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University of Toronto St. George
Leslie Jermyn

Tuesday May 19 , 2009 COLONIALISM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES AFRICAN GENOCIDES EXPLORED Outline of Lecture 1. Introduction 2. Anthropological Analysis as Antidote 3. Causality and History 4. European Colonialism in Africa a. Industrial Capitalism b. Divide and Rule c. Summary 5. Rwandan Case Study Test Know details about Rwanda, Africa, and Afghanistan (i.e. name the president of Sudan right now, his general perspective about running the country, how he came to power etc need to know about the contemporary world ; Same about Darfur know details about the history etc) Mass violence on the Continent of Africa - Rwanda Genocide in 1994 - Darfur genocide unfolding right now, began about in 2003 - These events present difficult questions to anyone who wishes to understand how the world and the peope in it work. The scale of the violence in both genocides defies both imagination and empathy o When you hear about people killing each outer by the 1000s by burning them, gang rape, etc its very hard to try to explain their actions using reason and rationality o Also, its hard to find anything to find in common with these people as human beings. We have a hard time empathizing and saying in the same situation I may do the same thing o So we are left with simplistic caricatures that suggest that something like age old ethnic tensions and tribalism are to blame This line of reasoning gives unfortunate conclusions. Since we are so far away, we cant imagine ethnic identity or tribalism to be the cause, and are then forced to conclude that the people motivated are fundamentally different from us, and it is also easy to conclude then that they lack out form of modern form of conflict resolution and reasonable thinking THIS is why they are presented as inferior somewhat. They are just crazy, primitive, etc, - fundamentally different form us Dr J is arguing that in not finding reason or empathy, we are left accepting mass media portrayal of these situations as monstrous exceptional events. Anthropological Analysis as Antidote - We pick out these events in order to find deeper context within which these events can make sense - In saying we are looking to make sense (we are NOT looking to JUSTIFY these events), rather to make sense, is to find a way to understand these events not as bizarre collective deviants, not as saying they are stuck in the past, and certainly not having expectations that suggest that some people just have inferior beliefs. o We want to find and understand the context in which people react like this, so we can understand their reaction as a HUMAN response, not subhuman, not primitive human, etc o TO make sense is How could humans possible act this way? - One of the goals of Anthropology is to discover patters of human behaviour through time and past space that prove that we are all ultimately human in the same way that we all have an equal capacity for good and bad. - Again, its not about JUSTIFYING, its about coming to a RATIONAL understanding that these things are a part of the human history and tendencies - Any explanation that closets something happens because those people are strange, just does not satisfy anthropologists. We are focused on a universal humanity - What we then do to try and figure out how people come to these kinds of actions is pay a lot of attention to historical basis and to immediate context. We can begin to understand why people might react the waythey do. And why people facing similar contexts with a similar historical background may also act the same way. Causality and History - So how do we do this? - We thing about what CAUSES these responses o Any human situation can be considered from different perspectives in terms of cause. We should think about two kinds of causes PROXIMATE CAUSE: The nearby and immediate facts that make something possible. Ex. Eating breakfast Proximate causes have to do with what food is available in your house; did you wake up on time; how you are feeling; what you imagine your day to be like; The immediate context (ex you might want eggs, but if you dont have them, you wont eat eggs). You cant shoot people without a gun. ULTIMATE CAUSES: Further away Ex. If you didnt learn to think that eggs are edible, you wouldnt eat them; you had to learn that bread is tasty; You also couldnt eat eggs and toast if there was not an entire economic system that produced eggs and toast. Then there has to be a system to get the eggs and toast to you food distribution, ways to exchange money for food. You also have to assume you have money, toasters, power brought to your home, cooking materials etc. Things that make is possible and conceivable to make you able to eat eggs and toast - When it comes to understanding how people behave in a certain way, we need to look at proximate and ultimate causes. What made them have the materials for mass violence, and what made it conceivable for them to think of mass violence
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