41 for example, needed inventing by the Greeks. They may have treated these features ‘more self-consciously’ because literacy encourages reflexivity, but that does not indicate an earlier void. ’43 Just as one could say that the modern world ‘created Greece’. The two are intertwined. What was good about European culture had its roots in Greece; it was part of our identity. Burkhardt actually wrote of a ‘mystical marriage’ between Greece and his own country, Germany, so that the ancients had to have everything good that marked the moderns.

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