Multiculturalism, interculturalism, Western Values

Central Question

What limits do we want to impose, if any, on people bringing their own "cultural practices" to our country? If we impose limitations, can these limitations be regarded as rooted in "Western values"?

Terms and Names

Tariq Ramadan

Muhammad Ali (Cassius Marcellus Clay)

Nation of Islam

Muslim Brotherhood

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Questions and Issues

Comment on the following statement: "Multiculturalism is soft assimilation."

What does Tariq Ramadan suggest as an alternative to (song-and-food) multiculturalism?

World Music

Central Idea

World Music parallels romantic orientalism in a number of ways. At the same time it functions in the context of western profit and power, reduces the non-West into a single category, opens up the West to knowledge about the non-West, and provides a means to critique the West.

Names and Terms

Ravi Shankar


Mozart, Turkish March 1783?, Piano Sonata no. 11. Learn to recognize.
Rimsky-Korsakoff, Scheherezade 1888
Erik Satie, Gnossiennes (heard gamelan at 1889 World’s Fair) 1890-93?

The Rolling Stones, Paint It Black

Miriam Makeba

Sekou Touré

Paul Simon

David Byrne

Herbie Hancock


"Gugnam Style"



Solomon Islands

Dream Forest

Questions and Issues

What does David Byrne think of world music (recall the youtube video played in class)? Comment on what he says.

Why is world music a "capitalist dream" according to Feld?

Who were some of Miriam Makeba's famous husbands, friends, and admirers?

What was particularly controversial about Psy?

Tell the story of "Rorogwella." What lessons do you see in it?

Sex and Gender. Spirituality.

Central Ideas

The non-West (we talked specifically about North Africa and the Muslim "Orient") was seen as "easy" about sexuality in colonial times, because privileged western men were able to exploit local people sexually, and frequented prostitues of both genders, including very young people.

With capitalism came the emphasis on individual spirituality. The quest for inner peace often borrowed from Hindu and Buddhist practices, sometimes divorced from their complex contexts to fit with western notions of fighting stress and unhappiness. Some of these westernized practices were/are also successful in the East.

Names and Terms

Lehnert and Landrock - learn to recognize the type of photography they did

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Transcendental Meditation (TM)

Ingres, The Great Odalisque (1814) and Odalisque with Slave (1839) - learn to recognize

Rudolf Valentino, The Sheik (1921)

Louis Massignon


Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular

Raymond Schwab, The Oriental Renaissance

Anquetil-Duperron and the Zend Avesta

Parliament of World Religions, 1893


Annie Besant

The Bhagavad Gita


Questions and Issues

What was striking about the photographs by Lehnert and Landrock that we saw in class?

Who were some of the celebrities that practiced TM or met the Maharishi?

Explain the connection between capitalism and the search for individual spirituality.

The Far East

Central Idea

Both people in the West and people in the Far East often buy into the proposition that the East is the opposite of the West: not individualist, not materialist [note: this may be changing with Chinese economic expansion], not rationalist.

Names and Terms


Okakura Kakuzo

Shanghai Exhibition

feng shui

Chinese PR films

the Yellow Peril

Questions and Issues

"Invented tradition serves to increase the cultural capital of the oriental nation." Apply this to a Far Eastern nation.

Connect the historic "yellow peril" phobia with current notions of how cheap Chinese products are overrunning the world.

Africans and Other "Tribal" Peoples

Central Idea

In the Hegelo-Darwinist scheme of evolution, Africans and other “tribal” peoples represent the earliest point, where "Man" lives in nature in an unreflecting way, and is only beginning to be constrained by culture.

Names and Terms

Edward Evans-Pritchard



John Speke

Lake Victoria

Henry Stanley

"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"


Patrick Tort

Herbert Spencer




Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple of America


"Othello or The Moor of Venice"

Portia and the King of Morocco in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice"

serfdom and slavery

Barbary pirates

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Thomas Hobbes

Questions and Issues

Who first clamed, and who finally proved, where the source of the Nile was?

How did Hegelo-Darwinism, which does not have a theory of degeneration, contribute to a fear of cultural and racial degeneration that was common in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Europe?

What can we blame Herbert Spencer for but arguably not Darwin?

