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Learning to Divide the World: Education at Empire's End
 0816630771, 9780816630776

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LEARNING to DIVIDE THE WORLD

“The

barbarian rules by -force; the culti-

vated conqueror teaches .’’This

maxim

from the age of empire makes

explicit

the usually hidden connections between

education and conquest. In Learning

to

John Willinsky brings

'Divide the

these correlations to light, offering a

balanced, humane, and beautifully

written account of the ways that imperialism’s educational legacy

separate us into black

west, primitive

and

continues to

and white,

east

and

civilized.

Considering a dazzling range of subjects, Willinsky discusses

discovery of the

of the world

order, identify,

and

Willinsky reveals

know” became r

desire to

... to

enumerate,

differentiate.’’

how

this

“wiU to

a

Square

foundation of the

shown

phenomena ranging from zoos British

'

PUBUCUBRARY

apparatus of imperialism, as

9

the

New World inspired

European culture with “the take- hold

how

Museum

in

to the

to National Geographic. Copley

Through

analyses of colonial schooling, BOSTON

anthropology, and the formation of aca-

demic

subjects instrumental in the

expansion of empire science, language

and

(history,

geography,

literature),

Willinsky argues that education was and is

the research and development

imperialism.

arm of

Drawing on contemporary

classrooms and materials, he considers

how

schools continue to educate the V

young within the “colonial imaginary.” Through primary texts, cutting-edge scholarship,

and students’ voices,

Willinsky examines schooling

itself,

arguing for the incorporation of the imperial legacy into a multicultural

education that does not dismiss the

achievement of the West but gives an account of the divided world that '

achievement has created.

#7

^

^

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LEARNING TO DIVIDE THE

WORLD

Engraving in G.

E. Rtimphius,

D’Amboinische Rariteitkamer

(Amsterdam, 1/41). Courtesy University of British Columbia Library.

LEARNING TO DIVIDE THE WORLD Education at Empires

John Willinsky

M IN NE SO

University of Minnesota Press

Minneapolis

TA London

End

— Excerpt from “Little Gidding,” in Four Quartets, copyright 1943 byT.

renewed 1971 by Esme Valerie

Company

(U.S. rights)

Eliot, reprinted

S. Eliot

and

by permission of Harcourt Brace

and Faber and Faber Ltd. (world English language

&

rights ex-

cluding U.S.).

from

Excerpt from “Crusoe’s Journal”

Collected

Poems 1948—1984 by Derek

Walcott. Copyright 1986 by Derek Walcott. Reprinted by permission of Farrar,

& Giroux, Inc.

Strauss

An

earlier version

Supplement

and Faber and Faber Ltd. (U.K.

(U.S. rights)

of chapter 6 was published

as

“Beyond 1492-1992:

rights).

A

Postcolonial

Canadian Curriculum,” Journal of Curriculum Studies 26 (6): 613-29, and an earlier version of chapter 9 was published as “Frye among (Postto the

colonial) Schoolchildren,”

Canadian Childrens Literature 79: 6—24; reprinted here

with permission.

Copyright 1998 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota

All rights reserved. trieval

No

part of this publication

may

be reproduced, stored in a

re-

system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,

photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published by the University of Minnesota Press 1 1 1

Third Avenue South, Suite 290

Minneapolis,

MN 55401-2520

http://www.upress.umn.edu

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Willinsky, John,

1950—

Learning to divide the world p.

:

education

ISBN 0-8166-3076-3 3.

:

(p.

— ISBN 0-8166-3077-1 Education — Great — Colonies —Study and Education —

alk paper). 2.

(pb)

Britain

approach

teaching.

in education.

Social aspects.

5.

Title.

LC1090.W53 1998 306.43— DC21

97-43232

Printed in the United States of America

The

/

265) and index.

Pluralism (Social sciences)

4. Interdisciplinary 1.

(he

International education.

History.

end

cm.

Includes bibliographical references

1.

at empire’s

University of Minnesota

is

on

acid-free paper

an equal-opportunity educator and employer.

10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01

00 99 98

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

1

PauL David, and Aaron, once more

The

publication of this

Josiah

H. Chase

Josiah

to

Hook

book was

honor

assisted

his parents, Ellen

Chase, Minnesota

by

a bequest

from

Rankin Chase and

territorial pioneers.

3

CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ONE. Where

PART

An Adventure

.

THREE.

23

Imperial Show-and-Tell

55

in

Educational Mission

89

Monstrous Lessons

II:

FIVE. SIX.

i

Learning

FOUR. The

PART

Here?

Educational Imperative

I:

TWO

Is

ix

History and the Rise of the West

Geographies of Difference

115

137

SEVEN.

Science and the Origin of Race

161

EIGHT.

Language, Nation, World

189

NINE.

Literature

TEN. Out

and the Educated Imagination

of the Past

2

1

243

WORKS CITED

265

INDEX

293

1

1

.

:i

't

I

i

i

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

or the exceptional research assistance

F

project,

I

my thanks

extend

received over the years of this

I

Denise Buchner, Chris Denholm, Mark

to

Jumin Hu, Pam Johnston, Tan Phan, Margot Rosenberg, Avner and Lynn Thomas. The staffs of the New York Public Library, the

Frein,

Segall,

Museum, Yoka’s, and be commended for their

Columbia Library

British

the University of British

to

helpfulness

and dedication. For the voices of

am

indebted to Lorri Neilsen and the

teachers

and students

in this

book,

I

are

students involved in the Learning Connections Project; the biology teachers

who

agreed to participate in this book; Jim Greenlaw and his class of high

Roman, Tim

school students; Leslie

pated in her

Leslie’s

drama

class;

and the students who

Stanley,

antiracism course project reported here; Susan

and Lynn Thomas and the students of the

partici-

Inman and

Pacific Cultural

Literacy Project. Various chapters received decidedly helpful readings (to

which

I

fear

I

have not

fully

done

justice)

from Clayton Burns, Kieran Egan,

Roy Graham, Helen Harper, Jumin Hu, Peter McLaren, Sonia Macpherson, Wilma Maki, Ranjini Mendis, Edward Robeck, Leslie Roman, Avner Segall, Peter Seixas,

Suzanne Sherkin, Roger Simon, and Handel Wright.

At the outset of

Chin and Sharilyn out the way

it

this project,

Calliou,

has, if

it

and I’m sure

of Vivian Forssman,

I

also

who

convey

me

this

the fault lines

discussions with Peter

book would not have turned

I

and those who know her well

my

appreciation for the contribu-

attended to the whole and the parts on behalf

of a broader community of readers; to teach

much from

were not for what

have learned from Airini. tions

took

I

and

Anne Hawson, who once

lines of resistance to this

IX

again did

much

work; and Roger

X

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Simon, with once



whom

this

certainly with a

book might be

begun more than

said to have

walk through San Francisco during the Columbus

countercommemoration.

Micah

Kleit at the University of

Moore and Tammy Zambo, have thank

Pam

Minnesota

served this

Press,

along with Jennifer

book very

well indeed,

and

I

Willinsky for her support of this work. This project was gener-

ously underwritten by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

of Canada and supported by the William Allen Endowed Chair of Education at Seattle University, with special thanks for the assistance of Jennifer

Hoffman. Earlier versions of chapters

6 and 9 were published

in the

Journal of

Curriculum Studies and Canadian Childrens Literature, respectively, and appear by permission of the publisher.

York Public Library, the Galle print

Miriam and

Ira

Among

is

the illustrations from the

courtesy of the Print Collection in the

D. Wallach Division of Art,

Prints,

and Photographs; and the

others are courtesy of the Rare Books Division of the Astor, Lenox,

Tilden Foundations.

New

and

J




course, that,

on

m all

wants to

historians alone.

likelihood,

label this

his position

It is

distributed across the educational experiences

we and our

work

children have gone through.

—and Litwick would not

However one

use postcolonial to describe

need to examine education’s continuing contributions to what were and continue to be colonizing divisions of the world. Every-

where

m

this

there

is

work

there

a

is

a

worrying about the consec^uences of knowing

reactionary politics, or a love of Zora Neale Hurston’s novels despite her Republican party affiliations is inseparable Irom, though not identical or reducible to, social structural analyses, moral and political judgments and the workings of a curious critical consciousness” (1990, p. 31).

WHERE that

might have been inspired by the

ethical

compass

set

out

HERE?

IS

in the eighteenth

century by Montesquieu: II

knew something

I

would ily

reject

from

my

mind.

(Cited by Kristeva, 1991,

ful

knew something

I

I

Europe and detrimental

This book

If

and detrimental

to

my

useful to

family,

my

I

fam-

my homeland, would try to forget If knew someto my homeland and detrimental to Europe, or else useful

but not to

thing useful to

it

useful to myself

to

it.

Mankind,

I

would consider

I

it

a crime.

p. 130)

about the accumulation of learning that proved eminently useto Europe and often detrimental to the larger body of humanity. It is conis

cerned with what remains of that crime, the lessons

we continue

to teach the

Montesquieu would have

as

young and

in the

in

it,

way many of us

still

see the world.

To

let

students in on

how

may

their education

still

pean imperialism resembles the project proposed by the ald Graff (1992)

when he

on

calls

be marked by Euroliterary scholar

Ger-

scholars to “teach the conflicts.” Rather than

following the typical pedagogical tack of “conflict evasion,” Graff recom-

mends lic

that university classes explore the contest of ideas that

forums and scholarly enclaves.

dominate pub-

Perhaps the recent controversy surround-

ing Stanford University’s Western civilization courses would be a good place to start in trying to

termath.

understand the

However, when

it

comes

politics

to excluding dissenting voices,

tutions can best the public high school,

wider range of the public than flicts”

is

of imperialism’s educational

which

is

the university.

of imperialism’s educational legacy until

the educational

To hold

itive

and the

civilized

race, culture,

become

part of a

and nation. The

can be attributed to the success of graduate school, from

book turns

to the less

most people form

television’s

glamorous

their ideas

this legacy,

to a far

it

simply

as

the ideas of the prim-

division of the world by I

will argue,

from primary grades

to National Geographic.

of the public school because

about

insti-

off “teaching the con-

sense of these divisions,

Wild Kingdom

site

how

commonsense

common

home

college, or to treat

an intellectual contest, diverts our attention from

few

af-

this

history, science, literature,

is

to

This

where

and other

disciplines.

and sense of shared culture upheld by those he identifies as “educational fundamentalists” emerged by virtue of little more than the “clubiness” of educators and educated, is well taken. As he points out, “It is not too hard to get a consensus if you start by excluding most Jews, blacks, immigrants, women, and others ‘^Graff’s point, that the majority consensus

who figure to make trouble” (1992, p. 58). '’Among the accounts ol the struggle at Stanford sponded

(1996).

is

D’Souza

(1991), to

which

I

have

re-

17

l8

WHERE

HERE?

IS

The aim of this account book)

a critical distance

be in need of revision

from

itself

under way

that are already

giving

own

and the

may well,

education, which

of this

in turn,

and focus changes

to hasten

is

in creating a multicultural

do not intend the

I

to afford students (and readers

one day; the aim

readers a review of the history to this point.

their

is

curriculum by offering

of education that have brought us

sort

intellectual legacy

of imperialism to be the

whole of anyone’s education, but neither should it go completely missing in a dozen years of schooling. Such teaching as I propose is not about realizing, or teaching

the true identity of the student.

to,

students understand their

own

of education

criticisms

this

inquiry

as a

raises,

reflects a faith in learning.

In writing this book, ism, drawing

I

have sifted through the rich history of imperial-

on primary documents and

temporary polemics and advances dents, teachers,

book

intended, rather, to help

education and the education of others

worthy object of inquiry. Whatever it still

It is

to

is

and textbooks

move from

firsthand accounts as well as con-

in critical theory;

The

in today’s schools.

juncture

when

I

pause

the current generation of baby

ranks of todays teaching force was schooled and

from Algeria

pattern

I

follow in this

the larger historical record of imperialism to specific

components of todays classrooms. Along the way, critical

have worked with stu-

I

to Zaire, successfully struggled

at the

boomers

when

1960s as the

that swell the

twenty-eight nations,

through war and diplomacy to

wrest their independence from the imperial powers.

It

was

a

time

when

Frantz Fanon published his scathing indictment of colonialism. The Wretched

of the Earth

(1963);

and Great Britain attacked the

and dangerous path” of decolonization pendence

as

it

UN

for

pursuing

“a

new

pressured Portugal to grant inde-

Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea. Meanwhile, the was amassing some fourteen thousand military ^^advisers” in

to Angola,

United States

Vietnam while

at

home

lution bursting out

all

it

faced, as Time'^wi

over.” Federal troops

it,

had

“the pressures of Negro revoto

accompany African Amer-

ican students to school in Little Rock, Oxford,

and Tuscaloosa, while two hundred thousand people gathered during the triumphant March on Washington to hear Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that

tell

the world, “I have a

my four little children will one day live in a nation where

dream

they will not be

judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their characten’’^^ Citations are from Time, respectively, as follows: “United Nations;

Words of Dissent,” United Nations: Against the Last VTite Strongholds,” August 9, 1963, p. 30; “South Viet Nam: Search for Answers,” August 9, 1963, “Civil Rights: 30; p. More Anticlimax than Crisis,” September 20, 1963, p. 20; “Civil Rights: The March’s Meaning, September 6, 1963, pp. I5~i7- This was also the year that 77w^’ switched from

January

5>

19^2., p. 25;

the topical heading “Races” to “Civil Rights.”

I

,

WHERE To

HERE?

IS

give a sense of the intellectual climate of those formative years in the

many of us,

education of

draw on three powerful scholarly statements in the chapters ahead: William McNeill’s The Rise of the West (1963), Carlton I

Coon’s The Origin ofRaces {i^Gz) and Northrop

The Educated Imagi-

Frye’s

nation (1963). Even as the European empires were dissolving, these major

and educators bolstered the case

scholars

whatever

civil rights

and

the world. Taken with

political

was

as

important

boom

postwar baby

West. At the very the

West

in the

moment

in the legacy

as the Beatles, dare

finally

be achieved in

one

of a collapsing imperialism the education of the

say, in

now assuming the reigns of power in the we need to reconsider how a person coming of age in

generation

least,

in those years,

whether

aftermath of colonialism

to be identified, as they

To

independence might

race,

Fanons The Wretched of the Earth, these works make

for a fascinating intellectual

that

unequaled culture and

for a

might

establish the degree to

in grade school or

among still

graduate school, was raised

imperial habits of mind that

now need

contribute to the educated imagination.

which our current

ideas of education

been influenced by the global forces of imperialism,

I

may have

lay out, in the follow-

ing three historical chapters, the different ways in which imperialism was bent

on taking lic

a

knowing possession of the world, on

display for the edification of the West, and

setting that

on developing the principal

forms of schooling that might serve both colonial

Having secured education’s

world on pub-

state

and colonized

historical place in imperialism,

I

native.

then begin a de-

treatment of five of the academic disciplines that have become staples of the school curriculum: history, geography, science, language, and literatailed

ture.

Each of these subject

which

is

part of

areas

is

accorded

own

its

chapter (chaps. 5-9),

devoted to identifying traces of the colonial imagination that form

how we

have learned to divide the world. Each chapter begins with

the subject’s historical formation within the age of empire, pauses over the

form

this legacy

took during the early 1960s, and then takes a close look

at the

lingering elements of this legacy in today’s classrooms, whether in America, Britain,

Canada, or elsewhere.

Education remains world. So

it is

a

voyage of discovery, a journey

in search

of a larger

that the philosopher Ernst Cassirer insists, in his discussion of

Rousseau, that the student “understands the world only inasmuch quires and conquers

furnished the for

it

step by step” (1989, p. 119).

as

he ac-

That the age of exploration

commonplace metaphors of educational

rhetoric

is

obviously,

me, more than an imaginative borrowing. Imperialism was an educational

venture that captured and captivated the imagination of the West. interests in

tourism to interior design, the West

the imperium, and

what follows

in this

book

still is

lives

From

its

within the spell of

a disquisition

on what

it

19

20

WHERE

IS

might take

HERE?

to distance ourselves

from that

When Toni Morrison opened

spell.

her Massey lectures on American civilization at Harvard in the year of the

Columbus quincentenary,

she described her hope to “draw a map, so to

speak, of a critical geography

and use

covery as the original charting of the

conquest” (1992, have

p, 3). In this

way,

that

map

New World

we need

made of the world, beginning with

to

world.

much space

—without

the

for dis-

mandate

for

a critical

geography of our own map-

much

to define

our place in

We owe students today an account of the historical divisions out of

which we have fashioned ourselves gether to

as

grow curious about what we

coloring and -labeling days in school that did so the world.

open

to

move beyond our

as

educated people, even

as

we work

to-

current understanding of an inexorably divided

PART

I

EDUCATIONAL IMPERATIVE

rl-

/„

)

l{

1
', the West understood ^

its

global display of scientific

preeminence among

and technological accomplishment as proof positive of civilizations and therefore of its right of global dominance.

its

AN ADVENTURE

IN

the other by a voyage around the world” (p. 61). Bougainville

We

ideal student.

qualities ness;

needed

is

LEARNING imperialisms

are told that he has “the right intellectual outlook

which include “philosophy, courage,

for success,

and the

truthful-

an eye skilled in and swift in the art of observation; caution, patience;

the desire to see, to understand, to learn; a grasp of calculation, mechanics,

geometry, and astronomy, and a sufficient smattering of natural history” (p. 61).

fields

Thus

it is

made

to

seem

and watery expanses can

that only

on imperialism’s immense playing

a well-rounded

be truly exercised. In return, Bougainville

is

and well-educated Frenchman

said to offer his nation three as-

knowledge of our ancient domicile and its inii:>bitants; improved security on the seas, which he traversed plummet in hand; and more sets: “a

better

accuracy in our maps” chic as military,

For

all

He makes

Tahitians, [who]

nation,

security

was surely

as

much

psy-

coming from possession of a superior knowledge."^

that he credited the

above directing state.

The improved

(p. 61).

this

adventuresome Bougainville, Diderot was not

acquired knowledge of the colonies against the imperial

one point

reference at

seem

to

to “the

most primitive of people, the

have come nearer good legislation than any civilized

insofar as they have avoided,

among other nasty civilized aspects,

“the

who has turned possession of a woman into a property right” 107). The educational imperative of this scurrying about the

tyranny of Man, (1991, pp. 104,

oceans, for Diderot,

is still

to

make something at home of the differences.^ The

learned of the day took the lives and artifacts of others as their principal texts for reconfiguring the

New

(and expanded) World in their

Europeans wrote about the importance of freedom, nial slavery, just as

they

came

to write

it

was

own

image.

in the light

When

of colo-

about love inspired by the “primitive,”

“uninhibited” coupling they imagined taking place on South Seas islands.

Condamine, eighteenth-century geographer and leader of scientific expeditions sponsored by both France and Spain, put it this way: “Whilst his Majesty’s [Louis XV’s] armies flew from one end of Europe to the other, his mathematicians dispersed over the surface of the earth, were at work under the Torrid and Frigid Zones, for the improvement of the sciences, and the common benefit of all nations” (cited by Pratt, 1992, p. 18). By the next century, it was imperial France’s military forces that possessed scholarly ^Charles de

la

presence abroad, serving, in Pyenson’s estimation, as “the largest reservoir of astronomical talent in France” (1993, p. 18). 5

The

anticolonial side of Diderot

is

seen in his preparing a surreptitious edition of the no-

toriously popular L’histoire des deux Indes en Europe et en

Amerique au XVIII siecle, by the in 1780. This encyclopedic work, cobbled together out of colonial detail and scathing polemic, inveighed against the overlords of imperialism: “Tremble! you who feed men with lies, or make them groan beneath oppression. You are going to be judged” (Diderot, 1992, p. 185). The Parlement of Paris hastily consigned the book to shredding and burning, “as impious, blasphemous, seditious, and as inciting the masses to rebel” (cited by Aravamudan, 1993, p. 49). abbe Raynal,

31

— 32

AN ADVENTURE Whether

know

for increasing or threatening the security

by imperialism proved

fostered

the world.

LEARNING

IN

The

to be the force

in the closing years

Forster,

who had

with

Cook on

Pacific.

On looking out onto

the busy

sailed

the will to

of ideas and learning

in

of the eighteenth century by George

second

his

scientific expedition to the

Amsterdam

on which the West prided economy:

the sciences

The

state,

increasing traffic in ideas, crucial to the success of imperialism,

was acutely observed

ial

of the

itself had

harbor, Forster noted

fashioned their

own

how

imper-

eagerness of greed was the origin of mathematics, mechanics,

physics,

astronomy and geography. Reason paid back with

effort invested in

its

formation.

linked faraway continents, brought

It

nations together, accumulated the products of

and

all

and

faster

the while

its

interest the

wealth of concepts increased.

and became more and more

refined.

different regions

all

They

circulated faster

New ideas which

could not be processed locally went as raw materials to neighboring countries. There they were woven into a mass of already existent and applied

knowledge and sooner or

later the

new product of reason

returns to the

shores of the Amstel. (Cited by Fabian, 1983, p. 96)

This imperial

was

form of intellectual mercantilism that drove the learned version of empire.^ News of the untapped riches of fact and artifact abroad encouraged intellectual mavericks and inquisitive adventurers to seek their fortune

lowed

traffic

among

so

much

the

the little-mapped regions of the world.

in their journeys

forms of cultural and to be

a

by

daring sorts

less

scientific

They were folwho undertook more systematic

strip-mining of the colonial terrain. There was

named and known,

much that stood to be brought within compass of European learning. The practice of science and scholarship in

the colonies

meant sweeping up

work of synthesis and visible colleges

so

barrelfuls

of specimens to feed the serious

theory, as well as public education, reserved for the “in-

of the metropolis (Macleod, 1987)-

What

produced was universal theories of knowledge, which were the colonies at a

premium

that

would

largely teach

them

this

mercantilism

later sold

back to

their place at the

periphery of learning. To be educated within this circulation of ideas, as Frantz Fanon noted in the closing days of Algerian colonialism, was only to In describing

European scientific institutions overseas, typically set up in the later phases of imperialism, Pyenson develops a three-dimensional model lor the strategies of cultural

imperialism, including mercantilist, research, and functionary aspects. The mercantilist strategy “would have scientists serving business interests” and is described more literally and narrowly than I intend here (1989, p. 276). Along similar lines, Bruno Latour speaks ol the Europeitn “centers of calculation” that made sense of all that was acquired in the great cycle ol accumulation provoked by imperial ventures abroad (1987, pp. 222, 232).

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING be further dispossessed: “The educated native quired the habits of a master’” (1965,

The World in a

Name

The

minded and

scientifically

was

it

New World

like in the

is

referred to as ‘having ac-

p. 132).

peripatetic Peter

Martyr

of what

offers a sense

overwhelming excess and profusion

facing the

of these newly discovered regions. His early-sixteenth-century account of

Peru

reflects a certain

of quadrupeds, birds, insects, trees, grasses, essences

turn our attention to the doings of

sort. Let us

(cited

by Gerbi,

One early hope

1985, p. 68).

things was to treat the

we come

New World as an

way

of knowing.

and other things of this

men and

extension of the

The burning

their

way of life”

for restoring the natural order

to the onset of the Foucauldian divide

ference as a

now enough

exasperation over the proliferation: “And

known

of

Thus

world.

between semblance and

dif-

botanical question of the century,

Martyr and others, was whether the seemingly exotic plants and animals were truly different. Did they warrant original names, or variations of for Peter

Where were

existing ones?

monkey from

another, an old-world a

new

naming

one plant from

new-world one? Such questions invited

was published

it

in 1735.

species.

on beast and

The

plant,

guage of Latin.

true

names of things, which

was about

same

One

dress as

was

fall,

a scientific structure for

among

had

first

bestowed

and learned

Adam wore

Adam

refers to

lan-

in his state

himself as “a-botanizing ... in

of Nature” (cited by

adventuresome students might

Pratt, 1992, p.

arrive at a

time before

hid his nakedness, although they seemed as destined as

he had been to taste the apple that held the knowledge of good and pecially as they

things,

of Linnaeus’s students, Anders Sparrman, writing of his

as if these

before

Adam

to be restored, in the priestly

South Africa during the 1770s,

visit to

Here was

the natural realm, bringing order to the relationship

genus by

the

that divided

wonder, then, that Linnaeus’s Systema Naturae v/diS greeted with

enthusiasm when

52). It

a

drawn

system, a rationalizing of nature’s realm.

It is little

the

the lines to be

would bring

to the

evil, es-

world an ordering that included the

racial

identification of humankind.

“The method, nature in such a

proper to all

the

it,”

the soul of science, designates at

way

that the

Linnaeus wrote

body

in the

first

sight

any body

question expresses the

name

Systema Naturae, “and this

name

in

in

that

is

recalls

the knowledge that may, in the course of time, have been acquired about

body thus named:

so that in the midst of extreme confusion there

vealed the sovereign order of nature” (cited by Foucault, 1970, ignate at

first

sight

becomes “the soul of science,”

in

an

p. 159).

is

To

re-

des-

ABC of epistemology

33

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING

34

Adam, Bacon, and Columbus

that linked

Foucault

calls

presumes that to

name

it

nomination”

“this essential

it falls

to the

in a biblical

West

to

name

(p. 159).

would thus

It

This

scientific order."

mission

scientific

the world properly. In setting out

the world anew, science acts as a principal

order of nature.

and

structure identity

on behalf of the sovereign and difference into

a grid

that could span the

whole of the earth and keep a good number of Europeans,

with their colonial

assistants,

Linnaeus

insisted,

with some pride, that his system could be acquired

and applied by anyone (with

a Latin education).

It

was

a ready

way of depu-

with a passing interest in natural history, whether they were

tizing those

home

employed.

at

or traveling abroad, to join in this global project. Linnaeus’s system

offered an amateur naturalist an identification kit for reading difference, be-

ginning with parts related to “fructification” (cited by Foucault, 1970, p. 140). Linnaeus set in motion his own curriculum experiment in public education,

which was eagerly pursued by amateur students of natural history with chant for adventures in learning and

rename, ranks it is

among

not over

the

sage aboard

local

This

nomenclature



effort to

—and

name

often to

the whole of the living realm

more ambitious and presumptuous

projects in science (and

yet).^

The Swedish stay at

of

in the face

travel.

a pen-

East India

Company

offered Linnaeus’s students free pas-

Those students of natural history who were inclined to home were amply served by such enthusiastic and widely traveled nat-

uralists as

its

ships.

Nathaniel

in 1809 to earn his

^X^allich, a

keep

Dutch surgeon who had given up

as a botanist for the British

his practice

government. After years

of scouring the Indian countryside in the mid-i830s, he arrived back in England with some thirty barrels of dried plants, which he generously distributed

among scientists and

When

throughout the nation (Kumar, 1990, p. 53). one of the great biologists of the Victorian age, Richard Owen, took institutions

charge of the natural history collection at the British

Museum

in 1856,

sured that the country s colonial naturalists at

work

the globe sent their specimens to him, creating

what Janet Browne

the cataloging

^

Sprat states in his history ol the Royal Society, “So true

That by

a little

back again to a 8

hub of the English dominions” and

The naming

Agenda 2000

ald,

in nearly every corner

of

refers to as

further asserting “Britain’s

that saying of my

knowledge of Nature men become Atheists; but sound and Religious mind” (1959, p. 351).

Lord Bacon,

a great deal returns

them

on to this day with the recent formation of the Systematics which intends to devote twenty-five years and billion to col-

project goes project,

$75

and cataloging the still unnamed species. Unnamed insects alone are estimated at 100 million in number, with some 950,000 already described by this point (McDon1994’ P- A8). The aim this time is to track the extent ol extinction among species.

lecting 8 to

is

he en-

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING right of sovereignty” over

(i994> p.

what must have seemed

some Nature

to

herself

3).

This relabeling of the world added greatly to the educational value and responsibility of travel for Europeans. In her late-nineteenth-century travels

through West Africa, Mary Kingsley captures the consternation of not being in possession of the proper names for the local flora and fauna, as well as the danger of such knowledge;

cannot read,

under

like

being shut

takes

and other

And

the color out of other kinds of

all

scientists

whose books you

in a library

the while tormented, terrified and bored.

all

its spell, it

Naturalists

It is

life”

were not above chastising

if

you do

fall

(1965, p. 165).

travelers for not

keeping better records of the world they visited (Each, 1977, p. 444). Kingsley was not above mocking this earnestness, giving just that school-like sense

of having received a

The

last

said to

words

me

Kingsley,

assignment:

field trip

a

before

most distinguished and valued I

home

left

and always take them from the adult male.”

I

do not

I

feel like

have mislaid

I

know have I

ne-

commission on both banks,

going back. Besides the

my yard

had

were, “Always take measurements. Miss

glected opportunities of carrying out this

but

scientific friend

men would

not

like

it,

and

measure. (1965, pp. 244-45)

Kingsley had traveled abroad with the special “Collectors Outfit” issued

by the

British

Museum, and

she

made good

and eighteen

use of

returning

it,

home

sixty-five species

of

pickling

of which were gratefully received by the British

jars, all

(Robinson, 1990, species of fish

fish

p. 138).

were named

As

a result

species of reptiles,

of her successes

many of them

as a naturalist, three

after her.

On the one hand,

Donald Each

the places their sailors had visited



went on

Naming a

to

place

returns us to the

named

is

rename them is

after

in their writing the

(India), Cilan (Ceylon),

as a tribute to Portugal’s navigational

Columbus, on the other hand, lands,

—Goa

achievement (1977,

p. 526).

noting what the natives called their

is-

(1969).

theme “Where is

names of

and japao

about staking and extending a verbal claim to

nowhere, do name

flora

reports how, during the early years

of imperialism, the Portuguese proudly paraded

(Japan)

in

Museum

This interest in naming the world, however, was hardly restricted to

and fauna.

with

is

here?” Here

is

what

the sovereign act. Even

Canada, had originated with indigenous peoples,

it

is

it,

which

named. The un-

when

a

name, such

as

was not adopted out of

recognition of their claim to the land. Local names were often misheard, mis-

understood, or deliberately transformed by the interlopers from abroad:

China

for Ch'in;

mongoose for mangus. These escapades of naming not only

35

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING

36

brought thousands of new words into the European languages but also must have seemed to deliver the places themselves, as they were named and

mapped, within the reach of imperialism’s educated imagination. Naming was to think about the world, one might say, on one’s own terms. If a place

was unmarked on the map,

and written down

in

it

awaited only a word pronounced

an unceremonious christening. This point has fascinated

Paul Carter, and in his The

Road to Botany Bay (1987), he pauses over Captain James Cook’s manner of assigning names to places. During a voyage to the

Cook recorded in his journal how he was so impressed by “the great quantity of new plants etc. Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander collected in this Pacific,

place” (along the coast of Australia) that

of Botany Bay (1993, practice, “space

is

p. 411).

it

“occasioned

With “place-naming,”

as

me giving it the name Carter refers to Cook’s

transformed symbolically into a place, that

is,

a space

with

a history” (1987, p. xxiv).

That history

who who

about the power to place-name against those and have lived on it for centuries. Carter notes how

have long lived there.

named

previously

it

is

not about the land

itself

nor of those

It is

Cook’s sighting of an eagle was enough to create Eagle Island, whereas Green

might

Island

What

is

refer to the ship’s

certain, in looking

names was an

astronomer or perhaps the

back over the process,

is

Cape

to

look

(p. 7).

that Cook’s assignment of

assertion of sovereignty over the land.

coast of Australia, from York

island’s

The names along

Botany Bay, “preserved the

the east trace of

[Cook’s] passage,” in Carter’s final analysis (p. 32). That these traces preserve the imperial passage, even as they form the much-studied order of the world for schoolchildren,

could stand

as

my

theme.

odyssey of renaming the world was also about honoring the heroes of empire, so that a loyal soldier of empire such as the Victorian sciFinally, this

entist Sir

Roderick Murchison,

after initiating the Geological

Survey and

heading up the Royal Geographical Society, could expect to look over maps in his final years marked with Mount Murchison and Murchison Bay. It was

more than merely

a fitting tribute for

one who

filled in

many of the blank

on the map. The world was assumed to be a tabula rasa that awaited inscription by the West and its soldiers, administrators, scientists, and educaplaces

new

tors, a

by

earth,

they I

in

will

limits

who found

way

that Joseph

their

look

like

go there

boyhood

Conrad

Heart ofDarkness: “At the time there were

and when

all

of professionals

vocation in just the

this

hood

class

fantasies fulfilled

relates

many

Marlow’s child-

blank spaces on the

saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but that) I would put my finger on it and say. When I grow up I

(i973’ P- n)- Wittgenstein’s aphoristic observation that the

of ones language are the limits of ones world becomes transformed

here into the political

maxim

that the limits of one’s

world are one’s limits

in

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING naming

(1961, 5.6).

That the world was then labeled

order, colonial occupation, childhood curiosity,

tific

no

it

less a

turn

in the

name of scien-

and imperial honors was

part of the adventure in learning that students everywhere

must

although without, perhaps, the same original sense of delight

to,

re-

at the

mastery of an otherwise unlimited world/^

The Floating Fortress-Lab I

want

mately

James Cook

to return to

fateful expeditions to the

at this point,

South

because his famous and

Pacific,

ulti-

commissioned by the Royal

Society between 1768 and 1780, launched a British age of scientific travel.

Bernard Smith,

combined the all

in his history

of the South Seas, points to

values of a fortress

and

how Cooks

ships

a traveling laboratory” (i960, p. 2). For

of their scientific interests, such interdisciplinary expeditions were also

conducted under

secret orders

from the

British

Crown and were

directed at

claiming the lands of the South Pacific for the British Empire (D. Livingstone, 1992, p. 129). Just

what

sort of laboratory these ships presented

cap-

is

tured in a contemporary letter sent to Linnaeus, which provides a brief in-

ventory of the ships’ scientific inventory, beginning with the ships’ library;

No

people ever went to sea better

They have got

History. sorts

fitted

out for the purpose of Natural

a fine library of Natural History; they have

of machines for catching and preserving

and hooks

trawls, drags

insects; all

From

at great

the

first

kinds of nets,

for coral fishing; they have a curious con-

trivance of a telescope, by which, put into the water,

bottom

all

depth. (Cited by Gregory, 1994,

voyage onward, the

pedition were diverse and substantial:

scientific

“The

you can

see the

p. 18)

accomplishments of the ex-

transit

of Venus was accurately

observed,” David Livingstone begins his catalog of Cook’s achievements,

“kangaroos were discovered, ethnographic studies of indigenous peoples carried out, the rial

collected

five

hundred

New Zealand

coastline

and shipped back fish

to the Royal Society

a vast

amount of mate-

— thousands of

plants,

preserved in alcohol, five hundred bird skins, and hundreds

of mineral specimens” (1992,

foremost

was charted and

among them on

‘^Some communities

in

Canada

p. 127).

The

ships’ naturalists,

with Joseph Banks

the initial voyage, proudly returned

are refusing this

naming and returning

home

with

to their original,

native names. This process began in 1950 with the renaming of Port Brabant in the west-

ern Arctic to

original

its

native names, largely in

which date back

and long-standing Tuktoyaktuk. Places being returned to their the far north, include Fort Chimo and Port Simpson, both of

(Rayburn, 1994, pp. 136-39). For a deconstruction of the “the original myth of transparent legibility present under the oblitera-

— proper name — Derrida

tion”

see

to the 1830s

(1974, p. 109).

37

38

AN ADVENTURE

LEARNING

IN

specimen-filled barrels and crates, as well as stacks of notebooks,

which amply

served the Royal Society’s interests in natural history. For his part during the

own form of scientific

voyage. Banks practiced his

ashore he took “in order to shoot anything

The

journal (1993, p. 409). a

Noahs

I

ecology on the

could meet,”

as

many

trips

he records in

his

expedition naturalists turned Cook’s ships into

ark of the preserved and dead, bringing

home

to

England the Pa-

contribution to nature’s order. In addition, anthropological records were made of the indigenous peoples encountered, including Captain Cook’s cifies

appreciation for the navigational finesse of the Pacific islanders, which he accurately speculated was based on a skilled reading of the stars.

An ety’s

and remarkable aspect of these voyages was the Royal Sociuse of trained artists and draftsmen to supplement the acquisition of sci-

entific

original

specimens and data

of turning the arts,

with

scientific

artists

(B.

Smith, i960, pp. 130— 3^)d* This had the effect

arm of imperialism

put to work capturing,

as

into a

Smith

prominent patron of the

refers to

them, “the sciences

of visible nature, geology, botany, zoology, anthropology, meteorology” 2 55 )'

The

their

work, successfully investing

-

ity that

commissioned added

artists so

appealed to both

it

with a

the scientist

a detached scientific

new

level

to

Europe

new

a

landscape that, in

evoked another dimension of

John Ruskin’s

— formula

could be reasserted painted the world”

and unmhibitmg, on found

The

artists’

and appeal,

know. This meant that

you can paint the world”

The

painters of leaves had

watercolors of the tropical Pacific es-

and voluptuous beauty of the

this

More

They brought

accessibility

this imperial will to

Smiths estimation.

(p. 257).

tablished the luxuriant

its artistic

“If you can paint a leaf,

as, in

(p. 255).

artists lent their vision to cele-

brating the extent and wonders of the empire-building project.

home

to

of documentary author-

and the man of taste”

than just natures bookkeepers, expeditionary

demeanor

(p.

islands, so uninhibited

otherworldly other side of the earth. These new-

of masculine desire spoke to a longing for Eden. In a theme that dates back to Columbus s voyages. Banks noted in a 1770 journal entry off sites

the Australian coast:

Of all

these people

we had

seen so distinctly through

our glasses we had not been able to observe the least signs of clothing; myself the best of my judgment plainly discerned that the women did not copy our mother Eve even in the fig leaf” (1993, 408). P-

•°On coming

across a flock of quail

reflect that really his

on the day of that journal entry, Banks did pause to business was to kill variety and not too many individuals of any one

species” (1993, p. 409).

Smith notes that

of artistic talent was absorbed between 1750 and 1850 in thus serving the biological sciences as they sought to perfect the descriptive and systematic phases of their respective disciplines” (i960, p. 3). a great deal

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING The

sexual allegory had long formed

Two

the imperial adventure.

its

own

conceit in the depiction of

Theodore de

centuries earlier,

Bry’s

famous

copperplate engravings of rapacious conquest had been used in a Protestant attack

on the

licentiousness of the Spanish conquistadors

(who were

tacked by the English for failing to educate the natives).

When

also at-

Walter

Sir

Raleigh returned from his rather dismal explorations of South America at the

end of the sixteenth century promise of Guyana vised, given his

as

in his search for El

Dorado, he held out the

an invitation to rape (which

devoted service to the virginal

may have seemed ill adQueen Elizabeth): “Guiana is

countrey that hath yet her maydenhead, never sackt, turned, nor wrought, the face of the earth hath not bene tome” (cited by Montrose, 1993, p. 188).

a

It

and

tific

bred ern

was

clear that the far

artistic enterprises

woman. These

women away

and wild reaches of the

earth,

where such scien-

were taking place, were surely no place

for a well-

expeditions formed another reason for directing West-

from one of the leading

Fortunately, however, this did not prevent

intellectual activities

of the day.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu from

taking a great interest in the use of inoculations to prevent smallpox while she accompanied her husband on a diplomatic mission to Turkey in the early

On

eighteenth century.

returning to civilized England, she had to campaign

anonymously, because of her gender,

in trying to

convince the medical pro-

fession to introduce this preventive procedure (1909). Moreover, this pro-

women joining the great quest did not prevent British naval ship commanders from having live-aboard women count among a ship’s amenities in the nineteenth century (de Kay, 1995). Yet women were not perscription against

mitted to become their record

members of the Royal Geographical

full

of contributions to the geographical sciences and the advocacy

of longtime society president

The gender

1989, p. 215).

to the age, of course,

power and

privilege

Sir

Roderick Murchison, until 1913 (Stafford

hypocrisy and sexual double-dealing was

and imperialism merely threw

onto

European

among

this play

common

of European

a global stage.

In Bernard Smith’s final analysis. Cook’s voyages for

Society, despite

intellectual history:

formed

“The opening of the

a leading

Pacific

is

edge

numbered

those factors contributing to the triumph of romanticism and science

in the 19th-century

world of values” (i960,

On Theodore de Bry, see

Bucher

p. i).

The

artist

and

scientist

Thomas Sprat notes that “the Spaniards perthan becomes their slaves” (1959, p. 383; Sprat’s

(1981).

.

.

.

mit not the Natives to

know more

emphasis). '^See G. Rose on

how

“only the ‘objective’ gaze oF white

other places in appropriate scientific detail” (1993, women’s involvement in colonialism” (1991, p. 58).

P- 9);

men could and

explore and describe

S. Mills

on the “excising of

39

40

AN ADVENTURE

LEARNING

IN

closed the circle of the globe, bringing the

European ken, and they prospered by

it.

immense

Ocean within

Pacific

Smith would have

it

that

the

Cooks voy-

ages in opening of the Pacific to the British imagination benefited the planet as a

whole, a claim that demonstrates for

with the

political

me how we are still coming to

economies of our ways of knowing the world. The planetary

consciousness fostered by imperialism contained what

think can be

I

characterized as a distinctly educational fascination with the world.

mean

that Europeans

terests, a

had an exclusive claim

view that would

have already stated, do

is

it

as helpful to

From

I

fairly

do not

to educational or scientific in-

into imperialisms

fall

see

I

as inherently imperialist.

colors, there

terms

own presumption.

Nor, as

I

think of all educational interests

Banks’s shooting sprees to the island water-

both innocence and complicity to

this learning.

These images

of exploration and discovery represented the paradigmatic educational act both on the grand scale of the floating, fortified laboratory, like the space shuttles of today,

and on the more modest

scale

of the devoted amateur col-

lector.

The Learned Colonial Administration Having given natural history expeditions, less

it’s

its

imperial due through the example of Cook’s

important to recognize that the humanities were to play no

a role in imperialism’s adventure in learning. In the shaping of the British

raj in

India, for example, the Persia scholar

Warren Hastings stood

for a

most

notable collaboration of governance, commerce, and learning. After becoming the first governor-general of British India in 1772, he sponsored the for-

mation of the Royal Asiatic Society and commissioned the translation of A Code of Gentoo [Hindu] Law, in his largely successful effort to secure the place ol

Hindu law

in the legal

system of the colony (Rocher, 1993, p. 226). Moreover, Hastings initiated the Calcutta Madrassa, an Islamic education center, at the request ol the

of

Moslem community

Mohamadan gentlemen” who

them

for “responsible

and

for, as it

was put

at the time, “the

sons

sought an education that would prepare

lucrative”

government jobs

(cited

by Ghosh, 1993,

Thomas Macaulay was to pay the rare compliment to Hastings that although he may have failed to introduce “the learning of the West” to India p. 176).

(a task that

was

succeeded

in

to

fall

to

Macaulay), Hastings “was the

first

foreign ruler

who

gaining the confidence of the hereditary priests of India and

who induced them

to lay

open

to English scholars the secrets

minical theology and jurisprudence” (1907,

of the old Brah-

p. 616).

Hastings’s scholarly respect for Indian culture convinced

English translation of the Code would

show those

inhabitants ol this land are not in a savage state

.

.

him

that the

living in Britain that “the .

[and]

do not require our

AN ADVENTURE them with

aid to furnish (cited

by Rocher,

LEARNING

IN

of conduct, or a standard for their property”

a rule

Of course, by producing a compilation of laws

1993, p. 221).

based on ancient manuscripts, Hastings was providing just the sort of “aid”

and

of conduct” that he thought was necessary for these people to restore their decaying civilization. Hastings’s also had the effect of dis“rule

placing tions of

more

thereby devaluing native pundits and legal scholars

it,

the court.

recent developments in Indian law and banishing local adapta-

It

ended up enshrining the power of the Brahman

the translators of the legal status

working from the

of the Church of England. From

British

from the

learned

less

among

its

own

bitrary

decline, as well

as

in

Burke described

what had become in setting

command

governor-general, his

in acts

“the great theater [of] abuse,” as

to instigate

against

stances of outright torture

and sexual abuse of Indian

women

ment proceedings minions

in the

of “ar-

Edmund

out the charges against Hastings (cited by Suleri,

Commons Warren Hastings. Among

1992, p. 45). In 1787,

more

interest.

account before the British Parliament for engaging

power”

of authority,

the British. This proved in practice to be

Well into Hastings’s second decade to

which

model, accorded the

than a noble scholarly application of a healthy educational

was called

attended

caste, to

his scholarly seat

Hastings saw himself as protecting the country from as

who

Burke convinced the

impeach-

the charges were in-

by Hastings’s

Courts of Justice. Burke rendered the violation to great

prefacing his statement to Parliament with

effect,

“The treatment of females could

not be described,” before offering the graphic details of the horrors: “In the

of the Ministers of Justice, in the face of the spectators,

face

in the face

sun, those tender and modest virgins were brutally violated”

of the

(p. 60).’^

The

scholarly construction of difference turned out to have a role In Hastings’s successful defense of his regime.

by

England were bound

in

say had to be



to

What

measures one might expect and

be different from those that were

instituted in this far-off land.

“geographical morality”

(p. 46).

nous

to the political landscape

—some would

Burke characterized

During the eight long years of the

ings claimed that the despotic tenor of his regime

live

this as a

trial,

Hast-

was no more than indige-

of the Orient, and he had done the homework

Burkes dwelling on the harrowing violation of the female body turns the audiences eye away from imperialism itself as a penetrating incursion: “When the colonial dynamic is metaphorically represented as a violated female body that can he '"‘Sara Suleri finds that

mourned over with from tates

sentimentality’s greatest excess,

its

rape

is

less

an event than a defiection

contemplation of male emhattlement, the figure of which more authentically dicthe boundaries of colonial power” (1992, p. 61). Suleri also sees the colonial “as the a

landscape upon which the intimacy of homoerotic invitation and rejection can he enacted” (p. 17)-

41

42

AN ADVENTURE to prove

it.

Burke

acting badly.

LEARNING

IN

tried to

expose this reading of India as a poor excuse for

He argued from

tice to the East;

I

must

a basic equality

among peoples:

assert that their morality

is

“I

must do

jus-

(p. 46).

But

equal to ours”

such claims, which might ultimately have undermined the entire ethical

economy of colonialism, were not ings’s scholarly

to hold.

The key

point here

is

how

Hast-

construction of the difference between Indian traditions of

authority and English liberty

managed

to license the abusive

and autocratic

treatment of the East India Company’s Indian employees and families by the otherwise just English.

A further chapter of greater scholarly accomplishment and consequence came with

to this learned occupation of India tal)

the arrival of William (Orien-

Jones. Jones was a distinguished linguistic scholar

as a reputable lawyer. In 1783,

he received

the supreme court in Fort William.

his Indian

Once he

and minor poet,

commission

settled in,

it

as a

as well

judge of

did not take Jones

long to combine his interests in jurisprudence and learning.

He was

the

founding president of the Asiatic Society and editor of Asiatic Researches, both devoted to promoting a broad European understanding of that part of the world. ^5

Through

his legal

study of Sanskrit, Jones arrived

Indo-European family of languages that proved a founding

at a

model of the

moment for mod-

ern linguistics. His further translations of the law, along with editions of other Sanskrit manuscripts, continued to emphasize the earlier “purity of this an”

cient language after the

model of

classical

Greek. Here was the European

scholar playing the true benefactor and executor of the historical legacy of the

colonized, drawing validating connections to other ancient civilizations. Jones’s philological investigation of to the study of Aryanism,

by Friedrick

Max

tive philology

Muller,

which was formally introduced into Great

who

served as Oxford’s

philological term.

to treat

“Aryan” as a

But by that point,

values, especially as they

by such prominent

were

figures as

it

was

closely associated with Hellenic

Matthew Arnold.

Semitic traditions

Muller was the product of

reports that Indians weren’t accepted into such societies until 1829,

in the

London branch,

re-

designation rather than a

set in counterdistinction to

there were cases of their scientific papers

membership

professor of compara-

first

racial

rise

Britain

and translated the Vedas into English. Muller eventually

nounced the tendency

Deepak Kumar

Indo-European languages gave

and

being received and accepted as a basis for well before their being allowed to join the colonial first

Indian society (1990, p. 60). Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy ^oWovjs the German leads of Hegel and Heine by setting Hellenism, with its aerial ease, clearness, and radiance ol what we call sweetness and light, apart from Hebraism, marked by its “prodigious space for sin” 116—17). (1896, .

.

.

pp.

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING Germany s

leading role in the development of Indology as a field of study

through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, demonstrating that colonial control was not absolutely necessary for the excellence of national scholarly undertakings. This seemingly distant and removed

field

of inquiry proved

in

the 1930S to be extremely valuable to the political fiber of fascist Europe. In addition to studying the country’s ancient texts

colonial administration of India also

worked hard

to create a statistical ren-

dering of the country during the nineteenth century. this elaborate process

of enumeration was to serve,

mation, a pedagogical and disciplinary function, rial

sense of land

ically,

there

is

to rule” with “land

was once again

a

is

apparatus of colonial

in

The

establishment of

Ajun Appadurai’s

field-testing

esti-

which replaced the impe-

to teach” (1993, p. 325).

More specif-

now

of a scholarly pursuit,

combining demographics and human geography, litical

and languages, the

that

was

to inform the po-

rule:

The measurement and classification of land was the training ground for the culture of number in which statistics became the authorizing discourse of the appendix (giving direct weight to the verbal portion of the text) at the

same time

that

it

gave higher

level officials a

pedagogical and

disciplinary sense of controlling not just the territory over

which they

sought to rule but also the native functionaries through which such rule needed to be effected, (p. 325)

The like

British

were working out the

of an empire of information

basis

any system of governance, shaped the

ruler

and the

ruled.

As

that,

a result of

the census, distinctions of caste received greater attention than they might

have otherwise (with some 2,378 castes and tribes identified by the British), while also emphasizing the distribution of religious differences between Hin-

In discussing Arnold’s debt to Heine, Lionel

Gossman

brings to light a fascinating meet-

ing point between the Hellenic and the Hebraic suggested by Heine, that Arnold decided not to bring forward to the British public: “Shakespeare is at once Jew and Greek” (cited

by Gossman 1994,

p. 17).

