West-Eastern Civilization: conflicted and hybrid histories

Dear Students,

welcome to this introductory course on the history of civilization.

This year, We’re going to look at the concept of Western civilization, and critique it (note, to critique something doesn’t mean to simply reject it, but to engage with it critically).

Semester one: The Eurocentric history of Western civilization

This semester we’re going to look at the way that history differs depending on who tells the tale (history belongs to the victors, as the saying goes).

With that in mind, we’ll look at the standard Western account of the history Western civilization, and the way that kind of history includes the ‘east’.

Semester two: The Eastern origins of Western civilization

Then, in semester two we’ll look at revisionist histories that complicate that kind of history by more fully including an eastern perspective. We’ll look at some of the Eastern roots of civilization, and some of the Eastern routes taken to get there.

Finally we’ll get to the point where we can reconsider the concept. We can ask the question: Does it make sense to talk about Civilization as something Western or Eastern?

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