How would you explain why the Sahara became a demarkation between enslavable and not enslavable populations, after centuries of Europeans and North Africans enslaving each other?

A Rousseauan view of the state of nature would encourage a romantic view of the "savage" as peaceful and naively loving, while a Hobbesian view would encourage viewing "natives" as violent and selfish. Explain why.

The "Jewish Question" and the West's Views of the Non-West

Names and Terms

Francis Xavier


Sayyid Qutb

Gamal Abdel Nasser



Cat Stevens

Franz Boas


Karl Marx, "The Jewish Question," 1843

Aamir Mufti, Enlightenment in the Colony

partition (of peoples and countries, Middle East, South Asia)

Synagogues in Islamic-inspired style ("Moorish-style synagogues")




Lazarus and Steinthal

Questions and Issues

Evaluate the notion that Qutb's work represents strictly traditional Islam.

In what sense are the notions of "Jew" and "Arab" racializations of religon? In what historical context were they racialized?

What did Hegel think of Islam? (Relate this to his ideas about a. Jewish and b. Germanic religion.)

What did Lazarus think of the notion of nation? (Question based on reading.)

Christianity and Its Near Others: Theological Antisemitism and Islamophobia

Names and Terms

Alessandro Valignano (1539-1606)

Old and New Testaments / Hebrew and Greek Bible

Qur'an and the Bible



Muhammad (7th century)

Jesus (of Nazareth, Savior from Sin and "Death," sacrificed himself to take away people's sinfulness, so people are not punished)


"turning the other cheek"

primal or "obscene" Father

Israel (a. Jacob in the Bible, b. his descendants, c. the Christian Church as the "New Israel")

the Law (in the Bible and in psychoanalysis)

Questions and Issues

What was Valignano's objection to the previous Jesuit leader in Japan?

Why did the Japanese put an end to the Jesuit control of Nagasaki?

In class it was suggested that the notion that the actors of history are imagined descent groups derives from the Bible. Explain.

"To Christianity, Judaism and Islam represent the Law untempered by Love." Explain this. Relate to the more general question as to whether our experience in the world is one of being loved. Explain how the notion that in Christianity Judaism and Islam represent unloving universes might have contributed to the force of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

Orientalism. Explorers, Artists, Writers, Film Makers, Ethnographers

Names and Terms

Edward Said, Orientalism (1978)

Najda Said

Lars Krutak

Margaret Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa (1928)

John Derek Freeman, Margaret Mead in Samoa: the Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (1983)

Gregory Bateson

Bronislaw Malinowski

Franz Boas

Ruth Benedict

Hottentot Venus

colonial gaze

soft and hard orientalism

"orientalism" (scholarly discipline)

Questions and Issues

What does "identity" mean to you? What does it mean to Najda Said?

Romantic (soft) orientalism can be condemned as well. How so?

Give some examples from this class where western reports on the non-West were meant to and/or did serve as a critique of the West.

What was typically "vulgar Saidist" (in the instructor's opinion) about George Yancy's analysis of the "Hottentot Venus" story?

Can you draw parallels between Said's critiques of orientalism and the feminist critiques of partriarchy at the time when Orientalism was published?

The West. Imperialism. Immigration.

Names and Terms

Charlie Hebdo

Unity Marches, France, January 2015

Greeks and Persians

The Western and Eastern Roman Empires

1453 Ottoman conquest of Constantinople



1492 reconquista

1494 Treaty of Tordesillas

Vasco da Gama

Jesuits and Dominicans


late eighteenth century Britain begins to dominate India

1830 Algeria a French possession

the "age of imperialism"

forced immigration: slaves and indentured laborers

Questions and Issues

"The West" is an unclear concept. Explain.

Did the Greeks think they were "western"? Did they consider Persians to be more barbaric than Europeans?

In what country did the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" (1789) originate?

During the Age of Imperialism (late nineteenth and early twentieth century), what area did the term "Orient" evoke more than any other?

Related Spain's rule of the Netherlands to the fact that the Netherlands became a great colonial power.

Relate Russian history to the history of imperialism.

How do you explain the fact that the much of the Enlightenment declared human equality to be a value, and that the French Revolution celebrated "liberty, equality, fraternity," yet some of the participants justified slavery? Can you relate this to the case of the Hottentot Venus?