ANT204H-Lecture#5

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Published on 28 Sep 2011
School
UTSG
Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT204H1
Professor
Page:
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lecture#5
final exam-june28 10-12p
intro
-positive stereotype still requires critical eye b/c stereotyping is not positive in any
case
-“noble savage” term may no longer be used, but ideas still popular
-european notions of the world have been adopted globally; so it’s valid to look at
this situation from European history/point of view
symbols/imagery present today drawn from European history
-renaissance: rebirth of classical studies/thinkinggreek/roman
(architecture/philosophy/history/art)
darkened middle ages preceded renaissance; catholic church squashed
out/supressed all classical studies,
start to question again, figure out alternative paths to reason/different ways to
understand the world, not to reject the church but to go along side it (maybe church
isn’t source of all wisdom, maybe other ways of thinking)
looked towards Aristotle, classic thinkers for a structure of
1492-christomber columbus sailed for the new world
europeans forced to realize world is larger than they first thought; new size forced
a new way of thinking
these new people lived in quite a radically different way of life; were impressed by
certain parts of their society, but for the most part b/c state societies weren’t
present, it was a challenge for them to understand
- Spanish tried going westward/portugese went south
-portugese going south, trying to circumnavigate Africa to get to the east
found groups of native ppls along African coast who lived incredibly different lives
-philosophies that were present in 1500s were used to try to understand the new
world
monogenists(single birth): god created humans only once, in the garden of eden
(story of genesis)
-needed to explain how these people travelled from the garden of eden
somewhere in the middle east and managed to live all around the world
-estimated the earth was around 6000-7000yrs old; counted number of
generations in old testamentheresy not to support/believe biblical stories
-conducted experiments to see how far ppl cld walk in a day to see human
capacity to walk and “immigrate” to other parts of the world from the garden
of eden
-had more support b/c it was the easier position to support since it stayed
truer to the bible
polygenists(multiple births): god created humans in more than one place, multiple
sites origin
-easier to explain how ppl cld be so far apart/look so different
-able to extend their argument and say that god created different ppl for
different purposes
began current line of thinking of white supremacy as a philosophy/ideology
-continue to be published 17/18/19th century; still found today in white
supremacist writing
-late 1700/1800s; monogenists start to develop notions of evolution; that gradual
change occurred to differentiate ppls
social evolution resulted in different stages of development; idea of progress
(really powerful idea in this time period)
-savagery: no traits of European society; lacking
-barbarism:had some traits of European society
-civilisation:had all the traits of european society
law/rule/morals/kings or gvt/arts or occupation/official titles/traffic
(shipping/trade navigation)/agriculture or husbandry/money and
wealthy/weapons/clothes
-hobbes 1651(renaissance): “life of a savage was a solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and
short”
negative pole of savagery; talked about lacking
used to justify abuses/torture/injustice done by Europeans; “we’re forcing
them up the path, we’re civilizing them”
all the negativity drove a positive view of the savages to arise
-rousseau late 1700s(englighttenment): “noble savage” coins the term
referred back to the garden of eden/paradise and said savagery=sitch in
garden of eden
adam/eve have all the lacks of savagery, including lack of sin
tapped into the European tendency to romanticize our past; past was
better, simpler/more stable/less challenging; thought of as a golden age; built
into Christian tradition of fall from grace and leaving garden of eden
savages are not brutish/nasty; actually live in a time of perfect harmony
(vis a vis eden)
*neither of them ever met any real “savages”
*we’re still grappling with the two poles of savagery; difficulty of understanding ppl
different from us
-savagesprimitivestribal/indigenous/native/first nations/aboriginal
tried to lose negative connotations; but still reflect either of the two poles
-hobbesian view that natives(fourth world) need to be developed b/c of the misery
they’re in
-ex./ lord of the flies/tourism
may not think they are, but reflect European civilising mission
-rousseau view that savages are good, reflect garden of eden living; ecologically
sensitive living
-ex./ avatar/pochahontas/eco-tourism
primitives and savages in European history
greening the stereotype: the ecologically noble savage
-1962 silent spring by Rachel carson talked about pesticides and the influence on
environmental damage
kickstarts organizations about the improvement of the environment and our
relationship with the environment
destructivity of our relationship with the environment was acknowledged; mass
agriculture/consumption/production
built around the point that humans didn’t have to live like this; multiple examples
that humans can live harmoniously with nature (indigenous ppls)
examples of native ppls who lived in harmony with nature; contemporarily
stand for our past and our potential future; if we did it then, we cld do it
again
-ecologically/environmentally sound ways of life
-indigenous ppls picked up on these ideas about their way of life and thought to use
it to promote themselves in western media
west destroyed environment=stupid
natives preserved environment=smart
ecologically sound native stereotype
-spiritually connected to nature
-culturally predisposed to environmental sensitivity; part of their age old tradition
-will only kill living things for survival; don’t kill for enrichment/pleasure, must
always be for purpose
-need the natural environment to survive as culturally distinct ppls; made by natives
against mining/logging/etc,
-groups are culturally homogenous; all ppl in a “tribe” share all traits
-bearers of special knowledge of nature; which is superior to western scientific
knowledge
-cultural diversity; maintaining native culture at “all costs” like a species b/c losing
it wld be bad
*contrast our evil destructive stupid ways with ppl who embody our mythical past
and potential utopian future
-powerful motivator for environmental NGOs/environmentalists to boycott company,
sign petitions
*stereotype=stereotype; not true, distortion of reality
we deny natives history and agency by thinking of them only in this way
denies history
-presumes at the outset, that they’re living relics/embodiments of far distant past
(human prehistory) that have not changed; still living their traditional way of life