By P. Gathercole
This stimulating assortment demonstrates the inadequacy of a historical past that's regularly written by means of the ``winners.'' Drawing on unique experiences from Africa, North the United States, Australia and the Pacific in an effort to make its issues, The Politics of the prior emphasizes that archaeology has an important position to play in selling a extra balanced, eclectic method of the earlier. The essays within the booklet are equipped round 4 issues: the kinds and results of the Eurocentric background, the conflicting views of rulers and governed, the importance of administrative and institutional rivalries, and the divide among expert and renowned perspectives of archaeology. This illuminating ebook goals to counterpoint old and archaeological inquiry and interpretation.
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Extra info for The Politics of the Past
375). In a letter to a friend in 1918 (1957, p. ’ National Geographic, then, is all-American, as American as Mom, applepie, and industrial capitalism. Its themes are expansion and discovery, homage to boundless American ability, ambition, and resourcefulness, showing that Americans can go anywhere and do anything, and that strategic resources for some is knowledge for all. Here is geography at the service of society, promoting America, democracy, and internationalism through exploration, expansion, and imperialism: ARCHAEOLOGY IN NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 25 The clerk in the store or the mechanic in a mill may not consciously engage in any enterprise [of discovery], but when he learns that the government of which he is a part has…opened a town on the shores of the North Pacific…and has driven a railroad nearly 40 miles inland toward the Arctic Circle on its way to the coal fields of the Matanuska and the gold fields of the Tanana, he has a feeling that he, too, is participating in the making of this new world.
All give Europe the greatest coverage, with the Near East close behind. Major areas such as China and sub-Saharan Africa tend to be marginalized. It is in the space allocated to different parts of the world that the Eurocentricity of these volumes is most immediately apparent. The aim of the present enquiry is to assess how much this Eurocentricity stems from the European world view of the editors and publishers and how much from such practical constraints as the availability of material and the demands of potential markets.
By the late 19th century, non-Europeans were consigned to inherited, ineradicable inferiority. In this view, documented by Gero & Root (Ch. 2) from a century of archaeological stereotypes in the National Geographic Magazine, and by Blakey (Ch. 3) and Belgrave (Ch. 5) from stereotypical museum presentations, only Europeans had advanced over time; indeed, only Europeans have had a history in any intelligible sense. Incapable of progress, other peoples were seen as permanently stalled at lower levels of culture through which Europeans had evolved millennia before.