Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1729755
He who knows himself and others
Here will also see,
That the East and West, like brothers,
Parted ne’er shall be.”
In no other major civilization do self-regard, self-congratulation and denigration of
the „Other‟ run as deep, nor have t
hese tendencies infected as many aspects of
their thinking, laws, and policy, as they have in Western Europe and its overseas
These tendencies reached their apogee during the nineteenth century,
retreated briefly after World War II, but have been staging a comeback since the
end of the Cold War.
For several decades now, critics have studied these Western tendencies under
the rubric of Eurocentrism, a complex of ideas, attitudes, and policies, which treat
when it is convenient
as a geographical, racial and cultural unity, but
places Western Europe and its overseas extensions at the center of world history
since 1000 CE.
Unlike the garden variety of ethnocentrism, Eurocentrism emerged as an
shaped by Europe‟s int
in the service of
Europe‟s rising expansionist, starting in the sixteenth century. It makes swee
claims of European superiority in all spheres of civilization. In this worldview,
only Europeans have created history over the past three thousand years, beginning
with the ancient Greeks. In various accounts, this centrality is ascribed to race,
culture, religion and geography.
The central organizing principle of Eurocentrism is the division of the world
Edgar A. Bowring,
Poems of Goethe
(John W. Parker & Son, 1853): 272
E. C. Eze,
Race and the Enlightenment: A Reader
(Blackwell, 1997); M. Shahid Alam,
“Articulating Group Differences: A Variety of Autocentrisms,”
Science and Society
(Summer 2003): 206-18.
For a review of this literature, see Andre Gunder Frank, “East and West,” in: Arno Tausch
and Peter Herrmann, eds.,
The West, Europe and the Muslim
World (Novinka, 2006).