du bois separatism, culture, imperialism 2009

du bois separatism, culture, imperialism 2009 - Conferring...

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Conferring respect in an inegalitarian society is partly a face-to-face problem but it’s also partly an institutional one, of schools, economics, and nations .
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Can we have global cultural unity? Is it even a good goal? (this is section 2 in overall outline of Du Bois section) Marx:  capitalism will bring all cultures together Du Bois:  There  are two big problems  with your dream  of a universal culture: FIRST PROBLEM : Maybe , eventually, in a couple hundred years, it  could be a nice goal, but only if oppressed people’s  history can be told: the view from the bottom. “Half  the story has never been told (as my friend Bob  Marley will put it, towards the end of the 20 th   century).” For example, African Americans learn  history by learning the history of their conquerors  and oppressors, as seen through their eyes,  because, as you say, Mr. Marx, “the ruling ideas are  the ideas of the ruling classes.”   I say that everyone needs to learn their people’s  unique stories and histories, instead of just learning  the global North’s stories, religions, tastes for  consumerism and greed, ideologies, excuses for  exploiting people, histories and ads. Happy Columbus Day!
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First problem: half the story’s never been told Illustration:  Historically Black Colleges in US (there are about  12, of varying quality) P. 429:  “They ought to study intelligently and from their own  point of view, the slave trade, slavery, emancipation,  Reconstruction, and present economic development.” Would you want to go to a college that was “your culture’s?” Fisk Jubilee Singers, from Fisk University, an historically black college, brought former slaves’ music to the public, in US and Europe
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This first problem is the problem of “cultural imperialism” Against Marx, Du Bois would say that the “working class” cannot unify until each group’s unique story has been told—not just “workers’ history,” but African, Asian and Latin American workers’ history, and whoever else has been “hidden from history” as the title of a book about women’s history put it in the 70’s. There is no zero-degree, neutral culture- less starting point that everyone shares.
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Cultural imperialism: the imposition of a foreign culture onto a people such that the foreign culture substitutes for their own culture, and the people start to forget their culture Should everyone get exposed to ads for mini-skirts, nylons, hairspray, high heels, and exposed skin? Are there any reasons not to want to be exposed to these fashions? Why do so many people resent the importation of American culture?
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SECOND PROBLEM  that Du Bois would see in Marx’s image of universalism: You cannot get to “universalism” without learning the  details of a specific people’s history
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This note was uploaded on 10/08/2010 for the course SOCI 370 taught by Professor Hashem during the Spring '08 term at USC.

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du bois separatism, culture, imperialism 2009 - Conferring...

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