Nonetheless,

modern Jews, pointing to School, and his vehement

Gossman

describes Arnold as a solid supporter of

his instrumental role in

obtaining state aid for the Jews’ Free attack of what was termed “the sacred theory of the Aryans,” which denied the Semitic roots of Christianity (pp. 34-35). '^National Socialism’s interests in Indology, in Sheldon Pollock’s estimation, led to “some of the most politically deformed scholarship in history” (1993, p. 81). In public forums, a

number of scholars used

the study of Aryanism to separate

“Indo-German” and “Semite” Germany, which required an explanation of the “degeneracy of South Asia Aryans” in the plea for greater racial purity among the redeeming Germanic peoples (p. 81). Pollock offers the image of a Sanskrit professor addressing an SS officer corps on the topic of the “hereditary, long term tradition” linking the Fiihrer and the Buddha. citizenry in

43

44

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING dus and Muslims. This earnest counting of people and their place in Indian society created statistical divisions

among

people that became a function of

colonial governance (Rocher, 1993).^^

The

British established a tradition

ing the Indian jewel in

its

of scholarly enterprise

colonial crown.

Even with

logical advantage, the colonial administration

ing

new

areas of philology

found

and demographics

its

military

administrators’ interests in Indian culture provided their

in Hastings pire. It call a

was

s

case, for the

all

develop-

that ultimately assisted as a force,

of the subject xht operative educational metaphor and

of respectability and an ennobling recreational

and techno-

itself drawn to

governing the Indian subcontinent. Knowledge operated tery

in administer-

faith.

with mas-

The

work with

colonial a

mantle

interest, as well as a warrant,

development of what we would

global information system, with extended data feeds, lines of credit, Its

in

otherwise unseemly activities of governing an em-

part of the British Empire’s

international postings.

it

and

ongoing association of power and knowledge was

dedicated to the viability of such categories as colony and empire.

Out of this

governing knowledge of Indian culture, with

Aryan

and

guistics,

caste demographics, India

its

Sanskrit texts,

was indelibly

cast as a

lin-

decayed and

despotic society, and the empire as the remedy to these failings. Colonial administrators stationed in India, no less than naturalists aboard Cook’s scientific

expeditions to the Pacific, were part of an imperial adventure in learning

that

was

also

conducted by military campaigns and learned missionaries.

The Egyptomania Military Campaign Napoleon’s ultimately unsuccessful Egyptian campaign easily stands

as the

leading instance of an imperial army’s contribution to a single field of popular

and serious launched

study, namely,

his

Egyptomania and Egyptology.

campaign against Egypt with

In 1789,

a massive fleet

Napoleon

of four hundred

French ships that arrived on the coast ol Alexandria, carrying with them a

team ol

151 scientists,

engineers, medical

men, and scholars from the

Com-

mission of Science and Arts (Gillispie, 1994). This invading and inquiring

'®See Inden (1988, pp. 49-84) lor the British analysis of caste in “imagining India.” Appadurai (1986) has found it necessary to expose the continued exaggeration of caste distinctions in Indian society in such distinguished scholarly

works as Louis Dumont’s Homo Although Appadurai does not record the Indian response to the importance added to these categories, they did not go unchallenged in Britain. From 1887 to 1895, Catherine Impey edited the magazine Anti-Caste, with a masthead declaring its contributors to be advocates ol the brotherhood ol mankind irrespective of color or descent” (cited by Ware, 1992, p. 186). The magazine exemplified the daring work of feminists and other social activists, dating back to the abolitionist movement earlier in the century, who were committed to educating the British public about the terrible cost of imperialism. Hierarchictis (1966).

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING army, after successfully occupying Egypt, soon found itself cut off from return to France by Admiral Nelsons fleet, which had destroyed and chased

away the attending French

ships.

dozen years until the British

finally expelled

were not wasted on the French dition.

The French were trapped them

for a

but those years

in i8oi,

and scholars among the trapped expeDuring that time, they worked with the army, gathering material on artists

every aspect of Egyptian history and countryside. Naturalists ical

Egypt

in

drawings of

stone. Engineers

fish

made anatom-

while scholars unearthed and packed up the Rosetta

who were

sent to study the Niles influence

on

fertility sur-

veyed ancient monuments, reconstructed on paper their former glory, and, when their pencils were used up, the story goes, turned the lead of their bullets

into drawing instruments (Ziegler, 1994, p. 257).

strated the vast educational benefits that could be

characterized as

The

expedition

demon-

produced by what Said has

an entire corps of savants backed by a modern army of con-

Egypt was now

quest” (1995, p.

theirs to collect, to appreciate,

and

ulti-

—specimen by

arti-

mately to render for European consumption.

The f^ct

first

step of incorporation

was

for intellectual export to Paris.

to France with

to

W^hen the expedition

sweeping collection

its

pack up Egypt

intact,

it

inspired

finally returned

new domains of

knowledge, new realms of science, and new fashions for the architecture of

monuments and

the furniture of bourgeois drawing

rooms (Humbert,

1994).

For the naturalist standing before the uncrated drawings of dissected lungfish

and

ibis,

the close renderings of butterfly and hexapod jaw,

seemed enough

to

perform the typical taxonomic

it

no longer

classifications.

For those

examining such careful renderings, the organisms appeared to be “the subject matter of a science in the absence of the science,” in the words of Charles Gillispie, a

modern

editor of the campaign’s major publishing project. De-

scription de VEgypte (1994, p. 81).

The

naturalist

responded by undertaking

new forms of morphological study that related form and structure within and across species. Working with beautifully detailed drawings, as well as thousands of well-preserved specimens, naturalists were able to

mount

a

convinc-

’’The expeditions secretary, Jean- Baptiste Fourier, claimed that the team had been sent to Egypt for purposes of “extending irrigation and agriculture [and] improving the stan.

.

.

dard of living of the inhabitants and procuring them civilization

by

.

.

.

all the advantages of an improved [through] the continual application of science and the technical arts” (cited

This would take place, however, only after the arrival of the British in 1803. The model was thought to be enough of a success that when Napoleon III invaded Mexico in 1861, he also included an army of savants, who carried out large-scale excavations of ancient Aztec sites. Yet this invasion was another military fiasco. The exGillispie, 1994, p. 85).

ported artifacts did not lead to an Aztecomania, hut the expedition did further enrich the Louvre as well as many private collections (E. A. Williams, 1985, p. 150).

45

46

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING ing case for

what

Gillispie calls “a

fundamental unity of plan”

among

the or-

ganization of all classes of vertebrates (pp. 82-83). This form of morphological investigation

was

to

dominate nineteenth-century biology.

Description de IDgypteht^din to appear in 1809 as a result of a formation

of a joint stock company devoted to that purpose. ties,

presented the

of Arab tions,

life. It

some

full

It

laid

out Egypt’s antiqui-

range of its natural history, and described ten centuries

took up twelve volumes and included three thousand

folding out to one meter in length.

It

illustra-

was one of the great pub-

lishing projects of the nineteenth century, if not, as Christine Ziegler has

recently

commented,

“the

most monumental work ever published”

p. 257). It

was not long before engravings of pyramids and temples

palm

were featured

trees

in

both the cheap press and hnely honed

pharaohs became the subject of museum exhibitions, marketing schoolbooks. There was no tion of the dead

less

(1994,

set

amid

folios.

The

efforts,

and

fascination with Egypt’s mysterious preserva-

and cryptic forms of worship.

It

must have seemed

plain to

everyone that expanding the empire paid excellent educational dividends.

This occupation of the land afforded a scholarly industry devoted to interpreting every natural and historical feature of this mysterious land. Ancient

Egypt became the special possession of the French, and although the

Napoleons expedition did

little

for the

French Empire,

it

fruits

of

demonstrated the

national and cultural benefits of the imperial campaign as an educational event.

Meanwhile, the Egyptians of the day were judge incapable of appreci-

ating their country’s importance.^® In setting the achievement of France’s scientific

campaign

in

Egypt

within the context of the British in India, the Dutch in Indonesia, and the

Spanish and Portuguese in America, Gillispie concludes that “the spread of

European science and

its

appurtenances to African and Asian societies under

the aegis of military conquest and political

quest of Egypt” (1994,

Egypt into Arts,

a fantastic field

and such

European

p. 85).

exercises

sciences. Yet

Napoleon’s military campaign certainly turned

of play for France’s Commission of Sciences and

meant the conceptual and

one wants

gagement with African and Asian 20

This sense of Egypt

tave Flaubert

acquiring

who

power began with the French con-

to ask Gillispie just societies this

territorial

what

sort

expansion of of human en-

expansion entailed. These so-

decay was also exploited by tourists such as Gustraveled there with the photographer Maxime Du Camp in 1849, after as a civilization in

commissions “to enjoy every possible advantage while traveling”; Flaubert’s commission was from the Ministry of Agriculture, and Du Camp’s was from the Ministry of Public Instruction, to photograph “views ol the monuments and copies official

ol the inscriptions” (Flaubert, 1972, pp. 22, 23). Flaubert’s letters

imagination about his sexual fascination with difference.

home

leave

little

to the

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING cieties

could expect to benefit from what was,

Here again

is

we now

that delicate ambiguity that

trickle-down theory.

at best, a

take for granted: *'The

spread of European science ... to African and Asian societies” was about the forces of science taking advantage of

We

domination.

past, or, in the

sider

it

can

now assume

name of a

and contributing

that this

safely

is

greater vigilance

to a global project of

an aspect of the imperial

and accountability, we can con-

part of a necessary education in the sciences

and

in related

forms of

learning.

The

Traffic in Ideas

Having acknowledged the

tionary naturalists and colonial administrators,

it

credit the learned contributions of the missionaries

among

those

who

would be unfair not

to

and the church. Foremost

included the world of learning within their imperial mis-

sion was the Society of Jesus. cist

of imperialisms expedi-

intellectual enterprise

The Jesuits’

integration of Christian

and

classi-

training with a rigorous grounding in the mathematical sciences served

their missionaries well in their efforts to establish a concurrent spiritual do-

minion over the globe while

Columbus

assisting the colonial regimes.

sailed, the Jesuit historian

Gian

Not long

after

Pietro Maffei asserted that the

spread of Christianity through imperialism fulfilled God’s wishes for the world, and he concluded that all that was left to the Lord was to bring this

now completed world

to

an end (cited by Spence, 1983,

tended to remain busy up to that In China, Madagascar,

final

p. 123).

The Jesuits

moment.

and Lebanon,

Jesuits “disseminated the research

ethos,” as Lewis Pyenson describes their scholarly contribution, stitutions in every kind

in-

among

of imperial administrative regime” (1993,

“in-

p. 14).

To

take one important instance, the careful anthropological observations cap-

tured in the long-running annual Jesuit Relations ^vom

New

the construction of “culture” as a scholarly and accepting

heathen differences: “Christianity serves

McGrane

offers in his critique

as the plane

France initiated

way of dealing with

of emergence,” Bernard

of anthropology, “upon which the Other can

appear and be described and deployed

The assembling of knowledge about

in a

system of knowledge” (1989,

the “savages,” no

sion, attested to the simultaneously subordinating

less

and

p. 52).

than their conver-

civilizing mission

of

the Western accumulation of knowledge.

The Jesuit

accord between proselytizing and scholarship found

est expression in

engagingly

Matteo

Ricci, a Jesuit priest

its

clear-

whose story Jonathan Spence

The Memory Palace ofMatteo Ricci (1983). Ricci first carried the mathematical sciences, including astronomy, geography,

tells in

his training in

and engineering,

to

China

in 1573,

becoming

a

widely respected Western

47

48

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING scholar at the commercial center of Nanchang. This priest’s exemplary

devotion and scholarship, scholars of the

Ming

who would

Dynasty,

The key was

and the approach had worked

ing,

Roman emperor was to be ton,

convince the

in turn

of the

rest

the admirable degree of Jesuit learn-

of the church. The

in the earliest days

Constantine had been converted through such counsel.

by

a conquest, for Ricci,

among

of

was hoped, would win converts among the court

it

court and then the country.

life

On his arrival

(intellectual) virtue.

in

It

Can-

the gifts he gave out were sundials, striking clocks, maps, and a

Yan and

celestial sphere. In Li

the time under the

Ming

Du

Shiran’s analysis, given China’s strength at

Dynasty, “science and technology therefore were

means of penetration”

used

as a

The

learning was generously and respectfully shared with the Chinese as a

rather than a source of force (1987, p. 190).

demonstration of what the West had to given,

was

a loss leader,

offer.

Learning, however genuinely

an instrument of trade and conversion.

The Chinese scholars were clearly impressed by Ricci and his learning, so much so that one might wonder at the faith of the scholars who chose to con-

One who

Xu Guangpi, a high official in the Ming court and grand secretary of the Wen Institute, who had studied Western methods of calendar calculation and weaponry. “He was a scientist who vert to Catholicism.

did was

loved his country,” write Li Yan and

mathematics (1987, elaborate a

new

series

Euclid’s Elements

was eager

p. 193).

emperor.

whole of the work

it

in his preface (cited

finish the project,

in

nor did

Xu

by

in 1607.“

Li

use his

however, have his Jesuit colleagues

'

and Du,

Although

examining the Jesuit materials sent

had read Riccis work with some

Xu

joy,

to

1987, p. 194).

faith to convert the

assist

the Imperial Board

at the

time was

fail-

p. 80).

Guo Zhengyu

him by

Guo

if “it

new

reforming the Chinese calendar, which

At one point, the celebrated Confucian scholar that he

to

in Chinese, Ricci limited the project

ing to predict solar and lunar eclipses (Jami, 1992,

Ricci after

him

of the thirteen books, suggesting that they wait to see

He did,

of Astronomy

befriended Ricci and worked with

of Chinese mathematical terms necessarv to translate

proves uselul,” as Ricci put

They did not

Shiran in their history of Chinese

of Geometry, which was completed

to have the

to the first six

Xu

Du

wrote to

the priest. Reporting

asked him, in comparison

with “the works of our sages and of the Confucian scholars who came after them, which have all been recorded completely and in the greatest detail; can

you agree with

It is

me

that there

worth noting that

tenth century a.d.,

this classic

when

have been “preserved”

is

(Li

no difference [between Catholicism and ConGreek

treatise

had lound

its

way

was translated from the Arabic, where and Du, 1987, p. 193).

it

into Latin only in the

it is

commonly

said to

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING fucianism]? ference,

me

and

(cited

by

and Du,

Li

his challenge to Ricci

that there

is

p. 151).

is

Guo was

taking a position on dif-

blunt and forthright:

Gan you

no difference?” Well, no, Ricci would have

agree with

He

to say.

could

not agree. His religious mission was based on the significance of the difference, but then, difference was the intellectual engine of empire. The mastery

of difference enabled students of imperialism, whether they traveled abroad or followed published accounts at home, to possess the world-as-knowledge. 1 he Chinese scholars were not oblivious to differences between Ricci’s spiritual

and

Those who converted must have under-

intellectual missions.

stood that the translations of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry and Christoph

Epitome of Practical Arithmetic, the world map, and the improvements of the calendar were going to have a far more lasting influence on Chi-

Clavius’s

nese society than Catholicism. This

guard.

One can

imagine a

level at

may be why Guo’s question

which differences disappear between

and Confucian philosophies, where the world no-difference seems to

call

catches one off

is

Jesuit

seen as one. But this sense of

into question the point of Ricci’s arduous journey

to China. Imperialism’s great adventure in learning

was

also

of forms of civilization, adding to the riches of the West.

about the trading

Ricci’s use

of learn-

ing as an instrument of conversion adds another dimension to the will to

know, to the desire for domination. Yet there fic

is still

another side to

this traf-

in ideas.

While

Ricci

best-trained

was

minds

toiling over translations

in

China, Francis Bacon was defining the

of the European Renaissance and 1620 for creating a

of Euclid and Aquinas with the

new

its

imperial exploits.

When

scientific spirit

Bacon argued

science based on observation and experiment, he

pointed to the discovery of printing, gunpowder, and magnetism

as perfect

demonstrations of “the force, virtue and consequences of discoveries.” claimed that the “origin, [of these three discoveries], though recent,

and inglorious”

(1855, p.

Through

well-traveled trade routes, a

important Chinese breakthroughs, from gunpowder their

way

is

He

obscure

no). Each of these obscurities was, of course, a glo-

rious Chinese discovery. 22

found

in

into eager

wide range of

to the horse stirrup,

European hands. By the sixteenth century, many

of these discoveries had been absorbed and their sources obscured. The Europeans

who

more than 22

set

out during the age of exploration thought of the East as

a source

The Chinese

of porcelains, lacquers, and

origins were not totally

unknown

little

textiles (Each, 1977, p. 405). 2^

in Europe, as Each is able to trace recognition of the Chinese origin of fireworks hack to 1589 (1977, p. 404 n. 28). 2^ Each allows that “whether movable type printing came at this time from China or Korea to Europe is a question still being debated” (1977, p. 400).

49

50

AN ADVENTURE

IN

LEARNING

Meanwhile, the West had marshaled these once-Chinese inventions and other developments for the organizational asserting

present

its

interests

among

skills

and naval

forces necessary to begin

around the globe. Donald Lach

the European nations

force for this growth. Yet his

more

aim of European invention began

credits the

and missing with China

telling point for

to be directed

my

competition

as a

project

motivating is

that “the

more and more toward com-

prehension of the ordered cohesion of the universe” (pp. 404, 400). Such order and cohesion are no more than is attempted by any system of thought, with

this particular ordo universalis

has

its

integration of

and Western dominance.

scientific objectivity

The West

being distinguished by

come

to

understand the achievements and contributions of

Chinese science largely through the still-incomplete work of the biologist Joseph Needham,

who found

himself drawn in the 1950s into the history of

Chinese science by accusations that Asia had appropriated Western science in

ways that could, according to one historian, “destroy

profound and

essential in

by Needham, 1964,

[European

p. 235 n. i). It

civilization’s] spirit

a

its

West .24 To

that

all

and morality”

is

(cited

Needham devoted him-

with Wang-ling and other Chinese colleagues,

multivolume history of that country’s

includes

end

was assumed that science was foreign and

dangerous for a people with a tradition of despotism. self to writing, in collaboration

in the

scientific

achievements (1954), which

often obscured but significant scientific contributions to the

give a crucial instance

from the navigational

arts,

Needham

cred-

and magnificent experimenters of medieval China” with laying the groundwork for the scientific study of magnetism: “All the preparaits

“the faithful

tion for Peter de Maricourt,

earth as a

magnet and of Kepler on

been Chinese” (1986,

With Bacon, have

and hence of the

now been

a role

later ideas

of Gilbert about the

of magnetism

in

astronomy, had

p. 59).

there was an ignorance of China’s contributions,

largely put to rest.

other sort of obscuring sets

tween West and East.

It is

in,

But now,

after

Needham, we might

which say,

an-

one that equally sustains the great divide be-

not just that science

is

uncomfortable with

history.

Science textbooks include boxed biographies of Bacon and Newton;

some

summary, Needham catalogs Chinas scientific triumphs: “In technological influences before and during the Renaissance, China occupies a quite dominating position!:] ... the efficient equine harness, the technology of iron and steel, the inventions of gunpowder and paper, the mechanical clock, and basic engineering devices such as the driving-belt, the chain-drive, and the standard method of converting rotary to rectilinear motion, together with segmental arch bridges and nautical techniques such as the sternIn a later

Needham discusses Chinese thinking on action of vaccination, and the setting of astronomical coordinates.

post rudder” (1964, p. 238). In addition, a distance, the principle

at

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING offer sidebars

on Chinese discoveries

stories stand apart ahistorical.

of human

astronomy and technology. Yet those

in

from the knowledge

To encourage students interests has recently

at

to reflect

hand, which, once discovered,

is

on sciences place within the order

been construed by a number of scientific or-

ganizations as an attack on the truth that

made of the world (see Harding, 1993? Haraway, 1989). Still, we need to see how these articles of faith took shape as part of a global project that we have vastly benefited from and thus have some responsibility for rethinking. This chapter has gone about that rethinking

know

that

it

has

by describing the imperial quest

was directed

at the

as

an expression of the will to

construction of identity and difference. Histo-

rian

George Levine explains

sian

mind-body dualism. This

this imperial obsession as the split

product of a Carte-

separated the decidedly European

mind

from natures body: “To know nature, one must make it alien, perceive it as fundamentally other (1993, p. 370). amateur naturalists, weathering the most trying of expeditions, suffered an alienation from the body, according to this scheme, that facilitated taking in these imperialism’s fellow traveler, even as aggressive political

new

worlds. Science was

agents tried to remain aloof from

its

and economic agendas. The

scientific separation

ing from value was to reach maturity in Victorian science.^^

how

its

of mean-

One can

imagine

the degree of detachment afforded by distance might lighten concerns

about imperialism’s subjugation of peoples and

territories.

They were

objects

of study, the knowledge of which benefited humankind. This is,

will to

in Said’s

know was thoroughly

implicated in the desire for power.

words, “power using knowledge to advance

an education in the world, the study of lettered

was

fully part

relics

itself” (1995, P* 4)-

As

and pickled specimens

of the exercise of power. The planetary consciousness that arose

through these global exploits always had designs on the world. As Ricci, the

It

West was prepared

to Christianity, a trade

which,

the Jesuits. This was to

to trade in if

become

cerning literacy learning.

it

was

knowledge

initiated by,

as a

we saw with

point of conversion

was not

to be restricted to

a basic educational principle, especially con-

The West

created an intellectual mercantilism that

2 '’

Focusing on the instance of Darwin, Levine argues that the displacement of God by the theory of natural selection was “still deeply inHected with the language of natural theology” (1993. P- 386). Levine finds his epistemological

model of alienation and possession in Darwins makown children. The debilitated and aging scientist simply worked with the resources at hand; it was as much an integration of his work and family as anything else. The more telling model of the detached but still highly acquisitive frame of mind comes with the exploratory voyages of the HMS Beagle, one of 107 survey ships ing detailed observations of his

that proved to be floating science schools for junior naturalists such as

and Joseph Dalton Hooker.

Thomas Huxley

51

52

AN ADVENTURE mined

LEARNING

IN

the worldly reservoir of facts and artifacts to fuel

powers to survey, name, and bring the world to reason. to forget the origin

of ideas outside

spiring flow of ideas through history

that drove those

evil.

The

its

West has tended

there has nonetheless been an incall

into ques-

humankind.

effectively divides

individual acts of courage and

who undertook

and

came of those long shipboard days was not

the learning that

wholly or endemically

If the

and around the globe that

which science

tion the boundaries by

Now clearly,

itself,

theories

its

commitment

such expeditions always entailed a complex

how

of motivations. To appreciate

human

nu-

ance of these adventures, one has only to stumble across the fact that the

first

set

American

it is

to overlook the

scientific expedition to Africa in 1859

the son of a slave

ham, Ontario however,

ries,

easy

and eventually

a teacher at the “colored school” in

(Gilroy, 1993, pp. 19-29). it still

seems

was led by Martin Delany,

fair to

Behind the

twists

Chat-

of individual

sto-

examine the patterns that repeatedly link

colonization and knowledge in ways that continue to influence

about the world. The response formulate

some

sort

is

to this earlier association that

obviously not a righteous will to ignorance, as

of flat

refusal to

have any

knowledge that can be attributed

traffic

if

how we learn I am trying to

there could be

with the vast storehouse of gathered

to imperialism. Nevertheless, there

is

some-

thing to be said for the ethical issues that have been raised in recent times, sues that focus

The

on the

is-

values entailed in securing various forms of knowledge.

lightning-rod case has been the medical information on hypothermia

and other

topics published

by Nazi doctors who conducted

periments on concentration tionally

worthwhile to ask

camp

victims.

At the very

The European

arts

seems educa-

enormous and earnest producmeans by which celebrated forms of

learning have been gathered and used, and to in the

least, it

after imperialism’s

tion of knowledge, to inquire into the

and written over

their grisly ex-

wonder what has been erased

making of the modern world. and sciences that blossomed from

the Renaissance on-

ward were inspired by decidedly more than the exploits of imperialism. Yet amid all of that flowering, the colonial imaginary formed a constant backdrop

to the intellectual

summarized

in

life

of Europe. Imperialism’s humanist ideal might be

something of a moral equation

rants this level of oppression.

was assumed fit

ial

to be to

of all humankind.

make

A

accomplishments

quired a similar

level of

degree of learning war-

responsibility of an “advanced civilization”

and sensible

for the bene-

can be drawn with a good deal of the imper-

which was intended

and colonial advantages

that the

this

the world fathomable

parallel

action in the Near East,

routes

The



in the rest

to protect precious trade

of Asia. Thus,

in natural history

it

must have seemed

and other forms of inquiry

re-

support and protection. Such an assumption, how-

AN ADVENTURE IN LEARNING ever,

only begs the question whether learning on

empire to sustain to study

its

scientific

it.

After

all,

one hardly need invade and occupy

language or identify

work

in

this scale requires a colonial

its

a country

and fauna. Europeans did carry out

flora

China and Siam with the cooperation,

rather than the col-

onization, of local populations.

To

ask after learning’s dependency

consider the pre-imperial successes of

though questions

are

still

on imperialism from another

Marco

Polo’s

being raised about the

suggest that one might accomplish

journey to Cathay. Al-

reliability

of the records, they

much by way of trade and

what might have become the model

angle,

learning in

for a cost-recovery global venture. Or,

consider how, during the heyday of imperialism, countless students from Asia and Africa found much to study and learn in Europe, studies which they hap-

pursued amid

pily

local prejudices

without feeling compelled to exploit the

economy, convert the native children, or take charge of the government. seems obvious enough that global forms of inquiry, scientific exchange, and

local It

scholarly investigation neither require nor redeem five centuries of imperial

and subordination of the world outside Europe. What had first threatened the European world of learning with the discovery of unac-

exploitation

counted-for peoples and places, grew into

and

for half a

knowledge

its

primary intellectual adventure,

millennium the learned worked

to reconfigure, define,

in a

meeting of power and

and center the known world on European

learning. If

imperialism has been transformed in recent years into a

globalized

economy no

new form of

longer dominated by a handful of European powers,

what then of the systematic educational apparatuses established by those powers over the centuries? Have they been equally transformed? A sensible

how

starting point for answering that question

is

ing hold of the whole of the world,

chose to portray and display

their

own

affirming edification.

first

to review

Europeans, in takit

for

53

Ad Prcxfedum Erreram feruntur munera

III.

ab vxorc Rcguli Prouincia: Cunianx.

and most hideous sight I have ever seen; she appeared more like a monster than a human being” (Benzoni, cited by Bucher, 1981, p. 66). It

was the

Indian

ugliest

Woman

from

America (Frankfurt,

New

Cumana

Province, Engraving in Theodor de Bry's

isgo,

8a, 4:^). Courtesy

ill.

York Public Library, Astor, Lenox,

and

Rare Books Division,

Tilden Foundations.

THREE IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL

A what

is

lthough most everyone knows that Christopher Columbus took possession of the New World by a simple act of proclamation in 1492,

few

realize that before the

end of that

first

day, he

went on

to outline

arguably the educational dynamics of empire in his logbook. His

entry for that historic October 12 includes a thumbnail ethnography of the

Arawak

natives

whom

he encountered in the newly named San Salvador, not-

ing that they are “well built with fine bodies and friendly,

then,

is

handsome

faces,” as well as

naked, and, in color, “neither black nor white” (1969, p. 55). Here, the first educational vector: the educational dynamic begins with a

witnessing and positioning of the other.

conquest educates the conqueror,

as

The expansion of experience and we saw in chapter 2. Columbus goes on

to record his intention to “bring half a

dozen of them back to

The

so that they can learn to speak” (pp. 55-56). is

repaid through a second vector: educating the

them through education speak.” This

is

done

to

good servants and very anything that

namic

is

said to

in his optimistic

to the level of the

initial act

of self-education

unknowing

human

their Majesties,

natives, raising

“so that they can learn to

make them worthy of servitude: “They should be

intelligent, for

them”

1

have observed that they soon repeat

(p. 56). Finally,

Columbus advances

approach to converting the Arawak: “And

a third dy1

believe,”

he notes, “that they would easily be made Christians, for they appeared to me to have no religion” (p. 56).' The weight of Columbus’s initial observations

'

Columbus may be making a

less

veiled reference to

trouble than converting Jews in Spain

for failing to

become

how converting

who had

Catholic.

55

the

been forced into

Arawak would be

far

exile earlier that year

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL

56

consigned the seemingly unspoken and godless Arawak to be studied, edu-

and converted. The educational dynamic

cated, governed,

laid

out by Colum-

bus that fateful day inscribes the better part of a standard that, achieved, given realization,

As

it

Only on

was

how

notoriously apt educational designs are at falling short of to capture imperialism’s- educational project.

still

turned out, however, Columbus did not yet have the whole of his return to

ism’s educational

ond and

if rarely

come upon

Spain did he

the final vector of imperial-

dynamic, the one that occupies

third vectors reserved for chapter 4).

it.

chapter (with the sec-

this

He found

the Spanish

drawn en

masse to the spectacle of this nev/found and alien side of their humanity. His son reports that as his heroic father made his way through Spain from Seville to Barcelona, “everyone

and

The people were

1969, p. 114).

exhibition of empire,

which was

experience of imperialism.

The

them

pass,

The Arawak must have been

at the sight

of the Spanish lining the

and the native who was kept

said to have expired of sadness after

What began

element of the

native-on-display was to be both spectacle and

with wonder and apprehension

streets to see

him,

gathering together for the

to be a constant educational

object lesson for the European imagination. filled

in the vicinity to gaze at

and other strange objects that he had brought back with

at the Indians

him (Columbus,

came from everywhere

Spanish court

is

two years had passed.^

along those Spanish

of public instruction over the next

at the

streets

was harnessed into various forms This chapter focuses on the

five centuries.

educational institutions in Europe that took shape around putting on display the world possessed through imperialism. Museums and international expositions filled their glass cases

with the spoils of empire. Public gardens and zoos were stocked with specimens from abroad and occasionally exhibited na-

The

tives as living displays.

wonders of empire ried articles

encyclopedias of Europe organized the lasting

and etchings on the

latest

to generating

an informed public

I

at the center

how

of a global empire. Al-

imaginative works

—educated

the public about

*

In Foucaults terms, the display of the native at court represents the of power: Traditionally, power was what was seen, what was shown fested [such as at court]. its invisibility, at

pulsory

.

.

.

newspapers car-

examine the contribution that each

though much attention has been paid to novels, plays, poetry, and, later, films

illustrated

adventures of exploration. These forms

organize the structure of this chapter as

made

and the

in alphabetical order,

Disciplinary power,

on the other hand,

— namely, its

empire,

meeting of two eras and what was maniis

exercised through

whom it subjects a principle of comthe subjects that have to be seen”(i979, P- 187). Alwriting about the birth of the prison here and refers specifically to the

the

same time

visibility. In discipline,

it

imposes on those

it is

though Foucault is power of the examination and the school, the extraordinary subjection of the aboriginal public examination would appear to offer a parallel process.

to

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL I

focus primarily in this chapter on the processes of exhibition and docu-

mentation, both popular and learned, profane and sublime, that were used to organize the display of empire. W^hat has been described in the previous chapter as an animated adventure into the multifaceted teaching

m learning for intrepid Europeans was fed

machine

at the centers

of empire. The

idle

spectators of Columbus s parade of Arawak were gradually transformed into the educated public of the bourgeois state. I he transformation

was supported

by educational institutions that were constructed largely around that imperial purpose, and which we are now having to rethink, given what they once

made

of the world.

These instruments of public instruction, including museum, garden, encyclopedia, exposition, and travel, took shape under the auspices of private enterprise, corporate concerns, nation-state, and church. Their imperial dis-

play educated the eye to divide the world according to the patterns of empire. As the eye was disciplined, so was the body. A public was lining up for these institutions,

committed

to,

and

was leaving them amused, amazed, informed, and among other things, the future of national empires and the init

stitutions of public education. in dividing the world,

The

best that the arts

and sciences could

whether between primitive and

offer

civilized or East

and

West, was used in the formation of a public that was learning to see the world in these imperial terms. In the previous chapter,

I

discussed the scientific im-

portance placed on vision; educating the eye became an equally important topic in the seventeenth century when Rene Descartes claimed that perception

is

was above

now know

all

habits of understanding that shape peoples vision: “I

that our perception of bodies

is

due neither

to the senses nor to the

imagination, but solely to the understanding, and they are

because

we

see

thought” (i960,

weaponry was

known

to us not

them or touch them, but because we conceive them in p. 116). To gaze into the captioned display case of bushman

to learn as

much about Western hegemony

over the world as

could be learned by reading about the nations military presence abroad. The Wests way of putting the world on display, whether for museum-goer, spectator,

or sightseer, was an education in

how

to hold the

world

in

mind, with

thought given to the power required to mount such exhibits. This education by museums and travel turned the world into an exhibit. so it has occurred to Thomas Mitchell, who writes of Egypt, “In the end,

little

Or

the European tried to grasp the Orient as though self” (1988, p. 29).

ticulated

some

The

it

were an exhibition of it-

philosophical sense of the world-as-exhibition was ar-

years ago, as Mitchell points out, by Martin Heidegger in his

lecture

“The Age of the World

degger,

it is

just this perspective

Picture,” given in Breisgau in 1938. For Hei-

on

“the world conceived

and grasped

as pic-

57

58

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL ture” that permits science to

assume

formed into the certainty of representation

.

.

the objectiveness of repre-

.

senting” (1977, pp. 127-28). Within the context of picture

becomes the educational

“Truth has been trans-

objectivity:

its

my

privilege of the West, closely tied to

colonizing efforts and civilizing mission. For Heidegger

The world

age:

picture does not change

modern one, but

from an

rather the fact that the world

distinguishes the essence of the

transformation needs

its

own

study, the world-as-

modern

defines the

it

earlier

modern

medieval one into a

becomes a picture

age”

its

(p. 130).

at all

what

is

This metaphysical

picture-framing, one that captures

how

Hei-

degger himself lectured a purged student body and faculty in the Nazi Ger-

many of 1938 amid

the triumph of those racial visions

arisen out of the imperial project

and

and that thus were no

divisions that

less

part of the

ern world picture. Here Nietschze’s will to knowledge makes

pearance in the perverse Nazi pursuit of

racial purity.

The

its

had

mod-

fearsome ap-

picture

is

framed

through the close association of power and knowledge that affords a seeming disengagement from the world in the name of science and education, with the result, as

my colleague

at a distance

— from

Derek Gregory

a platform, seen

notes, that

through

a

we now

see “the

world

window, displayed on

a

screen” (1994, p. 66).

The Educational Spectacle Within

a century

of Columbus’s triumphant return to Spain, the spectacles of empire had become a source of common mockery on the Elizabethan stage. In Shakespeare’s Tempest, one of the

Trinculo,

home,

for

first

on stumbling upon Caliban

is

ideas to cross the

mind of the

to put the aboriginal

jester,

on display back

not a holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver” to witness

this “strange fish.”

Trinculo appreciates the economies of fascination to be had of empire: “When they give not a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a

dead Indian” (2.2.30—32).

By the turn of the eighteenth back

in

anger

at

marred by such

how

his visits to

century, William

London’s

St.

Wordsworth was looking

Bartholomew’s Fair had been

spectacles. In his long, autobiographical Prelude, this con-

templative poet describes such an exhibit as “hell for eyes and ears,” the “anarchy and din / Barbarian and infernal” (7.686-87). Among the imperial figures of this “spectacle,” he their poles”

names the “chattering monkeys dangling from and “the silver-collared Negro with his timbrel” (7.694, 703).

They stand among limits

of life, the

don, the city

the

movable wonders,” presenting a lesson

possibilities

at the center

of perversity, which are

of the empire,

crated artifacts of Cook’s journey:

as

as surely

in the outer

drawn

to

Lon-

were the dried specimens and

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL movable wonders, from

All

Are here



all

parts,

Albinos, painted Indians, Dwarfs,

The Horse of knowledge, and the learned Pig, The Stone-eater, the man that swallows fire. Giants, Ventriloquists, the Invisible Girl,

The Bust that speaks and moves

its

goggling eyes.

The Wax-work, Clock-work, all the marvellous craft Of modern Merlins, Wild Beasts, Puppet-shows,

AH

out-o’-the-way, far-fetched, perverted things.

All freaks

of nature,

Of man,

his dulness,

all

Promethean thoughts

madness, and their

jumbled up together

All

to

feats

make up

This Parliament of Monsters. (7.706-18)

Wordsworths parliament of monsters represented the popular expression of natural history, lacking the discipline and order that distinguished the more formally educational displays of nature. If the fair was driven by a desire for sensationalism, the

same monkey, Negro, and Indian were

in the instructive displays

later featured

of international exhibitions and national museums.

One might say that after Wordsworth,

given the wild, irrepressible anarchy of

the carnival, the leading lights of the bourgeois state and industry were to

back

horse of knowledge.

a different

that arose in the ninetenth century

Yet the state-sponsored expositions

and continued

we shall see, knowing how moth to a flame.^

the spectacular, as elty,

drawn

like a

What might

be readily taken

nineteenth-century spectacle

man,

a

Xhosa from South

is

bound

as the

into our

own

also

drew on

readily the eye lights

on nov-

most monstrous instance of the

the exhibition

and dissection of Saartjie Baart-

Africa. In 1810, at the age of sixteen, she

brought to London, where she was shown

as the

was

“Hottentot Venus.” Her

steatopygia, or protruding buttocks, were the principal focus of attention.

They were thought

to identify a primitive level

the subject of cartoons

and vaudeville plays (Gilman,

display of Baartmans person

1985, p. 215).

This crude

drew the attention of abolitionists, and

protest appeared in local papers.

The

^The

carnival’s challenge to authority,

reversals

verse,

have been championed most notably

and

of sexuality, and they became

its

in

letters

of

African Association, “a Society of

of the order and celebration of the perMikhail Bakhtin’s work on Rabelais (1968);

and Allan White (1986), who make much of it a category of transgression. This romantic treatment of the carnival as a licensed affair and “a permissible rupture of hegemony, a contained blow-off” has been countered by lerry Eagleton (1981, in Peter Stallybrass

p. 148).

59

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL

6o

Benevolent and highly respectable Gentlemen,” launched an unsuccessful legal suit “to release

her from confinement.” However, the court was per-

suaded by her promoter that Baartman was sharing

forming of her own accord

show moved

After the

Then,

(Altick, 1978, p. 270).

to Paris,

Baartman contributed

of Africa by being painted in the nude

logical record

and per-

in the profits

to Frances ethno-

du

at the Jardin

Roi.

age of twenty-five, after nine years of this exhibitionary

at the

Baartman succumbed

to smallpox.

The

fascination with her sexuality

the object of further scientific attention,

life,

became

and detailed autopsy reports were

published by Henri de Blainville and the famous zoologist Georges Guvier,

founder of comparative anatomy. They took

human

“lowest”

was regarded

this

opportunity to compare the

species to the highest primate (orangutan), dwelling

on what

her anomalous “organ of regeneration” (cited by Gilman,

as

1985, p. 213).

This focus on her genitalia led to their preservation and presen-

tation to the

Academie Royale de Medecine, “prepared

vier s words,

such a way,” in Gu-

in

allow one to see the nature of the labia” (pp. 215—16).

as to

Hottentot apron,

The

portrayed in the anatomical diagrams as extended labia

minora, served as an icon of African perversity, deformation, and pathology;

was a projection of primitive sexual appetite and lack of moral turpitude that bore anatomical comparison with the assumed deformities suffered by it

and

prostitutes

This

lesbians.

scientific fascination

autopsies performed

on

with the African female led to numerous other

women

identified as Hottentots. Their seemingly ab-

normal physiological and moral disposition was added to the ature

on the distance between the

can scientist put

Baartman Venus tally

it

suffered,

to

in 1868

scientific liter-

races, or their “non-unity,” as

(Gilman, 1985,

The

p. 216).

from the vaudeville stage

one Ameri-

cruel journey that

to the dissecting table,

from

apron,

demonstrates the spectacle’s iconic quality, which brureduces aspects of the world to disengaged objects of anxious desire and

knowledge den’ thus

for the powerful.

becomes

ferred into the

alized

female’

Gilman concludes

his sexuality

and

its

control,

that “the ‘white man’s bur-

and

it is

this

which

is

need to control the sexuality of the Other, the Other

trans-

as sexu-

both discouraging and Instructive that Baartman’s genitalia remain to this day on display at the Musee de I’homme (p. 237).^

It

Is

in Paris.

The

^

heartless spectacle that science

proved capable of creating had

For a critique of Sander Gilman’s reading ot Saartjie Baartman’s

“lack of distance between the object of his critique p. 32).

and

his

own

life

as largely a

view,” see

Mieke

its

masculine Bal (1991,

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL match

in the exotic exhibitions

sponsored by scholars in the humanities. At

the late-nineteenth-century International Congress of Orientalists, the educational display of the other attracted, at least on one occasion, somewhat

less

than sympathetic disdain,

The grotesque

Oxford produced

bly.

.

.

of papers; thus the Boden Professor of Sanskrit

who

priests,

men

a real live Indian Pandit,

Max

Muller of Oxford produced two

exhibited their

exhibiting their

What had begun

as

Japanese

rival

had the appearance of two showmonkeys. (Cited by T. Mitchell, 1988, p. 2) gifts;

it

tragedy with the

Arawak culminated

in the

these presentations at the International Congress of Orientalists. one’s point with the very

human

The Japanese

priests

now

and Indian pandit

readily

they are explained and

made

To

illustrate

seems an inhuman degree.

are reduced to pure spectacle, un-

able to be other than objects of the fascinated as

pathos of

beings under discussion takes the educa-

of the visual aid to what

tional device

at

and made him go through of Brahmanical prayer and worship before a hilarious assem-

Professor

.

an 1897 Issue of Hellas:

idea was started of producing natives of Oriental coun-

tries as illustrations

the ritual

as this reviewer reveals in

and knowing gaze of the West,

sensible, like puppets,

by

their learned

presenters.

In

have

and

more

made

recent times, a

it

whether

in

are faced with charges

not wanting to have their

educators, and curators

own

is

called for

is

made of racial

biology textbooks or Disney cartoons,

al-

of “political correctness” from those who,

educations disturbed, seek to

concern for these acts of misrepresentation. cal correction

artists,

their business to challenge the spectacle that

cultural difference,

though they

number of writers,

Yet, clearly,

trivialize their

some form of politi-

when such punishing imbalances of power can

ac-

count for the treatment of the Arawak, Baartman, the Indian pandit, and the Japanese

priests.

knowledge

The

correction begins by

explicit in matters

making the

of power and

relations

of display and characterization.

when Coco Fusco teamed up with Guillermo Gomez-Pena performance piece “Two Undiscovered Amerindians,” their display of

For example, In the

themselves in a cage challenged the educational spectacle that had long been

made of indigenous demic

to

peoples.

To make

what they termed the

explicit the voyeuristic relationship en-

“imperialist classification

and the

of the exotic body,” the two of them “exhibited” themselves tives El

Aztec High-Tech and Miss Discovery 1992,

in plazas,

mance,

museums, and

in Fusco’s

universities

as the

in a cage placed

(Sawchuk, 1992,

p. 24).

fetishizing

mock

na-

on display

Their perfor-

words, “was based on the once popular European and

North American practice of exhibiting indigenous people from

Africa, Asia,

6l

62

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL and the Americas (^995’ P- 40)*^

in zoos, parks, taverns,

One of the more

at the

Minnesota State

for the sadness

The

I

saw

is

also

hard to

moments during their tour of Euwas coming upon a diminutive African

Fair

my own

land Princess.” “Not even

(p. 58).

shows and circuses”

difficult

rope and America, Fusco notes,

me

freak

Their play on imperialisms educational theme

turn away from.

American

museums,

who was

billed as

“Tiny Teesha, the

Is-

performance,” Fusco records, “prepared

my own

in her eyes, or

ensuing sense of shame”

year was 1992.

The Museum To

realize

how

the

sixteenth century,

museum

when

relates to the spectacle,

it

helps to return to the

the Italian grand duke Francesco

I,

assembled his

se-

windowless studiolo with landscapes painted on the walls and treasures

cret,

from

afar

on

display. Francesco

had

a desk placed in the

middle of the room

to situate himself at the contemplative center of the

world. Florentine scholars and physicians were also

known and possessed known to have far more

modest cabinets of wonders, which further suggests that the origin of the mu-

seum

lay in private display (Hooper-Greenhill, 1992, p. 126).

wonders and

The collection of

from abroad, took on greater

scientific

impor-

tance with the encouragement of Francis Bacon and others

who saw

the im-

curiosities, often

portance of having the display of nature at hand for their experimental phi-

Bacon recommended that even the “most perfect and general of the modern scholar be supplemented by “spacious, wonderful gar-

losophy. library

dens

and

a stable for

all

rare beasts”

and

“all

rare birds;

with two lakes ad-

one of fresh water the other of salt. And so you may have in small compass a model of the universal world of nature made private.” Bacon joining, the

.

recommended

“a

ments and furnaces

as

also

.

.

goodly huge cabinet” and a “still-house” for instru-

may

Impey and MacGregor,

be a palace

1983, p.

i).

fit

for a philosophers stone” (cited

by

This all-encompassing, private model of

the universe, so necessary for driving the empirical engine of modern science,

proved equally effective

What started

as the

in attracting

dukes

and instructing

secret pleasure

museums were

regularly

paying public.

chamber and the

ied objects gradually evolved into the public display

nineteenth century,

a

open

scholars’ stud-

of the museum. By the

to the public, with free ad-

^Gomez-Pena and Fusco also performed at the Field Museum in Chicago, where, a century before, at the Columbia Exposition, “living dioramas” of “dying savages” in the Congress of Evolution were set up outside the “White City” celebrating Western science and industry. Maureen Sherlock reports that at some sites of this conceptual artwork, “tourists asked to have their pictures taken with the two natives,’ and many believed them to be aborigines on display for their entertainment and edification” (1994, P- 33 )-

real

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL mission days beginning in i8io at the British

who needed

also thrived in

England, along the

lines

and Ethnological Museum, which advertised of

ical

1854 that

to ensure that those

most would not be prohibited from attending.

to benefit the

museums

vate

Museum

of Reimers’s Anatom-

its

Aztec Lilliputians in

the great sensation which these extraordinary

tures have excited during their stay in

model them,

may have

that the Public

singular form

by Altick, 19785

(cited

Pri-

human

little

crea-

London, has induced Mr. Reimers

to

further opportunity of inspecting their

movement from

342^)*

P-

exciting

sensations to inspecting singular forms describes the educational arc of the

museum.

would ask the reader

how

museum placed its visitors at the center of a world to be known and possessed, how a museum might use its collection of African masks, Ming vases, and Egyptian mumI

to think

about

the

mies to teach visitors about past and present civilization and empire, and about their place within that order. This process can be contrasted with the

when

habits of medieval Europe, inlaid ivory

and enameled

the church incorporated Arabic pieces of

brought back from the Crusades, into

glass,

its re-

facts

iconography (Raby, 1983, p. 251). However acquired, these early artidid not come to stand for a domination of the world in the same way

that

museum

ligious

artifacts did.

Like

Marco

Polo’s legendary

they represented a different order of acquisition, far

about difference and

The museum’s

cutta was the largest

Rudyard

lic in

1878.

these

museums,

intent

on teaching

identity.

particular disciplining of the spectacle not only took place

West but was

in the

less

Chinese porcelain,

also staged in the colonies.

The

among colonial

opening

collections,

Kipling’s Anglo-Indian novel

young hero

as the book’s

Museum

Indian its

doors to the pub-

Kim begins with

astride a great

sits

another of

bronze cannon,

(having “kicked off” an Indian lad), which stood opposite “the

House

as the natives called the

Lahore

Museum”

dynamic of empire was doubly applied

at the

where

a certain superintendent’s interests in

at the

door with

his calipers

measurements of native

and other

(1939, p.

i).

The

Wonder

educational

Madras Central Museum,

anthropometry

tools with

visitors, occasionally

in Cal-

led

him

to stand

which he would take the

paying them for

this

notable

contribution to science (Prakash, 1992, pp. 155-56).

By the nineteenth

century,

issuing helpful guides to

mens

(Ritvo, 1990, p.

were caught up tions,

and

which

to

5).

museums

in

London,

Sailor, naturalist (“herborizer”),

in a scientific fervor that

a

new

and

Paris

were

seamen on the gathering and preserving of speci-

faith.

These amateur

pickled, caged, or housed artifacts to

and missionary

sought new specimens,

causes, as if this great cataloging of nature

found

Berlin,

might form

alike

classifica-

a rock

on

collectors sent dried, pressed,

museums and

universities, as well as the

63

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL

64

ZOOS and circuses, of an eagerly awaiting Europe. Although the

began

as largely private,

terprises, the

sometime-philanthropic, sometime-commercial en-

government was not long

in getting involved, introducing a

force into the global search for artifacts, as E.

“For the

his essay

Museums

down and

Forster sardonically notes in

was scratched

all

over the globe,

were damned, rocks chipped, natives tortured, hooks were let into the sea. What had happened? Partly an increase in science but also the

taste,

and quite

as

arrival

unscrupulous

Meanwhile, the

and greater

greater

M.

new

Sake”:

In the nineteenth century, the soil rivers

museums



museum

of a purchaser, wealthier than cardinals

the

modern European

state. (1967, p.

curator, confronted with the task

arrays of artifacts,

found

a

wonderful story

309)

of arranging

Darwins theory of evolution. Here was a way of placing the public not only at the center of the known world, but at its culminating evolutionary moment as well.

One

of pursuing

result

in his study

of the museum,

ums were soon

this is

evolutionary narrative,

that British, American,

line in

Tony Bennett

reports

and Australian muse-

looting Aboriginal sacred sites for materials to

fill

gaps in the

chronology of the story they told (1995, p. 79). For a contemporary social critic such as Bennett, the museums during the nineteenth century were designed for easy absorption and were intent on demonstrating the “improving force of culture to the working class” (p. 8).6 In this, they joined with the

church

in

competing against the alehouse. Bennett

wrote in 1884 that for the working man, “the to

wisdom and

perdition the

Gin

of the

museum

civilized

gentleness,

and

to

cites Sir

Museum will

Henry Cole, who certainly lead

him

Heaven,” compared to the “brutality and

Palace” (p. 21).

The

served, in Bennetts words,

glass cases as a

and labeled displays of

space of emulation in which

forms of behavior might be learnt and thus more widely diffused

through the

social

body

These lessons were not restricted to London. The number of museums open to the public in Britain increased from fifty in i860 to two hundred in 1900. This array of museums obviously carried

more than

artifacts

(p. 24).

of imperialism, but such exotica were always a strong

draw. In his

mock

travelogue ol yesteryear’s Pax Britannica (“Let us ourselves,

guide in hand, wander around”), James Morris puts

this fixation

objects into sobering perspective with his visit to the Victoria

seum ^

collection of Indian art,

Edward Gray, the

British

first

on imperial

and Albert Mu-

assembled by the East India Company.

