Tellingly, it was precisely the most ethnicallydiverse Eastern European state—Yugoslavia—that failedto manage the transition from Communism to democ-racy in a peaceful fashion. In the Union of Soviet Social-ist Republics, the façade of ethnofederalism had servedthe Leninist regime as a propagandist tool employed inthe maintenance of centralized, one-party rule. Thedemise of Communism led to the victory by default ofethnic nationalism as the operative legitimizing ideologyin the newly independent republics. Ethnic warfare dulybroke out between or within former Soviet republics suchas Armenia and Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Georgia.At the beginning of the twenty-ﬁrst century, ethnicnationalism remains a powerful and often destructiveforce not only along the borderlands of the former SovietUnion, but throughout much of the world. In some of theAsian and African states whose post-1945 independencewas claimed in the name of nationalism (e.g., Sri Lanka,Rwanda), the unifying emotions of the anti-colonialstruggle and its memory are proving an inadequate foun-dation for the construction of cohesive national identitiescapable of transcending deep internal ethno-cultural divi-sions. It has been observed that the greater the pressuretoward global economic and cultural homogenization,the stronger the backlash from groups seeking politicalsovereignty as a bulwark for the protection of their ethno-cultural heritage or as protection against the repressivepolicies of dominant ethnicities. While some manifesta-tions of this tendency can be dismissed as “the narcissismof minor difference” (Ignatieff 1993, 21–22), no societybasing its political institutions on the principle of popu-lar sovereignty can ignore the fundamental dilemma ofhow to deﬁne and lend cohesive form to its people’s iden-tity without sowing discord among the ethno-culturalgroups constituting its population.Aviel RoshwaldSee also Ethnicity; Ethnocentrism; Nationalism; Nation-StateFurther ReadingAnderson, B. (1991). Imagined communities (2nd ed.). London: Verso.Armstrong, J. A. (1982). Nations before nationalism. Chapel Hill: Uni-versity of North Carolina Press.Brubaker, R. (1996). Nationalism reframed: Nationhood and the NationalQuestion in the New Europe. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UniversityPress.Davidson, B. (1992). The black man’s burden: Africa and the curse of thenation-state. New York: Random House.Dunbar, R. (1998). Grooming, gossip, and the evolution of language.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Gellner, E. (1983). Nations and nationalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Uni-versity Press.Greenfeld, L. (1992). Nationalism: Five roads to modernity. Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press.Grosby, S. (2002). Biblical ideas of nationality: Ancient and modern.Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.Hastings, A. (1997). The construction of nationhood: Ethnicity, religionand nationalism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Horowitz, D. L. (2000). Ethnic groups in conﬂict (2nd ed.). Berkeley: Uni-versity of California Press.Ignatieff, M. (1993). Blood and belonging: Journeys into the new nation-alism. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Khalidi, R., et al. (Eds.). (1991). The origins of Arab nationalism. NewYork: Columbia University Press.Neuberger, R. B. (1986). National self-determination in postcolonialAfrica. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.Roshwald, A. (2001). Ethnic nationalism and the fall of empires: CentralEurope, Russia and the Middle East, 1914–1923. London: Routledge.Schöpﬂin, G. (2000). Nations, identity, power. New York: New York Uni-versity Press.Smith, A. D. (1986). The ethnic origins of nations. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Suny, R. G. (1993). The revenge of the past: Nationalism, revolution, andthe collapse of the Soviet Union. Stanford, CA: Stanford UniversityPress.Weber, E. (1976). Peasants into Frenchmen: The modernization of ruralFrance, 1870–1914. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.EthnicityEthnicity is a term both controversial and hard todeﬁne, but of vital importance for world history.From the earliest civilizations to the present day, cultureshave differentiated themselves from others on the basis ofethnicity. In many civilizations kings and nobles belongedto a different ethnicity than townspeople and peasants.And in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries researchersattempted to deﬁne ethnicity on a biological basis, creat-ing pseudoscientiﬁc ﬁelds such as eugenics and “race sci-680 berkshire encyclopedia of world history
ence.” Even in today’s transnational and globalized world,ethnicity continues to play an important role in nationalidentity and cooperation between different nations.DefinitionEthnicity is exceedingly difﬁcult to deﬁne in any preciseway. In different contexts, it can come close in meaningto terms such as race, national origin, tribe, or nation. Atthe root of the work is the Greek term ethnos, meaning“nation” but in the speciﬁc sense of a group of peopledescended from a common ancestor, a kind of largeextended family.When Sumerians referred to themselvesas the “black-headed people,” they were identifying them-selves by ethnicity.To be sure, even by 2500 BCEconsid-erable mixing of peoples had already occurred, but thecrucial fact is that the Sumerians distinguished themselvesfrom other cultures not only by their language and reli-gion, but by their physical appearance and descent: thatis, by ethnicity.Ethnicity thus refers in its most restricted form to agroup’s shared biological origins. But in any complexsociety intermarriage between diverse groups occurs.Thus ethnicity is often more correctly thought of as theway people perceive their own origins, rather than a bio-logical fact. While ethnicity in its narrow sense comesclose to clan or race in meaning, in its broader deﬁnitionethnicity more closely resembles the concept of nation-ality. So when nineteenth-century nationalists praisedthe long historical existence and glorious past of, say, theGerman or Lithuanian nations, they did so in ethnicterms. Nation, a more political term, in this way becamedeﬁned and propagandized as a function of ethnicity.Strictly speaking, religion and culture have nothing todo with ethnicity. After all, a person can convert or learna new language, even as an adult. In practice, however,ethnicity often becomes