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Lecture#2 2013Sep17.doc

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Hillary Cunningham

ANT110 Sep.17 th Main ideas: Modernity and Nature/ The Nature-Culture Divide/Hierarchical Dualisms/ Nature and Race/ “Primitivism”/ Wild and Civilized “MODERNITY IS OFTEN DEFINED IN TERMS OF HUMANISM, EITHER AS AWAY OF SALUTING THE BIRTH OF “MAN” OR AS A WAY OF ANNOUNCING HIS DEATH. BUT THIS HABIT ITSELF IS MODERN, BECAUSE IT REMAINS ASYMMETRICAL. IT OVERLOOKS THE SIMULTANEOUS BIRTH OF NON-HUMANITY—THINGS, OR OBJECTS, OR BEASTS—AND THE EQUALLY STRANGE BEGINNING OF A CROSSED-OUT GOD, RELEGATED TO THE SIDELINES.” —BRUNO LATOUR Significance: -modernity is the hidden birth of nature-culture dualism -it is not only the birth of human but also when ideas about nature emerge -it is the birth of a new “kind” of human Medieval period -the Great Gain of Being: a hierarchy of creation -God-Cherubim-Archangels-Angels-Man-Woman-Animals-Plants-Metals- Minerals-Rock-Clay (amount of animation) -early human’s understanding of the nature -organic, static, unchanging -Nature as God’s museum Modernity -then, human’s understanding of nature evolves as “thinkers” emerge -such as Copernicus, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes -Auguste Rodin- Le Penseur (The Thinker): emphasises on the importance of man, especially man’s intelligence -people started to question the functions of mind and structure thinking -natural sciences based on empirical methods -General Laws of nature Charles Le Brun -Marquis de Condorcet’s quotation: “A very small amount of ground will be able to produce a great quantity of supplies of greater utility or higher quality; more goods will be obtained for a smaller outlay; the manufacture of articles will be achieved with less wastage in raw materials and will make better use of them… The improvement of medical practice, which will become more efficacious with the progress of reason and social order, will mean the end of infectious and hereditary diseases and illness brought on by climate, food, or working conditions. It is reasonable to hope that all other diseases may likewise disappear
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