Museums

keeper of zoology, pointed out in 1858 that the museums were organized From the beginning “to afford the greatest amount of information in a moderate space, and to be obtained, as it were, at a glance” (cited by Bennett, 1995, p. 41).

— IMPERIAL SHOW-AN D-TELL The most

and popular exhibit of the

fascinating

Morris s estimation, was

late

nineteenth century, in

Tipu Sultans famous Tiger-man-organ, an inge-

nious toy which represents an Indian tiger eating an Englishman, the tiger growling and the sahib feebly gurgling from an interior mechanism” (1968,

What

P’ 437)-

of

this toy,

is

Morris

mention,

to

fails

that not only

is it

as

I

life-size,

on coming across

realized

but

also has a strange sexual

it

bivalence, beginning with the soldier’s skintight uniform.

on the

soldier’s thighs

nan, 1969, desires

p. 65).

and shoulders,

his

Their deadly embrace

mouth

carries

a picture

its

The

tiger

poised

is

neck (Kier-

at the soldier’s

own

am-

lesson in the fears

and

of the colonial encounter.

Yet

if

I

had

to point to

one device that linked the museum

to the unfet-

would be the general use of the painted and dressed-up mannequin, which proved to be the museum’s way of giving in to tered spectacle of empire,

a certain visual fascination in

it

with the exotic body. Mannequins

commercial exhibitions, such

1842 in London. In the 1890s,

upon

as the

when

first

turned up

Chinese Collection, which opened

in

the anthropologist Franz Boas was called

to design “life groups” of northwestern Native

Americans

for the

Amer-

Museum of Natural History in New York, he worked with a “life group preparator” who made casts of native body parts using the Native Americans who performed in circuses visiting New York, and students of the Carlisle ican

Indian School.

On

collecting artifacts

occasion, anthropologists

among

would gather body

Native Americans in the

field.

casts

A photograph

while

from

the preparation of one exhibition shows Boas “demonstrating a pose of the

Kwakiutl hamatsa dancer for the model maker in 1895” as

U.S. National

Museum

he crouches on a tabletop, dressed in a suit and cravat, with his

arms spread out and

ward

at the

his

mouth

shape of an

in the

O while he looks heaven-

(Jacknis, 1985, p. 99). Ira Jacknis notes the great additional expense, as

well as the “problems they presented in scientific

came with using needed

natives,

artistic veracity,” that

plaster-cast simulacra, although plaster

for skin tones better than

The

and

it

wax

or papier-mache

took the paint

(p. 98).

appeared, could be effectively represented by a hollow,

painted casting, but their tools and clothing had to be authentic possessions

of the museum.

The

educational interests of the

and preserving of natives’

lives

that preserved their place in the past.

fective

with

The

boxing

displays certainly proved ef-

Boas noting that “when the Public leave the Lecture

Hall, they invariably look at the group” (cited real

called for a

within a spectacular three-dimensional family

album

visitors.

museum

by Jacknis,

1985, p. 100). I’he

measure, for Boas, however, was that people would “stop to read the

bels” at the exhibits (p. 100). tion,

Boas was distressed

at

With

how

his

la-

concern for the pedagogy of exhibi-

the architectural presence of the

museum

65

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL

66

he

columns and stairways

refers to its

—could

defeat the desired effect of en-

tering another world, of fully realizing the scope of difference these lives rep-

resented

This desire to teach from a nature that existed outside the institution had been Rousseau’s great dream in Emile (1979). Boas did his (p. loi).

share to bring a scientific quality to the museum’s realization of that dream. Not long afterward, the study of anthropology and other sciences

moved out

of the lic

museum and

instruction

and

into the university, leaving the

museums o

focus

on pub-

edification.^

The museums

educational influence

came

to be felt in the

department

began to encourage extended browsing, so that, in Michael Kimmelmans analysis, “shopping at a department store became a form of con-

store as

it

noisseurship for the average States, this exhibitionary

man and woman”

(1995, p.

H43). In the United

mix of the educational and the commercial reached

by the turn of the century. Stewart Cullin, ethnology curator of the Brooklyn Museum, was at that time setting up displays of the museum’s arti-

a fine art

facts in the

Bonwit

Teller

and Abraham

& Straus department stores,

while

the owners of such enterprises were funding expeditions to collect Amerindian artifacts. The public was raised to appreciate the finest fruits of empire, as

Bonwit

on the

its

Congo fabrics” was Brooklyn Museum” (p. H43). Both

1923 “sports attire of

exhibit ... in collaboration with the

museum and

sumer and

Teller advertised that

the department store were participating in a form of condemocracy that came of recognizing that women formed an

audience

a market.®

Another legacy of the ethnological exhibition and, in many dilemma yet to be resolved comes of what Elizabeth Williams

senses, a

(1985) describes

as “the

opposition between art and artifact.” Williams notes that the Louvre began in the nineteenth century to serve as a repository of pre-Columbian ar-

tifacts.

The

case

high culture to a

was soon made

to

remove these

artifacts

from the realm of

devoted to anthropological study. In the 1820s, E. F. Jomard, curator of the Bibliotheque Royale, complained that “there was no site

By 1907, Boas had concluded that “the psychological as well as the culture, which are the only objects of anthropological inquiry,

historical relations

of cannot be expressed by any arrangement based on so small a portion of the manifestation of ethnic life as presented by specimens (cited by Jacknis, 1985, p. 108). Perhaps, one might then suggest, it was the relation between cultures that was being expressed or manifested by these presentations of

specimens.

Turning the analogy around, Marianna Torgovnick proposes that the museums’ display oi primitive objects at the turn of the century “resembled department stores during clearance sales: items were displayed en masse in no special order; they were on view but not exhibited lavishly or enticingly” (1990, p. 75). Nancy Armstrong discusses this democratic consumerism through a postcolonial reading of Alice in Wonderland { 1990 p. 17) ®

,

IMPERIAL question of beauty in these arts

and

to practical

social utility

came

cal objects

which featured and staged

into their

.

.

.

by Williams,

1985, p. 147).

in the

quary figures from the Congo. Picassos reflections on invoking

magic and

hostility

At that ing

moment

isn’t

him

in

a

of the Americana

form of Kota

reli-

his visit to the Tro-

break with the traditional aesthetics of West-

profound engagement with what he saw

as the

of the world: I

was what painting

realized that this

an aesthetic operation;

a

it’s

by giving form

to

this realization,

I

our terrors

knew

that

I

is all

about. Paint-

form of magic designed

tion between the strange, hostile world

as

media-

way of seizing power our desire. When I came to

and

as well as

had found

us, a

my

way. (Cited by Rhodes,

p. 116)

1994,

A

in Paris,

wandered into the Trocadero, where

he had a profound encounter with the “primitive”

artifacts’

practi-

Musee d’Ethnographie du Trocadero. Some

thirty years later, the story goes, Picasso

art,

These

Americana, decorated mannequins,

vignettes. After the exposition closed, the site

exhibit was transformed into the

ern

in relation

with the Universal Exposition of 1878

a massive exhibition of

cadero emphasize these

OW- AN D-TELL

but only of objects considered

(cited

own

H

S

1908 photograph of Picasso shows the

artist in his Parisian

Bateau-

Lavoir studio, sitting by a coal stove and surrounded by what appear to be

West African

artifacts

(Rhodes, 1994,

His Nude with Raised Arms ^vom

p. 112).

1907 brings an infusion of this designated primitiveness to the cubist denial of

Western perspective, with the

askew

in the

extended

face.

figure’s mask-like,

This was the

him, both primal and duplicitous

remote culture itive

is

reassembled in

break from the tired

spirit

artist’s

in the female.

Paris,

football-shaped eyes sitting

unmasking of what was, It is

art after

for

ethnography.

A

feeding the viewer’s desire for a prim-

of the metropolis.

The ethnographic

artifact,

torn from the culture of the African village, enters the Western imagination

museum display, with little thought for possible. The Trocadero affords the West

through the

the colonialism that has

made

a cultural

it all

exchange me-

diated, as Picasso writes of painting’s purpose, “between this strange, hostile

world and

us.”

The ethnographic

terrors as well as p. 116).

What

museum

our desires” for an empire over the primal

has been wrenched from one

museum’s quietude of

mounting

display in the

order, grace,

community

is

domesticates “our (cited

placed within the

and instruction. The

neatly belies the imperial violence, symbolic

by Rhodes,

object’s careful

and otherwise,

that has

afforded this ethnographic display. Ehe museum’s lessons are always partial.

ITe

studied primitiveness achieved by

Matisse, Klee,

and Modigliani

to

artists

from Gauguin through

Hepworth and Moore transformed

artifiicts

67

68

IMPERIAL

S

H OW-AN D-TELL

into art. This elevated the public’s appreciation of ethnographic

totem, but, as Sally Price observes,

“much of the

mask and

recent valorization of Prim-

Art has simply been a matter of removing selected Masterpieces from one realm and depositing them in the other, without in any way narrowing itive

the great divide that separates them” (1989, p. 99). Even the

museum

houses both art and artifact manages to keep them apart through tional efforts. its

Think of how

completion, the

tifact

is

the

name of the

typically identified

by

museum artist,

work of art with

educa-

the year of

the place of birth; the ethnographic ar-

tribe, region,

The framed and hung artwork

tury.

labels a

its

that

or nation, and

is

dated by cen-

celebrates the artist’s transcending

ment of sublime achievement, whereas

mo-

the array of artifacts in the glass case

an aspect, whether spiritual or culinary, of a remote culture. Does the allure of these artifacts come from this educated sense of approaching a

signifies

great divide across time

and

space.^

The dialectical push and

pull

of Western

art

being what

it is,

the dadaists

turned back against the spiritualizing of a primitive sexuality earlier in this century, with Hannah Hoch producing the collage series From the Ethnographic Museum in 1926. lipsticked lips

included African sculptures intercut with women’s and fashion-model legs in high heels, mocking the treatment It

of both the primal and the well-made-up

woman

as

other (Rhodes, 1994,

Such work becomes part of the museum’s ability to encompass modernity s central tension between the ubiquitous institution and the crip.

147).

tique of its dominance. Art, in that sense,

is still

about

itself

Another countermove against the museum tradition includes the National Museum of the American Indian, which, since its opening in 1994 at the Smithsonian Institution in

New York,

has featured labels for

exhibits in three colors, with art historians, anthropologists,

icans each providing their

continuing

life

commentary.

It

also leaves

some

some of its

and Native Amer-

objects undated to

show

within an ongoing culture (“On Native Ground,” 1994).

To have Native Americans

curating, advising,

and repatriating

may

artifacts

disturb without completely unsettling the museum’s placement of the Western visitor at the center of a universe. Rather than seeing their own perspective and knowledge unrelentingly celebrated or seeing the museum as a ledger

of ownership, here Western

visitors are just that, visitors to a familiar institu-

now in the hands of those whom it once simply put on display. Although museums are becoming more self-conscious about their ren-

tion that

is

dering of the world, the public’s expectations have only very slowly been

lowing

suit.

The

Africa 95 celebration in Great Britain featured a

exhibitions, including as Africa.

its

principal showpiece

and the

largest

fol-

number of of

its

kind

The Art ofa Continent, sponsored by the Anglo American Company,

imperial

De

s

h

ow-an d-tell

and Minorco. One reviewer of the show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, John Ryle, after critiquing the use of the term art2.s a Western imposition, expressed his disappointment that in “visiting the Royal Academy, you do not feel you have been to Africa. To tell the truth, the light IS

Beers,

so low

and the rooms

dead” (1995,

it is

more

like a visit to the

land of the

The idea of the museum somehow delivering Mv\c2i of how the museums imperial legacy lives on in those it

p. 19).

fords a clear vision fectively

are so gloomy,

educated over a lifetime. All

however, as he finally claims to

not

is

lost for

feel closer to “a

trading in an international market

ef-

Ryle in this exhibition,

contemporary Akan

than to his

af-

own

forebears,

carver,

who

as

colonists engaged in a “triumphant, ill-informed appropriation of Akan ritual furniture” (p. 19). The curator of the exhibition was the painter Tom Phillips (i995)>

who

primitive: again.

^

expressed the hope that the

Certainly after this

Hoping not

of what has been made of the past is not helpful. to be said about the primitive” if we are to under-

to hear

There remains much

we have been taught by

stand what

preserves, honors,

we need

show would put an end to talk of the exhibition I hope never to hear the word

and informs

to be able to

in

the

ways

I

museum. Although do not want

the

to disparage or lose,

imagine what the

museum presumes, how and how that presumption has

sumption informs our education, by the very specific material and historical

relations that

museum

fall

that pre-

been fed

under the name

“imperialism.”

The Botanical and Zoological Gardens

The

and the museum were both caught up in a fascination with the human, but it was actually the study of plants that formed the earliest of the spectacle

imperial sciences, a study that

gardens, and illustrations.

The

would lend naturalists

itself to

who

magnificent collections,

traveled the seas were espe-

keen about the pharmacological and agricultural uses of newfound plants. They preserved, dried, and kept living instances of the world s botancially

ical variety.

As

early as 1540, gardens stocked with plants

from around the

globe were being added to European estates for their beauty, oddity, and scientific value (Each, 1977, p. 441). 1 he Portuguese physician Garcia da Orta

‘’Among the responses William Packer

in the

to the exhibition that Alan Riding reports are



Financial Times

nocent, patronizing naivete

again”— and Simon

exciting, colorful but primitive

But

comments by

We shall

we

never look at African art in our old inJenkins in the Times: “They look exotic,

are not

supposed to say that” (cited by Riding, 1995. PP- 43. 46). Torgovnick notes that “we conceive of ourselves as at a crossroads between the civilized and the savage; we are formed by our conceptions of both these terms” (1990, p. 17).

69

70

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL was among the

earliest to plant systematic

tropical plants, including cannabis,

gardens for studying the

choosing

Goa and Bombay

life

of

Island for the

establishment of his gardens. This led to his treatise on the uses of some

fifty-

seven plants and “simples” in the preparation of spices, foods, and medicines (p- 433)-

Lach notes how,

with their

common names

what was then

By

in those

pre-Linnaean times, Orta labeled the plants

many

in as

languages as possible, as

a multicultural claim to a

capture

if to

naming of the world.

end of the eighteenth century, the Calcutta Botanic Garden

the

fered a profusion of

some 22,000

plant species and 800 tree types,

all

of-

care-

fully labeled for the visitor’s edification

(Kumar, 1990,

mentioned

famous Jardin du Roi was established

in the previous chapter, the

in Paris in 1635, as the

and the pleasure gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens in 1841,

at

p. 52).

Kew in London

when

tion,

and

it,

its

“Through

its

research,

practical activities,

its

as

I

were rechristened

they were officially recognized

As Lucile Brockway

for their contribution to the study ol natural history.

summarizes

Meanwhile,

dissemination of scientific informa-

which included plant smuggling,

Kew

Gar-

dens played a major part in the development of several highly profitable and

important plant-based industries in the tropical colonies” (1979, Joseph Banks and those who followed him in administering Kew Gar-

strategically p. 6).

dens dens.

set

up

satellite

gardens from

St.

Vincent to Calcutta to support the gar-

Brockway compares the Royal Botanic Gardens, with

horticulturalists, to the

modern

crops complemented Britain’s

its

research laboratory: “These

home

form

industries to

a

power”

(p. 6).

And

this

made

new

plantation

comprehensive

tem of energy extraction and commodity exchange which nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,

“semiamateur”

sys-

for a time, in the

Britain the world’s super-

from a garden that continued

to

fill

the

Sunday

af-

ternoons of Londoners with earthly delights.

Although the state-sponsored gardens of Europe

typically sought a bal-

ance between scientific inquiry and public pleasure, those business to profit by empire’s spectacle were

less

who made

it

their

equivocal about the intent

of their exhibitions. The private zoos, which by midway into the nineteenth century were postering the streets of major European and American

cities

with notices of their great menageries, were strong on colonial lessons in identity

and

difference.

The Royal Menagerie of London

billed itself as “the

grandest National Depot of Animated Nature in the World” (Altick, 1978, p. 308). For a shilling, visitors to the Royal Menagerie were able to see “the African Lion

'0

— Nero” and

the “Noble Lioness



Charlotte,” along with “the

Alter introducing a standard nomenclature, Linneaus honored Orta’s early

naming

a

number of plants

after

him (Lach,

1977, p. 434).

work by

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL Striped or I

Untamable Hyena,”

orcupine,

and on the

list

“a Variety

of the

Monkey Tribe,”

“an Oriental

goes, with each animal suggesting the corre-

sponding human savagery of untamable oriental tribes. Londoners with little pocket change could see the caging of the strange and the savage in

a

an

animal version of the colonial drama. The Royal Menageries Ne(g)ro, accompanied by his noble Charlotte, suggested the fearsome emperor of the jungle lording over the natives before

of the land.

But

^

to the true colonial masters

1

was not

It

succumbing

just the

showman who was

in

it

for the

money. The

French government sought to exploit the economic potential of the research garden when it established the Jardin zoologique d’acclimatation

in 1854, ^

venture that continues to this day

matation sought to

The

in Paris.

Societe zoologique d’accli-

revitalize France’s agricultural situation

by domesticating

and animals, with the whole process put on display

exotic plants

formation of the public.

The

societe, largely

imported yaks, ostriches, and alpacas ing to French

soil

in the

made up of amateur

hope

and climate, could be used

guishing agriculture enterprise. *2

The

societe

for the innaturalists,

that such animals, in adapt-

to revitalize the country’s lan-

s

jardin also had an active edu-

component, with occasional and highly “successful” ethnological exhibits. These spectacles included, at different times, small numbers of Africans, Inuit, Argentine gauchos, and Laplanders set among displays of cational

relevant animals (Osborne, 1994, pp. 126-27).

By

the twentieth century, the Jardin zoologique d’acclimatation had declined as a public attraction, and the efforts to acclimatize kangaroos and lla-

mas proved,

in

almost

all

instances, disastrous. This desire to see animals

adapt to different climates was another take on reordering the world. It was a selective go at shuffling what-belonged-where to the advantage of the French. Augustine Hardy, director of the corresponding Jardin d’essai at Algiers, declared in 1898, (cited

“The whole of colonization

by Osborne, 1994,

p. 145).

is

a vast

deed

in acclimatization”

Acclimatization was about establishing a

new

order over the nature of the world. Certainly, the colonial powers devoted considerable scientific energies not only to preparing llamas for alpine pas-

tures,

but also to increasing the ability of white

the tropics.

The

initial colonial forays into

men

to govern

and

profit in

the region of the equator in the

Edgar Rice Biirroughss Tarzan novels, perhaps most notably Lord ofthe Jungle, were to sustain this theme. Donna Haraway argues in her Primate Visions {k)^) that symbolically

elevating the animals of Africa over the Africans nologists have

done

in their study

who

live

with them

is

part of what eth-

of primates.

Ten percent of the Societe zoologique d’acclimatations membership was made up of engineers, physicians, scientists, and teachers (Osborne, 1994, P- 20). '2

71

72

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL had been disastrous, claiming the

early nineteenth-century

one hundred

eight out of

lives

of seventy-

British physicians stationed in tropical Africa be-

two years of duty

fore they

had completed

their

The

acclimatization

theme was about thriving within the expanded

zons of this exotic and

vital nature. It

world, in the sense of being

zoo

its

lord

within the urbanity of civilization.

the

meant learning

to be at

home

hori-

in the

and master. The imperial garden and the

nature on display for the cosmopolitan, creating miniature Edens

set

street

(p. 93).

and into the

scientific

They encouraged

the public to step off the

and colonial mastery of nature

wonder and beauty of the

that attested to

West’s dominion.

The Encyclopedic Urge In eighteenth-century France, the encyclopedists were for the

movement of the

Versailles to a

royal collection

Louvre open

commitment of

of art and

among

artifacts

from

to the public (Bennett, 1995, p. 37).

true citizens of the

Enlightenment

those calling its

refuge at

Such was the

to the spread of reason

and knowledge among the people. The great expression of that

ideal,

of

course, was Diderot’s magnificent publishing project, the Encyclopedic, un-

dertaken by a “Society of Men of Letters.”

It

was originally contracted

to be

a translation

of Ephraim Chambers’s recently issued Cyclopedia, but Diderot

was not long

in

convincing his backers that they could

all

do much

better

by

The

going with an original and thoroughly French ordering of knowledge.

resulting Encyclopedic on dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts, et des

volumes of which appeared

metiers, the first

in 1751,

was the bound and

portable showcase of Western civilization. Although the French Empire plays

only a minor part in the content of the Encyclopedic, Diderot did not hesitate to appeal to imperialism’s planetary consciousness in describing the intent this

work: “The purpose of the Encyclopedia

scattered over the lace ol the earth; to explain

whom we 1959, p.

live

ix).

and

to transmit

it

to the

is

its

to assemble the

knowledge

general plan to the

men who come

of

men

with

after us” (Gillispie,

Gathering what was otherwise dispersed and scattered, to edu-

among whom “we” live, with the ambiguous question just who is named here, carries its own sense of the imperial educational mission.

cate those

being

Here was

a

work

that advertised itself as a “detailed system of

knowledge” that could be standing” divided silk,”

out on a large page, with the whole of “Under-

among “Memory,” which

ran to “the working and uses of

through “Reason,” and on to “Imagination,” including “theoretical,

practical, instrumental, le

set

human

Rond d’Alembert,

course,”

which

set

and vocal music” (d’Alembert,

1995, pp. 144-45). Jean

Diderot’s collaborator, contributed a “Preliminary Dis-

out the EncyclopMies

commitment

to empiricism: “All

our

IMPERIAL SHOW-AN D-TELL knowledge can be reduced to what we received through the senses; whence it follows that we owe all our ideas to our sensations” (p. 6). French efforts to gather up the world s scattered knowledge, to expand the range of its direct

named

sensations,

D Alembert goes on

clopedic.

The mere

edge.

the intellectual debt to offer

owed

to imperialism in the Ency-

an ethics governing the

will to

knowl-

we have occasionally found concrete advantages in knowledge, when they were hitherto unsuspected, au-

fact that

certain fragments of thorizes us to regard

all

begun out of pure curiosity

investigations

as

being

potentially useful to us” (p. i6).

of the world by the potential usefulness

what was

The Encyclopedic siood for the authorized use guardians of human understanding, out of that world’s to the European mind and body. It spoke eloquently to

learned, inventive, innovative,

colonial vein,

it

and industrious

in the French. In a

provided an illustrated guide to the indigo, manioc (the

source of arrowroot), tobacco, cotton, and sugar plantations of the French colonies, which were “disposed according to the dictates of reason and a slave

economy,

as

Charles Gillispie puts

lustrations for the trades

it

in his edition

and industry

of the Encyelopedies,

(1959, pl- 37).

The

il-

plantation land-

scapes depicted are thoroughly idyllic. Slaves walk in from the fields in pairs, while another is catching a fish in the pond for dinner. The house sits

mam

off on a

hill.

For Roland Barthes, the Encyclopedies illustrations are forebears of the international expositions that began in the next century. Barthes speaks of how the “Encyclopedic man mines all nature with human signs

The ob-

ject

IS

the world’s

human

signature” (1980, p. 24).

The human

signature

a French hand, a signature that, in the encyclopedic appetite for order

is

in

and

knowledge, extends to the entire world. The EncyclopMie becomes, for Barthes, “a huge ledger of ownership” that distinguishes the Enlightenment,

m

mind, from the Renaissances animated spirit of an adventurous knowledge. Although Barthes makes no direct reference to imperialism in his

his analysis,

propriate

man. ing,

is

he does identify to

“a learning

of appropriation”

fragment the world, to divide

and

at that

name and

classify) the

coinciding

spirits

he questions that

I

keep returning to

it

in this

level,

I

classify-

to iden-

of imperialism and scholar-

within the (French) signature.

book

are,

how dependent was

learning on taking possession of the world in this way, and this possessive

“to ap-

into finite objects subject to

we cannot separate without finally naming and moment property is born” (p. 27). This seems at once

ship that seek to possess the world, bringing

of

which

For Barthes,

tify (to

I

it

in

what

is

the legacy

education, this right of ownership and property.^ At

suppose, any work that aspires to encompass the

some

known world could

be said to suffer from imperialist aspirations. With this encyclopedic urge of

73

74

IMPERIAL

S

H OW-AN D-TELL

the Enlightenment, however, the rhetoric

and ambition

are underwritten

by

a literal, rather than a literary, aspiration to take hold of the world.

This

is

perhaps no

the case with the great encyclopedias of imperial

less

China, which were equally far-reaching and equally given to fragmentation,

of the emperors ubiquitous ownership.

classification, and, ultimately, a sense

Pliny’s Naturalis historia,

turies possessed the

from the time of the

same confident claim on

Roman

learning. Diderot’s Encyclopedie

was not, then, the invention of European imperialism. tradition of compiling its

and

collating

all

that

Empire, had for cen-

is

was part of a

It

known of the world.

larger

Yet

and

it

English companions Cyclopedia and Britannica, did define a world that

readers could

We

cases.

assume they possessed

as their sets

stood in their special book-

have inherited an encyclopedic tradition, with

sense of having

its

gathered up “the knowledge scattered over the face of the earth explain

its

general plan to the

men

with

whom we live.” As

the great exposi-

tion of the Enlightenment, the encyclopedia constituted the lization in the

[in order] to

whole of a

Western mastery of nature, reason, and the world

civi-

at large, or-

ganized into an alphabetical arrangement of knowledge’s discrete divisions.

How much

The

of that has changed?

Encyclopedie, for Barthes,

is

be eternally complete” (1980,

reassuring

and ultimate message of the

that “a glance suffices p. 39).

The

— — ours

for the

legacy of imperialism

is

world to

about forms

of knowledge that preserve and complete the hegemony of the knower.

The Great Exhibitions By the middle of the nineteenth

century, the amassed wealth

and

treasures of

imperialism must have seemed to cry out for demonstration and display, at least for

those

ums, and sire to

who

libraries

felt

the pride of this accomplishment.

fairs,

muse-

proved insufficient to the welling up of pride and the de-

focus people’s attention

on the

nation’s

Great Britain, the industrial classes had just the Chartist

The

movement and were

accomplishments abroad. In

come through

the social unrest of

settling in for the long haul

toward

full

de-

mocratic participation, while living in the “two nations” that identified the

gap between the industrial and the propertied industrial classes

form

Bills

had yet to secure

their

classes at the time.

democratic due, the

advanced the powers of the emerging middle

first

class.

Where

of the Re-

Thus, the en-

franchised classes might think well of staging a glorious national lesson in pire

the

em-

and commerce.

Such was the Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations held 1851,

drawing 6 million

visitors to

tion’s architectural centerpiece,

nificent

ironwork and

its

Hyde Park

site in

London. The exhibi-

the Crystal Palace, set the world within a

glass display case presenting

in

Great

mag-

Britain’s imperial

IMPERIAL SHOW-AN D-TELL hold on the world with reassuring abundance (Breckenridge, 1989, p. 202). If the English peoples knowledge of India up to that point had been restricted to the

sweeping panoramas of battle scenes on display

London, the Great

in

Exhibition presented the subcontinent through the regalia of past splendors and current crafts, including the ivory throne of the raja of

Tfavancore

brought dles,

as a present to

and

Victoria and surrounded by fine carpets, sad-

Like everything else at the Great Exhibition,” Paul Green-

parasols.

halgh notes.

Queen

Empire was

a

commodity,

a thing

more important than but not

dissimilar to shawls, ironwork, flax, or indeed sculpture.

.

.

.

Countries within

the empire were exhibited, as quantifiable batches of produce rather than as cultures (1988, p. 54). 7 he exhibition cultivated an appetite for the world. It offered proof of the nation’s historical and geographical place as a center of

advanced

civilization.

for a nation

The

exhibition was intended to serve as a rallying point

deeply divided along

still

and among those attending

class lines,

the display of industrial progress were delegations of French workers, traveled to

London

for the exhibitions

of both

1851

and

1862.

who

These educa-

tional ventures

were arguably precursors to the formation of Marx’s International Workingmen’s Association and perhaps the beginning of labor’s troubled history around the support for and challenges to empire (Benjamin, 1978, p. 152).

arts

There were exhibitions aplenty during this era on science and technology, and crafts, and waxworks and clockworks and, when it came to making



a spectacle of the world, especially the

world outside Europe, the triumph of imperialism for colonizer and colonized was the constant theme (Altick,

1978). Following the Great Exhibition,

one

after

another of the great Euro-

pean metropolises created the most engaging educational experiences out of distant lands and peoples. Timothy Mitchell has pointed out how the exhibition positioned its public as an observer “separated from the physical world

and from

human

his

being

attentive

own .

.

.

physical body,” with the effect that “the true nature of the

was

(1988, p.

to learn to be industrious, self-disciplined

19).'"^

Yet the exhibition was something

more

and

closely

as well.

'•’Among the educational marketing spin-offs was the Crystal Palace Game, which oflered a voyage around the world, an entertaining excursion in search of knowledge whereby geography

is

made

easy” (Whitfield, 1994, p. 123). Carol Breckenridge refers to such objects

“sumptuary technologies of honor, prestige, and blood” (1989, p. 204). '‘Tony Bennett is another who is less than sanguine about the exhibitions: “After 1851, world fairs were to function less as vehicles for the technical education of the working as

classes

than as instruments for their stupefaction before the

reified products of their own have been poor sources of technical education, but they remain fascinating displays of industrial accomplishment that were meant to stand in stark contrast to the exhibitions of the less civilized world.

labor” (1995, p. 81).

The

fairs

may

75

76

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL The United

found

States

ternational exhibitions

a late-nineteenth-century

and world

that allowed

fairs

enthusiasm for in-

to celebrate

it

its

emerg-

ing involvement in global affairs and imperialist ventures, especially for those

who

Americans

envisioned themselves as the rightful heirs of the

new world

order that Europe had created. Although that order was shot through with

themes of science and progress,

it

also

proved to be deeply mired

ing the racial divisions so central to what imperialism

in replicat-

made of the world. The

Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876 featured pavilions divided

what were,

into

and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exthe world between the White City, as the pristine

in effect, racial zones,

position in Chicago split

pinnacle of civilization, and the

Midway

home of such

Plaisance, as the baser

ethnological exhibits as “Darkest Africa,” set

amid the

belly dancers

and

strip

shows. Prominent anthropologists were consulted in constructing the native village,

which became

bian Exposition. sity

summer

a

Some

common

feature of American fairs after the

professors took advantage of the site to teach univer-

school classes at the exposition (Rydell, 1993,

tional features of the exposition

which claimed

it

to the scientific

progress,

The educa-

were trumpeted by the Chicago Tribune,

mind

to

descend the

the paper advised (cited by Bederman, 1995, p.

The

p. 21).

offered an adventure in social Darwinism:

was here afforded

Colum-

“An opportunity

spiral

of evolution,”

35).

exposition’s cloaking of racial prejudices in the robes of science,

and

liberty,

which

all

Americans were not permitted

not pass without public comment. Outraged by hypocrisy, the social activists Ida B. Wells

with the pamphlet The Reason

Columbian

Exposition.

Some

Why

to enjoy, did

this elaborate display

of

and Frederick Douglass responded

the Colored American Is

Not in

the World's

ten thousand copies of the pamphlet were dis-

tributed during the fair through the Haitian Building, where the former slave

Douglass was

later able to

hnd

a place as a representative.

The pamphlet

at-

tacked the “barbarism and race hate” of an America that dared to boast of

and

“liberty

civilization” while excluding the “colored

American” from the

exposition (cited by Bederman, 1995, p. 39). Wells and Douglass were espe-

dismayed by the “Darkest Africa” midway show: “As

cially

Negro, the Dahomians are also here to exhibit the Negro age”

(p. 39).

What was

had passed since the

West

in

tween

arrival

shame

the

as a repulsive sav-

commemorated of the four hundred years that of Columbus was not only the triumph of the

conquering the better part of the world, but also the growing gap be-

this

The

achievement and the place of other peoples.

exhibitions of this century, no

respective nations fair’s

being

if to

around

less

than in the

their place within this

last

triumphant

spectacular architecture of knock-down buildings

one, rallied their civilization.

The

and mock-up displays

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL was

clearly designed to simulate the experience

world into

in

which one could

past

its

and

world, turning

The

future.

it

as readily gaze into

its

on the

into a lesson

ability

and consumer

at the center

of a

farthest reaches as well as

international exposition

tions to reap great educational I

of being

made

of advanced

of the

a spectacle

scientific civiliza-

from colonial empires.

benefits

hese massively attended public events represented the educational forma-

tion of what

Guy Debord

the spectacle

is

describes as “the society of the spectacle,” in

the existing orders uninterrupted discourse about

which

itself, its

laudatory monologue” (1977, p. 24). From the Arawak whom Columbus paraded down the streets of Seville to the living exhibitions of the international exposition, a public lined its

own

world.

The

up

to witness the spectacle of

empire and to expand

and expositions have continued past the empires, and if they now represent something more

world’s

demise of the West’s vast

fairs

of a united-nations assembly of showplaces, we need to wonder at how much of their original exhibition of a crudely divided world still works on the educated imagination.

Curious For

ail

and Competitive

of the exhibitions,

empire home, there were longed to play their

own

Travel

and museums that brought the bounty of the those Europeans who longed for the real thing,

fairs, still

version of Christopher

Columbus and be

empire’s recording and image-making apparatus.

ways, especially from the

last

As

part of the

a result, there

were

al-

century onward, peripatetic Europeans climbing

with guidebook and journal in hand to the heights of the Great Pyramid of Giza and working their way across the sweeping terraces of the Shalamar

Gardens

in

Lahore.

Mary Louise

“He whose

Pratt, in

eyes passively look out

and possess”

is

her book Imperial Eyes, renders the gaze of those

how who

traveled the empire (1992, p. 7). If the travel writer served as recording secretary of strate

empire tourism, many of those

what

took notes managed to demon-

Pratt identifies as an “anti-conquest” sensibility; they sought “to

secure their innocence at the

mony”

who

(p. 7).

same moment

as they assert[ed]

Many of the sightseers were deeply moved

European hege-

by the suffering they

witnessed at the hands of colonial regimes and plantation economies. Even

more disengaged narratives stood in contrast to the political and economic machinations that made the empire possible. Travel writing gave a certhe

tain face-to-face quality to this imperial possession

much

it

appeared to

tell

of native

life, it

what

to learn

lies

yet,

was ultimately directed,

in

however an edu-

The self-improvement of travel was its theme. We have about ourselves and others, if we only take the time to explore

cational sense, inward.

much

of the world,

beyond our

all

too familiar horizons.

77

78

IMPERIAL SHOW-AN D-TELL Travel’s educational value, however, tion. It

had an unforgiving

critic in

was not above being

called into ques-

who midway into

Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

the eighteenth century was challenging European thinking,

more

generally,

on the nature of learning:

we have learned men who travel to inform themselves. This is an error. The learned travel for profit like the others ... by order of the court. They are dispatched, subsidized, and paid to observe such said that

It is

and such an object which

some country their

own

happen

there

expense,

very surely not a moral object. ... If in

is

it is

men who are curious and travel at study men but rather to instruct them.

to be

never to

not science they need but ostentation.

It is

the yoke of opinion in their travels?

sake of opinion. (1979,

p.

How

They only undertake them

—comes toward

His answer

is

then to great little,

and

yet

Is it

— “The

if one

wants to study men,

no

to

both questions.

He

adds,

effect, that “the ancients traveled little,

that they observed

is it

necessary to

necessary to go to Japan to observe Europeans?”

a sharp

one

learned travel for

the conclusion of his sustained critique of European

educational practices: “But the entire earth?

for the

454)

Rousseau’s questioning of travel’s broadening effect profit”

would they shake off

sees in those

if

roam

(p. 451).

not quite accurately,

read

little,

and wrote

of their extant works which remain to us

one another better than we observe our contemporaries”

(p. 452).

Travel, as a

way of finding

oneself through a greater knowledge of the

other, brings us to perhaps the busiest

imperialism. This traveling theory ness the true depth of the divide

seek the

thrill

see this as a

calls for

visit

Japan to wit-

between the East and West. Not only do we

way of knowing

ourselves

know

and defining our place

as the

the other and ourselves, as

we

ones who,

if to

encom-

whole world. This presumption of knowing, supported by the range

of educational apparatuses discussed in colonizing aspect.

Mungo

Europeans to

of crossing the line and entering the space of the other, but

hovering above this divide, can pass the

of intersections between education and

It

is

this chapter,

is

what

gives travel

its

yet another aspect in the assertion of dominion.

Park opens his Travels in the Interior Districts ofAfrica at the end of

the eighteenth century not only by acknowledging the “passionate desire to

examine the production of a country so to “render the

they

may

(cited

little

known,” but

geography of Africa more familiar

realize

to

also

with a promise

my countrymen”

so that

through “their ambition and industry new sources of wealth”

by D. Lee, 1995,

p. 13).

Imperial travel was conducted as

land with job openings and stock options.

if to a

dream-

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL Of

of the educational forms considered

all

takes us closest to the literary realm,

meaning between

how John

has analyzed

Park, to gather the later

send

made

and there was

complex circulation of

For example, Debbie Lee (1995) Lamia draws on travel writers, such as

travel writing.

poem

Keats s

a

poems mythic proportions and monsters;

would

the poet

poetry along with the surgeon-explorer Joseph Ritchie,

his

way

his

and

literature

in this chapter, travel writing

across Africa.

We can

who

envision the romantic poet tapping into

the travel writers imperial experience of the world, only to return the favor by affording later travel writers a heady body of imagery, adding a new dynamic to their writing abroad.

There were

also those intrepid literary sorts

along for the

ride.

David Spurr argues

that resulted

from

this trekking

ratives to the novels

that the

who went

body of well-traveled

literature

from colonial American captivity nar-

about,

of Forster and Malraux, has built

itself around

the

trial

of

penetration into the interior spaces of non-European peoples” (1994, p. 19). In that interior penetration, literature affords what most travel writing overlooks on

its

way

The

to taking in the sights.

educational function of both, by

dwelling on interiors and exteriors, was to deliver up the land and hand of

what was

at

once foreign and about to be rendered

Although well forgotten today, and Dilke’s Greater Britain:

ing 1866

and 1867

A

(1869)

for

good

familiar.

reason, Charles

Wentworth

Record of Travel in English-Speaking Countries dur-

was widely recognized

for

its

influence

on

readers

day (Winks, 1969, p. 81). Dilke begins the work plainly and boldly: “In 1866 and 1867 I followed England round the world; everywhere I was in in its

English-speaking, or in English-governed lands.”

candor

to offer the racial core

the length of

my

travels has

He goes on with

disarming

of this worldly pursuit: “The idea which

been

at

my

once

fellow and

my

guide





in a

all

key

wherewith to unlock the hidden things of strange new lands is a conception, however imperfect, of the grandeur of our race, already girding the earth,

which

is

destined, perhaps, eventually to overspread” (1869, p.

tempting to suggest that what remains of that white grandeur

man,

cigarette dangling

from

his

mouth, riding

billboards of the non-Western world. .

.

.

The

his

aspires to the

knowing

the Marlboro

beloved horse across the

book’s narrative quality (“A

roused us from our musings”) treats the reader

who

is

2). It is

superiority that

as a traveling

bump

companion

comes of seeing the world within

the sensibilities of an adventurous and wise guide to a Greater Britain. Dilke takes seriously his pedagogical

Dilke tle

may

mandate

to instruct

and

delight.

be nothing more than an imperial flag-waver, but

further ahead

when we

tury’s great scientists,

we

are

lit-

consider the travel reflections of one of the cen-

Charles Darwin. His Voyage ofthe Beagle was published

to great acclaim in 1839,

and among

its

extensive observations are once again

79

8o

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL the great imperial themes of identity

difference.

He

example, “the most curious and interesting spectacle

for

not have believed

man: in

and

greater than

it is

man

how wide was

there

ever beheld:

the difference between savage

and

I

could

civilized

between a wild and domesticated animal, inasmuch

power of improvement”

a greater

is

I

finds the Feuguans,

(1962, p. 205).

as

That Dar-

win, having observed the “savage,” could not believe the degree of difference

compared

to “civilized

man”

suggests

how

empiricism was linked to the moral

economy of empire, which depended on such differences. The two concepts, like old friends, had grown up together in the European experience when the world seemed so new to them both.^^ Darwin

In the final pages of the book, for the

young

paring

it

He

naturalist.

gives a

to the “love of the chase”;

manly

he

sets

out the advantages of travel

air to living in

feels travel’s

primeval appeal:

savage returning to his wild and native habits” (1962, traveler

and

it

leads

him

to a

man

“when he

.

the

imperial

.

first

breathed in a foreign clime, where the

He has the pleasure of filling in what “The map of the world ceases to be a

has seldom or never trod.”

was the blank map of the .

is

“glowing sense of happiness,” which he assumes every

traveler has experienced

blank.

The

p. 502).

“It

able to live out a savage passion in pursuit of a civilized knowing,

is

civilized

open by com-

the

larger world:

Each part assumes

proportions are

set,

its

proper proportions”

(p. 502).

Those proper

of course, in relation to the observer and the center of his

world. This extension of the

known world

was to turn

this trip into the principles

ment of the

British nation:

takes

its

place for the scientist

of evolution within the accomplish-

“The march of improvement, consequent on

introduction of Christianity through the South Sea, probably stands by in the records

of history.

.

.

who

.

Changes have now been

thropic spirit of the British nation.”

He

effected

the

itself

by the philan-

foresees Australia standing as

“em-

press over the southern hemisphere” while observing that “to hoist the British flag,

seems to draw with

civilization it

(p. 502).

must have seemed

it

as a certain

Such were the in the

consequence, wealth, prosperity, and

lessons to be

nineteenth century.

had everywhere It

was no

less

for the West,

true

when one

attended international expositions, visited the zoo, browsed through the encyclopedia, shopped in a department store, or

embarked on

a journey across

’^William Paterson provides an excellent example of a voyager who used scientific inquiry to advance imperial politics in the contested cape region ol Africa during the late eighteenth century. After providing his government with valuable military information, he wrote without a trace of irony in the preface to the widely read record of his journeys, “Greatly excited by the perspective of a land whose products are unknown to us, I left England with resolution to satisfy a curiosity, which, if it is not seen as useful to society, is at least

innocent” (cited by Pratt, 1992,

p. 57).

— IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL the seas.

In conclusion,

appears to me” Darwin wrote, “that nothing can

it

be more improving to a young naturalist than a journey

in distant countries”

(p. 502).

By the ways that

1920s, travel to the colonies

E.

M.

had begun

Forster skillfully renders in

A

to trouble the

empire

in

The im-

Passage to India (1924).

minent threat driving the novel is directed not so much at the unfortunate Englishwoman frightened in the darkness of the Marabar cave, as at the im-

which

perial order,

finds

its

women, Mrs. Moore, who for the unpleasant business

m

keeping ones distance;

Moore

exhibition. Mrs. I

expression in another of the novel’s English-

has not yet acquired the necessary state of

of colonialism. The educational value of travel

it

depends on approaching one’s destination

leaves India in a great

have not seen the right places

Dr. Aziz,

comes

mind lies

as

an

wave of disappointment

—whereas her one Indian acquaintance.

by the books end that he has been seduced by “this pose of ‘seeing India’”; he understands that the desire on the part of the to feel

British to see India “was only a it

(1924, p. 204).

The

parks.

It

meets

lushly decorated

lay

behind

educational dynamic of seeing the right places, of tak-

ing in the great treasures,

ment

form of ruling India; no sympathy

its

still

plays

perfect

its

match

part in

modern

travel

and

in

amuse-

Disneyland boat tour through

in a

and mechanized versions of jungle and

village

life.

The

bus-

loads of Japanese students at the Louvre ever,

and of Indians touring Oxford, howsuggest that the collapse of empire has really been about repackaging

and marketing the metropolitan centers as global tourist attractions. Tourism on a grand scale was once the privileged expression of the Western empire; with Disneyland in Tokyo, the idea

is

not so

much gone

as far

more

globally

distributed as a reward of modernization.

reminds one

Forster’s novel also

stricted sphere

how

travel

of Western women’s privilege.

formed part of the more

The

re-

sense of overseas travel’s

imminent and unspeakable dangers did not prevent, however, a great deal of the most adventuresome sort of travel bravely conducted and artfully recorded by

women

(Robinson,

1990).'^’

I

presented earlier in this book both

the well-traveled accomplishments of Mary Wortley

Montagu, which

resulted

of the smallpox vaccination into Europe, and Mary Kingsley’s collection of rare fish species. Both women also made notable conin the introduction

'^Jane Robinson

comments

in her

introduction to

Wayward Womeft: A Guide



to

Women

who traveled abroad was a strange creature in any age although by the nineteenth century perhaps not quite as shocking as before. Then, if she were a Lady, she could go where she pleased, given suitable male protection, as long as it lay within the Travellers:

“A female

bounds of civilization

(i.e.,

the British empire), and even

need not be entirely useless” (1990,

p. viii).

if

she were a mere

woman

she

8l

82

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL tributions to the Western reader’s hunger for travel writing.

women who

Among

the

wrote from the colonies, Isabelle Eberhardt offers an early and

courageous instance of participant-observer

To

travel.

dress as she did in

Arab

men’s clothing while traveling through North Africa at the turn of the century

was

to offend

both Muslims and Europeans

at least as

much

as

did her sup-

port for local rebels and dissidents and her embrace of Islamic mysticism. Be-

ginning her desert adventures

a steady stream of evocative fiction

La depeche

sources.

and drown

at the

age of nineteen, she was soon producing

at the

and

political

journalism

only to be caught by a

coloniale),

age of twenty-nine.

(for,

among other

flash flood in the desert

Her work captured (and her

ism actively defended) a way of desert

life

on

intent

journal-

resisting the ravages

of

French colonialism. In her journeying, Eberhardt threw herself across the boundaries that divided the colonized from the colonist, while sending dissenting and colorful dispatches back to the French press.

When

Eberhardt

wrote of why “the blind beggar was so dignified and serene” in the valley of Figuig or

why the

“Arabs slumber

.

.

.

stretched out in the shade of the ancient

crumble to dust,” she found her explanations

walls that

in “the harsh splen-

dor of the landscape, the resignation of vague dreams, profound indifference of

to things

this life,

and of death”

(1994, p. 126).

It

was

a sort of travel

still

writing that turned the Arab people into object lessons of an exotic otherworldliness. itself a

It

probed the mystery of their

kind of cross-dressing,

borders

if

much

lives in

romantic and radical ways,

her outfit,

like

moving

across established

never quite escaping them. Yet she was the travel writer

who

stood

both apart from and within the empire, catching the eye of Western readers in her

enthusiasm and adventuring,

cause.

Those who reported on

The

rarely

press

shown up

when

full

and

travels

it

abroad brought a

museums, and encyclopedias.

travel writing late in the

of Africa.

My guide in

this

expose the myth of the explorer

By the

period

is

public’s

two poles and the

Beau Riffenburgh, who

sets

were being promoted through a

powerfiil iconographies.

They were widely

desired and

highly paid as public speakers. They, and the images of the

new

lands

they discovered, were the subjects of painters, sculptors, and early photographers, as well as of artists for popular newspapers or journals, such as

The

Illustrated

(1994, p. 2)

London News or Frank

Leslie's Illustrated

in-

out to

as imperialism’s last great hero:

late 19th century, explorers

number of

development of

saw the prospect of reawakening the

appetite for heroic exploration with the conquest of the terior

differ-

of ambivalences and nuances that

in the expositions,

began to champion

imperialism, at a time

not always turning their heads to her

their lives

ent order of display to the empire,

would have

if

Newspaper.

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL Riffenburgh describes the close relationship that developed between the press and explorers, which included sponsorship, the purchase of exclusive interviews,

and the staging of dramatic

of press coverage,

“The volume and

rescues.

Riffenburgh surmises,

sensational style

helped make the exploration of

the Arctic, Antarctic, and Africa (as well as the explorers of those areas), significant cultural factors in the developing

mass markets of journalism”

(p. 3),

Among

the big stories of this era were the tragic Franklin expedition of 1845 (with the explorers’ cannibalized bodies not found until Henry

Morton

1854);

Stanleys successful three-year search for the missing and inept explorer David Livingstone, which was sponsored by the New York Herald; and the race between Robert Peary and Frederick Cook to the North and South Poles in the early years of this century,

^Zf/and the

New

earth (cited

a

major

between the

fight

York Times. As the American polar explorer

explained the drive,

command

which turned into

The

Adam

given to

Spirit in the

of the Age beginning

will never



the

Anthony

Fiala

be satisfied until the

command

to

subdue the

has been obeyed, and the ends of the earth have revealed their secrets”

by Riffenburgh,

foster a readership

p. 34).

At

this point,

however, the

command was

keen for the secrets and struggles of subduing the

to

last

reaches of the earth.

Although William Goetzmann (1986) has claimed that the “Second Great Age of Discovery” that occupied nineteenth-century America was largely a scientific enterprise, Riffenburgh treats it as sport as much as science.

was an international competition, both commercial and national, led by the American and British press, with each reaching for new levels of sensaIt

tionalism in covering the lurid detail of failed explorations,

was sponsoring. The press managed able series of twisted

tales.

Not

to build a

the least of

new

them

is

some of which

readership

on

the story of

it

a remark-

Henry Mor-

ton Stanley, who, in the pay of the Manchester Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and other papers, rescued Ermin Pasha, the governor-general of Equatoria,

who

in 1887

had been trapped by the Hahdist uprising, only

for Stanley

him-

self to disappear into the Ituri Forest

of the northern Gongo.

correspondents from the Herald

the World ^ound the irrepressible Stan-

Two

years

later,

drinking champagne in the jungle, and they vied for an exclusive interview with the man. The World vcpontr finally obtained the interview for four ley

thousand

word

dollars,

spending almost

story back to

New York

as

much

for cabling the

(Riffenburgh, 1994,

fourteen-hundred-

p. 112).

I'he press used the travel adventure to join the educational parade that celebrated the spread of imperialism and

its

scientific

achievement. Whether

for the thrill of savage encounters or to find the frozen remains

of failed polar

expeditions, travel writing was about expanding the horizons of experience

83

84

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL for

its

avid students.

The

self-improving nature of this education only added

to the West’s assertion of a well-traveled

Where does

that leave us today?

campaigns

pire, advertising

for

hegemony

Although

over the world.

travel

is

no longer about em-

popular destinations can

legacy of that earlier sensibility, just as

it

still

bring

home

can remind us of what the West

expects of the world, as this travel agency advertisement

the still

makes spectacularly

clear:

Where In The World Do You Want To Go? What In The World Do You Want To See? How In The World Can We Deliver Such Low Prices? The Wonders of The World.