closely linked with a speciﬁc lan-guage or religion.Thus Poles and Croats came to see theirethnic identity closely linked with the Catholic religion.Similarly, tradition and history forged a tight link betweenthe perception of Russian ethnicity and the RussianOrthodox Church. Again it is necessary to keep in mindthat ethnic mythologies are frequently more importantthan actual bloodlines.Ethnicity in the Premodern WorldIn the premodern world, before industrialization and thepolitical-social changes of the past roughly 250 years, eth-nicity very frequently overlapped with social class. Quiteunlike in modern political systems, premodern princesoften ruled over regions of extremely mixed ethnic pop-ulations with little concern about the origins or languagesspoken by their subjects. Indeed, many rulers gloriﬁedtheir own ethnic origins as distinct from those of the peo-ple they ruled. The Mughal rulers of what is now Indiaand Pakistan, starting with Zahir-ud-Din Muhammad(Babur; 1483–1530 CE), remembered Central Asia astheir true homeland, even centuries afterwards. Simi-larly, the Manchu rulers of Qing China (1644–1912 CE)consciously emphasized their ethnic and cultural differ-ences from the Han Chinese they ruled over.The fact thatthe ruling classes were of a different ethnicity than the restof the population was perceived as quite normal.In the premodern world, ethnic and cultural diversitywas seldom regarded as a political or social problem. Onthe whole, ethnic groups lived separately (even in the sameterritory), following their own rules and religious laws, buttolerated by the rulers as long as they paid taxes andavoided rebellion. This is the situation in much of theHebrew Bible, which recounts the story of one ethnicity(deﬁned originally by religion) that lived under a varietyof foreign rulers, from Persians to Egyptians.We should re-call that in the premodern world social and physical mo-bility was quite restricted. Because different ethnic groupsmixed less, they also were less likely to take on eachother’s cultural and linguistic characteristics.That is, therewas relatively little assimilation in the premodern world.Each group followed its own affairs, often guaranteed inits autonomy by the king or sultan, as in the Ottomanempire’s millet system, which allowed Jews, OrthodoxChristians, and other ethnic groups (though deﬁned byreligion) very broad autonomy in their internal affairs.ethnicity 681
This is not to say that assimilation did not exist in thepremodern world. Any powerful and successful cultureattracts imitation among people with enough time, afﬂu-ence, and ambition to attempt to take on a new culture.For example, in the Roman empire non-Romans wereactively encouraged to learn Latin, dress like the Romans,and accept Roman culture in all its forms.Thus “barbar-ians” (to use the Roman term) like Franks,Visigoths, andLombards gradually shed their original languages evenwhile retaining important ethnic and cultural differences.With the collapse of the Roman empire in the ﬁfth cen-tury CE, the mixture of indigenous, Roman, and “barbar-ian” cultures allowed new ethnic groups like Frenchmen,Italians, and Spaniards to develop.Even in the premodern world some cultural and ethnicmixing took place. But there were limits to theseprocesses. For example, stark physical differences in skincolor and outward appearance between Europeans,Asians, Africans, and (Native) Americans made it difﬁcultif not impossible for, say, a Mexican or Peruvian to claimto belong to the Spanish ethnicity. In this way race pre-cluded or at the least stymied a broader process of ethnic-racial assimilation. Ethnicity played a crucial role in“ordering” the social order of the post-Columbian NewWorld. At the highest ranks of society were the European-born, closely followed by Creoles (of European ethnicitybut born in the New World). Descending down thesocial hierarchy, people of mixed American and Europeanparentage (“mestizos”) came next, with indigenous peo-ple and African slaves occupying the lowest social ranks.Ethnicity and NationalismAs we have seen, in the premodern world princes andtheir subjects frequently belonged to different ethnicities.Because premodern rulers did not derive their legitimacyfrom “the nation” (that is, the people they ruled over), this682 berkshire encyclopedia of world historyEthnicity and LawThe following text outlines a legal case in traditionalChina and then provides an analysis of how Chineseconceptions of kinship and age inﬂuence the legalsystem.Huang scolded his daughter-in-law, Ch’en, becauseshe had stolen some rice and then sold it. Ch’en weptbitterly. The father-in-law became extremely angryand beat his daughter-in-law with the iron handle ofa hoe. Ch’en suffered injuries on the chest and tem-ple and died. The authorities concluded that thedaughter-in-law had not scolded her father-in-law,that it was wrong to direct blows at the chest and tem-ple, and that it was equally wrong to use an iron han-dle as an instrument of correction. The case wasconsidered as “beating to death in an unreasonableand unusual manner,” and Huang was imprisoned forthree years.In homicide cases, the Chinese criminal code dif-ferentiated between different causes and circum-stances of death. It also made distinctions in thepunishment, depending on the relationship betweenthe victim and the person charged with the crime.Thepunishment was always more severe when a childcaused a parent’s or grandparent’s death than viceversa.Acts that were considered “unﬁlial” or “perverse”were also punished more severely. A parent’s suicidecaused by a son’s disobedience was also an extremelyserious offense. However the case here had extenuat-ing circumstances. The mother’s suicide was notcaused by the son’s impiety or disobedience, thusthough he was still held responsible, the sentence waslightened. On the other hand, under the Tang, Song,Ming, and Qing codes, parents-in-law were justiﬁed inkilling a daughter-in-law if she had ﬁrst scolded orbeaten them, but were held culpable for three yearsjail term if they had caused her death by beating herin an unreasonable or unusual manner. Both theabove cases come from a collection on the Qing legalsystem of the 18th and early 19th centuries; but sincethe Qing code followed the traditions and standardsset in previous dynasties, the same rules would haveapplied in similar cases in earlier centuries also.Source: T‘ung-tsu Ch‘ü, (1961). Law and Society in Traditional China (pp. 116). Paris:Mouton and Co.
