KPFA Radio 94.1FM presents:
Thursday, Sept 17, 7:30 PM
Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley
$12 advance tickets: brownpapertickets.com :: 800-838-3006 or Pegasus (3 sites) Moe’s, Walden Pond Bookstore, Diesel a Bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway’s SF: Modern Times, $15 door
What the Rest Think of the West: Since 600 AD
Over the past few centuries, as Western civilization has enjoyed an expanding geographic domain, Westerners have observed other cultures rarely, and then usually with scant interest in what they saw in us.. What the Rest Think of the West, unprecedented in its scope, at last provides a rich historical look through the eyes of observant outsiders as they survey and scrutinize the politics, science, technology, religion, family practices, and gender roles of civilizations not their own. The book emphasizes the broader figurative meaning of looking west in the scope of history.
Focusing on four civilizations—Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, and South Asian—Laura Nader has collected observations made over centuries by scholars, diplomats, missionaries, travelers, merchants, and students reflecting upon their own “Wests.” The accounts variously express critique, adoration, admiration, and fear, and are sometimes humorous, occasionally disturbing, at times controversial, and always enlightening. Nader provides informative introductions to each of the selections.
“There are things that only outsiders can see, and the true promise of anthropology has always been to use such insights to allow human beings to understand more of their shared humanity, to understand how we are the same through our differences. This only works if everyone gets to play the outsider and everyone gets to take their turn as the observed. So far, geopolitical inequalities have ensured this kind of genuine, liberatory anthropology has not yet really emerged. But books like this—and this book is far and away the best and most thoughtful collection of its kind yet to appear—are a crucial first step in the process of creating one.”
—David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years
“Intellectual exchange between the West and Asia has long been one-sided, handicapped further by lack of translations. This superbly introduced and edited anthology, which shows the diverse ways in which visitors from Asia perceived modern Western society and culture, fills a big gap in our self-understanding.”
—Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt against the West and the Remaking of Asia