Travel Spectacular.

Yet even in the always idyllic world of travel ads, signs of a postcolonial

awakening have begun

to emerge, with the resulting uneasiness for tourists

frankly addressed in this copy for the U.S. Virgin Islands (“They’re your islands”):

Come

an island where

to

the people actually

look forward to your

Imagine vactioning English

in a place

who want you

their beautiful beaches

windsurfing and

And

shopping.

Those

what ner

and

“tourist” isn’t a

warmest people

the

to love their island the crystal clear bays.

sailing.

.

.

in the Carib-

way they

do. For

Superb snorkeling, div-

Delicious Caribbean

exciting island histories

bad word. Where

fare.

World

class

.

come down through colonial times to reenact the Columbiad with a credit card.

exciting island histories have

such invitations

What

By

the spoken language.

is

bean. People

ing,

where

visit.

the

it

as this

one

to

welcomed gaze of the

pays,

is

tourist costs the rest of the world, against

captured by human-rights

Aung San Suu

and Nobel Peace

Prize

win-

Kyi. In an interview that she gave after being released

from

years of house arrest, she turns to

how

activist

preparations for tourism have affected

her native Burma:

A

large part

labor.

.

.

forced to

.

of the tourist infrastructure

Everyone knows

move because

proper for the tourists.

how

A

whole

at the

The

to

Shwedagon [Pagoda]

ways that are hundreds of years new.

lot

.

of

they wanted to

from the banks of the Irrawaddy know,

a lot

.

.

has been built with forced

villagers

make

of the

make

around Pagan were

the place look clean

settlers

have been removed

the docks look very neat.

they’ve started tearing

old.

They

roof above the staircase, bits of

are going to it

and

You

down the stairmake it all very

were donated by people.

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL From a Buddhist point of view, it is very wrong to tear these things down because they are the good works of others. You don’t tear down the

good works of people

just to

impress tourists. (Cited by Dreifus,

1996, p. 34)

Looking back over

this

and the previous chapters,

it

should be apparent

that the educational qualities of Western imperialism began with the

naturalist gathering

land,

The

and

specimens and

culminated

it

while recording the lay of the

artifacts

in the professional

amateur

showmanship of the

world’s

fair.

expressions of this will-to-display also took the form of learned societies

and publishing projects

and metropolises. The themes of discovery, conquest, possession, and dominion are about ways of knowing the world, of bringing

it

in the colonies

to order,

of surveying, mapping, and classifying

it

in

an

endless theorizing of identity and difference. Yet the curating of museums or the editing of encyclopedias

is

not, in

itself, at

ing about a collection of meaningful objects

The

issue here.

is

Assembling or writ-

hardly dependent on empire.

West’s passion for collecting and putting the world on display over the

few centuries has been part and parcel of a global design on the world. The presumption and appropriation with which it has collected the world relast

flects

an attitude with which

turies, the spectacles

achievement.

tory of the world.

An

It

educated.

Over the

last five

cen-

of empire were harnessed through what might be termed

an exhibitionary pedagogy.

own

many have been

The West came

world

as a lesson in its

educated public was formed around

this natural his-

was

a nation-building

to see the

and race-defining

exercise

through

public instruction, the pedagogical thrust of which an article in Blackwood's

summed up

No

in 1852:

better test can be applied to determine the degree of refinement,

and education of a people than the avidity displayed by places of instructive amusement, where not only are shows

intelligence,

them

for

to be seen, but ideas acquired,

more happy than they

and whence

entered, but

visitors retire,

not only

more knowing. (Cited by

Altick,

1978, p. 375)

symptom of this postmodern age, progressive museums have begun to address their own history of representing the world. The performance artwork, “Two Undiscovered Amerindians,” by Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Peha is an example of this critical return to what has been made of the museum. But the continuing consequences of imperialism’s will Today, as a

McMaster and Lce-Ann Martin (1992) for the critique of museum emerges out of the aboriginal mounting of an exhibition.

'^See Gerald that

practices

85

86

IMPERIAL SHOW-AND-TELL to

knowledge,

the West,

in

is still

its

desire to

make

a spectacle

of the world for the benefit of

not a matter of general education.

We

need to learn to read

again the exhibition of the world, to see the display of the civilized and the primitive as the history of an idea attuned to the benefit of a few.

think about

How

East.

how people have been

trained to view the gulf betw^een

has a public been educated in the value of Western

an expression of civilization? In returning to what

make of the world, cational effect,

there can be

steady unpacking

of,

from

West and

hegemony

museums and

as

exhibitions

no easy sorting out of this accumulated edu-

no ready measures of what

to be returned to those

We need to

whom

politically correct or

is

was taken. What

it

is

what needs

called for

is

a

slow

and thinking back through, the countless displays that

we grew up with and that continue to educate. To the question of where museum objects really belong, anthropologist James Clifford responds vehemently “that they ‘belong’ nowhere, having been torn from texts

their social con-

of production and reception, given value in systems of meaning whose

prim*ary function

is

to

confirm the knowledge and

of a possessive West-

taste

ern subjectivity” (1985, p. 244).

The

exhibitionary formation of imperialism presented throughout this

chapter sought to amaze, intrigue, see themselves,

titillate,

whatever their station in

virtue of their race. This

and inform

life,

huge educational

a public

as the benefactors

effort

was bound

who were

to

of empire by

to leave

more

than a few marks upon a variety of scholarly disciplines and school subjects in

ways that this

I

will deal

with directly in the second half of this book. Following

and the preceding chapters’

tional

partial

about Western imperialism,

I

now

ated with imperialism’s educational

Taken

sampling of what was most educaturn to the actual schooling associ-

dynamic within the

British Empire.

together, the three chapters of this section are intended to illustrate the

and complex association of learning and colonialism. In coming to understand how that association worked so effectively in the past, we should be close

able to identify the remaining traces of

it

in the ideas circulating

schools and universities today, and to find ways of finally

begins with giving

moving beyond the

The moving beyond, as suggested in the first chapan account of how the earnest intellectual work of im-

lessons of that earlier era. ter,

around

I

perialism has brought us to this point. In the final years of the empires,

when

Frantz Fanon was nailing his

scathing denouncements of colonialism to the gates of the Western metrop-

he identified the educational contradictions that needed to be rethought as a curriculum project for both former colony and colonial power:

olises,

“The

colonist bourgeoisie, in

members of its

universities,

had

its

narcissistic dialogue,

in fact deeply

implanted

expounded by the in the

minds of the

IMPERIAL SHOW-AN D-TELL colonized intellectual that the essential qualities remain eternal in spite of all the blunders men may make: the essential qualities of the West, of course” (1965, p. 3b).

The

universities

ing, or at least reducing, the

eternal,

making

it,

m

many of us have of the world

was achieved and the ends less leal

or true for

to

which

— by understanding it

this

knowledge

is all

the cost at which

was exhibited. The lion

that the forces of imperialism did to

in the

zoo

make such

is

it

no

a spec-

when we stare into the lion’s eyes, what is it we see not been touched in some way by the colonial adventure that we

tacle a part

that has

of our

all

Center of the Universe of Learning.

knowledge of the world— for

this

to solv-

polynomial equation that fixed the West to the

effect, the Eternal

We have to work with that

and schools have come only very slowly

lives,

but

have, through myriad forms, learned so well?

working on us

in this

way

is

to begin to

To catch

change

it,

sight of our education

disabling

some of the ready

assumptions that form our idea of the world. If we cannot go back, perhaps we can go forward.

87

Photograph ofAnnette Ackroyd with her pupib in i8y$.

By permission of the

British Library, Oriental

and India

Collection.

I

FOUR THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION

B

y the close of the eighteenth century,

German

conquest, the It

after three centuries

of imperial

thinker Johann Gottfried von Herder thought

well to advise Europeans that “the barbarian rules by force; the cul-

conqueror teaches.”! Although the barbarism continued. Herder’s maxim might be taken as guiding a cultivated and instructive strain within tivated

the forces of imperialism through the nineteenth century

own. The investment

in colonial

schooling signaled a

and

well into our

move from

imperial ad-

venture to colonial consolidation, from the reign of European bandit kings, in Ashis Nandys formulation, to the dominion of philosopher kings (1983, pp. x-xi). The construction ofschoolhouses throughout the colonies brought the weight of imperialisms educational project

young around the empire, but for the colonial powers.

exhibiting,

it

It is all

also bore

of a piece,

home

on the

to generations

of the

idea of education at

home

this turn to learning, organizing,

and schooling that went on under imperialism’s patronage, but

the final step in this educational dynamic, the building of the colonial school, has symbolized the staying power of this legacy.

For educators, one encouraging theme of this aspect of imperialism’s legacy is that although colonial education was dedicated to extending the regulation and usefulness of the colonized, it is

—contributed

who were

to the empire’s

it

also



the

human

spirit

undoing. This danger was not

ruthlessly exploiting the colonized peoples.

being what

lost

on those

Fanon speaks of “that

bludgeon argument [against colonial schooling] of the plantation-owner

'

Herder (1909,

p.

289)

is

cited

and translated

89

in

Olender (1992,

p. 42).

in

90

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION Africa:

Our enemy

is

the teacher” (1967, p.

and European schooling colonialist writings, to

attests,

The

may

it

be

more than

fair to suggest,

colonial school, like

down

else in the

Around

of schooling. The reviews coming

recalls his

was best

and

British history

Edward

in the world.

Said,

I

The mas-

the globe, nations are earnestly at recovering

from the colo-

from those who suffered the

in

on the weight of its im-

education in one of Natal’s British schools

with a measure of irony and diplomacy: “Britain was the that

Colo-

the masters house.

years of an imperial education remain mixed, except

Nelson Mandela

efforts.

formal structure of Western

pursuing postcolonial forms of education aimed

pact.

effective anti-

the teacher seeks to teach.

can take

much

imperialism, has been dismantled.

nial era

and

his passionate

what could come of these educational

nized students tend to learn ters tools,

through

own mixture of colonial

His

35).

home of everything

have not discarded the influence which Britain

and culture exercised on

us” (cited

on the other hand, speaks of his

wound

by James, 1994,

British schooling in

p. 565).

Egypt

in

many of us because of the sustained presence in our midst of domineering foreigners who taught us to respect distant norms and values more than our own. Our culture was felt to terms of “the tremendous spiritual

felt

by

be of a lower grade, perhaps even congenitally inferior and something of which to be

ashamed”

education,

I

(1991, pp. 8—9).

want now

to ask,

What

was

left

sort

by

of residue on our thinking about

enormous

this

colonial schools across the Western empires?

exercise of building

What impact

did this colonial

on the emergence of public education during the same period

exercise have

the West? Mandela’s sense of learning

duced shame

are

still

very

much

from considerations of whether to debates pitting the

Western

what was

best

at play in schools

and

Said’s

of feeling

in in-

around the world today,

to school in the

former colonial languages,

classics against the

claims of multiculturalism.

This chapter cannot begin to do justice to the variety of schooling that occurred in the centuries-long global process of imperialism. Schooling took

on almost

as

many forms

as there

were colonies, and

by colonial subjects and by colonial powers. Thus, first

residential schools, established

tailing

of career opportunities

the adventure in learning

presumed

by the church

at a postcolonial

I

in

its

impact was

move from

felt

both

colonialism’s

New France,

to the cur-

Oxford University. As with

and the exhibition of empire, colonial schooling

a right exercised over those to be educated, a right that

is

present in

every educational act yet that represented a special level of presumption in the colonial context.

This presumption

is

more than adequately rendered

“Educational Problems of the Empire,” which

is

found

in E. B. Sargant’s

in the sixth

and con-

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION eluding volume of The Oxford Survey ofthe British Empire, published on the eve of the First World War. In identifying the educational

problems of the

British

Empire, Sargant does not dwell on inadequacies

read and write, nor

on weaknesses

in their

in students’ ability to

computational

skills.

Rather, in

surveying “every part of our Empire,” Sargant locates a far more profound educational disability. The children of the British Empire do not grow up thinking like Englishmen. The empire’s schools are unable to achieve “the adaptation to other circumstances and other peoples of that habit of mind

with regard to law that scarcely ever becomes a matter of formal instruction in our English schools, but is insensibly acquired by our youth at

every stage

of growth, no (i 9 ^

4



P* 2 33 )* .

less at

The

sensibly” acquired

problem was

home

or

upon

challenge was to

by

to teach

the playing fields than in the classroom”

instill in

civilized peoples at

the native the very character “in-

home and on

the playground.

one group what others hadn’t needed

taught. This was intended, at best, to raise

up

The

to be formally

a people in a studied,

and

thereby inadequate, approximation of their betters.

Sargant compares this challenge to the church’s original educational mission on behalf of British maturity and masculinity; “In the main, those school

which were sedulously cultivated by the Church of England at a time when the English nation itself was growing to manhood are still working diideals

rectly or indirectly to bring the British

Colonial schooling sought to

Empire

to maturity” (1914, p. 244).

manly maturity within the moral economy of empire, would repay the instill a

in

its

students that,

right of occupation:

We provide a

civilizing education in exchange for your lands

ucation alone

may

and selves;

this ed-

be able to afford you a level ofcivilization (or maturity) that will warrant you taking charge in your own house? The exchange or gift value

of education forms part of Bhikhu Parekh’s critique of nineteenth-century British liberalism: In order to justify colonial rule, liberals needed to

show

that the British

had something to give to the colonies which the latter badly needed, were unable to acquire unaided, and which was so precious 2iS to compensate for whatever economic and political price they were required to pay.

The

logic

of colonial

justification required a perfect

match between

^

In light of the educational problem, Sargant proposed, to his credit, such corrective measures as dismissing the significance typically placed on “the characteristics and capacities of particular races” while providing more instruction in the native students’ vernacular languages, especially when it came, oddly enough, to “dealing with English life,” which to

was remain an important focus of the colonial curriculum throughout the nineteenth cen-

tury (1914, pp. 234, 240).

91

92

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION British gifts

and colonial needs, between

ficiency. (1994, p. ii; Parekh’s

Whether

it

was seen

moments. Yet claiming

and native de-

emphasis)^

cultivated or barbaric, colonial schooling

imperial process, even as cious

British strength

was part of the

larger

more

avari-

as redressing imperialism’s

that education

would

raise the

colonized along

a historical scale toward a level of civilized maturity, as Sargant puts

it, is

sim-

ply to imply that the current society was in an infantile state. Western education stood as a universal standard

and

their children’s peril,

rather than a

from which people departed

whether by teaching

European one, or by fostering

in

at their

an indigenous language

traditional crafts that took time

away from the demands of science and mathematics. At the very need to go forward knowing something of the history that cational perspective in place,

of the

we

to see

all

edu-

as part

it

past.

it

was

also a

proach

it

is

bound

to appear harsh in a review

meeting place of caring adults and eager children,

ground between cultures and

its

least,

first set this

however strong the temptation

Although colonial education this,

own

a refuge

as

middle

from the ravages of colonialism. To ap-

once more from the European perspective, the

of these connections are made vivid in

the heart of colonial India, Forster sets

one man capable of

a

such

possibilities

and lim-

Forster’s Passage to India.

Within

up the schoolteacher Fielding

realizing the British

as the

hope of befriending and under-

standing the Indian, which forms part of an educational exchange in what

is

already a crumbling empire. Yet, in having achieved a basis for exchange. Fielding

is

treated

by the other English characters

oughly removed from the colonial to

you once

before, you’re a schoolmaster,

these people at their best. That’s as

boys” (1924,

alities

ing.

p. 166).

of empire, even

The

reality:

The as

in the

“But you

book

as

being thor-

see. Fielding, as I’ve said

and consequently you come across

what puts you wrong. They can be charming

schools, at

some

level,

they were implicated in

were removed from the

its

larger intent

re-

and schem-

flimsy schoolhouse was unable to redeem the empire. If educators

did prove, on occasion, protectors of their charges, they offered a teacher’s patronage that rarely

was

far

amounted

too often the

site

to

an exchange

of abuse.

And

among equals. The schoolhouse

whatever ideas the schools

of the European nation-state, the young often sought to repay

^This

instilled

this instruc-

of responsibility should be compared to the earlier theology of colonization practiced by Christian missionaries, as described by V. Y. Mudimbe and Kwame Anthony Appiah, “which drew largely on a conception of natural law according to which liberal sense

most advanced have the obligation to promote their inferior brethren; and, in the name of thus promoting them, allowed itself to dispossess non-Christian countries in order to exploit the wealth meant by God for the use of mankind” (1993, p. 134 n. 5). the

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION tion with articulate, defiant,

and sometimes violent expressions of a homegrown nationalism. Fanon, Mandela, and Said, without unduly crediting their schooling for their achievements, represent

something of the unforeseen

by colonial education. Education remains an unpredictable and although it is more a source of insight and hope in this book than

redress afforded force,

of wariness,

a source

it is

of wariness nonetheless.

The Missionary School Colonial education began as missionary work.

The

monks were

sailors to the

traveling with Spanish soldiers

and

instructive Franciscan

Caribbean be-

of the sixteenth century, bringing their lessons of God’s grace to the Amerindians in the bloodied wake of the Spanish conquistadors. Alfore the turn

though

easy

it is

sion, there

enough

to

draw comparisons between conquest and conver-

were those among the traveling

priests

who

proved defenders of

the conquered, especially after witnessing the rapacious excesses of the Spanish forces.

The outspoken among

Pope Paul

III to issue

these missionaries

the bull Sublimis

Deus

Amerindians were rational beings with

souls,

in 1537,

managed

to convince

which declared

worthy of conversion

that the

as well as

protection rather than the indiscriminate slaughter that was being brought

down upon them by

Christian soldiers.

The

empire was the Dominican Bartolome de Las to be

New World.

ordained in the

In 1552, after decades devoted to protesting

the abuses that the Amerindians were ish,

in the

of meek outcasts

(1992, p. 29). In

to suffer at the

Indies,

hands of the Span-

which cataloged the horrors

name of civilization: “Yet into this sheepfold, into this land there came some Spaniards who immediately behaved like

wild beasts, wolves,

tigers,

what was

or lions that had been starved for

to

become

verses the sense of who the savage to

made

he published his Devastation of the

committed

known of these critics of Casas, who was the first priest best

redeem both European and

and bodies, would

later

is,

a

common

many

days”

moral appeal. Las Casas

re-

placing the priest-educator in a position

native. Flis

arguments,

in a contest over souls

contribute to the end of Spanish slavery

among

the

Amerindians.'^

From

the time of the Spanish conquest to this day, missionaries have

worked with

adobe,

log, tin-roof,

and

mind that everywhere there was an earnestness of intent and contradiction of purpose. The treasurer of the London Missionary Society, during his

It

a

local populations to build thatched,

should be kept clearly

in

sixteen-year term, continued to profit by the slavery of his

West Indian plantation (C. G.

MacKenzie,

1993, p. 60). Yet he advocated a Christian education for the enslaved at a time

when most

plantation owners were actively plotting against missionary efforts at educat-

ing their workers (B. Holmes, 1967,

p. 11).

93

94

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION cinder-block schools that served in colonial times as both buffer and supporter for the larger project of imperialism. Christianity took advantage of imperial conquest to achieve in

its

own form of global

ways that could be generous and brutal

made by

Christians. Efforts were

as in India,



sought,

make

to

keep

to protect the local culture,

what education could do

for

yet the missionaries succeeded in gaining access to

and were often welcomed by the

the colonies

Company and others

—sometimes

and sometimes out of a concern

native populations

it

in turn, to use education to

the East India

missionaries out of specific colonies

expansion, and

local

for

all

of

people for their educa-

G. MacKenzie, 1993, p. 50). Arguably the most “effective” educational instrument used by the church

tional efforts (C.

on

colonial populations was the residential school. ^ In 1635, Jesuit missionar-

ies

working

in

Quebec founded

grant the best of

them

a college for native boys that

the full benefits of

girls.

In conscripting children to

attend the colonial residential school, the Jesuits led

opened before the pupils

a

them

to turn their backs

parents’ lives (Bitterli, 1989, p. 102).

one-way gate

to

European learning, and the idea

was soon extended to the education of native

on learning the ways of their

was intended

to another

The schools

form of life that

left

them

suspended between worlds. Students could learn to appreciate, but could never fully achieve, what the West held out to them. The Jesuits in Quebec, following a model established by the Portuguese in the Congo, also used the residential schools to train native missionaries

ple

and more

effectively

who might

return to their peo-

complete the Jesuit mission. There were,

as well,

fated attempts to have native students complete their education in

proved to be the consumptive climate of France. succeed,

it

made

writes of a native student raised in France,

The

astonishingly enough.”

priest

took

“He

this as

what

Where such an attempt

the student “quite different from

what he was.” As one

has

become

ill-

did

priest

quite obedient,

proof that “education alone

[was] lacking in Savages” (cited in Dickason, 1984, p. 219).

Here again

is

that

constant theme of the natives lacking in an education that, once obtained,

would complete them

as (pliant)

human

beings.

Residential mission schools were sponsored

and run by the

full

range of

The result was an educational system that my colleague who has studied such schools in Canada, has described as

Christian churches.

Jo-anne Archibald,

^The

report by the Advisory

Committee on Native Education in the British Tropical African Dependencies did not hesitate in declaring, “The most effective means of training character ... is the residential school in which the personal example and influence of the teachers and older pupils can create a social life and tradition in which standards of 192.5

.

judgment the spirit

.

.

formed and right attitudes acquired almost unconsciously through imbibing and atmosphere of the school” (1979, pp. 131-32). are

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION an unremitting and near-lethal attempt

and community: from

and shame or denial regarding

us

who

still

of emotional, physical and sexual abuse;

and

era,

it

struggle with this legacy.

powerful novel of growing up

1950S, a dislocating process that

Then

she got really

word

that

again.

was” (1992, It

She told

captured in Shirley Ster-

was.

I

day of school: “After that

first

my name

said

was Seepeetza.

did something terrible. She said never to say

I

me

was

down to the lifetimes of The basic sense of this ed-

life is

began with the

Maura asked me what my name like

it

an Indian residential school during the

in

Sister

mad

So

persisted

ucational form as a denial of a native child’s ling’s

Nation identity

their cultural heritage” (1993, p. 106).

beginning of the colonial

among

those

First

Children for over seven decades experienced alienation

their families; varying degrees

in the

decimating

at

if

had

I

go and ask what

a sister to

my name

p. 18).

was only

in 1973, well over a

century after Canada had found

colonial status unacceptable, that the federal

own

its

government recognized the pos-

of Indian control of Indian education, having been pushed by the National Indian Brotherhood (Archibald, i993> P- 106). As schooling was applied

sibility

to colonized peoples,

against a culture that

it

was made

seemed

to stand against family

of the ostensible rationality and

to fly in the face

enlightenment of the colonial power. Schooling,

wean as

the child from the learning

an expired

era,

sition



this

of what and

(to return to a

life

in this sense,

associated with

to

what was regarded

— and

enough

often

it

was not so well-

schooling turned the concept of learning into the acqui-

who one was

theme from an

Having

not.

to learn a

earlier chpater)

new name

reports that the baptism

made

for oneself

became something of a

universal for native populations. Describing education in

Okoth

was meant

an eclipsed form of life.^

However well-intentioned intentioned

and

and community,

colonial

Uganda,

G.

P.

necessary for admission to missionary

schools meant adoption of “Christian names such as Smith, Welensky[!], [and] Verwoerd” (1993, p. 140).

ther

was himself a teacher

named Nubi, which took

in a

The

church school,

place routinely for

joined his household: “After that,

Mary”

(1981, p. 65).

Nigerian writer

we had

The displacement

—of

all

of the non-Christians

to call her

that

among

family,

Canada,

girl

who

by her Christian name,

It

—some would was

all

call

community, school, and

see

Haig-Brown

it

the

part of a colonial

that forms part of education’s history.

^’For a history of the residential schools in

fa-

accompanied being renamed

identity by the residential school.

relationship originally forged

of the baptism of a

tells

under colonial education came with the recruitment kidnapping

Wole Soyinka, whose

(1988).

state

95

96

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION true that

It’s

more

recently, missionary schools in Brazil

and elsewhere

have become the protectors of indigenous cultures, teaching the young the

myths and ceremonies of earlier generations that might otherwise be lost 7 As the church s role has changed in the state, so has its sense of responsibility. However, the original desire to take hold of and shape the mind of the newfound souls defined both religious and secular education among the dependencies and beyond. This mission to

civilize, as a lifting

up, gave an unwaver-

ing direction to education, turning the residential school into colony, able to affect, not always with

whole of the indigene’s values in the today,

young

which

is

is

far

instill

standards and

removed from what many hope

for schooling

worthwhile to consider the original situation of colo-

At stake

legacy.

its

own model

beneficial results, the

This desire to unconsciously

not so

is

why it

schooling and

nial

life.

wholesome or

its

is

the very idea of education.

Macaulays Educational Vision

Thomas Babington Macaulay

represents the unusual situation of one of the

Victorian eras leading intellectuals taking a direct hand in shaping colonial

on education.

policy

In an 1833 speech to the British Parliament, this distin-

guished historian reminded the august body that “the most sacred duties

which with

as

.

.

to a race debased .

[are]

Macaulay was

mend was

we owe

the governed, and which, as a people blessed

more than ordinary measure of political

far

we owe craft

governors

literacy

and

intellectual light,

by three thousand years of despotism and

an equal measure of freedom and civilization” (1909b, to take a

most

liberal

view of the colony.

priestp. 125).

He would recom-

that Indians hold positions in the colonial government, as long as this

“effected

by slow degrees”

(p. 124).

More than

that,

he envisioned an end,

through the infusion of British values into Indian culture, to India’s colonial dependence on Britain, offering instead an association that unintentionally

echoed Napoleon’s

slur that the British

trade with civilized

men

is

infinitely

were a nation of shopkeepers. “To

more

profitable than to govern savages,”

Macaulay argued, disparaging an economy that “would keep a hundred millions of men from being our customers in order that they might continue to be our slaves

(p. 125).

potential of India’s

He

frankly and prophetically appealed to the market

hundred

millions, while holding out the

hope

that

“we

Levi-Strauss describes how, for the Bororo, the missionaries keep the traditional feather diadems under lock and key, for use only when required, as “they would be increasingly difficult to replace since the

pearing (1995,

p. 21).

macaws, parrots and other brightly colored birds are disap-

a

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION may educate our subjects

into a capacity for better

government”

(p. 126).^

He

was inspired by the belief in the longevity of a cultural imperialism destined to outlive any sort of political control: “An empire exempt from all natural causes of decay

.

.

.

that empire

is

the imperishable empire of our arts

morals, our literature and our laws

held to be best transported to

and our

Such imperishable goods were the people through the graces of education. (p. 126).

Shortly after boldly speaking out against current conceptions of colo-

Macaulay became

nialism,

president of the General

post that he

which

composed

a

member of the Supreme Council of India and

Committee of Public his oft-cited

Instruction.

minute of

whether

to

suspend the British support

bic languages

and

literatures that

The

for the teaching

had been

was during

this

Indian education,

1835

led to the “oriental-occidental controversy.”

It

issue at

hand was

of Sanskrit and Ara-

Com-

instituted in the East India

pany s Charter Act of 1813. The alternative proposal was to replace Sanskrit and Arabic with instruction in English. The challenged clause in the act was clearly the

work of British

orientalists,

such

as

William Jones

(as

discussed in

the previous chapter).^ In the course of his minute, Macaulay was to

what

is

now

make

perhaps the best-known statement of English prejudice and pre-

sumption from the colonial

Based on the valuation of the Orientalists themselves,” Macaulay unequivocally declared, “a single shelf of a good Euera.

ropean library was worth the whole of native literature of India and Arabia” (1971, p. 182). This is but one of a series of dismissals he offers in the minute as

he denounces the

false history, false

astronomy, [and]

otherwise constituted Indian education

Macaulay saw English

false

medicine” that

(p. 188).

literature as part

of an education that could only

We must at present do our best to form a class between us and the millions whom we govern

extend and secure the empire:

who may class

in

®

A

be interpreters

of persons Indian

in



blood and color, but English

morals and intellect” (1971,

century

later, in 1928,

the

p. 190). >0

Here again

Empire Marketing Board

is

in tastes, in opinions,

the chilling call to re-

issued posters proclaiming that

India was “the worlds biggest customer for British goods” (Constantine, 1986, pi. 23). ’The clause from the forty-third section of the Charter of 1813 of the East India Company states: “A sum of not less than one lakh of rupees in each year shall be set apart and applied

and improvement of literature and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of science among the inhabitants of the British territories in India” (cited by Vasantha, 1992, p. 50). Vasantha to the revival

discusses the scientific controversy between orientalists

on Indian science. ’’On the home front,

ment

for the

more than

and occidentalists and

its

impact

decade later, Macaulay was arguing before Parlianeed to support public education, on the grounds that “the education of little

a

97

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION

98

form character and Here, too,

is

make

the empires promise to

the world over in

through education without diminishing the

Not

often considered in these remarks

case for English

lines

who were

all

its

how Macaulay

is

own image

of racial difference.

on the Indian students themselves.

Indian students classes,

under the guise of education.

to create imperial subjects

also bases his

he compares those

First,

too happy to pay tuition to attend English

with those taking Sanskrit and v^rabic only because,

they received a stipend from the

state.

he presents

as

it,

Second, he presents petitions from

graduates of the sponsored programs in Sanskrit and Arabic complaining of the difficulty in getting

work

after this training. Finally,

trous efforts of the British to publish in Arabic

mous English-language

he

sets

out the disas-

and Sanskrit against the enor-

successes of the School

Book

Society.

For Macaulay,

educational expenditures were intended to meet both native deficiencies and native desires and, as such, did nothing to

would

case, the Indians

undermine the

British

raj.

In either

Europeans becomes

see that “the superiority of the

absolutely immeasurable” in relation to the native culture (1971, p. 182),

needs to

recall

who hoped

orientalists It

was

a battle

ticipated in

the

call for

here that the real target of Macaulay’s

it

to preserve the ancient strands

between colonial visions of India. were Raja

Ram Mohan Roy and

ire

dian society for Indians (Vasantha, 1992,

p. 53;

was the European

of Indian

civilization.

Among the Indians who his followers,

instruction in English out of a desire to reform

One

who

par-

supported

and modernize

In-

Panikkar, 1969, p. 150). As

it

turned out. Lord Bentinck, governor-general of India, acceded to Macaulay’s minute, and state instruction in English language and literature was instituted in the education

of the Indian

elites,

whereas what schooling existed for the

lower classes was allowed to continue in their native language.^’

Decades before English

literature

was thought worthy of being treated

as a distinct discipline in the universities it

was

field-tested in the training

colonial administrators.

with

its

the

better schools of Great Britain,

of natives and

elites

intended to serve

In

as

feature of literature’s colonial role appears

prominent place on the employment examinations

Company in London, literary

A second

and

for the East India

Masks of Conquest, Gauri Viswanathan explores how

study was intended to convince the Indian people “that their destinies

common

people

is

a

for “the gross ignorance

most

effectual

of the

means of securing our persons and our property,”

common

people

is

a principal cause of

danger to our per-

sons and property” (1909a, pp. 351-52). '



Deepak Kumar

bay

in 1845

come

but refused to

to rule

ucation put

and not

it

example of the Grant Medical College, which opened in Bomadmit students from the lower castes on grounds that “we have

offers the

to cause social upheaval,” as the report of the

(1995, p. 114).

Bombay Board of Ed-

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION men

were guided by

of principle

She describes

(1989, p. 72).

how

diis

edu-

process transformed English literature hnto an instrument for ensuring industriousness, efficiency, trustworthiness, and compliance in native catioiicil

subjects” (p. 93).

The

introduction of Indian students to this literature creates an intriguing sense of letting them in on the secrets, vulnerabilities, and heartfelt yearnings

of their otherwise distanced colonial administrators. In promoting the teaching of literature, there was not, it appears, a sense of giving the Indian students a competitive advantage, nor of revealing the weaknesses of their masters. Such was the pride of the English. >2

The

popularity of colonial schooling in India, Suresh Chandra

Ghosh

points out, fostered generations of disillusioned but well-educated Indians

and

far

more than could

tration of the British

population

sand

as

possibly find suitable

raj (i 993 j

P-

I

by

93 )-

work

in the colonial

1918, Bengal,

adminis-

with roughly the same

England, had the same number of students



twenty-six thou-

preparing for university degrees. Macaulay was right about the educa-

tional

ambition of the people,

step aside

when

if less

so about the willingness of the English to

the Indian people had proved themselves educationally wor-

thy of self-governance (Headrick, 1988, pp. 315-16). This aim of colonial education was to transform natives into colonial intermediaries, turning schools into civil-service training institutions intended to support the administration

of the empire.'^

The

schools formed an integral part of the governing appa-

ratus, creating a class

of half-proud, half-ashamed bureaucrats to serve in that shadowy space between the colonizer and the native, schooled in tattered textbooks devoted to scenes and lessons from the unapproachable motherland, lessons that were thought to

'^The

lasting hold

of this

tion, survives to this

day

literature, as

it

make obvious was thought

Britain’s right to rule

to constitute the

and

educated imagina-

in the Indian university

with a shift of emphasis to literary theSo fundamental and even genetic is the Indian university's relation with indeed, dependence upon its British and American counterparts that knowledges produced there become immediately effective here, in a relation of imperial dominance, shaping even the way we think of ourselves. Nowhere is the parasitic inory, as Aijaz

Ahmad



explains:



.

.

.

dependence of the Indian university upon its metropolitan counterparts so obvious as in the teaching of English” (1992, p. 44). Rahimaj Haji Ahmad pinpoints the structure and motives, as well as the consequences, that informed a similar colonial education system in Malaya: “The British colonial government set up schools mainly to ensure a steady supply of support stafi' for its administellectual

trative service.

This

later

developed to become

a system to provide elite education preparing lower administrative officers subservient to the colonial government, although ironically it became the training ground for the earliest statesmen who ultimately took

over the rule ol the country from the British” (1992, pp. 5-6). The vernacular schools in Malaya had the double function of preserving the culture and delimiting the aspirations of the students,

and

I

am

one official put it in 1915, “Teach them the dignity of manual labor you will not have the trouble which has arisen in India over education”

for, as

sure that

99

lOO

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION

A century later,

the colonizer’s duty to serve.

Martinique, the poet and politician

nial

ism’s

from

Aime

his

Cesaire

vantage point in colo-

condemned

colonial-

“parody of education” that resulted in “the hasty manufacture of

.

.

.

sub-

ordinate functionaries, ‘boys,’ artisans, office clerks, and interpreters necessary for the

smooth operation of business”

(1972,' p. 21).

After Macaulay’s minute, yet another tack taken with colonial education in the nineteenth

bureaucrat

century was initiated by J.

among Victorian

arena, he gave practical

Suggestions on the

educators.

On

P.

Kay Shuttleworth,

a legendary

turning his hand to this imperial

and hard-nosed advice

form of “Brief Practical

in the

Mode of Organizing and Conducting

Day-Schools

... as

Part of a System of Education for the Colored Races of the British Colonies,”

delivered to the Privy Council of the British Parliament in 1847. His proposal

was

combine

“to

intellectual

and

industrial education

and

to render the labor

of the children available toward meeting some part of the expenses of their education” (1961, p. 192).'^ The declared aim was not only to instill Christianity in the students but also “to

habits of self-control “as the

discipline,”

most important agent of civilization

Colonies the

and moral

accustom the children of these

young

(p. 194).

all

races to

through the English language,

for the colored population

of the

This was also to be an education devoted to instructing

in colonial policy:

“The lesson-books of

the Colonial schools

should also teach the mutual interests of the mother-country and her dependencies; the rational basis of their connection ties

of the colored races

(p. 194)-

ment of education’s contribution a contribution that ers.

by

this

and the domestic and

There could hardly be a more to the stability

social

du-

direct state-

of imperialism’s world order,

point was widely recognized by the colonial pow-

The Act of Union of Great

Britain

and Ireland

in

1800 provided for

state-

aided primary schools largely intended to staunch the local “hedge schools” given to churning up Irish nationalism. These state-aided schools used the

National School Booksy from 1861, to extol the wonders of Britain and empire, advising students that if they were to immigrate to “any of these

Irish its

by Watson, 1993, p. 160). At the same time, the students who attended the English schools were asked to take to heart the likes of Stamford Raffles, the great British colonizer of the region. As one textbook described Raffles’s generous regard for the Malay peo(cited

ples,

He welcomed them

Irom

all parts to talk to him of their lives and their homes, and amongst them he made a good many friends” as part of his “dream” to become “the overlord of the whole Malay world” (p. 166). ''‘A second well-known advocate for technical education was John Stuart Mill, who in his

East India ful

all

Company

Dispatch on Education of 1854 called for an education directed at “useand practical knowledge suited to every station in life [for] the great mass of people

who

are utterly incapable of obtaining

unaided

efforts” (cited

any education worthy of the name by

by Headrick, 1988,

p. 325).

their

own

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION you

settlements,

the very

will find schools there quite as

same books

are used in

them

that

you

good

are

as

now

our own; and, reading

in fact,

sent for by the colonial authorities” (Coolahan, 1993, P- 60). These books also answered the question What makes the difference between any of us Europeans and these poor savages? Evidently it is education” special place was writ(p. 59). ten into the notorious Berlin Act of 1884, which divided Africa .

,

.

A

among Euro-

pean nations, for those

who

exercised the educational functions of imperial-

ism: “All the powers exercising sovereign rights or influence in the aforesaid territories

.

institutions

them the For

.

shall

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

protect and favor

which aim

all

religious, scientific, or charitable

at instructing the natives

and bringing home

to

blessings of civilization” (Winks, 1969, p. 109).

all

of the rhetoric surrounding

proved more than a

little

tawdry.

this civilizing blessing, the results

Toward the end of the Victorian

when

era,

Charles E)ilke produced another of his considered surveys of Greater Britain, he was happy to note the many educational accomplishments of the settler colonies, such as Canadas free, compulsory, and often secular education with features that Dilke noted were clearly advance of the mother country (1890,

m

PP- 563-77)- Yet

when

it

came

Crown

to the

colonies in Africa, the Carib-

bean, and India, Dilke offered a critical comparison with the United States, which in spite of [its] strong and general opinion against admitting the

negro

race, [has]

ern states than dies colonies

is

made

far better provision for

the case with us in even the most advanced of our

(p. 580).

Colonial education

an empire-serving process, trumpeted in spired in

its

negro education in their South-

among its

West

In-

the dispossessed was at best

intentions

and occasionally

in-

delivery by dedicated teachers and missionaries, but as often

sloughed off and halfheartedly bestowed on native populations. Education was a way of bundling together the hopes and fears of its sponsors and

recip-

ients,

with the question

Yet

it

who were

needs to be

An

whom? never far from the surface. among the colonized there were those

education for

made

clear that

prepared to hold the imperial forces to their educational promises.

Ahmad

In

Egypt under

m

the newspaper al-Jarida in 1907 for overseeing the “the

British rule,

Lufti al-Sayyid took

Lord Cromer

to task

abandonment of

decent education” whereas this representative of Great Britain should, if he were taking his colonial responsibilities seriously, be “establishing the foundations of public education” (al-Sayyid, 1979).

It

turns out that Cromer,

who

had drastically reduced scholarships and increased tuition in Egypt, was being driven by fears that any surplus education above the immediate demands of the job market for technical

skills

would

risk creating the sort of

well-educated agitators for nationalism found

in India.

unemployed,

Cromer had confided

to his officials that his educational plans for the Egyptian people

were to

lOI

102

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION be “the three

r’s

in the vernacular,

nothing more” (cited by Headrick, 1988,

p. 310).

The twin ties

educational themes of paternalism and restricted opportuni-

were sustained well into

Macaulays

this century.

viding native populations with the

lull

original concern for pro-

scope of an English education “in

opinions, in morals and intellect” was to be overshadowed by far

taste, in

more pragmatic demands Education

The Advisory Committee on Native

(1971, p. 190).

Dependencies

in the British Tropical African

“the Controlling

Power

reiterated in 1925 that

responsible as trustee for the moral advancement of

is

the native population” (1979, p. 130).

Not long

after,

Julian

Huxley advised

the paternal trustees of this and other colonial committees to relate their

schooling “to the ideal you have for [the ‘primitive’ people’s] future develop-

ment ...

what

to blend

is

good

in their tradition

tradition of Western Civilization” (cited

trusteeship

came

to

mean

by

with what

P.

on the assumption

that

Documents from

all

it

this

in Africa

was

was introducing the very idea of ed-

was European and

that

What

The Ugandan

ucation to the native population, and was largely designed “to

of deference towards

in the

of Africa was largely a minimization

to the people

G. Okoth has pointed out that colonial schooling

typically based

good

Russell, 1945, p. 199).

of the educational needs of the colonial economy and regime. historian

is

instill a

sense

capitalist” (1993, p. 139).'^

the colonial period of this century express caution over ex-

posing native populations to “the onrush of new ideas,” in the words of one colonial advisory

vidualism which

committee is

by Headrick, 1988,

in 1935,

which could lead

to “unregulated indi-

destructive of the best elements of communal

The

life” (cited

more

strictly

technical education, in opposition to the popular support expressed

among

p. 306).

the African colonies for a

The one

British at the time pressed for a

more academic approach.

consistency within the African colonial education system was

abounded. By 1945, for example, there was still no secondary Northern Rhodesia and more than half the children did not go

that inequities

education in to school at

Africa far ter

in

all

(Russell, 1945, p. 170).

more often than

paid than the

men who taught were betwomen. The young women who attended mission schools for girls,

South Africa were prepared

colonial that

is

homes

Schooling was provided for boys in

and the

for little

(Gaitskell, 1994).

The

local

more than domestic employment

official reports at

in

the time took a line

perhaps best expressed by the superintendent general of education for

Okoth

cites

Walter Rodneys

was “education

comment

in

How Europe

Underdeveloped Africa that

for subordination, exploitation, the creation

development of underdevelopment” (Rodney,

1981, p. 240).

this

of mental confusion, and the

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION the

we

Cape of Good Hope, who

stated in his report of 1941 that “the fear that

are over-educating the colored people has

Russell,

I

945

P* 172-)*

>

but

in all

demeaning educational did

race. It

for the

little

many of these

efforts at colonial

junction that

first

colonizer” (1972, p.

in fact” (cited

by

Colonial education developed into a pathetic realiza-

tion of Macaulays already

lishmen

no foundation

principle of creating Eng-

good name of education, with

schooling lending weight to Cesaire's in-

we must study how

colonization works to decivilize the

13).

Women and Colonial Education Having delved into the moral bankruptcy of colonial education, scious,

m the face of such easy judgments,

am

con-

that circumstances are always

more

may seem. The participation of women in Europe who were able to

complicated than they

in colonial

a certain class

find a

teaching in the colonies

is

a

good example of such

new

I

education by life

abroad by

a complication.

Here was

opportunity to be more than a mother of empire, more than an accompani-

ment one

to those

woman

who

administered the colonies.

wrote of Canada, or should

may, everyone here

more than teach

own

.

.

.

is

the

Mecca of teachers,”

Any girl

with a mother

bring her out, as schools are in such abun-

says, safely

dance (cited by Trollope, 1983,

be.

“It

p. 73).

Women with

after they arrived in the colonies,

schools, whereas others took a

more

educational interests did

however; some

political role,

such

as

set

up

their

Mary Car-

who

during her journey through India lobbied British officials for the establishment of normal schools to train secular female teachers for Indian girls, even as she envisioned the schools being run by Englishwomen serving penter,

as principals

(Ramusack, 1992,

terprising educator

who was running

p. 121).

The most famous

comes from Southeast Asia with Anna Leonowens

a school in India before she entered the

Mongkut of Siam, where

If

colonization.

employ of King

not exactly in the fashion portrayed

Rodgers and Hammersteins The King and I, she used

European

(1991),

she took on the instruction of not only the prince

but also the court concubines.

to introduce a

instance of the en-

sensibility to a

Whatever support she

Leonowens took advantage of her

this

in

educational process

country that had otherwise

resisted

lent to imperialisms educational mission,

position to oppose the slavery of the harem.

'^Although A. G. Russell has little trouble seeing the irony in the superintendents remark, he himself is comfortable citing an Oxford University Press publication to the effect that “in the African negro, thinking

concluding that

‘emotional’ and, as such, of shorter duration,” before few indeed are the Africans who, like Newton, have ‘voyaged on the is

strange seas of thought, alone" (1945,

p. 162; Russell’s

emphasis).

103

104

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION Within the moral space of the schoolhouse,

women

were able to confound

the roles of submission and dominations^

The

Indian organization

for British

women who

Brahmo Somaj proved

it

developed a program of social and po-

who

reform in India, supported by eloquent representatives

England

in search

of British teaching recruits to

society for Indians.

good

of inspiration

were drawn to teaching abroad. During the closing

decades of the nineteenth century, litical

a source

A

special appeal

to their Indian sisters,” as

was made

sailed to

assist in

rebuilding Indian

women

“capable of doing

to

Keshub Chunder Sen put

in his well-

it

received traveling lecture “England’s Duties to India” (cited by Ware, 1992, p. 121).

on

Annette Ackroyd, one of those moved by the

arriving in India set

up

a small school for a

call

of Brahmo Somaj,

dozen or so young

women

an effort to blend feminist concerns with an equally determined effort to dress colonialism’s racial injustices (Ware, 1992, pp. 149-64). royd’s school

remained open

precedent for

far

more

for only a

in re-

Although Ack-

few years during the 1870s,

extensive efforts, such as those of Margaret

it

set a

Noble who

worked with young Indian women while assuming the life of an orthodox Hindu, becoming Sister Nivedita in a reversal of the naming a few decades later

process discussed earlier (Ramusack, 1992, pp. 124-25). In trying to fathom the sort of dedication

Nandy suggests giosity,

and transgression exhibited by

that she

knowledge and

against their

own

and others

like

her “found in Indian versions of reli-

social intervention not

society,

Sister Nivedita, Aishis

merely a model of dissent

but also some protection for their search for

new

models of transcendence, a greater tolerance of androgyny, and a richer meaning as well as legitimacy for women’s participation in social and political (1983, p. 36). Yet Sister Nivedita

was not inclined

to

abandon, even

if

life”

that

were possible, the world that she had brought with her to India; her philoso-

phy past

ol education was, in her

own

words, to “root [students] in their

and then furnish them with such measures of modernity

own

as “scientific

standards, geographical conception, [and] historical prepossession” (cited by

Ramusack, 1992, p. 125). These colonial forms of schooling offered

women

the chance to inter-

vene with some compassion on behalf of the young in the otherwise manly business of bringing the colonies into line. Although teaching brought

the claim of the empire

on these

children’s land

teachers the wiser for the schooling they

came

and minds,

it

home

also left the

to India to provide. After

’^See also Paxton (1992) lor a description of Annie Besant, who in 1904 established the Central Hindu Girl s School and worked to reform the treatment of women in Indian society.

Hansen

(1992) describes

womens

educational missionary

work

in

Northern Rhodesia.

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION teaching tor only a short period, they were in a far better position to understand the vile prejudices that infused the governing of the colonies, prejudices

that

remained largely

invisible in

moved between

ered, as they

Great Britain. These

continents,

how

women

also discov-

even these modest attempts at

schooling challenged inequities of gender in both India and Great Britain.

On

home

the

front at this time, the feminist efforts at

pire of patriarchy

were under way

in the

undermining the em-

hands of writers such

Charlotte

as

Yonge. Her 1890 history textbook, Westminster Readers, made the psychology of colonialism available to a wide range of readers. It was not celebratory or

triumphant

ment by using

show

often of high rank in his

Among forts

it

did not deploy the collective sense of accomplish-

the collective and plural

pains, as a rule, to

up hatred

and

in tone,

first

“The

person:

friendly courtesy to the grave

British did not take

and dignified Hindoos,

and though the native might cringe and obey, he heart” (cited by Castle, 1993, P- 34).

.

.

Indian students, especially young

were regarded

locally as

women, such

laid

educational

ef-

both boon and burden, according to Jasodhara

Bagchis research on growing up

in colonial Bengal.

Bagchi points out that In-

dian reformers of the nineteenth century, such as Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, used the educational principles of “western bourgeois liberal ideology” to argue against the marriage of upper-caste Hindu girls at a very early age (1994,

Although these

p. 24).

efforts

were often met by Indian nationalist

nouncing the schooling of women ceeded

as giving in to the

West,

cries de-

many women

suc-

pursuing the Western-influenced education open to men. These went on, Bagchi notes, to contribute to Indian journals, including a

in

women

few they edited, debating their right to education within the struggle for nationhood (p. 27). Fortunately, colonial forms of education were not fully de-

termined in their application or outcomes.

To move

to another instance

tense period of the British

Egyptian

women

women went on lated fields.

and another continent, during the most inoccupation of Egypt, from 1882 to 1920, the first

were licensed

as schoolteachers

(Hatem, 1992). These

to assert their right to public participation in a

Malak

number of re-

Nasif, for example, qualified as an elementary school-

teacher before taking

up

a career in journalism, writing

on women's

issues for

the newspaper Al-Jarida, where she complained of colonial educational policies that led to the British teaching Arabic grammar to Egyptian students, as

if

they did not

their

know

their

own mother tongue

newly acquired public position

to be a protector of Muslim

ring to

women

women’s

(p. 38).

Other

women

as teachers to attack imperialism’s

rights (a charge that has a

used claim

contemporary

given the Western press’s continuing attack on the treatment of in the Islamic world). They pointed out how Islamic law was, and

it,

105

io6

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION could increasingly be, responsive to such concerns ticipated in education

Egyptian

and public

women, which was

The

life.

largely

as

women

increasingly par-

colonial education provided to

devoted to Bible reading and needle-

work, had not been intended to foster such public participation

among

its

students (Sislian, 1967).

Through

the limited educational channels afforded by colonial rule,

Margaret Noble s work

managed lives.

as Sister

These

women

took charge of what was intended to keep them,

on the margins of a governing process and on the

of an educational process.

saw education

as a

They were

part of a

as

of “viewing them alone” (1975,

had

its

own

When

and education, she

sex as rational creatures instead

they were in a perpetual childhood, unable to stand

much

called for an

only weakened will

In

p. 81).

end

movement among women

called for the reform of women

for addressing her

as if

kept

primary concern in redressing the flagrant imbalances

Mary Wollstonecraft had mockingly apologized

it

receiving

of power that were based on a cultivated misconception of women.

stonecraft

and

to disturb colonialism’s determination of people’s education

the colonized,

that

Nivedita and the journalism of Malak Nasif

students,

the

end

same

of education” that she

“to a false system

who

Woll-

spirit as these colonial educators,

then became “the objects of

soon become objects of contempt” (pp. 79,

82).

pity,

Education

and

among

felt .