pean control over Asians and Africans. Rudyard Kipling’spoem “The White Man’s Burden,” which urged theUnited States to take on the responsibilities of this impe-rialism, nicely sums up these beliefs.Ethnicity in an Age of GlobalismAfter World War II, racism, extreme forms of nationalism,and imperialism were explicitly rejected by the UnitedNations (formed 1945). Though many forms of thesevicious ideologies and practices continued, few worldleaders were prepared to defend theories of ethnic orracial superiority. Optimists looked forward to a worldfree of nationalism and racism in the near future. Unfor-tunately their expectations were not realized.In the two decades after the end of World War II,dozens of new independent states were created out of for-mer colonies, for the most part in Africa and Asia. Almostall of these new countries contained a variety of ethnicgroups among its citizens, often speaking very differentlanguages and following different cultures. For example,the new state known as Pakistan was created from mainlyMuslim regions of British India without consideration ofits citizens’ ethnic diversity.The very name “Pakistan” wascreated to reﬂect this ethnic variety, its ﬁrst letters refer-ring to different regions dominated by diverse ethnicgroups, e.g., Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir.While British India split along religious lines (Hindu-Muslim) when achieving independence from Britain in1947, most colonies were transformed into sovereignstates without any border changes. Since colonial lineswere drawn in the nineteenth century without consider-ing ethnic difference, African countries are some of themost ethnically diverse in the world. In many cases thishas caused serious problems, including difﬁculties incommunication among populations speaking extremelydifferent languages. An even greater tragedy occurred inthe late 1960s when the oil-rich region of Biafra at-tempted to secede from Nigeria. Biafra’s declaration of in-dependence was based in part on the ethnic demands ofthe Ibo (or Igbo) nation against Yoruba dominance. Inethnicity 683ethnic difference had no effect on their power. All this wasto change in the nineteenth centuryCEwith the growthof nationalism. Nationalism can be simply deﬁned as thepolitical doctrine that demands that all “nations” (groupsof people bound together by language, culture, religion,shared history, or some combination of these factors)should have their own “states” (sovereign political units).As a political movement, nationalism traces its originsback to the French Revolution, which demanded that thenation—not the king—should decide France’s politicsand future. One great sticking point of early nationalism,however, was the deﬁnition of a nation.This is where eth-nicity often came in.To be sure, few nationalists sincerelybelieved that, say, all Germans were really descendedfrom the same ancestors, but in their rhetoric they actedas if this was the case. Some extreme cases, like the his-torian and racist philosopher Joseph-Arthur de Gob-ineau (1816–1882), speciﬁcally deﬁned nations on thebasis of ethnicity and even race.The evil consequences ofsuch racist theories became entirely apparent with the riseof Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) to power in Germany. Aspart of his perverse program to “purify” the Germannation, Hitler helped perpetrate one of the most appallingmass murders in history, causing millions of deaths.In the United States, too, ethnicity played a major partin politics. Before 1864 the vast majority of African-Americans were enslaved and long afterward did notenjoy de facto equal rights with other Americans. Asiansimmigrated to the United States in large numbers in themid-1800s and helped build the transcontinental railroad(completed 1869), but they also suffered prejudice andlegal disabilities. By the end of the century legal immi-gration from Asia (especially China) was almost impos-sible, while the descendants of earlier Asian immigrantswere often denied citizens’ rights.In the last quarter of the nineteenth century and intothe twentieth, European nations (joined to some extentby the United States) extended their dominion overmuch of the rest of the world, especially in Africa. Dur-ing this boom of “new imperialism,” ethnicity—usually ina racist sense—was employed as a tool to justify Euro-
the end Nigerian troops crushed Biafran independenceand an uneasy truce was declared between the three mainethnic groups (Ibo,Yoruba, Hausa) that together make upsome two-thirds of the country’s population.While progress on interethnic relations has been madein Nigeria, the central African country of Rwanda wit-nessed a horrendous ethnic-based genocide in 1994.Twomain ethnic groups, Tutsis and Hutus, dominated thesmall country created by Belgian colonists. The assassi-nation of the Hutu president of the country set off a mas-sacre of the Tutsi minority in which the majority of thecountry’s Tutsis were brutally murdered. In part, theHutu hatred for Tutsis stemmed from historical factors.Tutsis had dominated the region’s politics before inde-pendence and the Belgian colonial authorities had gen-erally favored the Tutsi minority over their Hutuneighbors, causing widespread resentment.Socialist states aimed to overcome ethnic hatred andcreate new national identities not based on ethnicity.Thetwo best examples of such attempts are the Union ofSoviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) and Yugoslavia. Inthe U.S.S.R., ofﬁcially all languages and ethnicitiesenjoyed equal rights.The country was divided up into ﬁf-teen “union republics” (Russian Soviet Federated Social-ist Republic, Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic,Azerbai-jan S.S.R., Belorussian S.S.R., Estonian S.S.R., GeorgianS.S.R., Kazakh S.S.R., Kirgiz S.S.R., Latvian S.S.R.,Lithuanian S.S.R., Moldavian S.S.R., Tadzhik S.S.R.,Turkmen S.S.R., Ukrainian S.S.R., Uzbek S.S.R.) inwhich generally two ofﬁcial languages were used: Russ-ian and the local language.Thus in Vilnius, the capital ofSoviet Lithuania, street signs were always bilingual, inRussian and Lithuanian. But