Posted by: Mm | October 28, 2008

Thirty reasons to check on the historians

Doing some re-reading on Max Weber’s (irrational) perception of the supposedly irrational nature of the Asians I stumbled upon an interesting book by US author James M. Blaut. Eight Eurocentric Historians is a very lucid analysis of the eurocentric presumptions in the great renowned works of historians from Weber’s time on – apart from Weber he scrutinizes the work of Lynn White Jr., Robert Brenner, Eric L. Jones, Michael Mann, John A. Hall, Jared Diamond and David Landes. Showing the historians’ prejudice and stereotype about the world outside Europe, this book also indicates with sharp criticism that no academic orientation or political standpoint is safe from the disease of Eurocentrism.

The book impressively ends with a list of mis-assertions that historians (and others) use to justify the European primacy over the world, wittily called Thirty Reasons Why Europeans Are Better Than Everyone Else. Displaying admirable sense of irony Blaut thus presents a true checklist: a series of claims, presumptions and false truisms that fill the pages of history books in Europe and US from the primary school textbooks to the level of academic articles. A useful checklist for checking on the historians.

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