.

.

the

dispossessed affords another lesson in the school’s contribution to the learn-

ing of difference and identity. Schooling for it

possible for

be.

some

women and

to challenge the self that they

The Western women who took up

the colonized

made

were intended to learn to

teaching in the colonies were partici-

pating in the making of the empire without necessarily accepting the pre-set lessons in

how

of the

and sciences they were asked

arts

certain classes of people could never fully belong to the order

other words,” Chantal Talpade colonialism, and

humanism,

“it is

to study.

Mohanty

is

among

gender,

‘Woman/Women’ and ‘the East’ are deMan/Humanism can represent him/itself

only insofar as

fined as Others, or as peripheral, that (Western) as the center. It

writes of the connections

not the center that determines the periphery, but the periphery that, in

boundedness, determines the center” (1991, p. 73). Mohanty warns that “third world women” continue to be colonized by feminism, as an “effect of Western scholarship” that takes a monolithic approach to questions of human rights (p. 53). In concluding her much its

“Under Western Eyes,” from 1984, Mohanty sets out the colonial relationship between scholarship and gender: “In the context of hegemony of the Western scholarly establishment in the production and dissemination of texts, and in the context of the legitimating imperative of humanistic and scientific discourse, the definition of ‘the third world woman’ as a monolith might well tie into the larger economic and ideological praxis of ‘disinterested’ scientific inquiry and pluralism which are the surface manifestations of a latent economic and cultural colonization of the ‘non- Western’ world. It is time to move beyond the Marx who found it possible to say: They cannot represent themselves; they must be represented” (p. 74). reprinted essay

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION The Lingering Colonial Force of Western Schooling

An is

obvious clanger

in

I

face in laying out the educational legacy

overrunning the

historical specifics

tion Itself as inevitably tainly,

and incurably

of imperialism

of imperialism and treating educaform of cultural imperialism. Cer-

a

education can always be cast as an act of power, however benevolent

in

between teacher and student. Yet something has to be said for the intent and circumstance that shaped the particular forms of education its

exercise,

that

arose during five centuries of imperialism.

demonstrate the influence that the

Whereas

I

historical project

has had on our ideas about education, Martin

have been attempting to

of Western imperialism

Carnoy

is

one who argues,

in

Education as Cultural Imperialism (1972), that Western education, even after the end of the empires, should still be thought of as a broadly imperial pro-

by design. Without paying much mind to historical causes, he identifies educations ongoing colonizing function as “transmitting the social and ecoject

nomic

structure from generation to generation through pupil selection, defining culture and rules, and teaching certain cognitive skills,”

and

this

function

applies wherever students are schooled in the Western tradition (p. 13). This colonizing aspect of schooling has not been restricted, Carnoy is careful to

point out in this Marxist critique, to the overseas market:

Western schools were used to develop indigenous elites which served as intermediaries between metropolis merchants and plantation labor; they were used to incorporate indigenous peoples into the production of goods necessary for the metropolis markets; they were used to help social structures to

with European concepts of work and interpersonal relations; and, within advanced capitalist economies such as the

United

fit

in

States, schools

were used to

fit

white workers and,

later, disenfranchised minorities into economic and social roles defined by the

dominant

capitalist class, (p. 15)

Carnoy goes on

to identify

how Western

schooling

now

forms part of a

postcolonial heritage, with locally inspired changes in the colonial curricu-

lum and language coming only very slowly and amid much found ple,

it

in the early 1970s, so

it

debate. As he

stands today; the legacy remains, for exam-

with the Lesotho high school students

who

send hard-earned

money

to

Great Britain to pay for the privilege of taking the examinations run by the

Cambridge Examination Syndicate, examinations nize the curriculum.

English the nations tion ties.

It

that, in turn, largely orga-

reemerges with the current American

official

language

as part

move

to

make

of an assault on bilingual educa-

programs intended to give recently arrived students greater opportuniT he center is made to hold. In Carnoy s terms, whether the power is

107

I08

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION vested in examinations or an official language, “knowledge itself is colonized’:

colonized knowledge perpetuates the hierarchical structure of society” (1972, p. 3).

For one

who

claims that social justice can be achieved only through the

educational challenge of decolonizing knowledge, Carnoy proves decidedly uninterested in the detailed

work of identifying

ious educational domains, thus leaving

it

to

the colonizing aspects of var-

me

to

work out

in the

second

half of this book. In a preview of the curriculum analysis that briefly introduce

how

might be thought

this

mathematics, the discipline seemingly Allan Bishop argues that mathematics in the

I

undertake in part

remove from

politics.

“one of the most powerful weapons

imposition of Western culture” and was carried to the colonies through

the three-pronged attack of trade, administration, and education,

ing considerable all

me

work with the teaching of

to

at the furthest is

2, let

number work

manner of calculation

(1990, pp. 51-53).

Not only was

individual student

this day,

and the nation can reckon the

development. The Chinese and Korean students

mathematical assessments Asian cultures referred to

level

who

involv-

a standard for

established as centered in the West, but

used to establish a global measure that stands to

all

it

was

also

by which both the

of their educational

excel in international

not find the mathematical contributions of

will

in these tests,

pects of the Western standard.’^

The

nor any mention of the historical

as-

international standards in mathematics

education form another chapter in an intellectual mercantilism through

which Europe reprocessed

ideas

from abroad, including

in this case algebraic

and other computational techniques using Indian numerals, the IndoChinese zero, and the Chinese decimal place value (Needham, 1964, p. 237). In analyzing mathematics’ often overlooked multicultural roots,

varghese Joseph concludes that all

“it is

George Ghe-

not generally recognized that practically

topics taught in school mathematics today are directly derived

work of mathematicians twelfth century sential

AD”

originating outside of western Europe before the

(1991, p. 50).^®

mode of Western

from the

rationality,

Mathematics now stands but

it,

as the quintes-

too, possesses a history

entwined

Frederick Leung, from the University of Hong Kong, explained to me how China’s success in recent international mathematics assessments among high school students not only redressed the

assumed balance

between East and West, but also demonstrated the continuing influence of Confucian principles, which could become, he thinks, the next phase of a Chinese contribution to the study of mathematics. Joseph provides a thorough review of “the indigenous scientific and technological base,” which may have been “innovative and self-sufficient” during precolonial times, as well as the European distortion of mathematical histor)^ (1990, p. 2). Ubiritan D’Ambrosio (1991) also presents a strong case for

in capabilities

ethnomathematics

centric mathematics curriculum.

as the

proper pedagogy for a

less

Euro-

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION in the

expansion of European

interests. In

the teaching of mathematics, Joseph ics

considering how, then, to approach

recommends

a multicultural

mathemat-

both practical employment and educational enrichment issues, provide opportunities for all pupils to recognize that all cultures

sensitive to

which

will

mathematical activity and no single culture has a monopoly on mathematical achievement” (1993, p. 19). In attempting to find a

way beyond colonized forms of knowledge, one

has to be careful not to imagine that they invariably colonize the learner. Students can and do turn to their own advantage what they are taught. We

need

to recognize that for

to represent,

The Indian studies raj

it

all

historian Sardar Panikkar offers an excellent

when he

fill

came

proved a useful resource for resisting that very domination.

example from

how Indian students were taught great moments in Western history,

describes

to appreciate the

might

the cultural domination that W^estern education

a void in the nonhistorical East (a

theme

I

social

during the British as if these events

will address presently).

However, students’ detailed study of the storming of the Bastille ensured that the rhetoric of colonial reform directed against European tyranny would be vividly illustrated

by such instances

149-50). Panikkar notes how, in just this

West often formed

French Revolution (1969, pp. way, native scholars schooled in the

as the

a colonial intelligentsia dedicated to

independence and

self-determination:

one of the countries of Asia, the leadership of the movement which ultimately displaced European supremacy belonged to those who had been trained under the West in the aegis of imperialism. Not only In every

Mahatma Gandhi and

Jawaharlal Nehru, but the founders of the In-

dian National Congress and the successive generations of Congress leaders

were trained

sent to the

in the

West. In Japan,

West by the Shogunate

it

was the group of explorers

that led the

movement

for the reor-

ganization of the State. In China, though the disposition of the

Manchus was not

work of the Western-educated people, the building up of the revolutionary movement that followed was led by men of the

Western training. In Indonesia, Indo-China, Burma and Ceylon, it is the men and women educated in the West that provided the lead.

.

.

ership. (p. 153)

Coda: Rousseau I

want

to

fluence

conclude

I

review of imperialism’s educational in-

on the world with Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile, because,

an educational text ideas

this three-chapter

as

it is,

it

speaks to a reverse

in the

as central

flow of educational

have represented here. Rousseau claims, more than once, that

his ideas

109

no

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION drawn from

are

theme of an Europe’s

intellectual mercantilism that

New

mation of the

book

native thinking, even as the

offers a variation

transformed the

on the

New World

Idea of the World. Rousseau finds in the native not an

into

affir-

of France but the greater truth of nature, a

civilized superiority

truth that, like the discovery of coffee, was. held to quicken the blood of a

waning

and who the sists

He

civilization.

does not simply invert the ideas of who the savage

do Las Casas and Montaigne. Rousseau

civilized being, as

on using the

life

in-

of the savage to generate both a critique and a system of

education. In this way, he suffering: “Everything

would

good

is

as

arrest the great decline that the

leaves the

it

Emile optns. “Everything degenerates ilization bears too

is

West was

hands of the Author of things,”

hands of man” (1979, p. 37). Civof the handiwork of “man.” What has it meant for

much

in the

Western thinking about education to learn from the very way of life that imperialism was destroying in earnest or indifference?

Emile

reveals the great

debt owed to

this

philosopher for what are

the standard tenets of progressive education. Here

the

is

argument

now

for treat-

ing the child as a child (or at least for treating the wealthy boy child as a

Here

child).

is

the case for centering education

on the

childlike child rather

than on the interests of the teacher, for attending to the child’s development,

and

for cultivating the child

of society. Learning actually ercise

do things

is

s

individuality apart

a matter of

in the

world

of reason and liberty

is

doing

from the conforming

for Rousseau,

necessary to prepare

in later

life.

spirit

and having the child

him

for the proper ex-

Rousseau credits these radical and

in-

what he has learned of the aboriginal peoples (largely from Buffon and Le Beau). He more generally calls on the constantly ironic exam-

fluential lessons to

ple of the “savage” to contrast with the barbaric

on children a

in the

man, an object

name of civilization.^' The

by society

nature in the shape of

is

lay

low the old order of learning:

“It

is

en-

evident that the learned companies of Europe are only public schools of

tirely .

savage

inflicted

lesson in the natural order.

Rousseau uses these ideas to

lies

damage

.

.

and there

are very certainly

more

errors in the

than in a whole nation ol Hurons” (1979,

For Rousseaus use of

New World

Academy of Sciences

P- 204). In rejecting

accounts of native

life in

the aspiring

his writing, especially the

Discourse on Inequality, see

Brandon (1986, pp. 108-11). The “intellectual great-grandfather of the concept of the Noble Savage,” according to Anthony Grafton, is the Roman historian Tacitus, whose Germani contains “a comparison of the virtues of the allegedly savage people with the corruption of writes of

how “non-European

Rome”

(1992, p. 43).

peoples were

.

.

.

ture, as a native soil recovered, ol a ‘zero degree’

the structure, the growth, and above (1974. PP- 114-15)-

all

On

this

theme

in

Rousseau, Derrida

studied as the index to a hidden good Na-

with reference to which one could outline the degradation of our society and our culture”

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION vanity of learning, Rousseaus modest educational objective

what the Hurons have achieved by

nature:

“My

difference that Emile, having reflected more,

from

errors

he knows

closer up,

more on guard

is

But

(pp. 243-44).

is

of unwritten

What manner

supplement

to

is

that savage, with the

compared

ideas more, seen our

against himself and judges only

what

the “savage” only a projection of Rousseaus

imagination? In the founding of a sort

pupil

is

social contract

new

school on a native sensibility, what

implied between old and

is

new worlds?

of debt did progressive forms of education accrue during the

age of empire?

Native scholar George Sioui (1992)

is

convinced that not only Rousseau

but also Diderot and others drew from the accounts of Native American especially as they dealt with the spirit of cooperation therein. Sioui credits Lorn d Arce de

on the

ity

Lahontan

life,

and consensus found

as “the discoverer

of Americ-

of his Dialogues avec un sauvage 2.nd Memoires de rAmerique. are born free and united brothers,” the Wendat chief of the Turtle Clan,

“We

basis

Adario, explains in the Dialogues, “each as great a master as the other, whereas

you

are

all

slaves

of one man” (cited by Sioui,

p. 71).

Although there

is

no easy

tracking of ideas and origins within this complex encounter and exchange,

seems

fair to

the very

say that at

least,

some

Emile stands

level

Europe was finding

a

as a

it

student of Adario.22 At

new language of liberty by

using the

sit-

uation of the Amerindians, even as Europeans initiated the slave trade across the Middle Passage. But then, too,

I

find the philosopher Ernst Cassirer cast-

ing Emile, and what he names “the pupil’s business,” within the metaphorical

reach of the imperium:

acquires and conquers

it

“He understands

the world only inasmuch as he

step by step” (1989, p. 119).

As modern thinking about education often metaphors, so imperialism was

literally a

gives itself

Rousseau

lived in a

literal

it

is

at

once the

extension and renewal of the Western sensibility.

Europe awash

in literary, artistic,

ages of

new worlds where

trast to

the civilized tyrannies and oppression at

22

to imperial

quest for global forms of knowledge.

This remains part of imperialism’s imaginative value; metaphorical and the

up

natural forms of liberty

and philosophical im-

seemed

home.

to prevail in con-

In thinking about the

Jack Weatherford writes, “The original

had

a

pUy Arlequin sauvage [based on Lihontans work] major impact on a young man named jean Jacques Rousseau, who set about in 1742 on the discovery of the New World featuring Christopher Columbus’s sword while singing to the Indians the refrain ‘Lose your liberty’” (1988,

to write an operetta arrival

with a

Rousseau holds up the Caribs as swaddling their children an even more preposterous manner than the French, noting sarcastically that “the

p. 124). In criticizing

in

native

Caribs are twice as lucky as laziness (p. 202).

life,

we

are” (1979, P- 43).

and he

refers, at

another point, to a savage

III

Ill

THE EDUCATIONAL MISSION educational legacy of imperialism,

came of this engagement, from

it is

worth considering the many paths that

the church’s residential schools for natives to

the Rousseau-inspired free schools, such as Summerhill, for native Britons,

It

would indeed be

tive,

surprising, after five centuries of this educational impera-

schooling did not carry forward traces of imperialism in former

if

colonies and colonial powers alike. after a single generation or

be

left

behind.

I

As

I

have noted,

would be amazing

it

two since imperialism ended, such

have tried to establish, up to

a legacy

how we

this point,

preciate the full extent of imperialism’s educational dimensions ics.

From

the

West engaged

we now ing the

could

have to ap-

and dynam-

the age of reconnaissance to the collapse of the colonial empires,

ing the world.

body and

if,

It

in

an enormous educational project of learning and teach-

was surely

order, discipline

live

within.

young

a formative

and rhetoric

We have still

to look at the

to

and formidable experience, giving to the institution

wonder, then, whether educators are ask-

world through Columbus’s

“marvelous possession” in that colonizing sense, acterizes the

European regard

see the native as

and difference

on

for the

display? Are they

as the natural divide

of education that

as

New World coming

eyes, to treat

it

as a

Stephen Greenblatt char-

(1991).

Are they learning to

to an understanding

of humankind, or

as resulting

of identity

from par-

ticular histories?

Having completed ject

this general history

of imperialism’s educational pro-

of classifying, displaying, and teaching the world and

turn to

how

this imperial past

its

divisions,

I

now

has worked through and continues to operate in

the teaching of history, geography, science, language, and literature. There are aspects of the current curriculum that history, is

which was

largely

so markedly not the

to carry forward that imperial

determined to learn about the other

one engaged

surveillance, conversion

seem

and

in the

training.

extended colonial legacy on a global

— through subordination and

study

We are still in

scale,

— the one who

the midst of resolving this

which means,

in part,

engaging with

the related growth (and belated recognition) of diversity in the classrooms of the West. This diversity manages to confound the traditional self/other distinctions that infused imperialism’s curriculum project, with

of race with nation and colony.

It calls

into question

how

its

easy equation

well students have

been served by the subjectivities celebrated by the assigned

literary classics,

the history and geography of Western civilization’s relentless advance, and the scientific pursuit

of the knowing division and conquest of nature. There

is,

in

turning to the legacy of these sometimes monstrous lessons, the potential for

and deliberately postcolonial supplement that may hasten the tenuation of, if it does not check, what imperialism made of the world.

a critical

at-

I

PART

II

MONSTROUS LESSONS

NOVA

KOKT pACtrr

^ittuaa pdtas

5 ’Rjtum

iitifis

.

t.

* Im

Aloysio ala-mavnio

mditji

^ovz Reperta (Antwerp, ca. 1600). Courtesy Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division ofArt, Prints, and Photographs, New York Public Library, Theodor

Guile's

Astor, Lenox,

and

Tilden Foundations.

flor’?’

FIVE

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST

first set

I

ercise

up

on

this

chapter to read like a response to an imaginary school ex-

great theories of history, only to stumble

imitate school



lists

sixteen

The student

men, from Thucydides

lived, his

as life tends to

major work or works

activity sheet “Theories

to Nietzsche, for

to asked to find out, “for each historian they

he



such an assignment in British Columbia’s History

just

[Grade] 12 Resources Manual. tory”

upon

of His-

whom students are

have been assigned ... the dates

in history,

and

his theory

of history”

Columbia Ministry of Education, 1990, p. 79). My choice from the the German philosopher Georg V^ilhelm Friedrich Hegel, whose dates

(British list is

are 1770-1831

and whose major

which has the

rise

of the West

historical

as its

work

is

The Philosophy of History,

theme. In what follows,

I

track his theory

of history across the centuries and continents, from the daylight lecture theater in the Berlin of the 1820s, to the fluorescent spectrum of contemporary classrooms in the United States, Canada, and Britain.' Certainly,

one could build

a fine library of books

dating back to the histories of Herodotus. Hegel

is

on the

rise

of the West,

but a vivid instance from

the early nineteenth century that, like the radioactive isotopes used in medicine,

can be used to trace the descent and digestion

about

history.

made

the

'

He

not only

West the

The answer guide

thus: “History

is

sole

and

included

made modernity final

possessor of history.

in the Resources

p. 82).

115

an idea

the project of the West, he also 1

would point out

identifies Hegel’s theory

determined hy people’s ideas about things”

of Education, 1990,

of, in this case,

(British

that

oFhistorv

Columbia Ministry

Il6

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST whether the West rose

not in question here.

is

within an intellectual tradition, critiques such as this one.^

it

What

and

certainly did,

It

fascinates

commonsense

as a

on hearing today of China’s

me

is

the degree to which Hegel’s

become

efforts to

“modernize,”

if

not

its

we imagine

by Westernizing

political system.

Equally

part

example,

historical understanding. For

nally about to enter the flow of modern history

and education system,

did so

has been pointed out to me, that affords

suppositions about history and the West’s hold on history have

of what we regard

it

a people its

fi-

economy

so, the celebrated

“end of history” debate, sparked by Frances Fukuyama in 1989, began with the premise that

communism had

Union, again seeming

to place

collapsed with the demise of the Soviet

China beyond the web of history.^ Hegel had

no qualms about placing China outside history

it

history, as

we

shall see,

and outside

has largely remained for Western eyes, even at the very end,

it

would

appear, of history. Hegel’s Philosophy of History, although lacking the philosophical stature

of his Phenomenology ofSpirit znd Philosophy ofRight, proved to be his most popular work during the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Hegel’s

of the world in Berlin during the 1820s.

What makes

this a philosophical ap-

proach to history, Hegel begins in an introduction he

added

to the book,

“Reason

is

is its

World”

is

how Hegel

capitalization of

J.

Sibree’s

phatic and

Germanic

(1956, p. 9).

This Reason,

not, according to Hegel,

is

thought to have

concern with the underlying Reason of the World.

the Sovereign of the

are progressing

on the history

transcribed from lectures he delivered

Philosophy ofHistory

puts

using the

it,

popular 1899 translation

We are moving through time without rhyme or reason. We as

Sovereign of the World, governs History.

through History guided by Reason

in the

form of a

self-contained essence that defines any given age. Historical progress

When

em-

Spirit or is

there-

and Paul Kennedy (1987) speak of the rise as the “European Miracle,” I have to wonder whether this is meant to emphasize the unlikeliness of the rise without something approaching divine intervention, or to evoke the sense of gratitude and grace that is to be associated with such intervention. In The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Paul Kennedy places “the long-range and armed sailing ship” at the center of that miracle, giving the West the ability “to control the oceanic trade routes and to overawe all societies vulnerable to the workings of sea power” (p. 26). For a critique of the “miracle” as resulting, “essentially, Irom historical forces generated within Europe it^

historians such as Eric L. Jones (1981)

self,” see J.

Wolfe

^On

M.

Blaut (1993,

p. 59lf).

For a review of historical theories of imperialism, see

(1997).

the end-of-history debate, see the Melzer, Weinberger,

and Zinman collection History

and the Idea of Progress, which includes a chapter by Fukuyama that refers munism collapsed of its internal contradictions by the end of the 1980s .

sult that] there

home

to .

.

how “Com[with the re-

were no competitive ideologies that could threaten liberalism on

turf” (1995, p.

15).

its

own

5

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST and Hegel defines the measure of that progress

fore inevitable,

ing and self-conscious realization of

world

Human

as

an increas-

Freedom; H"he History of the

none other than the progress of the consciousness of Freedom; a progress whose development according to the necessity of its nature, it is our is

business to investigate”

on the road

(p. 19).

Freedom

to

Fhe deciding

For Hegel, however, participation

History

not open to everyone.

is

according to Hegel,

factor,

in

a

is

peoples knowledge of the

of Freedom. For example, “The Orientals have not attained the knowledge of that Spirit Man as such is free; and because they do not know this, Spirit





they are not free” (1956,

Hegel’s emphasis).

p. 18;

I

take his use of the present

tense with the Orient to suggest a lack of a past or a future, its

know

failure to

wanting

sessed as

dom” tism,

the World-Spirit

which

is

Freedom. China and India are

its

in the essential consciousness

Hegel’s emphasis).

(p. 71,

and

which comes of

They are mired

in a state

as-

of the Idea of Freeof perpetual despo-

played against the West’s historical achievement of liberty, and

thus deserve to be excluded from the progress of World History: “China and India

lie,

as

it

and Romans

were,

still

outside the World’s History”

are portrayed as passing the torch of an

realized the Spirit

of the World

of Freedom

travels,”

own

Building his

^

it

fell

tugged

at the

in the civilized

who

moral and

Given

and

his

historical

keen anthro-

view of oriental despotism by pointing out played in Indian history by “the renouncer,” as

returned to society in the

political authority

Thapar further

of the

spirit

state,

of a freedom that

and thus played

effec-

a strategic

attacks the ideas associated with India’s time-

despotism by pointing to both the urbanity and history found

known

ab-

common

overlooks the crucial historical role

role in society’s governance. less

between those

are said to exist outside History.

he names the ascetic figure tively

is

(p. 103).

Romila Thapar has attacked the

how

“The History

(p. 19).

great wall against the barbarians, Hegel created semi-

permeable time zones that

West and those who

and History

vision of Christianity

Hegel declares, “from East to West, for Europe

end of History”

solutely the

as progress

The Greeks

awakened Freedom on

Germanic world, which through the additional

to the

(p. 116)."^

in the territorial texts

janapada (1992, pp. 17-20). Immanuel Wallerstein argues that India is an invention of what he describes as the modern world system, specifically the British colonization through which India’s premodern history “is an invention of modern India” (1991, as

p. 132). 5

Hegel:

were

“The consciousness of Freedom

free;

such. Even Plato

whole

their

stitution first

among the Greeks, and therefore they Romans likewise, know only that some^x^ free not man as and Aristotle did not know this. The Greeks, therefore, had slaves; and first

arose



but they, and the

and the maintenance of their splendid liberty was implicated with the inThe German nations, under the influence of Christianity, were the the consciousness that man, as such, is free: that it is the freedom of Spirit

life

of slavery.

to attain

which constitutes

.

its

.

.

essence” (1956,

p. 18;

Hegel’s emphasis).

117

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST

Il8

pological interests, he allows that India

is

“rich in intellectual products,

those of the profoundest order of thought,” but this respect contrasts

most strongly with China

one going back

so remarkable,

ous

series

of Writers of History”

China advancing point

—an empire

as

—but

(1956, p. 61). His-

“no people has a so

fails

which

to

possessing one

continu-

strictly

go forward: “Early do we see

it is

found today”

and profound. With Hegel’s theory of relativity,

subtle

is



to the condition in

“has no History; and in

most ancient times”

to the

tory goes backward for the Chinese

it

and

(p. 116).^

The

a large part

of

the globe does not participate in the progress of time experienced by the

West, creating a differentiating time-space continuum that further ensures the lasting division of the world in the Western imagination.^

As one might expect, unfortunately, Africa presents Hegel:

“What we

veloped

properly understand by Africa,

Africa

is

on the threshold of the World’s History”

“shut up,” “the land of childhood”

part of the world;

the Unhistorical,

it

movement

has no

(p. 91): “It

by the West well into

is

no

this century.^ It

all

(1956,

historical

or development to exhibit”

This remarkably unsettling judgment was to become the allocated to Africa

Unde-

involved in the conditions of mere nature and which had

Spirit, still

to be represented here only as p. 99).

is

a simpler case for

(p. 99).

too familiar fate

should take no more

than a few lines of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to bring this pervasive theme

of Africa’s timelessness back to mind:

^

Hegel condemns the Chinese for failing to take advantage of gunpowder (“The Jesuits had to make their first cannons for them”); for being unable to represent “the beautiful, as beautiful” despite a “remarkable

knowledge art of printing; and for missing out on an astronomy that has any claim as a form of knowledge (1956, p. 137). He notes a certain sense of meritocracy in China that he quickly dismisses as a wanting of maturity, as part of the scheme of matching historical and human development: “And though there is not distinction conferred by birth, and everyone can attain the highest dignity, this very equality testifies to no triumphant assertion of the worth ol the inner man, but a servile consciousness one which has not yet matured itsell so far as to recognize distinctions” (p. 138). Johann Fabian uses the phrase “the denial ol coevalness” in describing the impact of this idea on the development ol anthropology (1983, p. 31). For a critique of this continuing deskill in

imitation”; for refusing to apply their

of the magnet and the



'

nial is

to

of coevalness

make

in

anthropology, see Thomas,

who

claims that the effect of Geertzs

work

of other cultures, such as the Balinese, “a picturesque, transhistorical presence,

from Western society” (1994, pp. 90—95). ® In his examination of Africa and history, Steven Feierman has described how previously among academic historians the tendency was to “appropriate bits of African past and place them within a larger framework of historical knowledge which has European roots” (1993, radically different

History books in Swahili that were sent to the colonial schools of Africa described Africa practiced slavery until colonialism brought uhuru, or freedom (p. 195). Feier-

p. 169).

how man

still

finds

it

necessary to remind his colleagues that “history can no longer be written

as a single clear narrative cal heartland, to Africa

of the spread of civilization’s

and other

arts

from the ecumene, the

parts of the world” (p. 171).

histori-

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST

We

were wanderers on prehistoric earth, on an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet. We could have fancied ourselves the first

men

taking possession of an accursed inheritance, to be subdued at the

cost of

profound anguish and of excessive

could not remember, because

we were

toil.

.

.

973

>

far

and

traveling in the night of first ages,

of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign (i

We were too

.

—and no memories.

P- 51)

1 he radical historical consequence of this Hegelian progression of consciousness is a world divided among people who live inside and outside history.

The West remains consumed with

Here nothing stands

still,

constant and the news

marketed

West

to the

is

as

as

sense of accelerated progress.

where the tomorrow people wake up

mode of being

What makes state. The nation

is

to

is

not a given of human experience;

is

the nation-

the necessary vehicle for realizing the World-Spirit and its

9 “a moral, political organization” (1956, p. 75 ).

unique

The

ability to

nation alone

work toward

is

capable, for

Hegel, of mediating between individual and Spirit. Universal History expression of “the Spirit of a People” that finds

of History” and the “National genius”

(no

than the teacher of history)

less

in-

in the world.

for participating in Universal History, given

its’

yes-

of

this principle

that historical privilege possible, for Hegel, is

the only

Meanwhile, other parts of the world are an escape from the overwhelming bustle. They are

Hegel constructed his philosophy of history on

a privileged

is

a staple.

equitable participation in History, which it is

own

people are quick to assert that change

said to exist in a timeless space terday.

its

its

form

(p. 53).

an

in “the ‘National Spir-

This makes the historian

among

first

is

nationalists. If history,

modernity, and freedom are defined in nationalist terms, then to be born be-

yond the Spirit

coterie of

European nations

of the World and

its

is

to live outside the pale, outside the

Universal History.

national identity, Hegel identifies the “moral

form of

reality in

Whole”

(p. 38).

to the

Whole, the

which the individual has and enjoys

the condition of recognizing, believing in, to the

Adding

and willing

weight of

State,

his

that

which

is

this

that

freedom; but on

which

is

common

This theme of Government completing Freedom was,

^This was Hegel’s contribution to the relatively late articulation of German nationalism. In Germany’s case, national consciousness was largely the work of what Liah Greenfeld describes as “a peculiar class of educated

commoners,

[and] professional intellectuals”

(1992, p. 277). Germany’s colonial holdings were also acquired considerably later than those of the other European powers, playing largely a symbolic rather than an economic role in the development of the German state (Hobsbawm, 1987, p. 67). Hegel’s nationalist

philosophy of history,

making ical

explicit

how

as

Hayden White

essential the /e^^r/status

narrative (1987, p. 30).

points out, demonstrates the rare virtue of

of the

state

was to the formation of a

histor-

II9

120

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST for Hegel, “the real theater

holden to the

“Each unit

was

is

of History”

The

individuals were to be be-

State: “It constitutes their existence, their

the

Son of his Nation”

to figure in future debates

An

(p. 99).

(p. 52).

being,” Hegel writes.

This form of extreme nationalism

about Hegel’s influence on the

fascist state.

empire, in Hegel’s estimation, could offer a gratifying sense of des-

tiny to a nation’s citizens, further evincing their historical place in the world:

“Every Englishmen will

who

Hegel imagines

say,”

navigate the ocean, and have the

at

one point,

“We

commerce of the world;

East Indies belong and their riches” (1956,

p. 74).

More than

are the

to

men

whom

the

that, the British

student of this history can turn to the success of the empire as proof of national

worth and destiny: “A Nation

engaged

is

in realizing

history played lization

its

its

is

moral

grand objects”



(p. 74).

virtuous

The



vigorous

—while

it

nation-as-instrument-of-

part in imperialism, serving as proof of an advanced civi-

worthy of a global expansion that would bring such

ernization as nationhood to the rest of the world.

Victorian imperialism in Great Britain,

tools

of mod-

During the

Thomas Macaulay wrote

his

rise

of

monu-

mental history of England, the National Portrait Gallery was founded, and the massive publishing projects behind the torical Principles

(which

New

English Dictionary on His-

became the Oxford English Dictionary) and the

later

Dictionary of National Biography were initiated. These mighty works retroactively assembled a historical foundation for a nation

The

pire.

of history

rise

worthy of a global em-

of the West was the story of its heroic nations, and

as a national project

was

to

become

this casting

the centerpiece of teaching his-

tory in school.^*

we must constantly ask, at what points have we begun to move beyond what he made of history and the world? How far are we from After Hegel,

When

nationalism became a tool ot colonial liberation during this century, it was then viewed, in Partha Chatterjees terms, “as a dark, elemental, unpredictable force of primordial nature threatening the orderly

calm of civilized

life” (1993, p. 4).

Chatterjee goes

on

to

complain that “history, it would seem, has decreed that we in the postcolonial world shall only be perpetual consumers of modernity. Europe and the Americas, the only true subjects ol history, have thought out on our behalf not only the script of colonial enlightenment and exploitation, but also that of our anticolonial resistance and postcolonial misery” (p-

5 )-

" Robert Young observes

that “Hegel articulates a philosophical structure of the appro-

priation of the other as a form of

knowledge which uncannily simulates the project of nineteenth century imperialism” (1990, p. 3). Wolfgang Mommsen, in reviewing theories

of imperialism, places Hegel’s specific contribution among those who treated imperialism as a necessary element of economic expansion, while quoting from Hegel’s Philosophy Right:

“The inner

dialectic

of civil society thus drives



of

it or at any rate drives a specific and seek markets, and so its necessary means of subsistence, in other lands which are either deficient in the goods it has over-produced, or else generally backward in industry” (cited by Mommsen, 1980, p. 30).



society

to

push beyond

its

own

limits

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST the assumption that the

How far are we from read about the

West stands

at the source

of the history that matters?

Hegel’s geographically determined historicism

dynamic Asian economies

that have catapulted Singapore

Malaysia into the twentieth century, or about the eternal besets the politics of Africa in

Rwanda

tribal

and

warfare that

or Somalia? Paul Gilroy ascribes a He-

cidedly Hegelian belief” to Frederick Douglass and a

Americans of the nineteenth century

when we

number of other African

in their faith ’’that the

combination of

Christianity and a nation state represents the overcoming of all antinomies”

(D93’

P- 35)-

Through whose suflFering

sense of freedom,

if

has the

not through those

whether through slavery or apartheid, that Hegel identified with the West?

who

West developed

name of that

The West

Historical right

history lessons have plotted the

progress of freedom and nationhood as a VC^estern has been set against the primitive

self-conscious

have been denied that freedom,

in the

Our

its

rite

of passage; modernity

and despotic ways of the

rest

of the world.

has defined a single path to modernity, civilization, and the idea of

developed nation. “Historically, modernization is the process of change,” S. N. Eisenstadt has written, “toward those types of social, economic, and political systems that developed in Western Europe and North a fully

America from the seventeenth century

to the nineteenth” (1966, p.

i).

The legacy is such that critiques of Hegel often find themselves swimming in their own Hegelianism. 12 For example, my own critical efforts with Hegel engage their

own

version of the “great

man” (“World-Historical

Indi-

vidual”) theory of intellectual history closely associated with the rise of the

European nation-state

(1956, p. 29).

work, through Hegel, seeks Hegel, ism;

I

its

This pursuit of History’s imperial frame-

own form of the

Spirit

of World History. Like

have stretched a large canvas to convey the global scope of imperialhave turned to the historicizing of ideas and peoples in search of the I

greater Rationality that

would make sense of the world

today.

That imperial

sense remains stretched between the poles of primitive and civilized in one direction,

and of East and W’est

in the other.

Although philosophers Jean-

Fran^ois Lyotard (1988) and Richard Rorty (1995) ask us to forsake such “master narratives,”

we cannot

readily

walk away from

this historical

education in

'2

Robert Young: “You cannot get out of Hegel by simply contradicting him, any more than you can get out of those other Hegelian systems, Marxism and psychoanalysis, by simply opposing them: for in both your opposition is likewise always recoupable, as the workings of ideology or psychic resistance” (1990, p. 6). Jacques Derrida speaks of “the very self-evidence of Hegel one often thinks oneself unburdened of” (1978a, p. 251). However, Charles Taylor speaks of an end of Hegelianism through modernity’s technological domination of nature, which precludes a Hegelian synthesis of nature and reason, one of the philosopher’s claims for the West (C. Taylor, 1979, p. 139).

I2I

122

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST favor of the

recommended

knowledge and small experiments intended

local

grand theorizing of the world. By

to replace this

modernist aspirations for

telling the

the I

histoty”

and movement of History”

commonplaces of our own

means,

whole truth of history,

recommends, “the romance of world the shape

all

rejecting, as

Rorty

and the idea that we can “grasp But

(1995, pp. 213, 211).

historical

us break with

let

it is,

above

all,

understanding that remain, of which

consider the Hegelian conception of the Wests self-conscious progress to-

ward Freedom

desperately

rather than faith,

And so ters,

example and

a

heady

leftover

from the

lessons orig-

designed to justify the West’s domination and division of the globe.

inally

The

a persistent

modern

culture of Europe, relying

was constantly generating accounts of itself and

the intellectual labors that

from the

on Sovereign Reason

classification

I

its

actions.

have reviewed in the previous three chap-

of species to the building of colonial schools, were

taken to justify Western expansion and colonialism.

The Subject ofImperial History Let

me move

Great Britain phasis

forward, then, from Hegel’s lectures in the Berlin of the 1820s to later in the

century

on the purity and quality of a

globe.

In 1895, a contributor to the

tween the

political

and scholarly

that “our Imperialism of today Seeley, a curious

Benjamin John

when

is

race destined to assert itself

forces underlying colonialism

the

it

upheld

Britain’s

of Modern History

on the home

Expansion ofEngland, which clearly

around the be-

by claiming

combined work of Beaconsfield and of

Disraeli (earl of Beaconsfield)

to 1895, strengthened

em-

Athenaeum pinpointed the collusion

couple of collaborators” (cited by Aldrich, 1988,

Seeley, as Regius Professor

Among

historians were placing increasing

at

p. 25).

While

honor abroad.

Sir

Cambridge from 1869

front through his

set the nation’s Spirit

immensely popular

on an imperial

tra-

those following this Hegelian/post-Hegelian path of examining the imperial

complex as the master narrative is Gilroy, who recently advocated treating “the Atlantic as one single complex unit of analysis and us[ing] it to produce an explicitly transnational and intercultural perspective” (1993, p. 15). He sees the Middle Passage, or black Atlantic, as defining the Western sense of modernity, as black people “engaged in various struggles toward emancipation, autonomy, and citizenship,” giving real meaning to the Hegelian sense of Freedom (p. 16). Hugh MacDougall does not hold back on naming the perpetuators of the racial myth in English history: “Of all the professions none served the cause of progress and Anglo-Saxonism more taithlully than historians. Gilted commentators such as Lord Macaulay, Thomas Carlyle, John Kemble, Goldwin Smith, John R. Green, William Stubbs, James Anthony Froude, Charles Kingsley, Edward Freeman, Lord Acton, dilated upon the greatness ol the English race and its proud heritage. All were confident that their accounts were somehow more objective than any that had come before, for history, it was believed, had .

finally

come

.

.

ol age as a critical science” (1982, pp. 91-92).

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST jectory.

The historian was indeed seen

as the curious collaborator

politician in bringing Britain to “the climax of an empire,” as

with the

James Morris

(1968) characterizes the period.

Seeley proudly spoke of a “Greater” Britain treating

innocent and natural.

The

its

expansion as both

of our destiny towards the occupation of the new World,” he wrote “grew up almost in our own despite,” and he spoke of drift

the colonies as Britain s

natural outlet for superfluous populations” (1884, PP* ^4> 70)- This was a history in which the British were carried along to empire as if by fate:

Nothing

great that has ever been

done by Englishmen was

done so unintentionally, so accidentally as the conquest of India” (p. 179). The accidental empire entailed, he insisted, none of the barbarity of one community being “treated as the property of another to

acknowledge that

our own”

(p. 66).

in

The

governing

it

we

.

.

.

[for]

any way

in

historical significance

of

we should be ashamed

sacrificed

This biblical sense of exodus, with

its

interest to

this destined, innocent,

natural empire was not to be questioned: “This English greatest English event of the eighteenth

its

and

Exodus has been the

and nineteenth centuries”

(p. 14).

vision of the promised land abroad,

suggested a holy covenant between Britain and that one greater Empire.

Those with an educational interest in empire, such as Seeley, came to promote imperial studies for the schools, which had something of an interdisciplinary or social studies feel to

Great Britain,

its

influence

it.

Although

this

on history teaching was

approach originated

to be felt

in

throughout the

The Rhodes Chair of Imperial History, established at the University of London in I9i9> initially held by A. P. Newton, who with Ewring empire.

J.

authored the popular British Empire since 178^ for use in secondary school and college history, geography, commerce, and economics classes M. MacKen(J.

zie,

1984, p. 170).

A number of public societies also sought to stir up

loyalties

empire through the schools using the themes of eugenics and motherhood, which, according to John MacKenzie, eventually created a space in the for the

schools for the teaching of

home economics

(pp. 158-59).

MacKenzie pays

promotion of empire through the teaching of hiscompulsory subject for British schools only in 1900.

particular attention to the tory,

which became

Rudyard Kipling the 1911 textbook

lent his support to this enterprise

A

Fletcher, a text that

sand copies.

a

by contributing poetry to

School History of England, by Oxford historian C. R. L.

is still

The book

in print,

having sold

of one hundred thou-

West Indians

advises students that

and incapable of any serious improvement,”

in excess

or, in a

are “lazy, vicious,

phrase, “quite

happy and

quite useless,” whereas in India “our rule has been infinitely to the good for the three hundred millions of the different races

who

all

inhabit that richly pop-

ulated land” (Fletcher and Kipling, 1983, pp. 294-95). Although such was the

123

124

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST of history teaching during the heyday of empire,

spirit

this scholastic

enthu-

siasm did not always impress the students, a point MacKenzie establishes by

drawing on the

member of the

And how indeed did Compulsory

.

.

.

What

hard to

is

ma-

the undermass got

see, unless

it

was the ba-

p. 184)

The working class may well have enjoyed it

attended

had been introduced with overt

State education

from empire, old and new,

nana. (1984,

who

the nation’s poor profit from the possession of em-

propagation of the imperialistic idea. terially

industrial classes

World War:

school before the First

pire?

of a

reflections

when

the fruits of imperialism

had the money, but the schools were intent on teaching the working

that empire

was so much more.

What

better

way of integrating

into the empire than presenting the world as part of the

the

class

young

mother country’s

achievement, within which students from Calcutta to Canberra were invited to find themselves

tory

is

best

and

their places. Seeley advised that the teaching

done by showing how history

“affects

our

interests”;

end, the expansion of European imperialism and the

pire’s

were portrayed without qualm p. 307).

Even

after the

as

and

of

his-

until

em-

of the West

rise

being in just about everyone’s interest (1884,

European empires

fell

to the

sweep of the indepen-

dence movements in the colonies, the writing of history in the West retained its

more general Hegelian sense of the unfolding of an indomitable

Spirit.

The Rise of the West in Our Time

A

key work in sustaining

this

Hegelian theme during our

own

postcolonial

age has been William McNeill’s widely lauded The Rise ofthe West: A History

of the

Human Community

(1963).

This formidable book was briefly a

York Times best-seller, and a second edition was issued in 1991.

an American tradition of teaching Western

“war issues” course taught

at

It falls

in

civilization, originating

Columbia University

New

to the Students

with

from

a

Army

Training Corps in 1918, which was intended to prepare troops to defend America’s stake in Europe (Allardyce, 1982). Richard Roberts has pointed to

how Western

civilization textbooks

tion until “it has elites

and

become

tend to narrow the very sense of civiliza-

essentially a narrative history

their ideas, propelled

of Western cultural

through time by the vagaries of

the decline of empires” (1994, p. 58).

I

have alluded, in the

first

politics

and

chapter, to

the recent battles at Stanford University over Western civilization courses,

and

although there are clearly changes afoot because of multicultural education initiatives, the general

concept that the achievement of the West forms the

core of the educated imagination prevails, as well as the idea that “a history of

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST the

human community”

is

about the

rise

of the West, as McNeill captures

It

in his title.

In his book,

McNeill leads

his readers

from the great darkness” of pre-

history to the “Western explosion” of political, industrial, and cultural achievement in the modern era: “Hence ‘The Rise of the West’ may serve,”

writes

on the concluding page,

the history of human

“as a

community

he

shorthand description of the upshot of

to date” (1963, p. 807). History in this

book

out amid the detail and sweep of civilizations, each neatly encapsulated within the full rhetorical drama of a world history that places the greatness of is

laid

others securely in the distant past, whereas the

West has

it all

to enjoy here

and now: Demosthenes’ Athens, in Confucius’ China, and in Mohammed’s Arabia was violent, risky, and uncertain; hopes struggled with fears; greatness teetered perilously on the brim of disaster. We belong in this high company and should count ourselves fortunate to live in one of the great ages of the world, (p. 807) Life in

A second

Hegelian feature of this familiar history

is

the universal quality

of the West’s cultural achievement. To bring this point home, McNeill offers an illustration of a Henry Moore sculpture depicting a reclining figure,

which

McNeill

identifies

m

the caption as

how it gives visual form human femininity” (1963,

Primordial ^Moman” before explaining

to primordially primitive, inchoate p. 763).

The

dimensions of

resonant subconscious qualities of this

female figure represent, for McNeill, “the highest intellectual sophistication,” demonstrating “our twentieth-century scientific emancipation from the cultural parochialisms

of the past”

phistication has been artfully fabricated, essentially primitive qualities.

The we are

(p. 763).

The

historical

sculpture’s self-conscious soled to believe, out

of women’s

ascendancy of the West, he ap-

pears to be saying, grows out of the achievements of a certain class of

who

are able to reflect

upon and transform

in others for the benefit

In 1991, to

as

West.

found

of all.

McNeill added an extraordinary retrospective essay

The Rise of the

the door

into art the primal qualities

men

The

on the Hegelian

piece, striking in

its

humility, attempts to shut

vision of the West, of which McNeill’s

something of a culminating moment

in

as a preface

our time.

He

book stands

begins this

new

pref-

ace by identifying the scope of the

came

to write the book: “It

American imperialism within which he seems obvious that The Rise of the UTjr should

be seen as an expression of the postwar imperial

mood

in the

United States”

He goes on to argue, against the main body of the book, that common historical sense of discrete civilizations rising and falling across (p. xv).

the the

125

126

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST Stormy

seas

of time

to represent

fails

world system marked by such

artificial

He

also questions the built-in bias

political units

show-trial quality to

own

of writing of history

of nation and erripired^

times,

it,

and he allows

that earlier he

unaware of “the hand-in-glove

new

my

role played

review of the

by the United

This self-serving historiography operated, according to McNeill,

operated p. xvi).

preface has a

was only writing out of

between

fit

whole of human history and the temporary world States.”

been blurring

“a trans-civilization process” that has

McNeill’s confession to these ideological sins in the

his

an emerging

as

boundaries since the “the very beginning of civilized history”

(pp. xxiv, xxix).

through the

what he now recognizes

at all, entirely at the

But

it

could

still

subconscious

level for all

be said to be operating,

concerned”

as the historian

“if

it

(1991,

concludes

the 1991 preface by pledging his allegiance to the best Western conceptions

of the

historian’s profession. “Historical scholarship has explored the globe as

never before,” McNeill writes, once more invoking imperial themes, only

now, combined with “the evolution of historical concepts,” we are afforded a “level

of sophistication that makes older

recent as mine,

placement”

(p. xxx).

history,

and what must be allowed

that

comes from outside the West

recommends

quality of Western

in

even one

as

need of

re-

The ultimate triumph of History, as both discipline and its own protective lesson against what is called into ques-

tion

edly ancient

world

seem fundamentally outmoded and obviously

profession, contains

essay

efforts at

McNeill does not

to stand. in the

for the original book.

emendations and additions that

The

rest

offers, against the decid-

of the world, seems to

the imperial legacy. So effectively

naming

his

self-correcting, truth-ensuring

knowledge that the 1991 preface

wisdom of the

cite scholarship

me no

the influence of his

less a

own

part of

location

within an imperial structure, only to then take refuge in the sanctity of the historian’s profession

glorious rise

women and histories

still

seems to ring hollow. At some

stands, even if flush with the

China.

We

level, his tale

new

preface’s inclusion

need, then, to appreciate not only

have cast the world, but also

how

of the West’s

how

of

such global

the academic disciplines might

have a stake in such constructions.'*^

'5

McNeill credits the considerable work of Immanuel Wallerstein (1974-1988) for opening his eyes to this world system. Although he bolsters the place of China in his “history ol the human community,” McNeill appears willing to continue the Hegelian dismiss^ of Africa from the historical stage: although “the scholarship of the past twenty-five years [on Africa] has revealed a far

more complex

interplay of peoples

tinent remained peripheral to the rest of the world,

down

to,

and cultures ... the conand including our own age”

(1991, p. xx).

Michael Geyer and Charles Bright, providing a survey article on the fate of world histories, write of the relation between emergent non-Western scholarship and world his-

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST World History Today To capture what students tory of the world,

being used in tively.

in the

West

when they approach

face today

the his-

have selected three world history textbooks currently the secondary schools of America, Canada, and Britain respecI

The textbook

is

a widely vetted curriculum resource that, although rep-

resenting only a small part of any given student’s educational experience, reflects the historical thinking of teachers, publishers, and education officials. In

the case of texts

on world

history, the

Hegelian influence on that thinking

can be fully in the reader’s hands before leaving the book’s table of contents. To begin with the American instance. The Pageant ofWorld History (1986)

seven-hundred-page textbook published by Allyn and Bacon. Its author, Gerald Leinwand, tells the story of the West as the history of the world, is

a

which does not concern

and

eties

me

as

much

as

their histories in the process.

what

it

makes of non-Western

The book

soci-

begins with a unit called

“Discovering the Cradles of Civilization,” which divides the world between us

and them

Debt

to

in the possessive

forms 6>wrand

Ancient Greece” and “Our

Roman

their,

beginning with “Our

Heritage,” followed by “Their

Ancient Splendors” (India and Southeast Asia) and “The Ancient Past of China, Japan, and Korea.” It is tempting to point out how the cradle metaphor succeeds in making infants of those nations whose civilizations are seen to be “ancient.”

The

historical contribution

of these nations was to be a

precursor for the civilization to come, while the people lands entered a twilight zone outside history. ilization as “a

term applied to a people

culture” (p. 713).

It

world.

It

The

offers

who

lived in these

book’s glossary defines civ-

have reached a certain

level

of

suggests a thoroughly nineteenth-century sense of unciv-

ilized or previously civilized

of culture.

The

who

peoples

somehow

living with inadequate levels

nothing of the history of the term’s use

chapters

on Africa and India have

in organizing the

sections called “Contributions

to Civilization,” suggesting that even while outside a mainstream, while not

forming part of “our debt” and “our heritage”

tones such as McNeills: “There sition these

new

histories,

is

(as in

the case of ancient Greece

no context within the world

because world history, especially

historical tradition to po-

in its

truncated form, has

re-

mained intimately linked to totalizing Western world images and stereotypes. The very act of mapping and thinking the world implicated historians from around the world in a nexus of histories of imperial power from which their ‘other’ worlds and histories were either excluded entirely



subaltern to the point of nonexistence



or rendered subordinate”

most blunt about the motives in looking back from the end of Leninism, as he puts it, in ways that apply to both McNeill and my own work here: “Was our thirst for world-historical romance, and for deep theories about deep causes for social change, caused by our concern for human suffering? Dr was it at least in part a thirst (1995, p. 1036). Richard

for an

Rorty

is

important role for ourselves to play?” (1995,

p. 214).