with the economic prob-lems and political fumbling of the late 1980s in theU.S.S.R., ethnic strife grew. Bloody clashes occurred inthe Caucasus region, between Muslim Azeris and Chris-tian Armenians. In the Baltic republics (Estonian S.S.R.,Latvian S.S.R., Lithuanian S.S.R.) ethnic pride was onetool used by local activists against the U.S.S.R., culminat-ing in independence in the early 1990s. Considering thehuge size and ethnic diversity of the U.S.S.R., it is remark-able that its collapse engendered so little ethnic violence.An opposite example is Yugoslavia. The south Slavstate had been created out of an expanded Serbia afterWorld War I. After World War II, Marshal Josip Broz Tito(1892–1980) led the country to liberation from theNazis, then created a socialist state in which no one eth-nic group was dominant. As long as Tito lived, the com-promise between Yugoslavia’s diverse ethnicities lasted. Inthe 1980s, however, a combination of political and eco-nomic breakdowns led to ethnic massacres in the early1990s. Once again historical memories played somerole here: many Serbs remembered the murderous activ-ities of the Croatian Ustasha, which had collaboratedwith the Nazis during World War II and massacred thou-sands of Serbs and Jews. Since the Dayton Peace Accordsof 1995, an uneasy peace has existed in the regionthough clashes between ethnic Serbs and Albanians inthe Kosovo region have ﬂared up periodically.In the early twenty-ﬁrst century, one catchword con-stantly repeated is “globalization.” But even while theInternet, popular culture, and international trade bringthe world closer, ethnicity remains a key and deﬁningissue in domestic and international politics throughoutthe world. Only the future will reveal whether humanitywill learn to appreciate and celebrate ethnic diversity ina spirit of toleration and mutual respect or will takeinstead the negative path of prejudice, aggression, andgenocide.Theodore R.WeeksSee also Ethnic Nationalism; Ethnocentrism; IndigenousPeoplesFurther ReadingArmstrong, J. A. (1982). Nations before nationalism. Chapel Hill: Uni-versity of North Carolina Press.Christie, K. (Ed.). (1998). Ethniic conﬂict, tribal politics: A global per-spective. Richmond, UK: Curzon Press.Connor, W. (1994). Ethnonationalism: The quest for understanding.Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Eley, G., & Suny, R. G. (Eds.). (1996). Becoming national: A reader. NewYork: Oxford University Press.Elliott, M. C. (2001). The Manchu way:The eight banners and ethnic iden-tity in late imperial China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Gellner, E. (1983). Nations and nationalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Uni-versity Press.684 berkshire encyclopedia of world history
Honig, E. (1992). Creating Chinese ethnicity: Subei people in Shanghai,1850–1980. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Kurien, P. A. (2002). Kaleidoscopic ethnicity: International migration andthe reconstruction of community identities in India. New Brunswick,NJ: Rutgers University Press.Martin,T. (2001). The afﬁrmative action empire: Nations and nationalismin the Soviet Union, 1923–1939. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.McNeill,W. H. (1986). Poliethnicity and national unity in world history.Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.Snyder,T. (2003). The reconstruction of nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithua-nia, Belarus, 1569–1999. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Takaki, R. (Ed.). (1994). From different shores: Perspectives on race andethnicity in America. New York: Oxford University Press.EthnocentrismEthnocentrism is the tendency to place one’s owntribe, race, or country at the center of human affairs assuperior to other such peoples. Ethnocentrism has existedin virtually all societies in human history.To feel superiorto other peoples requires that one is aware of othersbeyond one’s national or cultural boundaries. To feelsuperior to other peoples also requires that one knowsenough about others to judge their civilization or way oflife as inferior to one’s own.Therefore, for ethnocentrismto take root and ﬂourish, engagement with the world out-side is necessary. A society that lacks the economic, mili-tary, or human resources to step outside its borders and dobusiness with other peoples, whether through trade, con-quest, or otherwise, cannot easily be labeled “ethnocen-tric,” even if it is concerned primarily or solely with itself.During the last two centuries Western colonialismplaced much of the globe under the control of Europeancountries or their transplants. Along with the politicaland military dimensions of colonialism, the colonizersoften took it upon themselves to “improve” the subjectpeoples on the assumption that Western cultural valuesand social structures are superior to those of the subjectpeoples. The nineteenth-century English politicianThomas Macaulay justiﬁed, for example, the “Anglicizing”of India on the grounds that “one shelf of a Westernlibrary” had more to offer than centuries of Easternknowledge and literature. French colonizers regarded lamission civilisatrice (civilizing mission, the weaning ofthe natives from their primitive ways) as an integral partof their work in their colonies. Ethnocentrism certainlyprovided Europeans with a handy justiﬁcation for theirpolicies. Darwinist ideas during the late nineteenth cen-tury provided an argument to those people who believedthat only the best, which generally meant their ownnation, would survive and prosper over all others.Ethnocentric worldviews have not, however, been lim-ited to European colonists in the modern era. The Chi-nese name for their country, the “Middle Kingdom,”encapsulates the historical perspective that all those peo-ple outside its borders were barbarians who lacked theskills and civilization of the Chinese. This perspectiveapplied to the numerous tribes of central Asia, mostethnocentrism 685In this drawing missionary DavidLivingstone is shown letting Africans listento the ticking of his watch. It conveys theethnocentric notion of Western superiority.
