Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Can’t Believe I Was Assigned Things Fall Apart in High School and Not This Book

An interesting essay by Helen Rittelmeyer.

African literature has done a great deal to form the conventional wisdom about the cultural side of colonialism, that conventional wisdom being that African societies used to be communitarian, spiritual, and close to nature, but then these virtues were eroded by contact with the individualistic, calculating, and earthly-minded West. This generalization has enough truth in it to make a good starting point (at least for thinking about the cultural side of colonialism; the political and economic sides are obviously something else again). Unfortunately, when pressed to go into more detail about the exact nature of the West’s cultural inferiority, the argument often runs like this:
“The West is materialistic. It is spiritually impoverished.”


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