127

128

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST and Rome), they have added some value

to the civilization that

we enjoy

After the book’s global look at origins, the historical pageant

on world

today.

history

moves into

European focus with units

called

“A Journey

Modern Times” and “Democracy Triumphs over AbsoEurope.” The chapters in these units describe the increasing real-

from Medieval lutism in

a singularly

to

ization of freedom

leads to the unit

and reason

in

Europe, abetted by overseas expansion. This

“The Dominance of Europe,” with

alism, industrialism,

its

emphasis on nation-

and democracy, followed by “The Beginning of a Global

Society,” a unit that brings us to the latter half of the nineteenth century

into the heart of imperialism, with chapters called

“Europe

in Search

and

of Em-

Imperialism in Africa” and “The Decline of Empire: Prelude to Global

pire:

Conflict.” If imperialism

is

portrayed as initiating a global society, which

bears a certain truth while conveying

little

of the hardship unequally distrib-

uted in the process, the demise of imperialism

is

presented as a threat to world

peace.

With

the completion of the pageant from various ancient civilizations to

the civilization, the

Global Peace,”

book concludes

optimistically with the unit

“Toward

a

which Asia returns rather ominously under the chapter rubric Asia in Today s World: Sleeping Giants Awaken.” The title’s reference

to the

in

awakening giants suggests

a

looming

threat to global order, evoking

shades of oriental despotism and teeming masses associated earlier in this century with xenophobic “yellow peril” campaigns in North America.

speculating

on the educational

on whether the images metaphor it

that

lie

Without

effectiveness of dramatizing chapter

dormant

are available to the majority

in, for

titles,

or

example, the “sleeping giant”

of today’s students,

I

obviously think

worthwhile to introduce students to such traces of an imperial legacy

in

their history lessons.*^ If the unit

and chapter

titles

ine the Hegelian heritage, the

world

map

present one opportunity to critically exam-

book

offers

another

as

it

closes

with a two-page

that color codes 165 countries as “free,” “partly free,” or “not free”

(1986, pp. 730-31).

The map

serves to validate the special concentration of

World-Spirit that underscores the

rise

of the West and

its

benefits for the rest

of the world. History comes

and

Civilization.

'"On

1

do not

down to this geopolitical dispersion of Freedom mean to begrudge a nation’s choice or struggle to be

the international front of U.S. -China relationships,

New

York T/wer columnist

Thomas Friedman (1995) writes a new and self-censored version of the sleeping-giant metaphor: “We see China as the 8oo-pound gorilla that needs to be house broken. China sees itself as the

8oo-pound

gorilla that

should be able to

sit

wherever

it

wants.”

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST free

in this sense,

but

think

I

it

only

fair to

consider

how our common,

schooled understanding of history measures the progress of the World. It must surely be the end of History when the whole of the world map is colored

by Western standards.

“free”

Now,

I

do not object

substantial textbook,

Amid

view here. tion,

does not

it

any

to students taking their history lessons

less

than from the other two that

make

historical interest.

It is

not so

is

filled

much

with

is

The

I

one that

on the book’s reading of

lessons

being written otherwise in other

the textbook to find that influence

one that

as

on the prominent gaps and featured moments, and on

of history

are textbooks with

of the world

value and

and modernity that can be prof-

artwork, often under postcolonial influence, thereby

the

re-

understand imperialisms educational

There could well be supplementary

the historical pageant,

much of educational

a false history

itably called into question in trying to

this sense

go on to

sense to think about abandoning existing resources,

reflects a particular sense of time, history,

how

will

this

the increasingly limited resources allocated to public educa-

and The Pageant of World History

legacy.

I

from

is

texts,

music, and

moving students beyond

an educationally sound

idea. Yet there

something more of this postcolonial presence, including

consider next.

table of contents

of Garfield

Newman

and Christian De Greer’s

Odyssey through the Ages (1992), a Canadian textbook for senior high school

published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson, possesses the familiar pattern of fascinating ancient empires paving the way for a remarkable Western civilization.

Taking up one of Marshall McLuhan’s contributions to the modern lexicon, the book looks to the “Emergence of the Global Village” in its optimistic epilogue. But

I

wish to focus on the main body of the

and questions the Hegelian the Past,

doing

tradition.

text,

The opening

which both adheres

chapter, “Understanding

takes considerable exception, for example, to traditional

history. Insisting that “history

and military campaigns,”

is

Newman

to

methods of

not solely about political power-strug-

De Greer favor social history that must endeavor to reflect the lives of men and women from all classes, for the poor as well as the rich have a past” (p. 3). The text includes the sidebar “Megles

and

from a Woman’s Perspective,” based on the fourteenth-century Vision ofLight, by Margaret Ashbury.'^ This egalitarian commitment makes

dieval History

A

the rise-of-the-West narrative, which

tory in the book,

'M

Vision

of Light

all

the

more

still

striking.

dominates the organization of his-

Newman

and De Greer

label the

introduced to demonstrate “the value of studying the history of all classes,” although a reading of the excerpt reveals that Ashbury appears to he “rich, verv rich”

is

(Newman and De

Cireer, 1992, pp. 18-19).

129

130

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST Chinese “xenophobic,” although they toward the

of the world

rest

The “Chinese world view”

—only

a

growing sense of superiority”

described ahistorically as

is

was no antagonism

insist that “there

it is

(p. 162).

from

said to derive

the emperor’s friendly or hostile relationship with the peoples of the sur-

rounding countryside (pp. 163—64). Yet perhaps the most graphic instance of that Hegelian historical vision comes with the time line entitled “Major

The

Events in Chinese History.”

last specified

event takes place in 1535 as the

“Portuguese gain right to reside and trade in Macao” In

coming

show an

the Ages

The

book.

this

to address

“The Modern Age,”

initial sensitivity to

(p. 135).

the authors of Odyssey through

the issues that

chapter’s key concepts, helpfully listed

fall

we hope

to avoid

is

Columbus,

that of presenting the

ernization led by Europeans,”

we need

the chapter. “Instead

capitalism,

Modern

contact with pitfall that

it

as

above

it

all

modern age in

its

own

pit-

Greer write in introducing

question at this point

went bounding by

Euro-

age as an age of mod-

to address this period of history

cultures are thought to have entered the

era,

and Amerindians. “The

Newman and De

The key

p. 549).

addressing in

modern

perspective, taking into account the impact of contact

volved” (1992,

am

on the opening page,

include globalization, acculturation, world economy, peanization, Christopher

I

is

on

from a broader all

cultures in-

whether these other

or just to have

historical time.

come

This

is

into

the

needs addressing after Hegel, and the text does point to

how “the term ‘modern era,’ applied to this period of history, reflects very much a Eurocentric bias, as it implies that progress and the export of European

civilization

were connected”

(p. 550).

The book

supports

its

charges of

Eurocentrism by comparing the Mercator projection of the world, which markedly amplifies the size of Europe in relation to the Southern Hemisphere, to the Peters projection,

man and De

of civilization

which they

is

just that,

real history that

I

on the “modern

New-

in this

book. To

and geographers while showing

delity to the rise-of-the-West

theme

in the organization

The

takes

prefatory

of their

own

its

own

education.

into ques-

a contradictory text,

fi-

captures

Newman and De

Greer’s lead, students are to learn the history while keeping in discipline has put together the past in

call

of the

the intellectual play in this imperial legacy. Following

to be greater students

all

the

serve as a supplemental lesson, a cautionary pre-

have been advocating

tion the biases of historians

fact,

era,” before the start

begins with Christopher Columbus.

comments on Eurocentrism view, of the sort that

an idea, and not a given

locate in medieval Christianity (p. 551). This

place in the introduction to the chapter

of the

reverses the distortion (p. 551).

Greer also take the bold step of stating that the idea of the West

as the pinnacle

origins of

which

mind how

the

image. In this way, they stand

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST

My

example from Great

Britain, a 128-page booklet, Expansion, Trade,

and Industry (i993)> by James Mason, published by Longman, making

ther in

clear to students the uses

tory text, the series to which tions,

belongs,

with a core volume on the

on imperial China,

If

not

A Sense of History,

Roman Empire and

world

his-

has global aspira-

supplementary”

and Islam. Judging by Masons

India,

itself a

texts

the series re-

text,

the influence of the Schools Council Project I3~i6 which, in pursuing

flects

the

it

of history.

goes even fur-

method of historical inquiry

in preference to the presentation

of a narra-

tive, called

the nature of history into question (Shemilt, 1980; Seixas, 1993). encourages a critical stance toward the rise of the ^Msst that allows stu-

Mason

dents to

see, in a

companied by

chapter such as “Images of Empire,” that the

relentless self-promotion. In writing

rise

was

ac-

about the empire’s glory

days, he repeatedly speaks of what the British believed 2X the time, effectively

distancing himself, as historian, from these earlier and clearly prejudicial at-

The

titudes:

British

to help people live

.

.

by

believed they had a duty to spread Christianity

.

teachings

its

question, the text also has

Mason

says, “treated the

its

(p. 68).

uncritical

and

After calling such beliefs into

moments



Sir

Stamford

Raffles,

Javanese with respect and took a lot of trouble to

about their history before returning home “with 200 boxes of material weighing nearly 30 tonnes” (p. 71). Yet it also uses striking citations from the learn

time, such as G. A. Henty’s late-nineteenth-century stories for boys, to trate the British sense ploits.

of racial superiority that accompanied

Although Mason

tudes in

its

illus-

imperial ex-

shows the motivational force of these attipromoting the empire, he leaves little doubt about their morality.

Given

my hope

skillfully

that this sort of thoughtfulness about the past

turned toward the present,

was caught

I

a

little

would be

off guard by Mason’s efforts to

treat the

racism fostered by imperialism as a thing of the past, as if to redeem the present moment. At one point, he cites Basil Davidson’s Into the Dark Continent,

which claimed

in

— became

mid-i9th century tions,

and would so remain

1972 that “Britain in racist,

age of power

— from

the

though of course with the very best inten-

for almost

spent” (cited by Mason, 1993,

its

p. 69).

100 years until the imperial power was Davidson’s “until”

is

the crucial point

me, because the racism did not neatly end with the collapse of empire, but remains part of an imperial legacy that continues to haunt British life to for

this day.

That much

said, the strongest

comes when he turns

to the writing

post-Hegelian feature of Mason’s text

of history

itself

He

points out

how

far

into this century historians carried these earlier imperialist attitudes, using as

primary exhibit Jasper Stembridge’s The World, which British schoolchildren began to study in the 1950s (1993, p. 73). Mason makes clear to stuhis

132

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST dents that histories can

though he

it

as

outdated

short of inviting a critical

falls

Mason

example.

become

and music,

al-

judgment of his use of Davidson,

for

as old clothes

appears to stand with McNeill in suggesting that, although

pays to retain a healthy skepticism about earlier histories and historians,

can trust todays professionals to have righted previous problems. tablishes, as

Newman

do

classroom for a

critical

next logical step, then,

and De Greer,

that there

is

he

Still,

to include a wider

those from Africa and India

who

es-

a place in the history

understanding of what historians make of history. is

we

company of historians,

The

including

have reflected on imperialism, such

as

P.

G.

Okoth, Partha Chatterjee, and Gyan Prakash from among those cited in this book. The state of permanent revision I am invoking, as I alluded to earlier, is

drawn from among the redeeming

my own

return only that treated

less

no

features of Western knowledge.

minor contributions

less skeptically

to the

ask in

triumph of the West be

than those of the histor ians.

To summon

history to account will not be an easy process. Students,

than the

of us, are rarely in a position

rest

into question. All the

more

to call

of the nation

reason, therefore, to use the resources of the

comparing the

stories told over different generations

the history represented in different periods of film

Underlying

it all is

we have spent

years

the scientific

and

an

effort to see

own

periods;

to

can begin by

of history textbooks or

and other popular forms.

what we have made of history

after all the

London and

Paris,

Cambridge and Oxford.

education and in history classes today,

we can

to create space-time

study and

It

make

accomplishments of the Newtons and da Vincis, and

artistic

historians have distributed

modern

historians

tracing the brave voyages of the great explorers, studying

making the pilgrimages In our

what

schoolbooks and in the popular imagination.

in

no

any academic discipline

school, as well as personal experience, to think about

phy

I

ask

we can consider how people among premodern, modern and posthow history works in conjunction with geogra-

continuums

that,

although they add fascination to

do so principally through the production of difference and the building of boundaries that seem only to naturalize the distances between travel,

people. In turning to the

'Tor

the

(^993)'

past for

work of philosophers and

historians in this way,

we

common ground

between “new historians” and progressive educators, see Seixas of such an alliance could mean a lar more encompassing vision of the the history class, with which teachers and students of history are invited to en-

The

result

gage by joining the “community of inquiry” that for Seixas defines the field (p. 241). The recently announced National Standards lor United States History, produced under the auspices of the United States government, also reflect this sense of broadening historical in-

quiry to include overlooked segments of the population, such as women and immigrants; the transformative impact of technology; and critical thinking skills (“Overhaul,” 1994).’

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST find both the weight of the scholarly contribution to these differences and the first steps in moving scholarship beyond these particular constructions of difference. have yet to disentangle the nature of the encounter between the French sailors who arrived with Cartier and the Iroquois who met them

We

along the

St.

Lawrence

between the

River,

mission schools and the Hurons find a

way of teaching about

who

Jesuits

who

followed with their

We

attended them.

are struggling to

the category of race, which has been, in large

according to historian James D. Anderson, ^^distorted or omitted in the writing and teaching of American history” no less than in histories of other part,

places (1994, p. 87).

Anderson

the past squarely, laying to

engage the

learners

and

textbooks”

For

issues

some of the blame

among

of race

from

citizens

attributes this failure to the inability to face at the feet

of historians

who

tend

themselves while excluding the masses of

this discussion

by omitting

it

from high school

(p. 87).

my

part,

I

am

not sure that

we have

fully

worked out how pro-

foundly the Western division of the world continues to hold the imagination m thrall, even as its sense of racial and national boundaries make less and

less

sense within

we need

what

are increasingly global

to pause over the role played

alty, identity,

and education,

implicit disavowal of those

More than

communities. In a similar manner,

by nationalism

especially as

it

from away,”

to use a

as

an

Newfoundland first

Ibn Kuldun prepared a similar

in Berlin,

universal history that were published as The

of land, loy-

continues to serve in schools as an

four centuries before Hegel opened his

philosophy of history

affair

expression.

lecture set

on the

of talks on

Muqaddimah (1967). Ibn Kuldun

spent a lifetime moving between Granada and Tunis, across an intercontinental cultural bridge, a land that for

coming

finally to write his

major

Hegel lay beyond the reach of history and

historical treatise in civilization.

This

Is-

lamic scholar begins his fifteenth-century treatise by discussing the fallacies of a thousand years of Arab historiography, and he precedes Hegel both in his valorization of the temperate zones as the seat of civilization and in making history the reflection of national character. For Ibn Kuldun, the historian must explore the conditions affecting the nature of civilization, as for

in-

stance, savagery

and

sociability,

group

feelings,

and the different ways by

which one group of human beings achieves superiority over another” (p. 35). Ibn Kuldun is a cautious and subtle historian, no more so than when he boldly declares that “there are

many

sciences,”

and proceeds

to ask where,

then, are the sciences of the Persians, Chaldeans, Syrians, Babylonians, and

Copts? “The sciences of only one nation, the Greeks, have come down to us, because they were translated through al-Ma’mims efforts” 39). It becomes (p.

the historians trade, as Ibn

Kuldun describes

it,

to

acknowledge the

selec-

133

134

HISTORY AND THE RISE OF THE WEST tiveness

and intermingling of the

to be this vigilance

ward

as

history.

traditions within

about what has been

lost

which we

live.

There needs

and what has been brought

for-

In the rise of the West, the achievement of superiority has

been accomplished not only by the sword and of history that has used time and place

world according to the

interests

as

cross,

but also by a philosophy

conceptual tools for dividing the

of imperialism.

I

j

/

r

'

*

«»

yy

/ h //

'

-^v

lai



\

'I

'' , r

v.-*

//

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'"

)


\

j

\

V

/

-'i

C'

»

It'

\



-..

*





-

4’C-»

' -

*-

feT

J.V



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r



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»

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.

4**

.

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'

i 4«

*

‘•4 •

.

'

ff *1'. ••-

v•.

•'.‘ril

V..

V^ -

* *

*.

-

^

^>1

'

as

anyone can

truth. Or, as

Donna

been pre-eminently a science of visible forms,

the dissection of visible shape, and the acceptance

order



and construction of visible

Science constructed a biological order out of the seemingly natural perception of race, one that ran far deeper than the surface P-

2.1).

of

the skin. sense,



5

it is

worked

If

Coon proudly

worth

sets the science

of race on the side of

recalling that other scientists,

to disrupt familiar perceptions

from Galileo

If his

minder of the

racial origins that

theory did not survive the times,

scientific

to Einstein, have

of the world (Wolpert, 1993). Coon’s

daring was to base the great divide on the distinct

humankind.

common

it still

divided

serves as a stark re-

sponsorship by which racism benefited within recent

memory. This major statement

on the profound and permanent

barriers

between

the races from a respected author (Coon) gests that the credo gests.

of scientific

and publisher (Alfred Knopf) sugracism did not end in 1950, as Barkan sug-

Certainly the horrors of the Nazi regime brought

the consequences of this misanthropic science of race,

home

which

to is

many people

to say that the

reviews of Coon’s

book were mixed. The claims of its staunch defenders that It was a major contribution to our knowledge of evolutionary theory were buffeted by open accusations of racism (Hulse, 1963). The book’s critics ”

bluntly identified 1962). critic

The

it

as “the darling

of segregationist ‘Committees’” (Opier,

Theodosius Dobzhansky— who turned from friend to of Coon on the basis of The Ortwin oj' Races put a fine and generous geneticist



'5

Anthropologist William Howells, drawing on Coons work, notes in Mankind So Far that “many writers justly point out that there is no such thing as a Jewish race, but they are apt thereby to lose the confidence of every reader who knows perfectly well that he can pick out a fair percentage of people of Jewish descent by their looks and who may have been told a few pages before by the same writer that this is the general process by which

one does discern developed, with

a race” (1947, P- 241). Howellss explanation is essentially that “the their religion, both a strong nationalism and an exclusive social

which, biologically, expressed themselves

Jews system

inbreeding and a refusal to mix with others” (p. 241). John Baker, in Race, also devotes a section to the Jews, holding that they are not a distinct subspecies or race, although he makes clear, by identifying physical features in less than flattering tones, that neither are they “Europoids”: “The lower lip [of the Jew] is everted so as to appear thick, but it is not swollen like that of a Negro; on the contrary, it tends to be flattened.” The accompanying illustration is of what seems to be a fifty-yearin

old “Armenid [Jewish] type” and a twenty-year-old “non-Armenid type” (1974, pp. 238, 240).

173

174

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE turn on the controversy in his Scientific American review of “this important

book” (1963) when he allowed that “Professor Coon clusions in a

way

that

makes

his

work

relationship tagu’s telling

reflects a professional

and

“the slightest disavowal

have been put” (1964,

human

society.

that he failed in his career to offer

which

to

his views

The

Origin ofRace^.

publisher, Knopf, has a cur-

by Clifford Jolly and Fred Plog that

from Coon’s theory:

“We do

human

However, Jolly and Plog suggest that

the idea has yet to be scientifically repudiated and

Although they advise students

care-

not subscribe to the view

subspecies corresponding to the five traditional races of

is still

open

to look at race only as

it

for subscrip-

has “enhanced

our understanding of human variation,” they do not delve into ful” the scientific

Mon-

p. 232).^^

classification ever existed” (1987, p. 281).

tion.*^

to deal with the

fails

between science and

Coon was

rent physical anthropology textbook

that

find that this sense of a “mis-

and repudiation ... of the uses

What now of Coon’s fully dissociates itself

I still

defensiveness that

responsibility that hold

complaint against

some of his con-

susceptible to misuse by racists, white

supremacists and other special pleaders.”

used” science

states

just

how “use-

study of race has been to constructing the moral order that

underwrote Western expansion and exploitation during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

(p. 488).

marked decline

has been a

They do not

in references to race in physical

books, which might be interpreted as a

on the nature of the

reflection

nolds, 1982). Jolly

consider that since the 1970s, there

way of avoiding

anthropology

text-

a little critical self-

discipline (Littlefield, Lieberman,

and Rey-

and Plog do, however, include a sidebar on the Jewish and

Chinese immigrants who,

in the early years

English-language intelligence

tests

predictable results. Aside from this

by

of this century, were subjected to

officials

on

arriving in America, with

moment of historical

reflection

on the bu-

Shipman cites Coon on his sense of scientists’ responsibility to attack not the misusers of their work but the misquoters, among whom Coon names Dobzhansky (Shipman, 1994, ‘7

A

p.

far

209).

franker assessment of

views give great comfort to

Coon

racists,

can be found

Ashley Montagu: “Professor Coon’s but they find no support among scientists” (1972, in

However, I find that Montagu’s subordinate clause undoes his primary claim through its inaccuracy, as once again a scientist tries to clear the good name of the profesp. 39).

sion.

Coon

Coon’s

is

final

cited supportively by,

among

work. Racial Adaptation, on

others,

racial

Dobzhansky

(1962)

and Baker

(1974).

adaptation to climate and culture, which in-

cluded not only cranial capacities in relation to the division of labor, but also comparisons between endocrine gland weights across races, was published posthumously in 1981. Finally,

among

the recent texts used in university teaching, Robert Juriman

son’s Introduction to Physical Anthropology presents

“today three ever, there

is

and Harry Nel-

Coon’s views along with the idea that

groups are recognized by anthropologists,” to which they add, hardly consensus on this point” (1994, p. 119).

racial

“How-

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE reaucraric misuse of science, the authors

into the pattern of leaving

fall

up

in

the air the current scientific function and status of race.

Today, the remnants of race science are found mainly within the study of sociobiology and the work of a very small, but hardly insignificant,

segment

of the profession.'^ The most sensational instance of a scientific engagement with race in recent years has come with The Bell Curve: Intelligence

and Class

American

in

stein,

Life (1994),

working with

by the

late

social scientist

Harvard psychologist Richard

Charles Murray.

J.

The book made

Herrn-

the best-

and the cover of a number of newsmagazines by drawing dour poimplications from the well-known correlations between IQ and race

seller list litical

(working with

mix of categories

a

that ranged

from Asian

to Ashkenazi Jew).

The

authors deploy, without explicitly embracing, a eugenic argument that holds that the nation represents a gene pool threatened in its intelligence

quo-

tient

by differing

ligence measure.

rates

of reproduction

The growing

sociated rise in crime are distributions

.

>9

at the

low and high ends of the

intel-

divide between the rich and poor and the as-

shown

to be statistically associated

with race and

IQ

Herrnstein and Murray do not hesitate, based on a faith in

the fixed and determined quality of IQ and equipped with highly controversial

figures

and findings from the

such equity programs support

as inherently

as

Head

and

biological

Start

and

social sciences, to write off

denounce other forms of social

to

dangerous and simply poor investments.

Nonetheless, the book did

manage

to

move

the liberal press to once again

ask about the scientific status of race, and science s contribution to the state in its

work

as a futures

broker

(S.

A. Holmes, 1994).

ran with the subtitle “Surprising

A cover story in

New Lessons from

Newsweek

the Controversial Science

of Race,” only to report that the 1972 findings of Richard Lewontin on the very small differences between races have merely been added to by the findings of the

Human Genome

many scientists the

Newsweek

are

Diversity Project (Begley, 1995, p. 67). Although

now outspoken

story points out, they are

intellectual force that science

during

this

in attacking the scientific status

and the preceding

The

as

working against the enormous

still

brought to the fixing of those centuries.

of race,

racial divisions

questioning of race in the media

and the vociferous debate surrounding The Bell Curve

to the continu-

ing scientific controversy surrounding the issue. Students of science have the

For a review of the “new racism” represented by sociobiology, see Barker (1990). Ziegler, Weizmann, Weiner, and Wiesenthal (1989) include a listing of scientific journals, such as

Annals of Theoretical Psychology-And Mankind Quarterly, that regularly publish

Among vides a

the

many critical

good summary.

this

work.

reviews, Beardsleys coverage in Scientific American (1995) pro-

175

176

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE opportunity,

if

not the responsibility, to learn

tinues a legacy that once prevailed and, If

science in the

how

consider

race

in the natural superiority

Nancy Stepan

original

this research

however discredited,

modern age became

was part of its

how

the

race con-

still

survives.

new church, then we need

dogma, part of what

of this (white) science. To look

captures the pervasiveness and

on

justified belief

at this

commitment

to

another way,

that

marked

the

science of racial differences, as she charts the never complete “disappearance”

of the race paradigm in science after the Second World War: For more than a hundred years the division of human species into biological races

had seemed of cardinal significance

to scientists.

Race ex-

plained individual character and temperament, the structure of social

communities and the

fate

of

human

societies. In fact

commitment

to

typological races often appeared to have been deeper, because psychologically

more necessary or

satisfying,

than the

commitment

to revolu-

tionary change in science itself (1982, p. 170)

We

need to

realize the authority that this scientific legacy

How could

infuse into such primary categories of experience as race.

legacy evaporate from a culture through a generation or two? to wish that science finally scientific enterprise has

in turn,

become

and completely

Nor

is it

such a

enough

This centuries-old

racial

world and must,

part of a responsible education in science if we are to have

any hope of moving beyond that

An

rid itself of race.

contributed to the making of a

continues to

legacy.

Education in Race

What do What do

students learn about the scientific status of race in school today? science teachers

and textbooks have

out, the message over the last few years level,

is

to say

about race? As

it

turns

decidedly mixed. At the college

extensive surveys have been conducted in the United States of both text-

books and professors

in the fields

of biology and physical anthropology by

the team of Lieberman,

Hampton,

The striking

between the two disciplines they surveyed provide an

differences

interesting perspective

on how

Littlefield,

scientists,

and Hallead

thought to hold

(1992; see table

i).

common standards

of objectivity, can come to differ on what might seem a fundamental and long-standing matter of basic classification. Categories are always more useful

than

real.

have varying

Or

is it

levels

that those

engaged

in biology

and physical anthropology

of sensitivity to the social issues that touch on their work?

In pointing out the considerable

movement away from

the viability of

race in physical anthropology textbooks, the authors of this study cite Franz Boas’s identification

of the discipline

as originating in the efforts

of “zoologists

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE in the i8th

century to measure and

classify

human

races” (1992, p. 305).

It is

worth adding that the American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom, which Franz Boas helped found in 1939, conducted a survey of pre-

war science textbooks only concepts of race and a (p. 306).

The

atively

fifth

least, in a

unshaken

of

of them carried prejudicial

them embraced forms of white superiority

from another survey

results

on, in biology at

to find that a majority

a

decade ago indicate that race

thin majority of textbooks,

and professors

in their belief in the scientific validity

lives

are rel-

of the concept. In

physical anthropology, only a fifth of textbooks accept race as a fair division

of humankind, although field

of the faculty members surveyed

fully half

in this

hold the category viable.

Table

1

Acceptance and Nonacceptance of the “Race Concept” in Textbooks and

among

Professors in Biology

Biology:

“Race Concept"

and Physical Anthropology, 1975-1984

Animal Behavior

Physical Anthropology

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Textbooks

Professors

Textbooks

Professors

1975-1982

1983-1984

1975-1982

1983-1984

%

%

(N)

%

(N)

Accepted

53 (11)

73 (108)

21

Indeterminate

38

(8)

15 (22)

39 (13)

Not Accepted

10 (2)

12 (17)

39 (13)

100 (147)

99 (33)

Total

101

Source:

“Race

Data from

in

(21)

Lieberman, R. E. Flampton, A.

L.

Biology and Anthropology:

A

& Sons,

Inc. Percentages

p < .02 for columns

One

1

+ 2 + 3 + 4; or

8 (11)

42

a

democratic

Does the meaning of

(3):

and G. Hallead,

312; reprinted by permission of John

nor total 100 because of rounding,

columns

1

+ 3.

arrival at a definition

of race’s

race require a majority decision?

one discipline and not another? At the very

the sense that such categories, per

(63)

100 (147)

fascinating aspect of this division of scientific opinion

we should expect for

may

50 (73)

(7)

Littlefield,

(N)

Study of College Texts and Professors,”

Journal ofResearch in Science Teachingl^

Wiley

%

(N)

se, are

least,

is

whether

scientific status.

Does

race

work

well

such questions add to

not only constructs of the

mind but

177

178

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE also projections

of disciplinary convenience. To gain some sense of the ob-

fuscation at stake, consider

Human

tion of

new

that “today to

Evolution:

announce

how Joseph Birdsell blithely claims in the first ediAn Introduction to the New Physical Anthropology

races are in the process

of being formed” (1972,

in the next edition that the “use

continued because

tions that are harmful

only

of the term of race has been

dis-

undefinable and carries social implica-

scientifically

it is

p. 598),

and disruptive”

Simply expunging

(1975, p. 505).

refer-

ences to race in biology textbooks, as Lieberman’s team found had happened

with the eight college

texts they

how

on

the concept lives

Lieberman team views

in so

examined from 1987 through 1989, obscures

many

scientific

this “as preferable to

and nonscientific forms. The

presenting race as

if

accepted concept but not as informative as presenting both the

mation and the

ited

To

than reserving

level rather

number of students What,

at college

it,

who

I

as

want

Lieberman

five

introduced

They spoke about

where,

if at all,

though hardly

on

race.

The

at the

and the teaching of race?

make of the

topic,

turn to five ex-

I

student-teachers from the Vancouver area, evenly

own

their

training, their ideas

some very

about

a representative sample, they articulated a range

teachers were divided

on the

viability

scientific status

at the university level, as well as

cept had a place in high school biology.

own

I

race,

re-

and

they envisioned race fitting into the biology curriculum. Al-

Leiberman team found

about the

infor-

et al. do, for the lim-

divided by gender, each having studied biology at university, cently.

new

take biology.

idea of what teachers today

perienced teachers and

it

were an

Not only do

p. 310).

to see

then, of the high school biology teacher

some

gain

have been debated” (1992,

more informative approach,

side with this

high school

issues that

it

of race

as a scientific

One

of positions

of race,

as the

on whether the con-

encouraging source of doubt

category

came from

these teachers’

schooling, as one of the student-teachers conveys:

As

far as race goes,

about

recall

who was

.

.

.

my

I

think one of the most important things that

education at the University of Manitoba

asked us the question

a really

“Is there

such a thing

resolved that really

we

are

all

part

And

that

a long time

and

In a similar vein, an experienced teacher recalled having a professor

explained

how

ample of bad

On

craniometry, especially in

science, because

its

can

a professor

as race?”

we debated it for of the human race.

important question and

is

I

connection to

race,

who had

was “an ex-

of the methodology used.”

the other hand, a student-teacher, after complaining that “multicul-

jammed down my throat” (“I was just like, described how her education kept distinctions alive:

turalism was just point?’”),

‘What’s the

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE

My professor was

telling us that there

ation of race based

on genetic

different subspecies of the

cause

its

is

a scientific basis for differenti-

stuff, that actually

human

species, but that

not politically correct or proper,

racial couples, like

the different races are

.

.

you

can’t say that be-

He mentioned

.

black and white, interracial couples

that inter-

when

they have

children, they have major orthodontic problems because the jaw is structured differently or the size is different or something so they have these problems.

She added that

a course in evolution taught her that “yes, there

foundation and

we

are different,

we cant

is

a scientific

dispute that, there are differences.



Another student-teacher was confused about the relation between race and species: I dont know if you can even, like I don’t know if I would equate race and species together; I dont know if they re the same thing or different.”

On

teaching about race in biology

One

too emotionally charged, too

good

did so after relating his

)

full

I

always

my

experiences growing up as an

felt

that

First

Nations pop-

was rather strange on

and someone of First Nations [ancestry] didn’t in that town.” Only one of the experienced teachers, in his second year of biology teachI

fit

in

ing, shared the students’ aversion to teaching cial

do anyone any

really

between the

^/]g-difiFerence

and the town population, and

ulation

of opinions to

own untroubled

African Canadian: “There was a

how

the student-teachers expressed a

of discomfort that divided them from their experienced counterparts. of those saying no ( I just think that [those discussing the science of race

level

are]

class,

studies or something,

for

it is

more

about

He

race.

like personal

felt it to

development,

be “soit’s

not

job to get into that kind of thing here.” His professional identification

was with

science:

a scientific way,

mean,

I

and

I

just

I

m a scientist and

I

try to see things objectively, in

think that you can get into

all

kinds of things here

that don’t belong in science.”

Among

the experienced teachers, one explained

how

he teaches about

both the physical and the genetic bases of race:

We

talk

texture, I

about different

and that

also talk

features,

such as shape of nose, thick

basically there are four races,

about the idea of classification

some people put

as a sort

look for basic characteristics, and basically there six

of a

human

may only be,

genetic differences between races. We’re basically the

but there are significant differences

in races

lips,

hair

at five.

it

thing,

we

say, five

or

same

species

and these probably

origi-

nated as adaptations to different environments. Part of

race sort

what

is

fascinating within this teacher’s often-taught account of



how he both limits the reach of race by allowing of a human thing and that there may only be, say, is

“classification as a five

or six genetic

179

i8o

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE differences”

—and then extends

Remember

significant differences.

which students

boundary by

the race

referring to species

and

that these are the scientific perspectives to

are exposed, even as they are

bombarded by what can only be

characterized as a wide range of attitudes toward racial difference in the society at large. Science teachers need to consider race can be taken as leaning either way,

whether what they say about

toward a strengthening or a weaken-

ing of the hold of biologically based racial divisions

Some of the

experienced teachers also reflected on their high school stu-

dents’ interest in the topic of race.

made as a

on our thinking.

One

teacher, with five years’ experience,

clear that in his science class, students felt free to ask

about the concept

matter of managing difference and identity:

know what is the advantage of living in a more uniform environment. They want to know why Asian eyes are different, and Kids want to

what

are the advantages

and disadvantages

to vision

of these differences.

About advantages and disadvantages of interracial marriages where there are children, are we moving towards a more universal person with all

of these?

throw

I

that children

who

than anything

it

back to them, ask what they think. They note

have one Chinese parent often look more Chinese

else.

To speak of looking “more Chinese than anything identity themes of the

opening chapter,

of nation and culture. Although to his students,

when

changed over the

in

which

back to the

race operates within notions

this teacher seeks to turn the discussion

asked about whether his

years,

else” brings us

own

back

ideas about race

had

he responded that they were “definitely more fuzzy.”

A teacher in his fifth year of teaching who felt it important to discuss race in science class

made

was adamant that race “has nothing

references to the Eve hypothesis,

mon mother

in Africa

(“Some of the

there were problems with

it,

to

do with biology.” He

on humanity’s descent from

[scientists’] stuff was a little

but the concept

itself was

work on

race

and brain

of questions about him: a lot of our kids are Asian,

questions [such

His

brains?’ life

and

his

as].

final

com-

screwy and

OK”), and was one of

two teachers who cited the recent media attention paid Philippe Rushton’s questionable

a

to the psychologist size: “I

got

all

and there were

kinds

a lot

of

Are kids from Asia smarter?’ ‘Do they have bigger words in the interview located the issue within his own

need for understanding:

Philippe Rushton, a University of Western Ontario psychology professor, has

become well known for a remarkable thirty-one-item table on “the relative ranking of races on diverse variables,” comparing Mongoloids, Caucasoids, and Negroids on such questionable measures as cranial capacity, millions of excess neurons, IQ test scores, age of walking and

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE For

me

my time, and it really remember when was young my grandmother [a First

big issue. IVe seen a lot of racism in

its a

bothers me. ...

I

I

Nations

woman] coming

to the house,

in front

of our yard and

telling

And when you re

the reserve.

on you.

and the neighbors burning a tire the squaw that she should go hack to

six years

old this makes a big impression

couldnt understand. This was

I

these people

mad

Although

would be discouraging

it

my

grandmother;

why were

at her?

to think that

it

might take

this level

of personal experience for a teacher to feel that race warrants inclusion as part of a science class, this teacher does remind us of the magnitude of the issue

and the corresponding need

develop an approach in science classes that helps students deal with the weight placed on race. W^ill the teacher be able to

some

offer students will

to

insight into the unstable

and contested meaning of race;

they understand the part that science plays in that contest? This small

sample of teachers

offers a limited perspective

on science education’s take on

The

biology textbook provides a clearer idea of what the typical high school student is able to discover about the scientific status of race. race.

and the State ofthe

Biology,

When went I

Text

to high school in the 1960s, the topic of race

sented in biology class through a portrait gallery approach.

was

typically pre-

We students were

presented with a page of photographs, with each race represented by one figure shown in a head-and-shoulder shot. In W^illiam Gregory and Edward

Goldmans features a

High School from the period, the

Biological Science for

well-groomed

(1968, p. 483).

high schools,

21

I

To

see

man

in a suit as the final,

where race now stands

reviewed fifteen

that race hardly appears at

all.

Caucasoid figure

intercourse, size of genitalia,

American and

in turn, are

find refer-

of mental health (1995, p. 2). Although allowdata, he holds that their overall consistency guar-

antees his conclusions about the civilized superiority of Mongoloids

who,

I

in

state

ing for “numerous sources of error” in his

soids,

in the set

American and Canadian biology textbooks from the 1980s. I found

In only three of the twelve

and

lineup

in

neither of the two Canadian high school biology textbooks did

first

racial

more advanced than

compared

to

Cauca-

the Negroid races. Rushton portrays himself

of political correctness, blaming decolonization and the civil rights movements for forcing upon science ideologies of egalitarianism (pp. 256-57). For scientific critiques,

as a victim

see

Weizmann

et al. (1991)

(1989). For a 1997

J.

Anderson

Web site devoted

Marek Kohn’s work 2

and

at

(1991);

and

to critical coverage

for

popular press coverage, Dolpin

of “the return of racial science,” see

http://www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk/race gallery/.

The Gregory and Goldman

proposes a basic division of humankind into three races or “basic stocks”: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid. In what appears to be a statement emphasizing equality among the races but is really a confusing mix of scientific terms, the authors stress that “dividing men into racial stock is just a convenient way of describing '

text

l8l

182

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE made

ence

troversy,

to race.^^

and the

Avoidance has long been the schools’ response

result

is

young minds

that

to con-

are often forced to deal with heav-

contested ideas exclusively on an extracurricular basis. In this case, avoid-

ily

ance entails both a

opportunity for intellectual engagement in the social

lost

implications of science and a failure to address the experiences of the young,

who

are living with race.

approved for use is

to see

As

in British

it

turns out, the two

Columbia address

American biology textbooks

The

race.

question for me, then,

whether some further sense can be drawn from these books that

might make

visiting the

concept of race

in a science class a less

confusing and

potentially misleading experience.

In grade

which, in has

its

become

students in British

ii,

Columbia

typically use

Macmillan

Biology,

chapter “Life in the Past,” points out “that the concept of race

increasingly blurred in the last few thousands of years” (Creager,

Jantzen, and Mariner, 1986, p. 282). Here’s a

good point

for

jumping

in to

made in the conamong once isolated

explore with students the fine distinctions that need to be ceptualization of difference. Although the distinctions

peoples have by

all

means diminished, the concept

precision through scientific usage, beginning a

ago (Shipman, 1994).

race has only gained in

little

more than two

The contradictions continue with

Mariner’s attempts to undermine racial classification

tems

fail

to hold

any

real

meaning”)

each depicting a modern family, in what ing of distinct racial types.

The

by

offset is

clearly

Creager, Jantzen, and

(“We

their set

meant

see that such sys-

of four photographs to represent the

caption reads, “Selection,

drift,

were important factors that produced differences between early ulations” (p. 282).

The

visual reinforcement

ferences in the photographs

and the

only leave a student wondering the

on

end of the section allele

that asks

frequency, not

to

mat-

isolation

human pop-

of distinctly modern

racial dif-

claim about racial blurring can

approach the textbook’s question

(p. 283).

something

physical differences”

and

“biological definition of ‘race’

on appearance”

that science continues to have

some outstanding

how why

earlier

centuries

to say

and that “there

The

is

at

based

text supports the idea

about race and difference.

are

no fundamental differences

in

no matter what the color of their skin, eyes, or hair” (1968, p. 484). study makes passing reference to reports on the decline of race in

the physiology of people

The Lieberman

et al.

biology textbooks used in high schools (1992, pp. 302-3). Wliat is striking in their report on high schools is the books that, although focusing on “social issues,” fail to consider race as a category to assess (p. 303).

The (1988),

ple are

three textbooks that

race are Creager et

al.

(1986),

Mader

and Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (1987). The other textbooks in the samBarr and Leyden (1986); Galbraith (1989); Gottfried et al. (1983); Heimler (1981);

Kaskel et (1981);

make statements on

al.

(1981);

Oram

Levine and Miller (1991); McLaren and Rotundo (1985); McLaren

(1983);

Ramsey

et al. (1986); Slesnick et al. (1985);

and Webster

et al.

et al. (1980).

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE even

if it

doubt

would be

difficult to say precisely

that as a student

ond thought. Although such a discussion

just

I

what

that

would have read through

something

this section

is. I

do not

without

a sec-

my reading of the contradictions may be challenged, is

needed

in searching for the

meaning of

race in

science.

When

It

comes

to Inquiry into Life,

concept of

to interbreed

by Sylvia Mader

(1988).

Mader

She begins by pointing out that

race.

are classified as

to grade 12, biology students in British

Homo sapiens

and bear

fertile

.

.

because

.

offspring”

Columbia turn

has no desire to blur the

“all

human

races

of today

possible for all types ofhumans

it is

(p. 638;

emphasis added). Mader’s

set

of race-type photographs juxtapositions what appears to be a professional fashion shot of a young “Caucasian” woman with the more typical anthropological portraits labeled “Australoid,” “Negroid,” “American Indian,”

“Mongoloid”

(referred to as “Oriental” in the text).

tographs reiterates that several races,

all

human

(p. 639).

The

of trying to clear up a concern answers.

^XTiile

it

warrant assigning

five

depicted are exhaustive or

chapter ends in an another excellent instance

in a

manner

has always seemed to

human

caption for the pho-

beings belong to one species, but there are

without specifying whether the

merely suggestive

The

and

that raises as

some

many questions

that physical differences

races to different species, this contention

as

it

might is

not

borne out by the biochemical data mentioned previously” 23 Is one (p. 639 ). to think that wanting to assign those who differ to another species is a natural inclination despite the biochemical data? ^JC^hat is the point of the contrasting photographs,

not to suggest that an excellent student of science is an attentive reader of difference and distance? In both of these weighty biology if

textbooks, the matter of race takes up a very small section indeed. jority

of texts do not deal with the topic

what students

learn about science,

and

at

all.

My concern

in the face

is

The ma-

that as part of

of the lessons on race that

they bring to those classes, they need a better understanding of sciences role

making of this conceptual divide among peoples. Fortunately, some science educators refuse to avoid and obfuscate the

in the

23

The seventh

edition of Mader s text (1994) eliminates much of this discussion of race. It from very light to very dark, illustrated by a “white husband and his in-

refers to skin color,

termediate wife” and their offspring

(p. 437). In shades of Carlton Coon, Mader reports that theories of a single African origin for modern humans is discredited: “Others believe that the human races originated in several geographical regions, but they

became one

species because of gene

How”

A

sidebar called “U.S. Population Projections” includes reproductive levels for non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, African Americans, Native (p. 616).

Americans, and Asian Americans, pointing out that “the share of the population that is non-Hispanic white should decline steadily. ... By 2050, a bare majority of Americans (53%)

will

be non-Hispanic whites”

(p.

670).

183

184

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE issue

of race. During the 1980s, a group of London teachers tapped into a seg-

ment of the

scientific

and developed an

community

that

was

working

actively

for social change,

They went on

antiracist science curriculum.

to address

management of world hunger, biology and

questions of nutrition and

construction of race, and ecology and African

game

parks, as well as taking

of ability labeling and other evaluation practices that can have a

issues

impact on science teaching

sumed

and Levidow,

(Gill

1987).

the

on

racial

These educators

as-

responsibility not just for teaching science, but for teaching about sci-

ence’s place within the prevailing

Science teaching masks the ence; hides

its

economic and

ideological system as well:

and economic

real political

priorities

appropriation of non-Western scientific traditions; [and]

often attributes people’s subordination or suffering to nature logical or

geographic factors



rather than to the

way

interesting twist

turn students’ attention,

on the if

—be

bio-

it

science and na-

ture itself have been subordinated to political priorities, (p.

With an

of sci-

3)

theme of discovery, these authors

scientific

sometimes with a heavy hand,

to the political

causes and consequences of scientific concepts such as race. This approach

becomes another way of learning about the

interests

of the most objective of

disciplines.^"^

This

critical

approach to race and science has also managed in more

cent years to find

its

way

into

more

traditional textbooks.

stance of at least an introduction to the topic

book

Science Probe 10,

(Bullard et

al.,

which

1992). This

is

used in

Canadian

is

An

re-

excellent in-

the Wiley general science text-

many of British Columbia’s

text includes in

its

schools

chapter on recent ad-

vances in genetics an extended warning note under the

title,

“The

Potential

Misuse of Genetic Ideas” (pp. 428-29). In two pages, the book presents a brief history of the eugenics movement, including its origins in Francis Galfor

ton’s

work, the

sterilization

and antimiscegenation laws passed during the

1920S and 1930S in North America and Europe, and the emergence of eugenics in

Nazi

Germany amid

that there are

no pure

ideas of a master race.

races, yet

it

also casts

nation of any reliable racial boundaries.

It

book’s explicit stand

doubt on the

scientific

also identifies the

port that eugenics receives from “a certain (p.

The

is

determi-

continuing sup-

number of scientists and

others”

The book stands apart in asking students to remain vigilant against of new developments in genetics. Otherwise, it claims, it will be easy

429).

abuses

“once again for a few people to mislead others with their biased and narrow-

A second valuable work in ity,

and Science

Teaching

this vein, a

1991).

manual

for teachers

and educators,

is

Race, Equal-

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE minded

ideas” (p. 429).

The image of informed

citizenship

and

historical

awareness that the book encourages is admirable, although holding “a few people responsible for the eugenics movement is a debatable point, given the broad basis of the Americas fitter families” contests, “race betterment” conferences,

and international congresses on eugenics

century (Rydell, 1993, pp. 38-58). Yet to have

this

responsibility

seems

a

race,

want

among students,

a

to allow such points

that

were held

textbook

earlier in

raise the issue

of discussion to be

of

raised,

worthwhile extension ot the meaning of science class. Having found some encouraging initiatives in the realm of science and 1

to

make

at least passing reference to a related

perialisms educational legacy that

dimension of im-

also excluded

from the science curriculum. Maurice Bazin has developed science programs that introduce to stuis

dents the “science in every civilization which the colonists destroyed” (1993, pp. 36, 45). Thus we find, for example, that the pre-Columbian preparation

of rubber by the Amerindians of South and Central America is a form of knowledge that was handily exploited and incorporated into Western pharmaceutical and industrial chemistry. In working with multicultural classrooms in Brazil and California, Bazin has introduced educations missing scientific traditions, including

observing the

moon

the

way

the

Mayans did or

the height of the sun the

curves to

way the Egyptians did,” and “sand drawings with exemplify what we call topological properties” done by Tchokwe

children from northeast Angola

(p. 44).

I

should reiterate here that

my aim

is

not to

vilify

human

curiosity about the natural world, but to foster in students an under-

the scientific endeavors of the

West nor

condemn

to

a basic

standing of how a global initiative such as imperialism can leave a significant impress on a human endeavor such as science.

A

second extension of

this

study of science’s contribution to the orga-

nizing principles of racial difference

connected to those dra Harding asks,

who

is

to realize that these practices are closely

participate in this powerful social enterprise; as San-

“What can be done

within the sciences and inhibit their

to

enhance the democratic tendencies

elitist,

authoritarian,

and

drocentric, bourgeois, Eurocentric agendas?” (1991, p. 217).

distinctly an-

Donna Haraway

25

For additional work on multiciilturalism in science education, see Barbas review of the issues (1993), Hodsons rationale for multicultural science education (1993, with critique in H. Williams, 1994), and Alcoze et al. (1993) for reading and activities in multiculturalism in math, science, and technology. With the current force of economic imperialism, Sandra Harding points out how the ignorance of scientists about the military and industrial utility of a “pure” science such as physics may well be “carefully planned and

pn

cultivated” (1993,

note of global competitiveness, she also notes how the “keep U.S. science strong” movement has meant “recruiting more women and racial minorities p. 17).

this

into science

careers as fewer

and fewer white males enter the sciences”

(pp. 2-3).

185

i86

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE one answer

offers

which has

in her feminist physical

anthropology and primatology,

of organization for bodies and societies that do

“stressed principles

not depend on dominance hierarchies,” bringing to light instead “matrifocal groups, long-term social co-operation rather than short-term spectacular ag-

The dom-

gression, flexible process rather than strict structure” (1991, p. 19).

inance by gender applies no

less to race, in

the transformation of a political

principle into the legitimating realm of scientific theory (p. 19).

by

clear

this point,

dominance

is

my

make

to

hope

for reversing

As should be

some of the damage done by

this

sciences confounding role in maintaining these divi-

sions part of a science education.

In the 1950S, race

UNESCO

(Montagu, 1972). This happened,

school biology texts of the 1980s.

much

a disservice to students

earlier,

moratorium on the use of the term

called for a

I

in effect,

among

the majority of high

remain convinced, however, that

who are learning about science

today

working through the nature of the discipline and is

sible,

as

is

was the

its

as a

way of

social implications. All

named and classified represents a tireless effort to render difference sento work with an unsettled and shapeless world that can be brought to

order through language, the civilizing force. species can be said to reside

themselves

—could bring



in the eyes

Where

precisely the sense of sub-

of the beholder or in the creatures

students to the brink of epistemology.

the nature of knowledge and the knowledge of nature will

To question

spill

over into a

questioning of other ways in which the world and experience are divided. appears that, apart from this compulsion to

West has meant, class

as

often confused and prejudicial treatment of race provided to a previ-

ous generation of science students. Students need to treat race

that

this

in

classify,

the “racialization” of the

Michael Banton’s compact formulation, that

and nation was

lations” (1977, p. 13).

a

concept

But

it

first

“race, like

developed to help interpret new social

was not

“first

It

re-

developed,” just like that, for these

concepts were mobilized through enormous intellectual and educational labors that

made

race, like gender, class,

association of knowledge

and nation, work within the

close

and power.