hand. Ethnocentrism is dependent on the power that acertain group exercises in regard to others. Ethnocentricviews need to be asserted and displayed to those who arebeing looked down upon.East and WestThe discussion of ethnocentrism has taken a new turnduring the last two decades with the appearance of thePalestinian scholar Edward Said’s ideas on orientalism(an ethnocentric Western regard of Asian peoples) andthe subsequent application of these ideas to areas beyond686 berkshire encyclopedia of world historyfamously the Mongols, whom the Chinese regarded as aconstant threat to their way of life.When the British cameto China during the eighteenth century to trade, and theiremissary George Macartney refused to kowtow to theemperor, clearly strong feelings of ethnic superiorityexisted on both sides. Chinese attitudes changed, how-ever, during the nineteenth century as the country wassubjected to military defeats and humiliating treaties, andChinese intellectuals sought to introduce Western-stylereforms and openly acknowledged the inadequacy of tra-ditional Chinese ideas in dealing with the challenges atA Christian–Buddhist DialogueThe following conversation between a Thai noblemanin Thailand and a Christian missionary in about 1850makes clear the basic beliefs of each faith and suggeststhe differing perspectives in these contact situations.Nobleman. After all, my religion is a better religionthan yours.Missionary. Convince me of that and Your Excellencyshall be my teacher.N. This is my religion: To be so little tied to the worldthat I can leave it without regret; to keep my heartsound; to live doing no injustice to any, but deeds ofcompassion to all.M. This is excellent: this accords with my teaching;but will Your Excellency tell me what those must dowho have already committed sin?N. Why should they commit sin?M. Who has not sinned: We should own we havesinned; we Christians have One who has removedour sins from us, and taken them upon himself; butyou—N. Where have I sinned? I do not acknowledge sin.M. But it is not enough that men should be honestand kind to one another.They owe allegiance to God,their great Sovereign.To disobey Him, to forget Him,to avoid His presence, to be indifferent to His favor—this is sin.N. And so you think God is censorious and jealousof His creatures, and wants their services and theirpraises? No! Let us treat all men justly. God isabsorbed, gone into annihilation. We need not betroubled or think about Him.M. No! He lives above! He is our Master. It is notenough that servants should be honest towards theirfellows, kind to their wives and children; they owe totheir Master service and gratitude, and will be pun-ished if they do not render them.N. Who is to punish? You call sin what is no sin.M. But does not Your Excellency ﬂog your servantswhen they disobey? Do you pardon them solelybecause they have not wronged their fellow servants?N. (Much excited). What service does God want ofus? He is not envious and covetous, as you fancyHim to be.M. Suppose I told Your Excellency’s servants thatnothing was required of them but to live honestly andpleasantly together; to care nothing about you—nei-ther to seek to please, nor obey, nor serve you, nor bethankful for Your Excellency’s kindness: will youallow this?…N. Now I will tell you of your heavy sins.M. Show it to me and I will confess.N. Why don’t you take a wife?—Why don’t youprovide successors to teach your religion when youare gone? Christ had thirty disciples, had he not?and his disciples had wives and children; and theymultiplied, and have overrun the world; but your
the scope of Said’s study.Western knowledge of and atti-tudes toward non-Western peoples, according to Said,have been linked to Western dominance and power,both during the colonial era and after. Western repre-sentations of the East have been, his argument goes, boththe cause and the result of the unequal power relation-ship between the two during the last two hundred years.The East has been depicted as irrational, despotic, andbackward in contrast to the rational, democratic, andprogress-oriented West. Ethnocentric and racist attitudeshave certainly played a role in this depiction. Althoughthe point of Said’s accusations has been widely acknowl-edged in scholarship and efforts have been made to rec-tify it, orientalism arguably continues unabated in thenews and popular media.Although most people would regard ethnocentrism asundesirable, its close derivatives, such as nationalism, areoften viewed positively. The explanation for this differ-ence lies in part in the conﬂation (fusion) of ethnocen-trism and racism, with racism clearly being a negativetrait. Nationalism, on the other hand, does not alwaysimply a race-based afﬁliation, although it, too, limits itselfto a certain group to the exclusion of all others.Ethnocentrism does not, however, always require aninternational context. Within the borders of a state, oneracial or cultural or religious group can exercise powerover others. Although European or white dominationover others comes immediately to mind, this is by nomeans the only example.The disenfranchisement or evenpersecution of religious, linguistic, and ethnic minoritiesis widespread in both Western and non-Western coun-tries in the modern world. Although this phenomenon isoften not called “ethnocentrism,” mainly because it isoccurring within the same “people,” its characteristics andimpact are not very different from those of ethnocentrismin an international context.MulticulturalismToday people see multiculturalism, whether voluntary orencouraged or required by a government, as a desirableattitude in dealings with members of other groups. Itdenotes an openness to and appreciation of other cul-tures. Multiculturalism, so deﬁned, is the opposite of eth-nocentrism. Multiculturalism is not a purely twentieth-century phenomenon. It was a component, perhaps by adifferent name, of the worldview of Romantics (propo-nents of a literary, artistic, and philosophical movementoriginating during the eighteenth century) such as theGerman philosopher and theologian Johann Herder,who respected and valued all cultures around the world,including “native” cultures that were evidently not at thesame stage of historical development as those of theWest. Multiculturalism in this case co-existed with aethnocentrism 687religion and your name would perish together if oth-ers followed your example.M. Others will take care of this.N. No! Each man has a duty for himself.M. Your Excellency is right. I am beaten here; butyour Buddhist priests enjoin celibacy.N. Battle it then with the Buddhist priests and notwith me…Now how long have you American mis-sionaries been here?M. Nineteen years.N. Have you made a single convert?M. Not among the Siamese; and we acknowledgeour disappointment but are not discouraged. If amerchant sent out his agents and they failed, hewould recall them; but those who sent us wouldthink their sacriﬁces well repaid if a single soulwere saved; for a soul is not extinguished by death,but lives forever; and we know that Siam willbecome a Christian country.N. But the Siamese are not savages of the woods,having no religion and therefore ready to receiveone. We have our religion, in which we have beenbrought up from our childhood; it will not easily berooted out. Has it been in any single instance? Thework would be difﬁcult.Source: Bowring, J. (1857). The Kingdom and People of Siam (Vol. 1, pp. 378–380). Lon-don: John W. Parker and Son.
