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Eight Eurocentric Historians
     

Eight Eurocentric Historians

5.0 1
by J. M. Blaut
 

This volume examines and critiques the work of a diverse group of Eurocentric historians who have strongly shaped our understanding of world history. Building upon the foundations laid in his previous book, The Colonizer's Model of the World, which provided a systematic overview of the nature and evolution of Eurocentrism, Blaut focuses in depth on Max Weber, Lynn

Overview

This volume examines and critiques the work of a diverse group of Eurocentric historians who have strongly shaped our understanding of world history. Building upon the foundations laid in his previous book, The Colonizer's Model of the World, which provided a systematic overview of the nature and evolution of Eurocentrism, Blaut focuses in depth on Max Weber, Lynn White, Jr., Robert Brenner, Eric L. Jones, Michael Mann, John A. Hall, Jared Diamond, and David Landes. The role of each of these thinkers in generating colonialist understandings of history is described, and the fallacious assumptions at the roots of their arguments are revealed. Working toward an alternative understanding of the origins of modernity, this clearly written book provides invaluable insights and tools for students and scholars of history, geography, sociology, anthropology, and postcolonialism.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a hard-hitting but infinitely justified skewering of the standard line on the 'miracle' of the West's rise to hegemony. Blaut begins with the Eurocentric racism of Max Weber vis-à-vis Islam and the Far East, and proceeds methodically down to Weber's most recent heirs, including Eric Jones and David Landes. He demonstrates his points through a close, albeit critical, reading of the works of these eight historians who have attributed Western superiority to ideology, values, capitalism, geopolitics, climate, and technological inventiveness. Blaut sets forth a powerful alternative explanation, one he promises to expand in a forthcoming third volume." —Janet Abu-Lughod, Department of Sociology, New School for Social Research

"This book is a sequel and complement to Blaut's earlier work, The Colonizer's Model of the World, in which he examined and rejected alleged European exeptionalism' and superiority based on religion, race, environment, and culture. Blaut returns to this same battlefield now. One after another, as in a shooting gallery, he not only hits but dissects and completely demolishes the ideology-dressed-up-as-theory of the eight most prominent exponents of Eurocentrism, from the now classic statement of Max Weber to its contemporary best selling versions by Jared Diamond and David Landes. A 'must' for macro sociologists and historians." —Andre Gunder Frank, Visiting Professor of International Relations, University of Miami and Florida International University

"This book dissects and completely demolishes the ideology-dressed-up-as-theory of the eight most prominent exponents of Eurocentrism in world history, from the now classic statement of Max Weber to its contemporary bestselling versions by Jared Diamond and David Landes. A 'must' for macro sociologists and historians." —Andre Gunder Frank, Visiting Professor of International Relations, University of Miami and Florida International University

"This is a significant work, one that is sure to be both widely read and controversial. Blaut contends with some major thinkers whose work has been relatively unchallenged. He takes strong critical positions and backs them up thoroughly." —Ronald H. Chilcote, Department of Economics, University of California, Riverside; editor of Latin American Perspectives

"This book is original...timely, well-written, and accessible. I would recommend it for capstone undergraduate history courses and for introductory graduate-level courses in world history." —Peter Gran, Department of History, Temple University, author of Beyond Eurocentrism: A New View of Modern World History

Booknews
Examines and critiques the work of a diverse group of Eurocentric historians who have strongly shaped our understanding of world history, focusing on the work of thinkers such as Max Weber, Michael Mann, Jared Diamond, and David Landes. The role of each of these thinkers in generating colonialist understandings of history is described, and the fallacious assumptions at the roots of their arguments are revealed. Blaut teaches geography at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781572305915
Publisher:
Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
08/10/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
242
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)

Meet the Author

J. M. Blaut, PhD, until his death in 2000, was Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The author of The Colonizer's Model of the World and Eight Eurocentric Historians, Dr. Blaut was a recipient of the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Awards in his name are given annually by the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group and the Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group of the AAG.

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Eight Eurocentric Historians 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
In this brilliantly illuminating book, the late James Blaut, who was Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois at Chicago, examined and criticised books by eight influential historians who presented the standard model of Eurocentric world history - Max Weber, Lynn White, Robert Brenner, Eric Jones, Michael Mann, John Hall, Jared Diamond and David Landes. Eurocentrism falsely ascribed historical superiority to Europeans over all other peoples. It saw progress as permanent and natural in Europe, but elsewhere as only produced by European rule. Europeans modestly saw themselves as uniquely progressive and rational, with the best ideology, family structure, markets and cities. Eurocentrism grew and gained its validation from Europe's colonialism (and later from the EU). There were four kinds of Eurocentric theory - religious (the notion of Christendom, dominant in the 19th century), racial (popular until the 1940s), environmental and cultural. For German sociologist Max Weber, the keys to Europe's superiority were race, 'Oriental despotism', 'the Protestant ethic', and the European mind. Lynn White, the American medieval historian, thought that Europe's inventions, particularly the heavy plough, the horse collar and the three-field system of crop rotation, gave Europe the lead. But these were all invented elsewhere as well. Robert Brenner sited capitalist development uniquely in late-medieval English rural society, but all its key attributes have been found elsewhere too. Jared Diamond claimed that Europe's environment was uniquely favourable to progress. White, Brenner, Jones, Mann and Hall all repeated Adam Smith's notion that capitalism developed naturally from (European) feudalism because capitalists removed political blocks to economic progress. They all propounded the colonial myths that Asia and Africa's despotic states and backward religions blocked progress. Yet Europe also had despotic states and a backward religion. Some saw imperialism as 'the expression of a deep human drive' (Landes). They saw colonialism as natural and progressive: Europe's ideas would modernise the east, removing the cause of its poverty - irrational traditions (not exploitation or colonialism). Some thought that Europe gave civilisation, development, modernisation, globalisation and aid; in return the rest gave their wealth. Blaut contended that Europe's rise began in 1492, because Europe was best placed to grab the New World's riches. But this smacks of geographical determinism. Spain grabbed much of the New World's riches, but didn't industrialise. Britain pioneered the industrial revolution, but Blaut doesn't explain why. The British working class made the industrial revolution; in its struggle for survival, our class made industry, made itself and made history.