Science’s assistance in the racial

and gendered ordering of social

relations

needs to be promoted for the science curriculum and the preparation of sci-

ence teachers.

It

needs to form an aspect of current concerns about scientific

literacy

and the new educational programs that link

society.

I

am

science, technology,

asking that students face the ongoing questioning of

bility as a biological

(Barzun, 1937;

E

and

race’s via-

category as well as the unsavory history of race science

B. Livingstone, 1964;

selves living within racial designations,

them with some of the

intellectual

Gould, 1977). Students find them-

and we have the potential

background

for

why

that

is

to provide

so. It

is

true

SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF RACE during their education

that,

in science,

many

students are introduced to the

of the science of craniometry, the devastating impact of the eugenics movement, and the controversy surrounding IQ testing. My hope is that fallacy

these lessons are seen within the historical perialism.

think

I

It is

framework best described

as

im-

helpful to understand that scientific racism was not

simply a freak event, a mutant science carried out only by so-called It had and continues to have too many of the markings of real

scientists.

science, from research grants to statistical tables. Thus, there remains a need to introduce students to the fragile nature of truth, to the moral

dimensions of

quiry,

and

to the responsibilities

ence. This

is

to

we have

as practitioners

this in-

and students of sci-

propose an education concerned with the historical dimen-

sions of universal truths.

As with other subject

areas, science teachers

can often begin to share

this

history with students simply by visiting the school’s

book room, where old biology textbooks can reveal science’s changing regard for race. In addition, one group of students can pursue the continuing controversies surrounding

race

and science of IQ

issue

from the

up

that crop

in the

popular media, most recently about the (Begley, 1995), while others could gather and compare selections

scientific debates

about race that have occupied

ous century (Harding, 1993). They scientific constitution

to the significance

European divisions

concept

is

well find, as

I

previ-

have found, that the

of difference, to the naming of the other.

world to

its

race’s

It

further ordered

advantage and in placing those

a scientific basis. Yet to realize the scientific

not to deny

and the

of race in the West brought greater force and precision

interests in dividing the

on

may

this

continuing meaning

as a

inadequacy of this

point of identity.

I

do

not assume that an understanding of what science has made of race can or should put an end to anyone’s racial self-identification. My aim is to give stu-

dents an account of

how

science has

worked

forces in bringing us to this point in the

in consort

with other social

complex and polysemous meaning of

believe that a science curriculum that obscures the discipline’s contributions to the meaning of race is incomplete and irresponsible. The race.

I

obscured

yet present legacy of race science, if

would have the as a part

of race

as

it

were made part of the curriculum,

potential of serving both those students

of who they are and must be, and those

someone

else’s

problem.

who

who

understand race

have learned to think

187

Photograph ofa British missionary teaching in Africa in the 1890s. Courtesy Church Mission Society.

EIGHT LANGUAGE, NATION, WORLD

G

ordon

Peters, vice-chief of the

Assembly of First Nations and a member of the Delaware Indian Band, stood before an audience of linguists and educators at a Toronto conference entitled “Multilingual-

ism in an Interdependent World” and described his determined efforts to learn his native language after a lifetime of speaking English. The Delaware language had fallen out of use in his family, and now only his mother spoke It

with a few of her friends and the band

elders. After

learning his mother tongue, he explained, he was

His goal, he allow

him

said,

still

When

lost to

dience what

it

felt like

which

to a close, Peters

to speak English.

hard even to

it is

it

at

hard going.

which he

felt

would

Delaware people that

him.

came

the talk

finding

to be able to think in Delaware,

to recover a spiritual understanding of the

was otherwise

tions for

was

two years of working

was asked by

a

member of the

au-

was one of those awkward quesimagine an answer. Peters responded by deIt

scribing his admiration for the elders ability to speak Delaware with such feeling

and how, when he had asked

the language, she told Itidian,

even

m

him how hard

the factories.

mother why she had not taught him had been for his father to find work as

his it

As he spoke, one could

feel

her earnest ef-

render his nariveness invisible so that he would not have to suffer this identity. Peters then told listeners that he wanted to learn Delaware so that he forts to

could

know

the true

names of things, including

his

own

true name. This was,

he frankly explained, his way of coming to terms with the great rage he had come to feel during his school years, when he must have learned that becoming invisible

was neither the deal he wanted nor what the school could 189

deliver.

190

LANGUAGE, NATION, WORLD This was

he described what

English did not

fish,

not

how

feel like

somehow his own, As

and others

I

as if

ilies. I

know I began

speak English. Like water to a

felt like to

anything, except that these linguistic waters were

English was both his knowing and his

listened to

ber of us must have given

it

Gordon

some thought

unknown.

numof our own fam-

Peters that evening. I’m sure a to the lost languages

to consider the Yiddish

and

Polish that at least

some of my

great-grandparents had brought to this continent in the nineteenth century.

Except for an exasperated Yiddish oyvey-schmeer oi a deeply condemning drechk, I

could

recall

among

only the sound of English floating

of my family around

the four generations

me when I was growing up. Although

tempted by such

mourn the loss of these tongues, I also thought about reluctantly trudging off to Hebrew school classes after long days of regular school. The Hebrew classes had been largely wasted on those of us who could not imagine why we would want to speak the language of Jews from long ago in biblical nostalgia to

times or far away in brew, lost

we

figured,

Israel.

This was

now and we were

without realizing our debt to Yiddish. Languages are not

by accident or unwillingly forsaken. They give way

sires to join

leave

Hebrew-schme-

here.

and be heard

which

in other conversations,

to other desires, de-

us

left

happy enough

to

behind the accent and inflection of our former history and geography.

At the very

least,

the lessons that Peters set before us that evening sup-

ported the importance of schools’ recognizing the value of students’ mother tongues. In reviewing the education of minority language students in

Canada, Yvonne Hebert has found that whereas once children might be punished for using their

mother tongue

lence in minority education occurs

was not English, “today vio-

at school if it less

crudely, with educational

programs

promoting the majority language and devaluing the minority language and culture” (1992, p. 62). She understands this form of symbolic violence against the child to be a

human

one’s person. In

Canada, what are known

been established

rights issue. One’s

in schools, often

siderable struggle by parents

mother tongue

as “heritage”

on an after-hours

(Cummins,

1989).

benefits of providing initial schooling in a child’s

tablished by research ically

The

on bilingualism, the

involving Spanish,

status

is

form no

which English,

less

as well as

a vital aspect of

language classes have

and only

basis

after

con-

Although the educational

mother tongue have been

es-

practice in the United States, typ-

under assault by the

“official

English movement.”

of the language we speak and of the language

are educated

is

in

which the young

a part of the legacy of imperialism.

French and Spanish,

is

The

degree to

spoken around the world

is

not simply an incidental aspect of empire.

Language has long ridden aside the whether

in

Greek, Latin, or Chinese.

forces

The

of expansion and conquest,

“barbarian”

is

the one

who

does

LANGUAGE, NATION, WORLD not speak Greek, the one living outside the pale of the civilization,

cally” defines this term. In 1492,

world and expelled

new

a

empire and

its

second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary

as the

launching of

Roman

Spain not only saw

Columbus

new

off to a

Jews and Islamic populations, but also witnessed the

its

sort

of linguistic dominion. In what needs to be

cele-

brated as the birth of a national standard for language, Antonio de Nebrija

proposed to the Spanish court that Castilian be made the

official

the land and a “consort of empire,” as he presciently put

it

Grammatica de

book was

a set

la

lengna castellana to

Queen

in

language of

dedicating his

Isabella (Illich, 1979, p. 35).

of rules for Castilian that would ensure that

it

His

served Spain as

Roman Empire. In Ivan Illich’s analysis, Nebrija was offering Crown an educated tongue that would effectively communicate

Latin had the the Spanish its

authority to the farthest reaches of nation and empire while minimizing

the likelihood for any back talk. In those early days of the European empires, the Portuguese also sought to spread their language, with the help of the Franciscan

monks and

other missionaries

who

carried religious books to India

Abyssinia that the indigenous peoples might receive the

word of God

and

in the

language in which they were to be governed. Joao de Barros observed in the sixteenth century that a language that teaches salvation to learn, a project he assisted

and word books

Within terials

for use

a generation or

must

surely be easy

by producing woodcut-illustrated alphabet

among

the barbarians abroad (Each, 1977, p. 505).

two of Columbus,

it

seems, language instruction ma-

had become part of imperialism’s educational apparatus. To

one’s place in this centuries-old instructional landscape,

whether

as a

realize

student

or a teacher of what were once empire’s official languages, seems an eminently

educational

act.

This chapter’s sampling of linguistic history

through the

lost

English language.

It is

democracy. English

simply too easy to teach English

is

some

minion reminds us that

it

among

it is

part of this

literature,

as if

it

were the soul

and the very tongue of

and more. But the story of

also less than that.

With

its

do-

the expansion of the

Empire, English was made an instrument of domination and silenc-

was used

to regulate

and police access

to authority

and knowledge

colonized peoples. If we need to temper our celebration of English’s

cultural achievements, this

way of thinking back

many of our families once spoke. It is a rewhich we might approach the teaching of the

of civilized knowing, the heart of great

ing;

a

languages that

minder of the humility with

British

is

it is

only to make good, in accord with the theme of

book, on our promise to give an account of what education and empire

have

made of language

of schools

in

over the centuries.

We

expediting the loss of languages

need to face the historical

in

one generation

after

role

another

I9I

LANGUAGE, NATION, WORLD

192

in a colonial project that needs serious reconsideration after the age pire.

More than

to a voice skills

that

is

righteous indignation over the schools’ violation of the right

called for.

make

of em-

At

issue

is

the immediate task of mastering language

a difference, that are heard

and attended

while appreciat-

to,

ing the winding road that has led to this linguistic juncture, to lives being lived out

through these

first-

and second-language

lessons. In this chapter,

I

have organized the scope and substance of our responsibilities in teaching

about language through three aspects of English:

as a

second language,

as a

national language, and as a world language.

English as a Second Language

Without what

is

a doubt,

known

as the

whom

dents for

one of the most challenging educational English-speaking world

English

is

a

is

how

best to

issues

work with

second language. Vancouver, where

seem an extreme example, with more than half of the students today speaking a language other than English

most urban centers as

are experiencing a

ESL students. The search

as their

I

live,

stu-

may

in the schools

mother tongue, but

tremendous growth

for the best

today in

in

what

are

known

method of teaching ESL students

has

often limited the educational discussion to one of efficiencies in assimilation.

Students certainly have the right to effective teaching, and

I

do not want

to

underestimate the importance of teaching students the language in which they will be schooled and very likely employed. I only want to add that students also have a right, as part of their education in the language, to see that

what they

are experiencing with the English language forms part of a history

that they are both reliving

When students move

and changing.^

major British colony to a

Hong Kong to Vancouver, from what was the Commonwealth dominion, as many have done

in recent years, they are part

of a postscript to the British Empire. They are

last

often

made

to feel, as

from

outlined in the

chapter, that this

move

the ordinary, a reversal of the historical colonial patterns that

made

my

I

first

is

out of

this

land

from Alastair Pennycooks critique of the fields obsession with facilitating linguistic proficiency through the pursuit of ever newer methods (1989, pp. 597-98). The literature on teaching methods, he points out, reveals a centuries-old recycling of techniques, conducted amid contused conceptions of teaching methods. The pur‘

I

take

suit ot

lead here

method

has effectively distracted the educators attention from the “interests served by particular forms ot knowledge,” as Pennycook puts it, citing the inclusion of language teaching in development packages and the American defense department funding of struc-

and audiolinguistics as part of a concerted effort, as one supporter put it, the war for mens minds (pp. 609—10). In response, Pennycook calls for an education validating and investigating students knowledge and cultural resources and

tural linguistics in

developing language

skills

within a transformative critique” (1990,

p. 311).

LANGUAGE, NATION, WORLD English-speaking.

The Chinese

language that they bring with them

is

made

to

seem

particularly out of place in this otherwise bilingual land. Their English lessons do not include historical and current perspectives on

language

bution and status; they do not allow students to gain a

critical

and

distri-

historical

distance from colonialisms patronizing stance toward teaching English as the

key to civilization.

As

it

now stands,

English as a second language classes are taught as

guage learning operated outside tion in social

ceived by

and academic

ESL educators

if lan-

with a focus on being able to func-

history,

settings. Just

how

this

is

sympathetically con-

conveyed by Mary Ashworth, a leader in this field, when she asks us to imagine the psychological effect of a new immigrant is

being able to produce a few words

English and to understand the

in halting

or the contribution to a developing nation of a native-born technician

reply,

trained overseas after

first

country” (1985,

This psychological sense of belonging, of having a com-

p. 3).

mand of the

language,

and teacher

feel

certainly

new language of instruction

what

in his

own

about, and well should student

it is all

the pride of accomplishment in the acquisition of English.

However, these lessons

grow out of a

tions

is

learning the

in English for

“new immigrants” and “developing na-

historical context that, if introduced into this education,

could only add to the sense

made of this

experience.

Ashworth

herself

is

not

oblivious to the educational value of this history. She calls “for educators to

keep the past and the present in their minds

as

she points to the “disempowering” lessons that teaching, the denigration of home languages,

racism dren:

felt

by

“The

First

its

came of poor second-language

and the more general

effects

of

Nations, African Canadian, and Chinese Canadian chil-

public’s fear

mankind and

they plan for the future,” and

of minority groups

far

exceeded

concern for justice” (1992, pp. 124,

I3i).2

its

love of hu-

Although she asks

educators to take these lessons to heart, she does not ask that this history be included in the language education of those who, if they will not have to suffer as

they once might have,

quire the English language it is

still

is

deserve a

full

account of this process. To ac-

to have a stake in

to be party to a history that runs

its

claim as a world language;

from the colonial past that

first

planted

English across the globe to the postnational futures of English on the global electronic

network known

as the Internet.'^

See Eliot Judd (1983) for another approach to the political situation of ESL teaching; he asks teachers to consider how their work relates to the loss of other languages and cultures 2

and how

it

contributes to the training of power

elites in certain

countries while providing

low-level language skills in others.

^The

status

of English as

largely as a threat to

on the Internet has been seen, up to this point, the hegemonic claims of French, although Bill Gates has defended a colonizing force

193

194

LANGUAGE, NATION, WORLD In raising the specter of a language curriculum that actively seeks to

own place in the devolution of colonialism, it also needs to be made why this work is not only for minority-language students. There is as

name clear

its

much,

if

not more, reason to be concerned about the education of students

born into the English language lingual communities.

ten to those in

who

who

will

go on to inhabit increasingly multi-

The frame of mind

in

which teachers and students

lis-

speak other languages than they do, and the frame of mind

which they understand

their

own

position in the world as English speak-

may still bear traces of the history of imperial conquest and dominance. The distinguished linguist Joshua Fishman observed in 1977 that “unfortunately, we know far more about how to help the world learn English (little though that may be), than we do about how to help native speakers of Eners

glish learn

ured in

about the world”

this

history that,

ongoing

am

I

state

arguing,

(p. 335).

To become aware how language has

of global interdependence requires a review of a still

tional premise remains that

has a hold on our imaginations.

we need

on our thinking about,

My

educa-

how the world was diand how those divisions con-

understand

to

vided by the intellectual project of imperialism tinue to weigh

fig-

in this case, native speakers

and the

learning of English.

The Native Speaker

One

important aspect of this second-language question

the native speaker.

The concept has been

is

the standard set by

perhaps most vigorously addressed

by Thomas Paikeday, editor of The New York Times Everyday Dictionary and The Penguin Canadian Dictionary. His book The Native Speaker Is Dead! (1985)

alogue

is

an innovative instance of bookmaking that consists of a Socratic

made up of the

day’s inquiries

about

pal antagonist

is

who

responses of forty linguists

who and what

is

The

book’s princi-

considers the scope of sentences

possible within the English language to be defined

by what

is

“acceptable to

one of the epigraphs of the book, Paikeday quotes the eddirector of the Merriam- Webster dictionaries, who insists that the two

a native speaker. itorial

responded to Paike-

a “native speaker.”'^

Noam Chomsky, who

di-

In

requirements of a dictionary editor are that “he should be a native speaker of English and he should have at least a bachelor’s degree from a reputable col-

the multilingual potential of the Internet

and work

is

being done on expanding

character-set capacity (Stackhouse, 1995; Pollack, 1995). ^Thomas Paikeday s use of computer databases to prepare

sponsible for setting

me

off

and

its

assess dictionaries

on the fascinating study of lexicography.

current

was

re-

LANGUAGE, NATION, WORLD lege or university

Paikeday, having been born in Calcutta, realizes

(p. xiv).

that he will never be allowed to regard himself as a native English speaker,

which

gives this

theme

compelled to include

and poignant

a personal

book

in his

nonnative editing of The

New

turn, especially as he feels

on the quality of his

readers’ testimonials

York Times Everyday Dictionary. Although he

does not explicitly address the relation between foreignness and race, he makes apparent the considerable operating expenses accrued by those made to suffer such distinctions. Paikeday offers examples

of “native” and “nonna-

specimens, anecdotes, and informal experiments,

tive

all

of which point to

the bankruptcy of the concept as a reliable guide to so-called proper usage. His position is simply that there is no such thing as a “native speaker” in the sense of a person being able to claim an inherent hold

language.

The

on the

full

extent of the

editor of a successful dictionary should know.

In The Native Speaker

Is Z9^’/^gy

place

(i 993 >

them

in a similar relation to the

dominant, imperialist ideol-

The key, for Brown, is literatures staging of identity for and women, which, in the eighteenth century, often took place

P* 17)'^

both natives

around commodification and conquest. The regard of colonized peoples as effeminate only confounded the colonists sexual orientation toward the subaltern that underlay the literature

^

Brown summarizes her

women

position as a

and history of imperialism. So much of

feminist reading of colonist ideology, which places

of the structures of rationalization that justify mercantile expansion, to ground an account of the formal and ideological contradictions surrounding the repreat the center

sentation of race and slavery” (1993, p. 62).

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION what held

system together was surrounded by a purposeful and “dead siwhich is also what followed Fanny Prices question to her uncle, Sir

lence,

this

Thomas

Bertram, about the slavery by which the family had profited, in Jane Austens Mansfield Park (Said, 1993, 96)- Even in its silences, literature P-

seems capable of articulating the complex moral edifice by which some women were protected and others used, some were met with silence and others were silenced, within the global structure of beloved home and necessary colonies. English literature rendered sensitive

world of civilized

remained the

men and women,

silent

and sensible the immediate

while imperial and industrial expansion

underwriter of domestic exploits. Literature and

tendant criticism identified and intensified a certain as the proper location of civilized attention. Before letting go the postcolonial It

also applies to

American

American

literature, Eric

the degree to

writers. In a

Sundquist carefully

to every

major

literary text

expansion, and the

case Sundquist builds,

comes out of the E. B.

Du

Bois,

ested in Melville, literary figure’s

Typee

is

left

rise to

which

its

as subtle

engagement with imperialism,

of the democratic promise” that was,

starting point (p. 257). This

sustained by Walter

cif 3.nti-imperiahst

cumb

quotation

as

prominence

to this

he argues that “Melville’s

and the Euroamerican coloni-

Benn Michaels

novels, such as T

their assault

after

in literary renderings that

all,

and economic

America’s postcolonial

literary

(1993),

response to colonial-

who examines

a later series

homas Dixons Phe Leopard s

now

Spots,

on extensions of the American empire,

m

from

forgotten but once popular works

to nativist efforts at fixing the boundaries

At the outset of Playing

is

social, political

theme of America’s

1902. Michaels finds that these

managed, despite

as the

U.S. literary texts to establish a connection between

encourage students to find alternatives to the

is

was central

defined the over-

and complex

alism in Polynesia” (1994, p. 255). Rowe’s interest

ism

it

(1993, p. 30)

gives even greater

the institutions of slavery in the United States

failures

seen to have

Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, and Mark Twain. Another critic inter-

Fierman Melville,

first

in particu-

intersection of

John Carlos Rowe,

one of the

it



cultural independence, ter-

world power.

is

making of

the nation in a state of unresolved

while at the same time authorizing

ritorial

—can be

not because

literature]

in the

out

of the period but because

arching ideology of liberty which crisis

important to see that

it is

which writing about the problem of slavery

animated that rebirth [of American

W.

sets

at-

of heart and hearth

major work on race

writing about slavery by African Americans

lar,

The

critical pose,

class

its

the Dark, Toni

still

to suc-

of race within the nation.

Morrison declares that “the

217

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION

2i8

readers of virtually (1992, p.

all

of American fiction have been positioned

This positioning acts

xii).

as a

as “universal,” just as

hold that the school curriculum

color-blind."^ Against this

Morrison describes ness,’ the

this

not a

is

uses.

nature

a

the cause

ban the

call to

complacency,

at literary ‘black-

literary ‘whiteness’” (p. 9).

Notice

how

but to consider again their influence and

as the “studied indifference

now

Morrison hopes that we can

to these issues,

What

—of

classics,

Against what she identifies

cism

educators tend to

need “to discover through a close look

—even

white”

form of deracination that encourages

white readers to see their situation is

as

of literary

raise the

criti-

questions

do the invention and development of whiteness play in the construction of what is loosely described as ‘American’?” and, more generally, “What makes intellectual domination possible?” (p. 9). In this way, she dares parts

name the colonial project in American literature as “the architecture of a new white man” {p. 15; Morrison’s emphasis). She vividly recalls the degree to

to

which freedom Africanism

American

in

literature

the vehicle by which the American self knows itself as not en-

is

slaved, but free

.

ment of destiny

.

.

not a blind accident of evolution but a progressive

(p. 52).

I

would add

herself has taught literature in school

good

ture does a

much

holding

deal of its

work

Hemingway

American

chitect of the

achieved by the African presence:

is

to Morrison’s account, especially as she

and

university, only the fact that litera-

in literature classes.

that his

books continue to do

ingway

tells

It is,

issue, then,

not so

is

for being an ar-

come to grips with the work today. Not only is the story Hem-

rather to

in classrooms

important, but also the

The

Morrison does,

responsible, as

character.

fulfill-

way

in

which

his

works continue

to be

taught defines the nature of the American experience by gender and race. Finally, in the

meeting of literature and imperialism, there

postcolonial literature

the Second writers

from among the many decolonized literatures,” writes

investigate the

European

and postcolonial space and tainment

heels of colonialism’s

World War. The category encompasses

of postcolonial fin, “to

which came on the

(1995, P- 97)-

make, although the

states. “It

one student of

textual capture

are the sort

that

body of

demise

amalgam of become the project

has

this literature,

Helen

Tif-

and containment of colonial and continuing con-

of points that postcolonial

critical categories at stake

after

a geopolitical

to intervene in that originary

These

is

have certainly

critics

left at least

one

^

Christine Sleeter, a leading figure in multicultural education, writes that “white teachers construct race mainly on the basis of their life experiences and vested interests” .

.

.

(1993,

p. 157).

Although she

is

not optimistic about change,

think there

need to introduce teachers to how these race constructs are, in fact, grounded in academic disciplines rather than in their own experiences, and that they take their basis from the very founding of social studies, English literary study, and modern biology. I

is

a

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION such

Not only was

critic cold.

Rushdie writes

in his essay

was an exclusive one

[colonial literature] a ghetto,”

it

“‘Commonwealth

(i99i>

63 ). ^

P-

Still, if

Literature’

Does Not

postcolonial literature

Salman

Exist,” “it

and

criti-

cism, with their political interests in national status, go beyond what literature is supposed to do, threatening to spoil the purely private and personal pleasures of the text, they are also educational

m

their desire to

historical contexts that give rise to readerly desires,

the other side of the story, that literature as a subject

all

expand the

of which brings us to

to the largely colonial invention

is,

of English

for the schools.

fit

Colonial Literary Study

One

can roughly date the launch of English literature classes in the British Empire with the passing of the 1835 English Education Act in India. The En-

Education Act made English the language of instruction in the Indian schools under British control. English was to serve the natives much as Latin glish

m a ladder of learned ascendancy. As

served British students, recall

from chapter

minute

4,

the key figure

is

the reader will

Thomas Macaulay, whose famous

1835

to the British

government on education was based on his estimation that the whole of Indian literature was unworthy of a shelf of English writing. Nearly two decades later, in 1853, the orientalist Horace Wilson was able to advise the British Parliament that as ture, particularly at

writers,

any considerable alteration

ing character. As a

colonial schools as a

This

W. ial

critical

and notions”

(cited

by Vis-

of a people,

to others, but also in

in colonial schools

it

not only would serve

would work upon students

as

in the

Gauri Viswanathan’s phrase.^

was then thought

fit

for Great

the Foster Act of 1872,

tion of British

5

litera-

teaching was thought instrumental in shap-

mask of conquest,”

What was proved With

our

impression upon them, and affect

in their feelings

reflected the genius

model of civilized being

Britain.

we make an

p. 48). Literature it

initiate [the Indians] into

an early age, and get them to adopt feelings and senti-

ments from our standard

wanathan, 1989,

we

which furthered the compulsory educachildren, English literature found its place as part of a cur-

alignment with postcolonial

literatures has been rightly questioned by critic observes that although such criticism “tends to subvert the imperauthority,” the authors at issue (he names]. M. Coetzee, Ian Wedde, and Toni MorriJ. T. Mitchell,

son) look on

who

“with wary fascination

unsure whether it is a friendly collaborator in the process ol decolonization or a threatening competitor for limited resources” (1995, pp. 476-77)it

.

.

.

^Viswanathan cites the following from the Madras Christian Instructor and Missionary Record from 1844: “The genius of literature clearly sees that she has found the men .

who will

are to extend her

be lasting

as the

empire

to the

sun” (1989,

.

.

.

.

.

ends of the earth, and give her throne

p. 166).

a stability that

219

7 220

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION riculum devoted, in

its

own

way, to forging a unified state and empire that

included the most wayward elements of those far-off colonies and the industrial classes at

Among English literatures great educational advocates at

Matthew Arnold, who brought

the time was critic

home.

together his capacities as literary

and school inspector; “Good poetry,” he advocated

in his 1880 inspec-

tors report to the Privy Council, “does undoubtedly tend to

and character” had

pline, ties

a

(1908, p.

more

60 )

difficult

English literature, as a discrete academic disci-

time finding a proper

of Oxford and Cambridge, where

shape character than in the

During

this period,

common

Canada was

home

in the great universi-

presumably was needed

it

far less to

schools (Palmer, 1965). the site of much educational activity

behalf of English literature, and was no

tionhood

form the soul

less

on

so after entering postcolonial na-

Judging from the evidence amassed by Robert Morgan (1990), English literature had a large role to play in the country’s smooth tranin 1867.

from colony

sition

to

dominion, whether one looks

at the

composition top-

assigned at University College in Toronto (“The connection between literary excellence and natural greatness, as exhibited in English history”) or ics

listens to the declarations

virtually a type

of educator Henry Scalding that Shakespeare was

of colonist

the family of nations

.

.

.

— among

appreciated the

among

the junior

members of

human downrootings from

mothertree of England” (cited by Morgan, pp. 209,

213). In

Matthew Arnold’s recommendations, George Paxton Young,

the great

advance of architect of

English studies in Ontario, advised in his department of education report for

1867-68 that Ethics

T/je

Merchant of Venice “was

a lesson in practical Christian

can scarcely be read intelligently without entering into the soul and becoming part of its convictions for ever” (cited by Morgan, .

p. 203),^

.

.

[that]

This sense of literatures educational mission was built on the lan-

guage of spiritual salvation.

The ing,

The

not

successes of English literature in India all

and Canada notwithstand-

colonizers supported a literary education as ideal for the empire.

clearest instance

colonies, L. S.

comes from the

British secretary ol state for the

Amery, who advised the Imperial Conference of 1926

erature aside in an effort to tailor schooling, in a to the

developmental

^America had

its

state

more

to set

lit-

progressive manner,

of the students:

educational champions of English literature

in, for

example, the Atlantic

Monthly, although his part

Matthew Arnold, through the sponsorship of Andrew Carnegie, did by coming to America to deliver a series of successful lectures on literatures behalf

in the 1880s

So

it is,

(Honan,

1980).

perhaps, that this play, as

to Shakespeare in grade 9> as

it

I

noted in chapter

has proved to be for

i,

my

was

my

high school introduction youngest son.

literature and the educated imagination Our whole endeavor now

is

to substitute for a purely literary education,

not suited to the needs of the natives, a type of education more adapted to their mental aptitude a type of education which, while conserving as far as possible all the sane and healthy element in the fabric of their



own

social

life,

will also assist their

growth and evolution on natural

and enable them to absorb more progressive Whitehead, 1988, p. 212) lines

This interest in

making

largely resisted with

drive by

what Clive Whitehead

many Africans

Although such

the native “useful in his

for

might appear

own environment” was

characterizes as “the insatiable

Western schooling

local interest

ideas. (Cited in

after the 1930s” (1988, p. 221).

to exonerate

Shakespeare from

charges of an imposed cultural imperialism, the drive for Western schooling also reflects an African rejection of Britain’s patronizing provision for

“growth

and evolution on natural

lines.

Certainly,

Whitehead

tries to

dodge the

charge of a “deliberate British policy to colonize the indigenous intellect” by pointing to the ineptitude and incoherence of policies at the time (p. 215). The result, however, was that the literature of Great Britain remained a

stay of a colonial education in Africa

reception of which his

own

is

main-

and around the globe, the ambiguous

captured in the novelist R. K. Narayan’s recollections of

education in colonial India:

We had always

professors

feel

was

from English

a blessing.

to the classroom.

When

professors’ quarters

universities to teach literature,

But the

he

professor’s contact

was

which

I

strictly limited

the class, he rushed back to his citadel of

left

and the English club where no Indian was admit-

ted except to serve drinks. (1988, p. 231)9

Although at

official policies

on

literatures place

m

the

modern curriculum

home and abroad were

only rarely questioned, a few of those destined to join the literary canon, namely, Conrad and Forster, had already begun to question the cost of imperialism to those troubling works as Heart ofDarkness and

who

A

practiced

it.

So

it

was that such

Passage to India were read, after a

time, as part of a literary education in the English language. Although already called on both of these books to illustrate imperialism’s

I

legacy,

tempting to hold up Conrads novel again

powers

in regard to imperial

might begin with

9

On

a similar

ambiguity

forms of modern Bengali

proof ol

it

is

literature’s unsettling

themes. For me, lessons on Conrad’s 1902 novel

T. S. Eliot’s use

epigraph for “The Hollow

as

have

Men”

of the

line

(1971a).

“Mistah

It is

Kurtz— he dead”

spoken

at colonialism’s literary influence, this

literature, see

in the

as the

novel by “the

time in the writing and Nirad Chauduri (1987, pp. 149-59).

221

222

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION managers boy,” who “put

nounced

his insolent black

that this paragon of the colonial impulse

exist (1973, p. 108).*^

Conrad and

the emptiness of an age that ingly on: irig

head

“We

are the

— headpiece

filled

gone mad had ceased

Eliot appear to be offering a

seemed

hollow

doorway” and an-

in the

to die with

men / We

with straw. Alas!”



requiem for

Mistah Kurtz yet lived know-

are the stuffed (1.4)

to

that

I

men.”

am

It is

that stuff-

asking after here, as

did Eliot and Conrad, by turning, in this case, to the substance of a literary

education. Certainly Eliot and stuffing of a

modern education

Conrad formed

in literature, writing as they did within

against the worst prejudices of their times. their

work

to generations

part of the post-Kurtzian

They, and those

who

and

have taught

of students around the world, saw literature

as call-

ing civilization back from the expansive wasteland that occupied the souls of

both the modern city dwellers and the colonizers, without slipping into the darkness thought to haunt African rivers. An education in literature was

about rising above both the savagery and the hollowness within. In the secondary schools of the English-speaking world, by far the

frequently taught “children’s” version of Conrad’s tale

Lord of the

Flies (1967).

is

more

William Golding’s

In this novel, a planeload of schoolboys

who

are

stranded on a proverbial desert island enact a similar sense of a repulsive yet fascinating reversion to a primitive state, presumably occupied

by other

sav-

ages at other times, without dealing with the responsibilities of colonialism.

As much

as

Conrad and

Eliot originally troubled the

and waste of the modern

ror

age, they

West

in

naming

the hor-

were to become central to an education

based on artfully and manfully exploring the soul of the West, lighting beacons along the way so that the rest of the world might find its way.

A literary education yond

the age of empire

third-world and ironies

But

intent

on imagining

would include what

a

world that has moved well be-

falls

under the

Commonwealth, immigrant and

literary rubric

of

multicultural, with the

of association and dissociation integral to these counterformations.

this call for a postcolonial

education

is

not about proscribing or policing

any given piece of literature or form of literary

criticism.

What

is

needed

is

a

return to our ideas about the value ol literature, ideas that, after the centuries

Eliot deleted Kurtzs

famous



words in the Heart ofDarkness “the horror, the horror” from the original epigraph of The Waste Land. "On Eliots anti-Semitism and prejudices, see Ricks (1988) and Julius (1996), and on Conrad’s racism, see Achebe (1988). '2 Arthur Applebee’s research on the “most popular titles of book length works, grades



9-12

final

ranks Lord ofthe Flies in tenth place in America for public. Catholic, and independent schools (where, respectively, 54, 52, and 34 percent of schools use it). It rises to third place at the grade-12 level (1993, pp. 65, 68).

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION of literatures engagement with imperialism, are bound to bear something of a legacy devoted to civilizing the savage, to bringing sophistication of feeling

and thought

to the primitive.

this historical role

A students

of literature

literary

education needs to include

an educational tool that supported, and at times stood against, the expansion of empire. We need, then, to return to litas

erary educations formative texts to gain

some appreciation of how

literature

works with empire. Fryes Educated Imagination

During the

hand

in

of the twentieth century, Northrup Frye took a direct the shaping of a modern literary education, gradually assuming the latter half

Arnoldian mantle of exemplary

literary critic

and educational

overseer.

While

forging a reputation as a subtle and profound critic of Blake, Milton, and Shakespeare, as well as a major theorist of literary criticism itself,

found time to serve ers

he also

honorary president of the Ontario Council of Teachof English and to edit a popular series of literature textbooks for Canaas

dian and American high schools

.

'3

He was

as

much

a teacher

of English

teachers as he was a critics critic.

The Educated Imagination thinking on the subject,

is

although hardly the whole of Frye’s

(1963),

one of the

rare

books on

literary

theory that

is

taught in the schools and, as such, continues to reach a far wider audience than discussions of the value of literature normally achieve. The book is based on the 1962 Massey lectures, which Frye gave on the Canadian Broadcasting

Corporation (CBC) radio network. miere lecture

series

had been

Hon. Vincent Massey, who

What

has since

become

the nation’s pre-

initiated only the year before to

honor the

as governor-general served as the first

born representative of the British Crown

in

Canada.

Rt.

Canadian-

Frye’s radio talks located

the nation in the imaginary space cultivated by English literature, where “English” remains an ambiguous designation of language, culture, and nation.'^

Although Frye achieved international

Fryes textbook

series, Literature: Uses

stature as a literary critic, he

ofthe Imagination

(1972),

is

was

published by Harcourt

Brace Jovanovich. >^This chapter can be thought to extend, though perhaps only by a postcolonial footnote, Deanne Bogdans considerable delineation of Fryes project in Re-educating the Imagination, which addresses the limits to Fryes vision of “identity as similarity,” as she puts it, in

which differences in power and location are “subsumed under the developmental assumption that wider and wider reading and more and more informed responses will inexorably propel the respondent into the third order of experience, where everv other voice resonates as part of our own” (1992, p. 131). Whereas Bogdan argues for an extension of Fryes determination of literary study, I return to Frye himself, already far more expansionary in a colonial sense than was originally thought.

223

224

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION to hold a special place in the

educated imagination of

country

this

as a

venerated intellectual who, until his death in 1989, gave cultural definition to a

country that continued to wrestle with the English heritage of its colonial

period.

Through ter the

his critical

work and public

development of Canadian

stances, Frye did a great deal to fos-

literature as itself an anti-imperial cultural

formation against the press of British and American

away from invoking the

this country’s colonial past, identifying

garrison mentality

marked

it

(1971a, p. 225).

Canadian works

critical

didn’t shy

what he termed

to take their place

college syllabi, although he never mistook

formed the great

He

of a closely knit and beleaguered society” that Frye was part of what gave “here” its literary iden-

part of what allowed

tity,

literature.

them

on school and

for the masterpieces that

focus of his career. This form of literary nationalism,

with an eye to the mother country, poses one sort of postcolonial response. As such,

it

has drawn

its

own

including “the most published Native au-

critics,

thor in the country,” as Lee Maracle identifies herself in taking up Frye’s notion of a garrison mentality: “Canadian writers still hover about the gates of the old forts, peek[ing] through the cracks of their protective ideological walls” (1992, p. 14). Maracle advises that “to resolve this colonial condition in

we need to have Canada recognize that first it is our condition and Canada needs to view this condition as unacceptable” (p. 15).

literature

second,

Frye speaks to us about the value of literature from here, Canada, yet not from here. He is speaking, surely he would hold, from the place occupied by the imagination,

which

is

not of

speaking from what was once

minion.

known

nation-bound

as a

CBCs

was bound

But Frye

is

also

white colony and then a white dopart of

is

what can be

the education of the imagination. Frye has noted elsewhere that

broadcasting mission to be frustrated

to

by the

promote Canadian unity and

fact that “identity

rooted in the imagination and works of culture; unity international in perspective,

and rooted

his part, Frye roots the national

and

earth.

How he speaks to the nation from this location

known about the

this

politics rather

is

is

local

and

identity” regional,

national in reference,

in political feeling” (1971b, p.

ii).

For

imagination in transcendent forms of culture

than regional ones, and he does so in ways that

I

will ex-

plore according to the four themes of the uninhabited island, outside other, the place of Canada, and the work of literature.

and

Imagining the Uninhabited Island Frye’s

phor,

opening lecture

in

The Educated Imagination, “A Motive for Meta-

begins with a small imaginary disaster: “Suppose you’re shipwrecked

on an uninhabited

island in the

South Seas”

(1963, p. 2).

Thus Frye

subtly

literature and the educated imagination transports us to the colonial era, with the “South Seas” evoking Balboas naming of this newfound ocean El Mar del Sur in the sixteenth century, Cooks

opening of the South Seas to the British Empire m the eighteenth century, and working tours of the region by Robert Louis Stevenson and Paul Gaugin in the nineteenth century. For its part, the South Seas uninhabited island is a palimpsest that

is

colonial imagery. colonial

always already written over with

The

pastoral

theme of starting anew

to an untainted version of the

There South

is

something

Seas, far

territories,

this vast

is,

in a

own

buried treasure of

that opens this lecture

newfound

cut with the

is

land, of going back in time

homeland.

striking, then, in Frye’s locating his island in the

from Canadas own abundant supply of no

including

many

less

“uninhabited”

Has our postcolonial nationhood brought dominion within the “civilized” and thus “inhabited” world.? The

colonial vision

what

myth

its

is

about gaining

in effect, a

civilization.

The

islands.

a distance that transforms a culture, offering

blank page through the expansiveness of an overwritten

island

“uninhabited,” of course, in relation to a European

is

presence, with the (nomadic) occupation of indigenous populations erased or denied. Think of how the islands on which Columbus first set eyes in the

Caribbean were unpossessed, and

Arawak stood on

in that sense

as the native

the beach to watch this

resolutely lay claim to their land in the

In wrecking us

upon

native resources, with a

of Europe s

unoccupied, even

a

nod

South Seas

odd group of men come ashore and name of their God and their queen.

island, Frye uses colonialism’s imagi-

The Tempest 2ind Robinson Crusoe,

to

civilizing mission. Prospero gives the gift

to an uncivil Caliban, whereas the ever resourceful

short order, the industrious

with an indentured,

if

rise

of the English to

not enslaved, savage

of a

to

remind us

Mr. Crusoe

reprises, in

civilized existence,

named

language

civilizing

in imitation

complete

of God’s

own

schedule for creation. Caliban and Friday remind us that the “uninhabited” islands were still the homeland of a people (with a single imaginary native standing for the many). at the

When

age of twelve, what

fon? No.

It is

is

Rousseau

his first

finally allows

book?

“Is

it

Aristotle?

Robinson Crusoe' (Rousseau, 1979,

paradigmatic imperial adventure, offering tory of self-sufficiency

its

and resourcefulness,

Emile to begin reading

p. 184).

own

Is it

Pliny?

Is it

Defoe’s novel

Buf-

is

the

schooling in a natural his-

a return to first things, as

Crusoe,

the recording angel of imperialism,

plantation and colony:

surveying

it

“I

moves from shipwreck and homestead to descended a little on the side of that delicious vale,

with a secret kind of pleasure (tho’ mixt with

thoughts) to think that this was

country indefensibly, and had I

all

my own,

that

I

my other afflicting

was king and lord of all

this

of possession” (1965, pp. 113-14), he empire offers the European a second chance with the world, placing a right

225

226

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION him once more

in possession

Rousseau would ask of his Emile:

him

to think that he

Adam

of paradise, an “I

want

to

It

make him

Robinson himself” (1979,

is

before Eve.

p. 185).

dizzy. ...

Could

better teacher than Crusoe, this domesticator of wild islands

men.^

made him know his name should be

I

was the day

saved his

I

comes

possession

(Defoe, 1965,

life’

in the face

of the

silent

Friday,”

209).

p.

It is all

that

want

I

there be any

and namer of

Crusoe records, '^which

The unquestioned

right

of

unwritten (unmapped) qualities of

the island and the island people, protecting these proprietary privileges from

questioning; civilizations representative retains the right of exclusion and intervention (on behalf of Friday). Derek Walcott, in “Crusoe’s Journal,” takes

up the voice of the

who

islander

ironically observes his subjection to the os-

tensible educator:

Like Christofer he bears

speech

in a

Word

the

mnemonic

as a missionary’s

to savages,

shape an earthen, water-bearing

its

whose sprinkling

alters us

good Fridays who

into

vessel’s

His praise,

recite

parroting our master’s style

and

voice,

we make

his

language ours,

converted cannibals

we

him

learn with

to eat the flesh of Christ. (1986, p. 93)

In choosing the island metaphor, Frye suggests that to reach people

they

one begins with

live,

them about nial

Eden

islands,

The South

literature.

in

its

their bookshelves, especially if

Seas island

is

more

one

Is

where

speaking to

likely to suggest a colo-

seemingly unoccupied splendor (“the self-creating peace

in Walcott’s

poem

[p. 94]),

affording a time

window on an

/

of

earlier,

simpler era of the sort celebrated by explorers, missionaries, anthropologists,

and

tourists.

The

deserted island has

no

less a

home

in

popular culture, with

the perennial cartoons of the shipwrecked sailor stranded with the voluptuous passenger, and highbrow variations such as the British Broadcasting

Corpo-

rations radio

the great

But

program

monuments of culture



a return to

which imagines escaping with

Eden with

a

Walkman.

of its sense of escape, the Western idea of the South Seas island with it the hope of rescue and a return to one’s proper home. The

lor

also carries

all

island offers writers

and perhaps dreary nities,

Desert Island Discs,

and dreamers families);

it

a fantasy of escape (from dreary winters

speaks to

moments of uninhibited opportu-

of renewing the balance between innocence and experience. Above

the island affords Frye, as

it

has served

many

before him, a clean slate

all,

on

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION which

work

to

the evolution of

what he

island with

civilizing progress:

humankind.

sees as the three stages

Language

first

through which language makes

affords a '^consciousness or awareness

leads to basic forms of self-expression. This in a

which

practical sense,

is

is

its

that



followed by the use of language

gives rise to technical terms.

nates in the imaginary realm as language els (1963,

In this case, Frye inscribes his

The

process culmi-

turned to poetry, plays, and nov-

15 pp. 3-5).

Fryes island defense of literary study revolves around the evolutionary poles of the primitive and the civilized: "You find that every mother tongue, in

any developed or

(p. 2). Frye’s

civilized society, turns into

something

called literature”

reference to “any developed or civilized society”

is

probably

in-

tended to include a yet-to-be-developed-but-surely-civilized China (questions about Fryes placing of China will be raised presently). He misses the chance here to allow that every language and culture has tive retelling

of the world and

have pointed out later,

when

earlier, at

Frye does

its

its

literature, its

imagina-

ways, a point that Boas began to make, as

I

the close of the nineteenth century. Yet a few pages

make

reference to the omnipresence of literature, he

posits another evolutionary scale that carefully sets off primitive literature

from the timeless

classic:

from other aspects of monies”

(p. 13).

There

life: it s still

on the principle

trace

its

in religion,

magic, social cere-

literature

lems and conflicts”

form

in Frye’s imagi-

in literature has a pedigree,

may have begun in “war-songs, work14). He continues the evolutionary motif

literature that

literature to the idea

more

“that every

work

descent back to earliest times,” he charts the descent and

songs, funeral laments, lullabies

ilization, the

become distinguished

^*5

disengagement of a true

by tying

embedded

are different conceptions of timelessness at

nation. Based

and we can

“Primitive literature hasn’t yet

(p. 22).

(p.

of cultural progress: “The more advanced a

seems to concern

itself with

purely

Yet this developmental scale

is

human

civ-

prob-

also a matter

of

Flunter, in analyzing literary education

as an arm of the emergent governmental educational apparatus,” interprets Frye’s island metaphor as part of an effort “to derive a ‘total history’ of culture and society from the split in the mentality of a castaway para-

chuted

from the aesthetic empyrean” (1988, p. 10). '^On the category of the “primitive,” Bernard McGrane helpfully describes its anthropological invention as but a third phase in the European regard for an alien other that has continued to be formed since Columbus: “The alien Other is not fundamentally pagan, savage, and demonic from a Christian frame of reference, nor fundamentally ignorant and in

superstitious from an Enlightenment frame of reference; rather the

Other

is

now funda-

mentally primitive from a progress and evolution frame of reference” (1989, p. 98: McCrane’s emphasis). For the usefulness of “primitive” as a category in the realm of art, see S. Price (1989).

227

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION

228

The most

genre:

primitive nations have poetry, but only quite well devel-

oped nations can produce prose

(p. 51).'^

Frye then puts this scheme to

pedagogical use, following the lead of Matthew Arnold, by asserting that it is only natural to start children on poetry before moving them into the more

mature prose. In

this

way, the young of the West might recapitulate the ascent

of civilization and overcome the stagnation of primitive and poetry-bound cultures.

The importance only

that Frye places

on

literatures “pedigree”

is

troubling

invokes the racial bearing of imperialisms long-standing division between primitive and civilized peoples. It troubles as well because this literas

it

ary paternity suit gained prominence in Europe during the nineteenth century,

when Matthew Arnold,

Ernest Renan, and others were contrasting the

Hellenic and Hebraic influences on the European disposition, the refined and cultivated Hellenic influences proudly being held in ascendancy.

This was

bound

to have serious ramifications for the racialized identity

people,

who had been

recently emancipated

in

of the Jewish

England and elsewhere

after

of what can be aptly termed internal colonization.^^ Frye reaffirms Arnold’s emphasis on the bicultural origins while playing the Hellenic faa period

vorite as

peoples

Arnold

is

did:

The

not in English;

Little credit

basis

its in

of the cultural heritage of English speaking

Latin and Greek and

Hebrew”

(p. 49).

given to the influential orientalism of Richard Burton, Ed-

is

ward FitzGerald, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams, or to the Celtic imaginings of Walter Scott and James Joyce. Frye also overlooks the millions

that

of English-speaking people is

who

bring to the language a literary heritage

not Latin, Greek, or Hebrew.

constructed within a colonial civilized islands,

however

adrift

holding

it

The educated imagination is still being imaginary that navigates among primitive and

as its true

may seem

course a direct descent from a golden age,

to have

been

at various historical junctures. It

is

worthwhile comparing these island themes in popular and literary culture with the more recent experiences of boat people,” who, in a reverse migra-

In this statement he echoes the Elizabethan Philip Sidney,

of English

literature.

ans where no writing

An Apology for Poetry,

who, in the first great defense wrote of “the most barbarous and simple Indi-

yet have they their poets” (1970, p. 9). ‘*^See Olender (1992). George Steiner gives a recent twist to the pedigree question in the final words of his review of the late poet Paul Celan, Jewish survivor of Nazi is,

Germany: ‘We are all Greeks,’ proclaimed Shelley. ‘Every poet is a Yid,’ replied Paul Celan with unplumbed bitterness and self-mockery. The old story: Athens and Jerusalem. Between them lies the uncertain advent of what remains of European language and literature” (1995, p. 4) “

‘‘^On Pound’s and Williams’s modernist orientalism, including their dialogues with Chinese poets, see Zhaoming Qian (1995); and on Joyce’s anti-imperialist Celtic interests, see

Vincent Cheng

(1995).

literature and the educated imagination tion-exploration pattern, have sought to shipwreck themselves in North

The opportunity of starting afresh on a new shore has not worked neatly m this direction. The Chinese hopefuls whose ship foundered

America. out

as

New York a

off Queens in

from

their

Manhattan

few years ago ended up

island dream.

in

The former

jail

awaiting deportation

colonizer cannot readily

imagine being colonized. In going over high school students’ essays I

found that

pursuing

a

number

them took up

of

on The Educated Imagination,

the island metaphor, some, like Frye,

an evolutionary reckoning. They found Frye’s advantage in using the island to create a world of their own making, both far away it

as a site for

yet subtly attached to the

small island

how how

nonfiction also extends the

human

effectively students can pick

well as to

as

known world. Kristy, for example, introduces “a part of her own thought experiment intended to demonstrate

something of his dry

imagination. In this way, she shows

up both

Frye’s substance

wit, as she extols the

and method,

as

power of the written word

expand our horizons:

Through and

literature, Frye believes that

feel this

I

the time or

ing a

our

human

experience will grow,

could not be more true. Not everyone in the world has

money

book or an

to visit

article

on

all

different cultures,

and

lifestyles.

By

read-

we learn everything society. To stress this point,

a specific place or time,

you could possibly need to know about that I would like to use a hypothetical situation.

pretend that you have been born on a small island and the only people on the island with you are your devoutly Catholic parents. Left on the island is a biology Let’s

book

from

a shipwreck. Inside this

explanations for the

book, you find

phenomenon

many

interesting scientific

that your parents

had

originally ex-

plained in biblical terms. These few words that you read would definitely give to

your mind

many

things to think about and choices for you

make.