clear sense of being “above” certain other groups.Although modern multiculturalism is directed againstbiases, prejudices, and negativity toward other cultures,ethnocentrism, as an instinctual tendency to bandtogether with people like oneself, may be hard to elimi-nate by social policy or decree. Perhaps the best hope liesin the interconnections and cross-cultural contacts thatincreasingly deﬁne our world and force us to recognizehow critical members of other groups are to our ownphysical and even cultural well-being.Kaushik BagchiSee also Race and RacismFurther ReadingKoepke,W. (Ed.). (1982). Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator through theages. Bonn, Germany: Herbert Grundmann.Said, E. (1979). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.Smith, A. (1986). The ethnic origins of nations. Oxford, UK: BasilBlackwell.Spence, J. (1990). The search for modern China. New York: Norton.Wolpert, S. (2000). A new history of India. New York: Oxford UniversityPress.EurocentrismThe writer Neal Ascherson suggested that “on theshores of the Black Sea were born a pair of Siamesetwins called ‘civilization’ and ‘barbarism’” (1995, 49).The observation about these twins is surely incisive anduniversal, even if the Black Sea venue may be ques-tioned.The civilized and barbarian twins have had manybirths and rebirths in all times and places occupied bypeople. Moreover, they have ever been co-terminus withcentrisms—Greco-, Islamic-, Sino-, Euro-, U.S.-,Western-and many others—each of which labeled all othersbarbarians. What distinguishes Eurocentrism (actuallyWestern-centrism, since Eurocentrism incorporates suchgeographically disparate regions as North America andAustralia as well as Europe) is that during the past cen-tury or more it has been accompanied by power, whichit has used to legitimate, extend, and maintain itself andits rule in the world.In 1978 the literary critic Edward Said condemned“Orientalism”—Western conceptions of the Islamic world—as a grab-bag of ill-deﬁned characteristics that are dis-tinctive only in allegedly being non-Western. Indeed, thevery invention of Orientalism was not so much anattempt to say something about “the Orient” as anattempt to delineate and distinguish “the West” from “therest,” as the scholar Samuel Huntington put it in his 1993article “Clash of Civilizations” in the journal ForeignRelations. The media immediately welcomed this formu-lation of an alleged clash between The West and (in par-ticular) China and Islam; and they have even morewidely accepted it as an explanation of world events sincethe terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. However,Gernot Köhler, a scholar of international relations andthe world economy, has suggested that the sort of think-ing that leads to Orientalism or to theories of civilizationclashes goes hand in hand with the notion of globalapartheid: The ﬁrst is an ideological facet of the second,just as the notion of the “white man’s burden” was an ide-ological facet of European colonialism and imperialism.Nor does it appear that decolonization of the secondhalf of the twentieth century has put those notions to restin the sands of history. On the contrary, the rhetoric ofleaders such as Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair andthe United States’ President George W. Bush is repletewith claims that they are defending civilization (with theunspoken assumption being that they mean Western civ-ilization) against outside threats—this in spite of the factthat many argue that some of their methods, such asBush’s doctrine of preemptive war, threaten to destroyone of civilization’s most precious gifts: international lawand institutions to prevent man from killing man in ageneral war of all against all.Historical Development of EurocentrismEurocentrism currently exerts widespread inﬂuence in thehumanities, social sciences, and even the natural and688 berkshire encyclopedia of world historyOne thing is certain…we are not going to get any ofﬁcer commission in the British or native army . . . The reason is that no Britisher would ever like to be under an Indian’s command at present.
