Thoughts on Progress

28 May

In Renaissance discourse, the relevant moral and intellectual framework was religious. The non-European alien was coded in terms of the “pagan”, “heathen”, and the demonic. For the Enlightenment, the key feature of the Other was “ignorance” and “superstition”. In the nineteenth century, when modern anthropology was born, the “primitive” was coded in terms of “development” and evolutionary time.

–Paul Atkinson. Understanding Ethnographic Texts. London: Sage, 1992, 40.

 

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