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Lecture 16

Lecture 16 Nov. 3

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ANTH 3690
Marta Rohatynskyj

Lecture 16 Nov. 06. 2011 History Without Europe Are There Histories of Peoples Without Europe? A Review Article Talal Asad (City University of New York) Personal Background • A real cosmopolitan • Born of a Polish-Pakistani father and a Saudi Arabian mother • Grew up in India and Pakistan • Concerned with historical issues but taking the position of Foucault • So his unit of relating to the world is ‘discourse’ • In this sense he is a post-modernist and also a post-colonialist writer • At the moment he works on secularism as an aspect of modernity His Critique of Wolf’s Europe and a People without History • He applauds Wolf’s efforts in writing about the rise of capitalism and the impact it has had on a global scale • But the title of his essay plays on the idea inherent in the title of Wolf’s book that is it possible to have history of the non-western world that does not relate to Europe • In this sense he is saying that Wolf’s book is very ethnocentric in that it is a history of Europe (or Capitalism) as exported to colonial countries • We must take his critique as that of ‘the other’ criticizing the discourse of a Western anthropology • There is another instance of such a critique on the part of Gananath Obeyesekere (Emeritus, Princeton) and Marshall Sahlins (Emeritus, University of Chicago) The Marxist Concept of Mode of Production • We find in Marx’s writings a set of classifications of mode of production Mode of Production - a set of social and economic relations that organize production • • Ex. Feudal Mode of Production, Capitalist Mode of Production, Oriental Mode of Production • It is a tribute to the richness of Marx’s thought that anthropologists at various times have tried to use his concept of the mode of production and apply it to pre-capitalist societies • Asad’s main point is that Wolf glosses over the history of non-Western peoples in his book by simply assuming that prior to contact with Western capitalism and colonialism production was organized by kinship The French Neo-Marxists • Claude Meillassoux and Maurice Godelier • 1975 Maidens, Meals and Money: Capitalism and the Domestic Community • On the basis of research carried out in Cote d’lvoire, he posits a lineage mode of production, sometimes called a domestic mode of production • The notion that production should be different when c
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