physical sciences, but it was not always so.The 1911 edi-tion of the Oxford Dictionary of Current English deﬁnedorient as “The East; lustrous, sparkling, precious; radiant,rising, nascent; place or exactly determine position, set-tle or ﬁnd bearings; bring into clearly understood rela-tions; direct towards; determine how one stands inrelation to one’s surroundings.Turn eastward.” By 1980,however, the American Oxford Dictionary deﬁned it sim-ply as “The East; countries east of the Mediterranean,especially East Asia.” The Orient as a model to beacclaimed and copied had become the antimodel to bedefamed and shunned. Such European luminaries as thephilosopher René Descartes (1596–1650), the writerVoltaire (1694–1778), and the economist Adam Smith(1723–1790), however, were still persuaded by the for-mer deﬁnition.Although the French intellectual Montesquieu (1689–1755) was an early forerunner of the change to a morenegative image of the East, the major transformation inopinion came with the European industrial revolutionand colonialism, especially from the mid-nineteenth cen-tury, with those proponents of dialectical change, G. W.F. Hegel (1770–1831) and Karl Marx (1818–1883).Their total Eurocentrism really did turn views of theworld on its head.They began a tradition in the human-ities and social sciences of differentiating the progressive“us” from the traditional “them” that continues to this day.Historiography—even “world” history—in the West hasbeen entirely Eurocentric, running only on a westwardtrack from “the Orient” to Western Europe and America.Works in this vein include the uncompleted Welt-geschichte (Universal History) of Leopold von Ranke(1795–1886), the twelve-volume Study of History(1934–1961) of Arnold Toynbee (1889–1975), whodescribed the rise and fall of twenty-one “civilizations”and the “arrested development” of ﬁve others, andWilliam McNeill’s Rise of the West, originally publishedin 1963. Nor is the history of science immune from afocus on the West: The very notion of a seventeenth-century scientiﬁc revolution in Europe that is taken to bethe basis of Europe’s technological and industrial revo-lution tends to downplay scientiﬁc innovation or contri-butions from other parts of the world.Eurocentrism in Sociologyand AnthropologyFrom the 1850s this dichotomy of the West and the restand attendant praise of things Western has been the hall-mark of all Western social theory.The nineteenth-centuryFrench “father of sociology” Auguste Compte (1798–1857) and the British legal scholar Henry Maine (1822–1888) distinguished between European “science” and“contracts,” which allegedly replaced age-old “tradition.”The French sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858–1917)distinguished “organic” and “mechanical” forms of socialorganization, and the German sociologist FerdinandTönnis (1855–1936) alleged a transition from tradi-tional gemeinschaft (“community”) to modern gesell-schaft (“society”). In the twentieth century the sociologistand economist Max Weber (1864–1920) consideredEuropean rationality to be the essential ingredient inWestern success, as described in The Protestant Ethic andthe spirit of Capitalism (1904–1905). During the ColdWar, the sociologist Talcott Parsons, who popularizedWeber in the United States, distinguished Western “uni-versalist” social forms from the “particularist” social formsof other cultures, and the anthropologist Robert Redﬁeldfound a contrast and transition between traditional “folk”and modern “urban” society and a certain symbiosisbetween “low” and “high” civilizations. In each case, themodern, progressive,“good” side of the dichotomy is theWestern one, and the other is the “Orientalist” one,which the Palestinian American Edward Said condemnedas an invented grab-bag of whatever is not “Western.” Themodernization theory that dominated postwar social sci-ences and economics distinguished Western moderniza-tion from other cultures’ and regions’ traditionalism.Theeconomist W. W. Rostow’s Stages of Economic Growth(1959) was a major vehicle for articulating moderniza-tion theory and followed the same Eurocentric theoreti-cal path from traditional to postindustrialist society. Aslate as 1998, David Landes’ best-selling The Wealth andeurocentrism 689It will require some generations before this feeling of the conquerors and the conquered, the ruler and the ruled, and of blacks and whites will fall away.•Kunwar Amar Singh (20th century)
Poverty of Nations assured readers of the exceptionalityof European culture.Eurocentrism in theTwenty-First CenturyIn its present incarnation, Eurocentrism entails the suc-cessful, free-tradingWest teaching the rest of the world themerits of a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps ethic,which will, proponents believe, bring the wealth of theWest to the poor rest.This formulation is an oxymoron.If it is pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, as theEurocentrists falsely claim, then it can not be duplicatedelsewhere, especially inasmuch as the rest of the world issupposedly dependent on being saved from its stick in themud existence by Western beneﬁcence. The worst formsof Eurocentrism have received a new lease on life after Sep-tember 11, 2001 by the George W. Bush and Tony Blairpropaganda machine who never tire of claiming to be690 berkshire encyclopedia of world historyDe Gaulle on Britain’s Proposed Entry into the Common Market, 16 May 1967The French consistently opposed Britain’s entry intothe European Economic Community (EEC) of sixnations—known as the “Common Market”—forerun-ner of the European Union. In turn, Britain formed theEuropean Free Trade Association (EFTA). In theexcerpt below, French President Charles de Gaulleexplains why he opposed expansion of the CommonMarket to include nations in the EFTA—particularlyBritain.. . . the Common Market is a sort of prodigy. Tointroduce into it now new and massive elements,into the midst of those that have been ﬁt togetherwith such difﬁculty, would obviously be to jeopard-ize the whole and the details and to raise the prob-lem of an entirely different undertaking. All themore that if the Six have been able to build thisfamous ediﬁce it is because it concerned a group ofcontinental countries, immediate neighbors to eachother, doubtless offering