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Old 01-30-2003, 05:02 PM   #1
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Universal, not European history

The conflicts which the world faces nowadays are not only about "Who´s got the power?" also about "Who´s got culture?"

Just remember that the Arabic region has had a very high old culture when the U.S. didn´t dream of existing, before of Columbus.

Remember that in all the history books we read, and all the books our children learn about, the middle age is normally thought of as a dark period.

For the Arabs, it wasn´t quite like that, was it? They had a great culture developing between 600 and 1200, reaching its high point around 1300, while Europe was full of religious wars.

Another example is India. Their products, f.e. silk, were better than the ones of the British Empire, but the Brits needed tea. So they stole Gold and Silver from Africa to trade it with the salesmen from India, for silk etc. Now there was an opium war too... generalized we can say that while Great Britain was industrialized, India was de - industrialized (no more "higher", "industrial" products, but agricultural ones).

I think some books should be rewritten. Its always European, Northern or Western history we learn, because this is in the interest of those who are in power. "To bomb someone back into the Middle Age"- hah!

What we need is Universal History. A history that covers the view of a certain country/ region from its own point of view.

Feel free to discuss.
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Old 01-30-2003, 05:59 PM   #2
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Actually, this has already been done. I can't think of any specific books offhand, but something called "social history" is becoming very popular in schools (it was being talked about a little when I was in high school, which gets further and further away all the time). Social history combines all elements of what *makes* history--economic, cultural, artistic and other factors, for example--to try and weave a more complete picture of what a country, region, or culture was like at a specific point in time.

A social history book would, for example, recognize the fact that Arabic cultures were very advanced during the European Dark Ages. Social history is being taught increasingly now; for example, even though I'm pretty young, I knew what you said about Arabia and Asia being advanced cultures long before we ever thought they were ("we" being Americans or Western Europeans). I don't know how old you are, hiphop, but perhaps when you were in school you learned more about things from a Eurocentric viewpoint, which tended to highlight military history (and economic history a little); that is, history is, for you, mostly an endless series of wars and treaties. This, of course, is a pretty narrow view.

You make good points, but the sort of history you're talking about is on its way to being viewed as dead and inert by many people in historical fields.
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Old 01-30-2003, 06:04 PM   #3
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I think the problem with our history is that it is romanticized, not only by the U.S., but by everyone. We have all sorts of people wishing to go back to the "good old days," but forget that the people back then eagerly embraced progress and couldn't wait to advance themselves. Just look where many of us are today?

I think it is tragic how much of the Islamic world has plunged into poverty and ignorance. It is a far cry from their scholarship of 1000+ years ago, but how many will know their history?

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Old 01-30-2003, 06:10 PM   #4
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it also doesnt help that history has always had the victors write the books.
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Old 01-30-2003, 07:04 PM   #5
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it also doesnt help that history has always had the victors write the books.
Indeed.
Only four Mayan texts survived from the thousands burned by Spanish conquistadors.
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Old 01-30-2003, 07:12 PM   #6
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but at least

they beat Christianity into them.
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Old 01-30-2003, 08:02 PM   #7
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I'm studying modern cultural/social history next year.
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Old 01-30-2003, 08:14 PM   #8
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The fact that Arabian culture and society was more advanced than Europe in the middle ages was taught when I was in grade school here in the USA.
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Old 01-30-2003, 10:06 PM   #9
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Let's look at this issue a litle more in-depth:

If we are going to explore history fully, do we even want to expose the negative information?

For example, I did not learn until college that blacks owned slaves in Louisiana up to the time of the Civil War. Certainly we don't want to put this information into students' textbooks.

Also, who could possibly ignore the advanced civilization of the Arab world up to 1300? That was always presented in my World History classes. One area that may cause disagreement, however, is why that civilization declined, but I willnot get into that.

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Old 01-31-2003, 02:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama
Let's look at this issue a litle more in-depth:

If we are going to explore history fully, do we even want to expose the negative information?

For example, I did not learn until college that blacks owned slaves in Louisiana up to the time of the Civil War. Certainly we don't want to put this information into students' textbooks.

~U2Alabama
What a silly statement. Whether or not a few uppity blacks (and it is certainly a few) betrayed their own brothers and sisters hardly changes the fact that the blame for the brutal genoicide and slavery of millions of black Africans in America lies squarely where it does, and it aint on black people.
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Old 01-31-2003, 06:08 AM   #11
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gabrielvox, you are right, but you imply something that U2Bama didn´t say. He said "Certainly we don´t want to put... into textbooks" and I imply that he said so bc he recognizes the fact this would give a wrong picture of slavery.

I am the biggest fighter against slavery you will find, but it is a fact that even in Africa there was slave trade, sure, mainly committed by whites, but a little by Africans too.

Which doesn´t weaken the argument of billions of reparations $$ that the countries who actually benefitted from slavery will have to pay for the commitment of their crimes.

But when we discuss openly, we have to be ready for statements like that, and not just brush them off as stupid.
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Old 01-31-2003, 06:10 AM   #12
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Originally posted by STING2
The fact that Arabian culture and society was more advanced than Europe in the middle ages was taught when I was in grade school here in the USA.
Fine, but I say that in our brains, we judge things different bc we have the "European picture".
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Old 01-31-2003, 07:35 AM   #13
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The truth is what needs to be taught, not just something ideologically friendly to the nation teaching the lessons.

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Old 01-31-2003, 07:39 AM   #14
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Great points, pax.

I agree, melon. Now, how can we define truth, then?
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Old 01-31-2003, 09:43 AM   #15
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I agree, melon. Now, how can we define truth, then?
I'm going to guess that we can't define it in such a way that everyone everywhere is going to agree on it. The modernist assumption that thinking people everywhere, if they just used their reason, would come to the same conclusions, seems to have been largely de-bunked by postmodern critiques. But the question remains then...do we throw out truth (as a concept) entirely or do we admit that we are finite and come up with different stabs at it and that we could be right. But we could also be wrong.

random thots.
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