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Eight Eurocentric Historians



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ISBN 9781572305915
Published September 14, 2000 by Guilford Press
228 Pages

 
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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

1. Eurocentric History
2. Max Weber: Western Rationality
3. Lynn White, Jr.: Inventive Europeans
4. Robert Brenner: The Tunnel of Time
5. Eric L. Jones: The European Miracle
6. Michael Mann: The March of History
7. John A. Hall: Democratic Europeans
8. Jared Diamond: Euro-Environmentalism
9. David Landes: The Empire Strikes Back
10. Thirty Reasons Why Europeans Are Better Than Everyone Else (A Checklist)
11. The Model

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Author(s)

Biography

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.

Reviews

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
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