differences of size, butcomplementary in their economic structure. More-over, the Six form through their territory a compactgeographic and strategic unit. It must be added thatdespite, perhaps because of their great battles of thepast—I am naturally speaking of France andGermany—they now ﬁnd themselves inclined tosupport one another mutually rather than to opposeone another. Finally, aware of the potential of theirmaterial resources and their human values, all desireeither aloud or in whispers that their unit constituteone day an element that might provide a balance toany power in the world.Compared with the motives that led the Six toorganize their unit, we understand for what reasons,why Britain—who is not continental, who remains,because of the Commonwealth and because she is anisland, committed far beyond the seas, who is tied tothe United States by all kinds of special agreements—did not merge into a Community with set dimensionsand strict rules. While this community was takingshape, Britain therefore ﬁrst refused to participate init and even took toward it a hostile attitude as if shesaw in it an economic and political threat. Then shetried to negotiate in order to join the Community, butin such conditions that the latter would have been suf-focated by this membership. The attempt havingfailed, the British Government then asserted that it nolonger wanted to enter the Community and set aboutstrengthening its ties with the Commonwealth andwith other European countries grouped around it ina free-trade area.Yet, apparently now adopting a newstate of mind, Britain declares she is ready to sub-scribe to the Rome Treaty, even though she is askingexceptional and prolonged delays and, as regards her,that basic changes be made in the Treaty’s imple-mentation. At the same time, she acknowledges thatin order to arrive there, it will be necessary to sur-mount obstacles that the great perceptiveness andprofound experience of her Prime Minister have qual-iﬁed as formidable.Source: Lincoln,W. B. (1968). Documents in world history, 1945–1967 (pp. 98–99). SanFrancisco: Chandler Publishing Company.
dropping their bombs to “Save [Western] Civilization” andtheir lap-dog media who are trumping up Samuel Hunt-ington’s alleged clash of civilizations between “the West”and “the Rest”—and particularly against Islam and China.Andre Gunder FrankSee also Europe; Western CivilizationFurther Reading Amin, S. & Moore, R. (1990). Eurocentrism. New York: Monthly ReviewPress.Ascherson, N. (1995). Black Sea. London: Cape.Goody, J. (1996). The East in the West. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Uni-versity Press.Huntington, S. (1993). Clash of civilizations. Foreign Affairs, 72(3), pp22–28.Jones, E. (1981). The European miracle: Environments, economies andgeopolitics in the history of Europe and Asia. Cambridge, UK: Cam-bridge University Press.Landes, D. (1998). The wealth and poverty of nations: Why are some sorich and others so poor. New York: W. W. Norton.McNeil, W. (1963). Rise of the West: A history of the human community.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Rostow,W.W. (1961). Stages of economic growth:A non-Communist man-ifesto. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books.Toynbee, A. (1934–1961). A study of history. London: Oxford Univer-sity Press.EuropeEurope was an idea long before it acquired anythinglike its present geographical contours or relationshipto the rest of the world.We are concerned here with themany permutations that this idea went through over thecenturies.The idea of a European continent may seem tobelong to the natural order of things, but in fact the ideaof a continent is relatively modern, dating only from thesixteenth century. It is a slippery concept, as is the notionof Europe itself. Europe belonged to the realm of mythbefore it acquired a concrete physical location.The namecomes from Greek myth, the story of Europa. In thatstory, Europa, the daughter of a Phoenician king, isabducted and raped by the Greek god Zeus. He takes herfrom her home on the Asian coast of the Mediterraneanto Crete, where she bears three sons, giving birth toMinoan civilization.As a mother ﬁgure, Europa providedthe Greeks, and later Europe itself, with a powerful mythof origins. But Europe did not originally refer to the geog-raphy that now bears that name. It was attached to theAegean coast and only gradually came to be attached toits northern and western hinterlands, to the areas we nowassociate with the Balkans.The Greeks used other allegorical female ﬁgures, Asiaand Africa, to name the lands to their east and south,thereby creating a tripartite division of the world, whichthey thought of as an island (Orbis Terrarum) encircled byan impassable river they called Oceanus. Europe, Asia,and Africa were not originally conceived of as separatecontinents, but as parts of a single landmass.The Judeo-Christian myth of Noah’s three sons also presents theidea of an earth island divided into three parts, eachinherited by one of the sons, with Shem coming into thepossession of Asia, Ham of Africa, and Japheth Europe.It was not until the existence of another landmass wasestablished in the wake of the voyages of Columbus andidentiﬁed with another female ﬁgure, America, that theconcepts of continents, deﬁned in 1559 as “a portion ofth’Earth which is not parted by the Seas asounder. . . ”(Oxford English Dictionary, 3, p. 823), came into being.When the ancient notion of Orbis Terrarum becameobsolete, so too did the idea of Oceanus.The idea of theencircling river gave way to the notion of several seasconnecting the newfound continents.Today Europe is one of seven recognized continents,though its claim to that status is not founded in physi-cal geography. Europe is not surrounded by water andit lacks any clear natural boundaries that would differ-entiate it from Asia. From the beginning, Europe was aﬂoating signiﬁer, attached to a variety of territories,expanding and contracting in scale, changing meaningaccording to the purposes of those who deﬁned it. Asthe historian Hugh Seton-Watson observed: “The word‘Europe’ had been used and misused, interpreted andmisinterpreted in as many different meanings as anyword in any language.There are many Europes. . .” (Wil-son and van der Dussen 1993, 8).europe 691