Equally present in this student’s defense of literature and biology

is the responsibility of the educated to experience a world of different cultures, learning along the way “everything you could possibly

presumed

need to know

about that

society.

This sense of global mastery, of being

in a position to

know

the other, and the related release from primitive superstitions, which permits one informed and superior choices, are part of what recommends the

educated imagination

as

still

bearing something of a colonial construct.

coinciding with the thrust of imperialisms intellectual project for

condemnation but may,

in Kristy s

words, give your mind

is

Its

not grounds

many

things to

think about and choices for you to make.” Without calling Kristy’s intentions into question, it would still seem valuable to set such commonplace ideas as

229

230

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION a sense its

of global masters within the context of the colonial imperative and

we can

educational objectives. In this way,

cations of widely held views, setting

turn to the origins and impli-

them upon

a larger historical stage as

we

explore the continuing play of the colonial imagination within the literary landscape.

A second student, is

to raise the evolutionary opposition

The

ilizations.

a

Sam, understands that

difference

development

is

Sam

that

for the good.

to

engage the island metaphor

of primitive cultures versus evolved is

not entirely prepared to accept

come around on the question of literature’s pursued by a number of students:

contribution, was a pat-

Frye talks about a different person stranded on an island tellect

or

let’s

who

has no in-

say without literature, often he “feels lonely and fright-

ened and unwanted

in

such a world.”

and compare the primitive people,

must object

I

created a

more dangerous

and potential nuclear wars.

It

to that. If you look

for instance aboriginal

people, look at what people with intelligence have

They

this as

His pattern of initially resisting Frye’s position,

only to tern

civ-

done

and

civilized

to our world.

place with pollution, over population

me

seems to

it’s

more

peaceful to be

less

civilized.

Having

realized the value

of less

civilized

forms of life,

Sam

then moves on to

the corollary of this challenge by pointing out literature’s dangerous side in a

manner

He

that tends to confuse teacher

text, literature

who

Sam

the courts for spreading hate.

cause people to be dangerous.

.

.

.

was

finally

Being intelligent Irom studying

Sam

is

working

critically

damental imperial construct of the primitive and the that, his essay finally arrives at

and

is

similar to Frye’s. For

Sam,

literature

ever a civilizing influence: “I realize

tween

reality

is

another student

who

a nature that

But

for all

is

marks the advance of humankind

now

that literature brought us

around

away

us.

And

created civilizations.”

challenges the line that Frye draws be-

and the imagination. She

which imagines

from the fun-

civilized.

to live like the animals

we became more aware of literature we Heather

literature

an anthropological model of literary criticism

from the primitive era when we used as

brought before

concludes that “studying literature can

doesnt mean you re the most worthy.”

is

literature.

for fourteen years taught his high school students in social

studies about a Zionist global conspiracy until he

that

and hate

well-known Canadian instance of Jim Keegstra, an Alberta

raises the

schoolteacher

and

hostile

resists that

and

very posture of the colonial

m need of governance:

Frye mentions being shipwrecked on an island and he sees the world on the island as objective and that it is “something set over against you and

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION not yourself or related to you in any way (p. 2). I disagree with Frye because the world is not objective and when you are on the island

one

is

more

related to

and

conversation in their

of the world. ...

a part

own way

with nature and

1

feel

make

people can

surroundings.

its

This conversation with nature, even with Heather and Frye both using the term surroundings,” still represents the empathetic reach across differences

(rather than a conquest of them, or Fryes sense

of “against”). She proposes a

healing of the distances that set us apart from nature and native. Yet before

I,

thoroughly romanticize the views of this student of nature, I would also note how she goes on to agree ultimately with Fryes faith in the civilizin turn,

ing force of literature: Frye

feels

what comes naturally

humans

to

think

and where

it is

like to

being. Literature provides us with a vision for our

lives. It

civilization

is

the essence of what

not entirely clear from the revise Frye’s

and nature

lutionary narrative.

own

in a later lecture that

I

To be human

some humans from

others,

how mend this

will presently discuss

final analysis, is

spirit.

She

is

and

no longer the deep-seated

is

beliefs,

ap-

but that

literature

ready to ques-

might otherwise be thought

and thus she

she

she does not take up the evo-

to be civilized for Heather,

tion the sense of literary progress that

if

little

reconciliation between imag-

an incidental aspect of that essential civilizing

thought,

lends a

arguments, except perhaps to

Heather was not assigned. In the

guish

human

of Heather’s brief essay

rest

parent breach with nature. Frye offers his ination

be a

our experiences.

zest in

would comfortably

to distin-

moving beyond the

habits of

of a once-and-lingering colo-

imagination.

Outside

and Other

Frye’s literary

and

I

we are comfortable with

It is

nial

their civilization.

Fryes arguments need to be revised into a form

more

is

is

anthropology not only distributes humanity between primitive

civilized cultures,

moment wrecked

of the in

was

a

initial

it

also places the

Orient on a distant horizon. At the

shipwreck, he suggests that “if the ship you were

Western ship you’d probably

more about what’s

really there in the outer

feel that

your

intellect tells

world and that your emotions

you tell

you more about what’s going on inside you.” Then he introduces the “other” possibility: “If your background were Oriental, you’d be more likely to reverse this

to

and say

that the beauty

count and

mind”

classify

(1963, p.

3).

and

terror

and measure and

The

was

really there,

pull to pieces

and that your

instinct

was what was inside your

superstitious quality he attributes to this oriental dis-

231

232

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION position

pages

later,

tion to

Ezra

becomes one of a

series

A

few

Frye returns to this sense of the East’s foreignness, drawing atten-

what was

Pound

clearly the

wayward, unreliable, and nonliterary thinking of

in the (linked?) areas

cianism and anti-Semitism”

of “fascism and social credit and Confu-

(p. 7).

own

Next, Frye shows his

human

of points of contrast he establishes.

literary

flight in the Icarus story

with Sakuntala, “an Indian play

dred years old, which he pulls in to

can lead to a

range by linking the mythic theme of

illustrate

how these

fifteen

hun-

imaginative ventures

scientific civilization like ours” (p. 8). Frye’s great learning,

lightly seasoning his text, gives his claims a universal

purchase even

uates literature within an evolutionary scale that locates India

the past, or as past.

When

he addresses poetry’s primitive

as

he

sit-

and China

in

he draws

qualities,

our attention to the poetic singsong” of children’s speech before contrasting the “Chinese language” (more properly Mandarin or Cantonese, the dominant spoken

which has “kept differences of pitch in the spoken word,” and the Canadians’ “monotone honk” (p. 51). Although he does make dialects),

pun on

a self-deprecating itive,

the

Canada goose, the

the childlike, and the Chinese.

Of course,

association groups the prim-

Frye

is

writing not about Chi-

nese civilization here but about the nature of poetry, using a convenient anthropological contrast. The slight matters little enough in light of Frye’s

enormous

accomplishment,

critical

little

enough

against

how

he has helped

us appreciate the achievement of literature. Yet, as a literary critic, he

would

have us attend to commonplaces, to the archetypal, and to the unique turns that distinguish a text.

Among the commonplaces

“Some

udicial uses of language:

somebody in

say,

to

which Frye would have us attend

years ago, in a

I

By

is

ing unpleasantries

here?”

We are

on the other

Canada

xenophobia over

a

literary criticism,

But the

recently,

smug Canadian audience

to the

not alone, of course, in this habit of locat-

side of some border, diverting attention from,

that in the past has

yellow peril

calling these incidents, however,

nature of this racist

heard

locating racism in America, at least to begin with,

Frye provides a reassuring answer for his oft

Where

More

I

heard somebody else use the same phrase, but meaning

the Chinese” (p. 63).

in this case, a

in the States,

those yellow bastards, meaning the Japanese.

another town,

question

town

are prej-

succumbed

to various

waves of

(Ward, 1990)- Frye’s ostensible point

in re-

eschew the mechanical and unthinking language: “There are many reasons not connected with

why nobody

literary reason

is

is

to

should use a phrase

that the phrase

is

pure

like that

reflex:

it’s

about anybody.

no more

a

product

of a conscious mind than the bark of a dog” (1963, p. 63). We need to grow conscious ol the hmction served by distinctions between Occident and Ori-

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION ent that cial

fall

between discrimination and discriminating, because the prejudi-

and the discerning

trast

and

as

are not the

are directed at establishing the other as a point of con-

something

Although Frye allows that

less.

whole of the matter,

dog’s barking suggests that

ing or poor training.

it is

to equate this overheard virulence

Frye suggesting that racial prejudices are simply too

Is

Pounds anti-Semitism

is

he notes that the highly cul-

all,

a prejudice

whose place

spans from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice to Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar.

Now,

It

can be

comments on

One

and Westerners think

live.

The

challenge

is

to

in literature

“Burbank with

is

too

much

Frye’s opposition

is

of East and West: “Frye [was] as

he mentions that Eastern-

differently because they are opposite to

work with students

a

to ex-

high school student, Sam, whose work

probably brought up learning some stereotypes ers

Eliot’s

asked whether this sort of reading

fairly

pect of high school students. cited earlier,

with a

nothing more than the product of bad breed-

vulgar for the cultivated imagination? After tivated Ezra

his literary objections

where they

more nuanced

to arrive at a

read-

ing of Frye that tests the basis of his distinctions while recognizing that Frye was very much a global thinker and reader, dedicated to identifying the structural features common to all literature, just as the school anthologies he edited included myths from many lands. Sam’s recognition

of

trasting the Orient with the

West suggests

con-

Frye’s

we might well ask students and ourselves how, out of this colonial imaginary, some people and places are made to serve the Wests claim on civilization. The point is all the more poignantly made when we realize that these other people, who stand as the point of contrast, are

no longer so

that

distant, but are

our neighbors,

if

not

ourselves.

Canada, Neither Here nor There

One

of the most fascinating aspects of the postcolonial perspective is what it makes of geography, and more particularly, what it makes of Frye’s question

“Where

is

here?”

The educated imagination

is

at

once boundless and

ranging, while remaining attentive to the detail and nuance of place.

free-

It is

also

located within a pedigree, a certain line of descent that runs, Frye reminds us,

from Jerusalem and Athens, through

Rome

to

London, and then out into

the culturally “uninhabited” world settled by the British Empire. that leave a place such as

not as firm or

is

20

fertile a

Canada?

It is

not absent from Frye’s lectures, but

place for grounding a defense of literature as

have dealt elsewhere with anti-Semitism in English literature Oxford English Dictionary {]. Willinsky, 1994a, pp. 140-56). 1

Where does

as

is

it

the

an influence on the

233

234

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION uninhabited island in the South Seas of the imagination. If Frye appears to

some debt

recognize lectures



to this nation

his uncertainty

—and he does speak

about what to do with

this

to

it

in the

Massey

land provides the perfect

entry point for thinking about lingering colonial sensibilities that will not be

banished by the nationalism of a Canadian literature movement, uct, in

land

many

lies

ways, of the age of imperialism.^' But

let

itself a

us consider

prod-

how

the

for Frye.

In the opening of the lecture series, Frye includes Canada, this officially bilingual but in reality multilingual state, tries

things English, although this

bond

Commonwealth. For

mother tongue, although

Frye, “English means, in the

it is

not clear whether

mother country or

the English

speak English to their babies like so

operates on a different basis across the

between the former “white colonies” and the

racial differences

unfold

the “English-speaking coun-

This transnational language ensures a special cultural bond with

(p. 2).

British

among

to

(p. 2).

many backdrops

this

of the

place, the

first

maternal reference

Canadian mothers, who

And

rest

all

is

to

presumably

so this complicated place begins to

in a theater,

each a transformation of the land-

The educated imagination feels at home within a (forming its own cargo cult, one is tempted to say) that

scape in an evolving story. transported literature

secures this country’s place as a proper extension of English culture. identity with a British national culture that Canadians are at

removed from

is

The

close

once part of and

another reminder of how the study of literature

is

implicated

in a cultural preoccupation that operates so effectively at a distance.

We need

to consider the blocking out of this cultural space

lands to see

whom

it

includes and excludes

on assumptions of the

sort that Frye

among colonies and motherand how it continues to operate

drew on

in

speaking to the requirements

of an educated imagination. In those

moments when

Frye deals directly with Canada,

it is

interest-

ing to note his reconciling of nationhood with a perpetual displacement from the center: W^hen Canada was still a country for pioneers, it was

assumed

that a

new

new society, new things to look at and new experiences new literature’ (p. 15). It has not, however, and Frye ends

country, a

would produce

a

up dismissing Canadian then moving on to

Auden The

(p. 16). All is

writers for originally imitating

producing imitations of D.

Ff.

Byron and Scott and

Lawrence and W^ H.

imitation and invisibility, determined by a center of

legacy of colonization

on current understandings of immigration in Canadian culRoxana Ngs analysis of Canadian nationalism (1993). A postcolonial perspective on the Canadian landscape is well represented in Himani Bannerji’s collection, in which Ngs essay appears. ture

is

the subject ol

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION meaning But

that

in this

is,

in this case,

an Anglo-American terrain in the imagination.

apology for Canadian

displacement of those who,

Frye again engages the invisible

literature,

at least ten

thousand years before, began

to in-

habit this land.

The we dont

constructs of the imagination

get in

any other way. Thats why

particular attention to are better seasoned

Canadian

its

literature,

human

us things about

tell

life

important for Canadians to pay even

when

the imported brands

This statement, which Frye follows with tions on Lincolns Gettysburg Address, needs to be weighed against his (p. 53).

in the lectures to credit a single

enough

to speak

Canadian writer by name. Although

of the imagination

as

unbounded, Frye

through these lectures the well-trod path from

was

Homer

to

is

is

reflec-

failure

it is

easy

actually retracing

Wordsworth, which

also followed in ships’ cabins, plantation mansions,

around the colonial empire. Where precisely

that

and schoolhouses

Frye to be found, then? Broad-

from the radio towers of this former colony, but not necessarily here mind. At the University of Toronto, Frye trained generations of Canadian

casting in

students,

many of whom went on

to be English teachers.

He

trained

them

in

an English literature that was imagined to form the natural order of our mother tongue. The imagined community, which Benedict Anderson (1983)

wisely identifies with the formation of the nation, perialist

Here

tory as both colony riginal land claims

and

Where Canada

colonizer,

is still

and multicultural

figures in this

postim-

scheme, with

its

his-

policies. In

responding to to

Frye’s lectures,

comment on where

their

Real Work ofLiterature

T/?e

true that Frye

and Canada on

little.

makes only passing

his

imagination, and

tion

in this

being struggled over, through abo-

none of the high school students found reason Canada fits into the defense of literature.

ery,

marked

world by the cultural tensions of former colonies and motherlands. is not so much a place as an intersection of lives and imaginations,

languages and narratives.

It’s

is

I

references to

South Seas

islands,

China,

way to situating literature’s contribution to the educated know that must seem to be making too much out of too I

Yet these traces of an imperial legacy situate the center and the periph-

the civilized and the primitive,

“Where

is

Julia

women

life,

have tried to show,

here?” In trying to understand

the rhetoric of empire, ature to

1

we

arrive, finally, at the

how

in Frye’s identity

literary

study

still

ques-

works

complex relationship of liter-

which forms the core of Frye’s concerns. Frye

believes literature

Emberley writes about the nature of the postcolonial imagination, which native writers such as Lee Maracle are exploring (1992, p. 47).

235

— LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION

236

is

both a form of writing removed from the world and an imaginative guide

to living in

He

it.

repeatedly distances literature from the real

man

belongs to the world that suggesting that

it is

(p- 39)- Iri Frye’s

relate literature “directly to life or reality”

terms, to imagine literature’s involvement in such a worldly

make

to

is

imagination anything goes did happen,

it

it

that’s

a mistake of category: “In the

world of the

imaginatively possible, but nothing hap-

would move out of the world of the imagination

into the world of action” (pp. 5-6). Rejecting a sense of literary

agency, Frye secures a space for literary study that ature’s recurring

to hive off literature

is

my father doing much

the

and

critical

bounded by literand protected from earthly cares.

mythopoetic structures

Frye’s professional calling recall

“Literature

constructs, not the world he sees” (1963, p. 8)

simply naive to

matter as imperialism

pens. If



same with

his

is

safely

from “ordinary

life” (p. 9).

I

medical practice. Although he

often enjoyed discussing “interesting cases” with the family, he always acted surprised when we interrupted his disembodied presentations to ask questions about the actual lives of the patients. Hed offer their approximate age

and perhaps

The

their gender, but

we seemed

to

him

to be missing the point.

professional sensibility begins with detaching literature (or medi-

from

At the same time, however, Frye celebrates Defoe’s ability to write the nations history through the life of a single, stranded sailor. Literacine)

ture

life.

The whole

a lens.

IS

comes into focus ^^tth,

(p. 52).

we can

cultural history of the nation that

about

see the cultural history

realms,

and

I

literature as apart from yet

To grasp

of the nation by looking through

We

are not so far apart.

both want to

a part ^^the world.

this subtle relationship

we need

it

After distancing the imagination from the reaches

that imagination. In this, Frye talk

produced

between imaginative and worldly

to return to the proverbial island that gave rise to Frye’s three-

story evolution of language.

with the creation a

home

The linguistic escalator begins at the garden level, of a human realm separate from the rest of nature, making

out of an environment

(p. 4).

where language works the world control over

world

in a

it.

When we

We

then ascend to the second

in very practical ways,

finally reach the third level,

language that, in

its

construct

as outside ourselves:

ture, in lull consciousness, that original sense

where there

human our own

extending

completeness, returns or reconnects us to the

world that we have come to know otherwise ings,

we

level,

“We

recap-

of identity with our surround-

nothing outside the mind of man, or something identical with the mind of man (p. 9). There is, in this final level, “an identity between the

is

human mind and

the world outside of

it,”

which suggests the global

pansiveness ol the European educated standard that alism’s intellectual legacy (p. 12).

I

ex-

read as part of imperi-

literature and the educated imagination To

assist us in

religious

and

understanding

this rather elusive identity,

scientific analogies. First,

religion of poetry or

any

set

he

states that "'there

Frye uses both

can never be any

of beliefs founded on literature”

(p. 31).

would

I

agree that literature, as a whole, tends toward a certain antidogmatic mutability and equivocation. Yet I also think that, if specific beliefs cannot

be

founded on particular works of literature, Frye nevertheless appeals to literatures spiritual value in warning his listeners that “if we shut the vision of [literature] completely out of our minds, or insist

ways, something goes dead inside of

important to keep

A

alive” (p. 33).

us,

on

being limited

its

in various

perhaps the one thing that

little later

in the lectures,

is

really

he adds that

“lit-

erature gives us an experience that stretches us vertically to the heights

and

depths of what the

human mind

conceptions of heaven and

of literary criticism

can conceive, to what corresponds to the

hell in religion

(p. 42). Similarly,

when he

speaks

the activity of uniting literature with society” (p. 55), the critic begins to sound like the church bringing the word of God to humanity. The study of literature carries its own spiritual rewards, just as it has lessons to teach about the good life. If beliefs cannot be founded on as

litera-

ture,

perhaps a religion can

colonial schools,

Turning

where

still

be

literature

made of it,

a religion

founded

was held to redeem those

first in

who imbibed

the it.^^

to science, Frye points to literature’s particular dedication to

dream-testing ideas in

the laboratory where

and experimented with

(p. 67).

Experiments

myths themselves

in laboratories do,

are studied

on occasion,

#lead to actions of some consequence in the world. The literary treatment of colonialism was given to narrating old and new myths about human difference, about ways of dividing the world. These works of the imagination can also be expected to bilities

have had an impact on

of imperialism,

just as their authors

how

people imagined the possi-

were influenced

in turn

by the

news from the empire. The “constructive power” of literature, from The Tempest to A Passage to India, was given to notions of race, culture, and nation that have outlived their time,

certed effort to retest, as

I

am

and

it

will

continue thus unless there

is

a con-

attempting here, the moral fabric of those orig-

inating myths.

There

are strange parallels to be

found between

this call for a

mind-stretching, heavenand-hell literary experience and the “total universe” that Susan Sontag identifies with the

pornographic imagination (1982, p. 112). If the pornographic imagination represents a “spectacularly cramped form of the human imagination,” it still possesses “ a wider scale of experience’ than healthy-mindedness” (p. 116). “No wonder, then,” she notes,

“that the or radically revamped forms of the total imagination which have arisen in the past century notably those of the artist, the erotomane, the left revolutionary, the madman

new



have chronically borrowed the prestige of the religious vocabulary”

(p. 114).

237

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION

238

For their part, the high school students responding to Fryes essays did not hesitate in situating literatures proximity to

wrote that

literature “teaches

Jeremy divided ties:

“We

one about times,

between

literature

work, and homes,” and

dress,

educational and

its

Heather, for example,

transcendent quali-

its

study literature to improve our imagination, our vocabulary, to get

away from

and escape

reality

tended Frye’s stance,

as she

to another

pushed

and

of literature

made

field test

as a

Patricia ex-

laboratory for

by

possible

literature’s

spiritual powers:

we may

For example,

spiritually

book and gain an understanding of the this way and others literature helps us grow,

read a

plight of a black slave. In

and mentally. Our

political attitude

more worldly

erature gives us a

Without

view.

new

be influenced by or introduced to If somewhat

world or another time.”

his idea

humankind toward an anthropological vicarious

life.

is

improved because

literature

lit-

we would not

societies or attitudes.

more than Frye would comfortably subscribe

to, Patricia’s cari-

cature of growth-through-literature does capture literature’s bridge to a better

world, leading the

way

what

smug about

desire or reason to be

nation, using, in

in finding

my case,

not yet part of ourselves.

is

this faith.

books such

My work shares

as Forster’s

and

the

I

have no

same

incli-

Frye’s to “help us grow,”

move beyond that earlier global turn of imperialism come to mean for literature and education.

in a worldly striving to

and

all

that

has

it

Finally, there

is

who

the student

set

Fryes educated imagination within

the metaphorical powers of the expanded horizon: “Literature awakens one’s

imagination, before.

With

it

brings one’s attention to things they hadn’t ever thought of

this in

horizons. Frye

and

I

mind one could both agree on

say that literature helps to broaden our

this.”

imperialisms educational project in

This statement seems

its call

to

much

closer to

awakening the imagination

to

what hadnt been seen or thought before the broadening of our horizons. Literature borrows from the imperial metaphor, making similar claims for the educational benefits of an expanded world. into an empire less I

on which the sun,

it

The extended horizon developed

seemed, was never to

set.

than myself to use the tired metaphors of an earlier age

hope,

when we

ward and what suggests,

is

it

consider

how

For students, no

is

no

great crime,

they speak to what the language carries for-

allows to slip from sight. Literature’s lasting power, as Frye

both to transcend the routines of the day and to

ments of history and

culture.

But

and the educated imagination

for

all

of that power,

to decide

crystallize

mo-

it falls

to education

where the attention

to literature

should be placed.

Toward the end of the

lectures, Frye explains

how

the

Tower of Babel has

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION been the organizing myth

for his lectures,

with

its

underlying theme of a

universal

language— “the language of human nature”

finds

expression for Frye in the

its

(p. 68).

What was

lost lost

authentic poets,” Shakespeare and

Pushkin, and in the “social vision” of Lincoln and Gandhi 2 (p. 68 ). ^ Here the crux of cultural discrimination comes not only out of this global sense of a brotherhood of genius, but also in his insistence that the language of human nature “never speaks unless

we

take the time to listen in leisure,

and it speaks only in a voice too quiet for panic to hear” (p. 68). This refined sense of listening to a radio talk, such as Frye’s, in the evening after dinner, returns us to

the book’s opening image of civilization as “a

human

shape, fenced off from the jungle”

(p. 9). It

and imagery furnishing Fryes

that the props

as Gayatri

subject of

Spivak names

humanism”

it,

takes

little

enough

to see

world of literature are

ideal

overs from the jungle-conquering age of empire. affinity,

cultivated world with a

little

It is

here that

we

left-

find “the

‘between the imperialist subject and the

(1987, p. 202).

It is

here as well that

we

find literary

claim to the “universal,” to use a term that Chinua Achebe has objected to (in the context of colonialist criticism of African literature) as nothing more

than p.

a

60 ).

synonym

for the narrow, self-serving parochialism

of Europe” (1995,

-25

If we are to get

beyond

way of imagining

this

literature,

we need

to begin

how our own imaginations were educated, and how this gives literature much of its place in the world. hope there will always be books that are able

with

I

to

remove us

in

some way from

ence by acknowledging

how

the world;

literary

we need not

study and

tributed to the writing of the colonial world as a

its

forsake that experi-

object have long con-

dream

recalled, a paradise

and regained on the page. The complex relationship between literature and world that Frye inscribes, with our imaginations ascending and returning (“We are not getting any nearer heaven, and ... it is time to return to the lost

earth” [1963, p. 68]) could be turned to examining

how

deserted islands and

Arun Mukherjee

explores the universalist credo of Western literary criticism using Frye’s references to a “a single international style” as an instance, and taking exception to, among

other things, the “fiercely political

way

which Western literary criticism tends to “deradicalize” the confrontations in the works from the Third World” (1988, p. 13). in

Mukherjee describes her undergraduate students’ reading of “The Perfume Sea,” by Margaret Laurence, which deals with a beauty salon in Ghana during the country’s achievement of independence, as largely stepping over the historical moment in favor of “the anxiety and hope of humanity,” as one student put it (1995, p. 449). I'he students were able “to efface the differences between British bureaucrats and British traders, between colonizing whites and colonized blacks, and between rich blacks and poor blacks” (p. 449). The pursuit of the universal found its echo in the textbook’s editorial preface to Laurence’s story, which warned that “feminine vanity

element

in a

world of change”

(p. 450).

is

presented as the only changeless

239

240

LITERATURE AND THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION lost

empires

still

figure in

our reckoning of the world.

understand through difference and distance?

How is

What

it

is it

that

that “here”

still

the legacy of concepts that took their form during the age of empire?

students a sense of literature’s part of that legacy, a legacy that protect our place in the world, as though

how

it is

that they are housed.

I

realize,

we were

still

we

still

bears

We owe

seems to

who seldom wonder

snails

however, that these will always be

dif-

ficult,

trying points to consider with a class of students. In their readerly plea-

sures,

no

imagine

less

how

than in their belabored readings, students of literature need to time spent with accomplished works of art positions them in

the ways that Toni Morrison and Northrop Frye have suggested, that (white) beneficiaries of an educated imagination that promises to set

apart from the jungle.

The

inquiry of this legacy that

only renew connections between education and the terprise

of consequence in the world.

am

arts as

My educational hope

as

them

advocating can

an intellectual enis

that,

once these

assumptions about primitive islands and white readers are raised as at a part of literature’s story, the divisions remaining from those colonial

literary least

I

is,

days will not be able to

work

in quite the

same way.

}

t

i •t

/ V

t

*r« (I

*

s

-

>•

r

4

r, f

i

,



4

r

1

t )

ff

1

t

'

I

1



.

Frontispiece engravingfrom Peter Kolb, Present State

Cape

of

Good Hope

(London,

and natural surroundings of the was a key

Kolb’s account

of the

of the customs

“Hottentots” ofSouth Africa

early ethnographic text for

European audiences.

TEN

OUT OF THE PAST

I

n a Vancouver school not long ago, a teacher invited his grade 7 class to discuss the nature of racism and what could be done about it. The students were not at a loss for words or ideas, judging by the videotape one

of them

made of the

diverse class used the

discussion.*

Whereas some students

Rodney King beating and other

dents of racism in the United States to

argument home by

make

well-publicized inci-

brought the

their point, others

example, that “racism

insisting, for

in this ethnically

is

in

Canadian society

because other people want Canada to be one country and one color.” Another student pointed to Canadas part in the Underground Railroad, which

helped American slaves on the road to freedom in

this country,

although a

classmate countered with Canadas imposition of a Chinese immigration tax, before allowing that “its getting lots

much

better right now, because there’s not

of news about racism anymore.”

Some

also

spoke from their

own

experience, with one describing the job

discrimination suffered by his two aunts

Kong. Another fying

what he

rattled off the racist

felt

was the racism

who had

names he had been

in his

own

Among

by the students,

was ultimately struck by the

video,

I

which pose

many

called, before identi-

caring and thoughtful final

Excerpts from the videotape are drawn from Leslie

1997)-

243

comments made

words recorded on the

a particular challenge to this book.

gested that turning to history was not the

'

Hong

family in the selection of suitable

marriage partners.

the

emigrated from

What was

way forward.

said sug-

“Let’s just forget

Roman and Timothy

Stanley (1994;

OUT OF THE PAST

244

whats happened all

George Hepler

in the past,

unique individuals and

live

stated.

^Remember

we are The stu-

that

the rest of our lives without racism.”

dent spoke into the camera with feeling, his words coming across as a hopeful conclusion to the film. Would it not be better to put yesterday’s sins be-

hind

us, to step

away from

certainly needs to be asked of this book.

My dwelling on

and

a troubled past

start afresh.^

The

question



scholarship’s disturbing contributions to the age of

ropean imperialism does seem an odd manner of building a greater clusion in the classroom.

Is

this the best

way

to

expand

a

level

Eu-

of in-

curriculum long

bound by ideas that grew out of Western expansion? What it might mean to move forward, I argue, cannot be assessed unless we understand what education has already

nation.

made of difference and

diversity

through

race, culture,

and

What might

be written off as the remote history of imperial adventures and misfortunes has to be considered as still working on the educated imagination. As

mounted on

if

among

the hunting trophies

the walls of the Harvard

Club

I

was once surprised

to find

m New York some years ago, we

comfortably and pleased with the prizes long after distancing ourselves from the practices. The solution, however, is not simply to redecorate. Before

sit

selling off the glassy-eyed else

trophy

of that original adventure

kills

of that colonial

past, let us ask

in learning decorates the

what

clubhouse of our

education.

We need to consider what we have learned about a world that was,

in

no

small measure, divided and instructed under the sponsorship of imperialism.

We

have to ask what the young learn of the question “Where is here?” and the part that schooling has long played in defining who belongs where. This is

my call

to history, to not forgetting but reconsidering

present in the

we can

way we tend

to see the world.

take greater charge of what

sistent past. Yet this call

comes

we

at a

It is

how

the past remains

my way of asking whether

carry forward from this inevitably per-

time

when

the very idea of history faces

the intellectual ferment of a postmodern “crisis of representation.” According to those waving the postmodern banner, we have reason to be

shaken

in

our

ability to discover

—and

such a globally complex phenomenon

modern

decidedly

represent



a transcending truth for

as imperialism.

enfants terrible treat history as so

much

And

while these post-

narrative that suffers

from

as-

pirations to the truth, very late Hegelians are busy writing end-of-history obituaries.^ Taken together, these critiques cannot help but seriously under-

mine what we have come 2

On

posthistory, see Lutz

end ot meaning (1992,

p.

to

count on and use

as “history.”

What

is it,

then.

Niethammer, who sees it as not “the end of the world but the 3); and on history as narrative, see Hayden White (1987).

OUT OF THE PAST that

can reasonably hope to do with the past,

I

now

that

no longer stands

it

before us like a chronologically ordered shelf of books, waiting to be opened

and read?

there

Is

still

non^ciion section to be found? Such questions,

a

light of

what

history

and schooling, on the idea of a

new

in a

I

way.

have argued for up to

To

end,

this

I

this point, call for further reflection

schoolchildren to suggest that the account that far

1

think

is

a final

sample of

called for

is

not so

removed from what the young already know.

was once enough

It

on

useful past that can serve the schools

draw on comments from

will

in

wise” (1909,

p. 151).

for Francis

And

Bacon

although

to claim that “historians

make men

claim seems dated in this cynical age,

this

the recently proposed national standards for history teaching in the United

by quoting Thomas Jefferson’s advice that history prepares us for the future, and Etienne Gilsons idea that history is a laboratory for testing States begin

the consequences of thought.^ Yet

how

too easy to point out

it is

this faith in

history stands in the face of the century’s principal horrors, from the First

World War

to the Persian

Gulf War,

of which were launched by those

all

who

did not want for an education in history. If I fear that forgetting the past will leave

me

prepared for the future,

ill

value of recalling what to the history that

we have

of the

in the story

came

before.

inherited

still

I

The is

cannot count on the ready-made

idea of returning with a critical eye

not only about what has gone missing

but also about a history that has remained

past,

present as a force in our

lives;

which

is

to say that

more or

all

too

better history

teaching, including the history of imperialism, does not in itself point the

way

forward. In

one

with Flegel. losophy

sense,

my approach

“What

of History,

to history

comes down

to a further wrestling

experience and history teach,” Flegel writes in The Phi-

“is this



that people

and governments never have learned

anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from For

my

part,

I

it”

(1956, p. 6).

have been arguing that most everything people

know about

the world at large has

come down

to

them from the

How

past,

and

in that sense

they are nothing

if

not students ol history.

know

if

not out of the history of meaning posed by family and

the world,

school?

How

does a child

first

come

does the child grow into the meaning of the world

if

to

not

through the interpretations established by the prominent voices of previous

and Gilson are invoked under the heading “The Significance of History the Educated Citizen” in National Standards for World History (National Center, 1994,

^Jefferson for p.

I).

^45

OUT OF THE PAST

246

generations that pervade the carriers

keeping

of

of

this history,

alive their

this history

school lessons on toric

transforming

connections with

it,

rewriting corners of

it. It

it,

acting

can also be said that what

something broad and philosophic. Long

finally

is

morning papers and evening TV? People become

Columbus and Cook

is

on

it,

made

after the

are forgotten, people retain their his-

encounters with difference, read across such two-dimensional spectrums

as civilized

and savage. West and

the details having been

comes poetic

lost, are

East, white

than history,

Poetry

he writes

black.

These history

compared

to history, has a greater

something more philosophic and of graver import

is

in Poetics, “since its

statements are of the nature rather

of universals whereas those of history are singulars” (1947, this poetic

lessons,

elevated to universal principles. History be-

in Aristotle’s sense, as poetry,

claim to truth.

and

p. 636).'^ In just

way, the historical distinctions that the imperial powers used to

establish colonies, divide races,

and distinguish

cultures are transformed into

universals of nature.

These universals then become what people and governments do indeed learn from history.

Of course, found outside

no lexicon tried as

there

as

no return

this history

which

hard

is

to a

of history.

pre-Columbian world, no place

We have

foreign to this history,

is

anyone

to write

beyond the

no language

—no

to be

syntax and

who has borders of what came before. “We writes Jacques Derrida,

can pronounce not a single destructive proposition which has not already had to slip into the form, the logic, and the implicit postulations of precisely

what

it

seeks to contest

Eden, for a time or a nial project in all

of

(1978b, pp. 280—81).

state its

of mind before the

The

search for a prelapsarian

was

itself

part of the colo-

destructive contradictions, a point

George Steiner

fall,

forcefully renders in discussing the nostalgia for the Absolute: “Possessed, as It

were, by

some

archetypal rage at [our] exclusion from the

Garden of Par-

by some torturing remembrance of that disgrace, we have scoured the earth for vestiges of Eden and laid them to waste wherever we have found them” (1974, p. 32). adise,

The ing. Its

and

past

is

not forgotten, but

it is

used to invest the present with mean-

transformation into universal truths makes for better mental storage

access,

we might

Thus, we view

say today in light of advances in cognitive psychology.

a typical

newspaper photograph of the white cow

sitting in

the streets of an Indian city as the timeless truth of that country’s collapsed

I

am

indebted here to

M.

I.

Finleys discussion of ancient Greek historiography, in which

he helplully points out that historia, which refers simply to inquiry into the past, was “invented” by Herodotus “to preserve,” in Finleys words, “the fame of the great and wonderful actions of the Greeks and barbarians” (1986, p. 30).

OUT OF THE PAST and ancient

civilization.

The

challenge before us, in the face of this “actual”

to arrive,

and

to help students arrive, at

photograph,

is

an understanding of

how

history renders the world sensible, a history that seems above all to dictate the meaning of difference. What 1 see in photographs of India has been produced by the lifetimes of hard, deliberate work that went into

engineering

the intellectual infrastructure of European expansion. that we cannot step beyond the historical encoding

what he names elsewhere its

educated grasp, he

(1982) a “white

When

Derrida

insists

of the world, beyond

mythology” that holds

many of us

in

speaking to a history that inscribes what has become the nature of the body. The perception of race, you may recall Carlton Coon is

reassuring his readers in The Origin of Races, is only natural (1962, p. 662). Well, the human perception of difference per se is natural enough. We

cannot

but by making distinctions. But the significance invested in any given difference forms an order of work, history, and discourse, that then live

only natural.”

passes as

The

specific differences that

we

learn to attend to

with acuity— such as those grouped under the heading “race”— and the extremely consequential burden of meaning that we learn to assign to those dif-

ferences are the result of a historical process that each of us

is

educated within.

To change

the significance of those differences will take an educational effort at least equal to the one required to put those meanings in place to begin with.

My modest proposal

supplement our education with a consideration of imperialisms influence on the teaching of history, geography, science,

language, and literature

works on

m

is

the

first

hope

the

that

it

will

change the way

this legacy

us.

These additional lessons question

to

why it

is

are intended to help

perfectly natural for

all

of us understand and

Kathy Chin, the student introduced

chapter, to understand that although she was born

Canada, she

is

and not just of her own

volition

and grows up

— Chinese.

do not

in in

yet

have an education prepared to deal with what has gone into the making ol the boundaries between East and West, between races and cultures, that we live

within.

My intention

not to free Kathy from the complex suppositions of identity nor to deny her the opportunity to choose how she would still

identify herself,

ment

is

only

is

whether within or against how others identify

that, as imperialism’s legacy

dents learn of the world,

its

her.

My argu-

continues to contribute to what stu-

influence on learning deserves to figure far

more

explicitly as a topic for consideration in their formal education. Students have a right to see

what the West, and

its

proud process of education, has made of

them, even

as this

ucation; for

one paradoxical implication of what

I

knowledge

is

bound

to complicate 1

and implicate

their ed-

have assembled here

continue to count on the educational system to make us

free,

even as

is 1

that

ques-

247

OUT OF THE PAST

248

tion

its

entrenched complicity with imperialism. But

entwined with imperialism modern education association,

I

is,

after tracking just

after five centuries

how

of close

have to wonder whether education can ever stand completely

apart from this imperial legacy.

What

are the prospects

against a legacy that has contributed so

much

of turning education

our understanding of the ed-

to

ucated imagination?^

There may be no better instance of the double bind that drives ject that turns on,

even as

erick Douglass of his

was published

own

it

this pro-

turns to, education, than the story told by Fred-

education

as a slave. In his

autobiography, which

he describes his surreptitious acquisition of literacy

in 1845,

came of tricking white children into sharing the letters of the alphabet with him. As he acquired the ability to read and write, it afforded him, as he that

puts

new and

a

it,

with which

Of all “I

that

now I

my youthfial

it

did for him, he

mans power

prized

it

highly.

and mysterious

things,

understanding had struggled, but struggled In vain.” felt

that the light

understand what has been to

the white

and

special revelation, explaining dark

that

cast

on

was foremost:

slavery

me a most perplexing difficulty man.

to enslave the black

From

it

moment,

I

It

was

a



to wit,

grand achievement

understood the pathway from

freedom (i960, pp. 58-59). Douglass manages not only to affirm the fundamental faith in learning, which is no more than the missionaries of

slavery to

education had long sought to engender in their charges, but also to affirm whites’ superiority

pean

right, as

by virtue of this

some

interpreted

it,

lettered art.

to enslave others.

pears delighted with stealing the secret of also suggests the

scribing letters

fire

basis for the

on

a page.

is

To

from the gods,

precisely

enslave a people by

what

least, literacy lights a

sort

Euro-

Although Douglass ap-

moral hollowness of those whose authority

needs to be asked, hands, at

Such was

his statement

Is

based on in-

means of an alphabet,

it

of grand achievement”? In Douglass’s

pathway

to

freedom (with

its

echo of Hegel’s

Whatever education’s complicity with power, whatever the paradoxical tension stretched taut between emancipation and entrapHistory-as-Spirit).

ment, Douglass turns as

it

it

against that

power and into something

to be prized

liberates.

This

Is

much

the spirit of multicultural, antiracist,

and feminist

initia-

what can reasonably be asked in the face of this legacy, I would support Said s educational hope for an end of orientalism that would "ideally go beyond coercivejimitations on thought toward a non-dominative and non-essentialist type of learning, with an aim not so much to dissipate difference itsell for who can deny the con^

In considering

.

.

.



stitutive role ol national as well as cultural differences in the relations between human beings— but to challenge the notion that difference implies hostility, a frozen reified set

of

opposed essences”

(1995, pp. 4, 6).

OUT OF THE PAST fives that, in

seeking to identify the obviously Eurocentric and patriarchal elements in the curriculum, are now part of what gets talked about in schools

and

universities. In

support of that disruptive

aspects of academic disciplines that gave

made of the

mation of identity continue

to such ideas as the

examined within West-

critically

ern education. Students need to see what science entalist scholars

have focused on specific

I

modern form

of the West, aspects which need to be

rise

talk,

made of race and what

These particular contributions

East.

An

to affect their lives.

ori-

to the for-

education in the

and what scholarship has made of the world. Despite the grade 7 student Georges hopes and the philosopher Hegel’s fears, a cerarts

sciences needs to include

tain reading little

of the past

is still

review or reflection.

very

“The

much

past

character say in Rcc^uievn jhv d Nun.

We still that

need to

we can no

alism possible?

of history

ask,

What

is

it

us;

rather,

how can

courses through us with

not even past”

mean

(1951, p. 92).^

to be held in the throes

How is

longer trust or be comforted by?

Or

it

never dead,” William Faulkner has a

Its

does

with

of a past

a history of imperi-

such a history be useful? Clearly, the study

not about achieving picture-perfect representations of an earlier reality. “Realism,” which served as the principal intellectual goal of European thinking about history during the nineteenth century, is not the force it once was.^

is

Not long

ago,

Roland Barthes took the decline of the

tive as “the sign [that]

History

ligible (1988, p. 140; Barthes’s

of what France.

I

have presented in

is

henceforth not so

emphasis). This

book.

this

Ojibwa students were beaten

these schools.

What

ligible the struggle

is

needed from

today over,

The

Deborah Britzman

clusive

may

the

reaUs the

not to undermine the

intel-

reality

Jesuits built schools in

New

for speaking their native language in

this history

say, native

world history textbook terminates the time ^

is

much

historical narra-

is

that

which can make

control of schooling. line

of Chinese history

intel-

When

the

in the six-

an odd turn of events, curricula that purport to be inactually work to produce new forms of exclusivity if the only subject positions writes that

in

offered are the tolerant normal

and the tolerated subaltern” (1995, p. 160; Britzmans emphasis). In offering a similar warning for the discipline of comparative literature, Key Chow asks that, despite “the euphoria of oppositional thinking,” we not be misled into thinking that by making the gesture of welcoming non-Western cultures and civilizations into our curricula, we are going to make real changes. ... We need to

remember that there has been a complicated history in the West of the study of non-Western, non-European languages; our Eurocentric multilingual comparatists have always had their counterparts in the great Orientalists, Sinologists, Indologists, and so forth” (1995, pp. no-ii).

Hayden White; “Nineteenth-century European

culture displayed everywhere a rage for a apprehension of the world”; “each oi the most important cultural movements and ideologies of the nineteenth century Positivism, Idealism, Naturalism, realistic



ism, Symbolism, Vitalism, Anarchism, Eiberalism, and so ‘realistic’

comprehension of social

reality

than

its

on

—claimed

(literary) Real-

to provide a more competitors” (1973, pp. 45-46).

249

250

OUT OF THE PAST we saw

teenth century, as it

earlier in this

book, the problem

thereby misses the reality or truth of China. There

not simply that

not going to be a his-

of China (any more than a truth of imperialism)

torical truth

prehensive or singular sense, no matter

of China (or imperialism).

What

is

how exhaustive

of the West’s project with history and

reaches back, perhaps, to Hegel

s

any com-

an explanation of

is

would

its

in

the historical coverage

required of teachers

the textbooks suspension of Chinese history that gibility

is

is

increase the intelli-

teaching, a project that

notion that the non-Western world

exists

outside History and the World-Spirit.

The

educational approach to history that

described as

This books focus

pragmatic.

may seem

ence. This approach

I

it. It

has been a

advocating here

on the

is

past’s

is

best

continuing pres-

to use history crassly, as an instrument for

solving the problems of the present; “presentism” ingly call

am

is

what

common enough educational

historians disparag-

ploy for trying to con-

vince students of history’s timeless relevance (Seixas, 1993). Yet rather than asking which history is most relevant to today’s situation or asking that the past be judged

by the standards of the present,

I

am

pursuing the history that

continues to trouble aspects of current educational practices. Imperialism is but one trace element within this process. Such traces in, say, the field of ge-

ography can help us understand

how human

difference

structured and

is

given meaning by the educated imagination. Turning our attention to these educational traces of imperialism might well speed up and direct the gradual

breakdown of this legacy

that reflects centuries of intellectual labor.

over a history textbooks obscuring of Chinese history can the traditional division of the world

(if

mean

To pause

interrupting

not of the student) between East and

West. This historical exclusion of China contravenes the universalizing norms

of Western realism

— how can

a country exist outside time.^



for

no other ap-

parent reason than to bolster the great divide. These lessons also seek to end the exclusion that students who are identified as Chinese are made to suffer in seeing

China omitted from most of what

is

known

as

modern

exclusion only confounds our best efforts to understand

Good

vides continue to operate.

to cover what’s missing

also needs to be

made apparent

ence, language,

a feature

and

of

these great di-

from the

traditional program.

to students that such exclusion

how

This

teachers have long found supplementary

works on China

an oversight but

how

history.

is

But

it

not simply

the disciplines of geography, history, sci-

literature (as well as the arts

and mathematics) have gone

about dividing the world since the age of empire.

That much at stake

said,

it

should be clear that more than the history of China

m VC'^estern schools.

identity of the child.

When

^OCTiat is

foremost,

I

would

hold,

is

is

the historical

Michel Foucault speaks of the “history of the

dif-

OUT OF THE PAST tercnt

modes by which,

in

our culture,

human

not hard to imagine the imperial legacy doing

who

the young, subjectivity

is

are

and

its

are not, for example,

written and

named within

schools and popular culture.

We

are as

made subjects,” it is make subjects out of

beings are part to

Chinese (1982,

p.

Our

208).

the historically contingent texts of

we

named. The only hope of un-

are

derstanding and gaining some distance from this process appears to be to catch a glimpse of what has passed in the rearview mirror. In Foucaults terms, my historical inquiry into imperialism has been about how “human beings are

made

subjects

and how they

from others.” Such

are “divided inside [themselves] or divided

the “government of individualization” (p. 212.). Foucauldian imperative “We have to know the historical conditions is



The

which

motivate our conceptualizations”— calls for attending to the “dividing practices by which knowledge and subjects, both school and individual, are constituted (p. 209). Learning to divide the

within, Foucault

devotes

little

would

say, a

world

in this

regime du savoir

attention to imperialism, he

way

(p. 212).

comes

is

to be inscribed

Although Foucault

close to posing

my projects

central question in his conclusion to

that fear

The Archeology ofKnowledge'. “What is that makes you seek, beyond all boundaries, ruptures, shifts, and

divisions, the great historico-transcendental destiny

of the Occident?” (1972,

p. 210).

Teaching to

this sense

of destiny

is

precisely

what

E.

D. Hirsch, Diane

Ravitch, Arthur Schlesinger, and other contemporary defenders of a largely national cultural literacy in the United States are banking on to “unite” a fractured America. Their earnest directing of the school

curriculum toward pre-

serving “the great historico-transcendental destiny of the Occident” might make more students feel at home if it included a critical treatment

of

that destiny

come. As

was constructed on divisions that we

are

now working

how

to over-

described in the opening chapter, educators are responsible for developing an account with their students of what has brought us to seeing the I

world divided

my own

in this way. Imperialism’s educational legacy, so

schoolbooks decades ago, today exhibits

far less

prominent

in

prejudice toward the

non-Western world. Current history textbooks, at their best, address how the legacy of imperialism has shaped the writing of history, although others, it is true, do not interrupt earlier traditions. Far fewer biology texts today carry the miscegenation torch, preferring to give the impression that the study of biology has had nothing to do with the concept of race.

For a teacher to give an account of imperialism’s educational legacy means learning about how the world was divided as a result of the energetic study of the world. Given that

study of imperialism can hold no guarantee for decreasing racism, this inquiry finds its educational warrant in stuthis

251

252

OUT OF THE PAST know where

dents’ right to

would make of them,

the material they study

comes from and what

rights that underlie the principle

have been advocating. In this way,

countability

I

demonstrate

how much

of what we mean by

this

it

of educational ac-

book

race, culture,

intended to

is

and nation was

how much of its legacy was the work of scholars know what people will do with what they learn, but

shaped by imperialism, and

and schools.

It is

lack of assurance

hard to is

hardly a reason to shy away from reflecting on what peo-

ple educated in the spirit of in the past.

European imperialism have made of the world

Educators need to give an account of what their emerging pro-

fession (of learning) did during

ement

in the

what was,

for education as

much

as for

any

el-

West, the Great Expansion.

Lessons in Learning Imperialism’s great educational enterprise began in an effort to remake the

world of learning. The Arawak people

who greeted Columbus on

the beaches

undid what Europe had known of the world. These newfound people defied the strictures of Scripture (they were naked and not ashamed). They con-

founded the

classical learning

of science (they were neither hairy nor mon-

They created a need for a supplement that would incorporate this New World into the old ways of understanding. Europe’s great intellectual

strous).

challenge,

H.

J.

Elliott has

and

as well as Asia

argued (1970), was to assimilate the

Africa, within a

new European world

peans sought to place the people they met in the racial order, to

to collect

order.

New World

The Euro-

into a revised

convert them to Christianity, to teach them European lan-

guages, to rewrite their histories and laws, to rename

and

New World,

and preserve the

artifacts

them and

their land,

of their culture. Europe sought to

bring this other form of life into an ordering of the world that would amount to an elaborate supplement to the medieval mappae mundi that firmly set the divisions between Earlier,

I

Europe and Asia and

made

it

clear that

I

Africa.

have faced

my own

imperialist dangers with

namely, in the sheer expansiveness of the suggested association of education and imperialism that I have engaged in explicating. The forces of this project,

imperialism might appear educational in their every purpose, and education during those years of empire must necessarily seem imperialist in its every in-

But given the shaping of educational practices (in English language and literature) and the initiation of disciplines (anthropology and modern geogtent.

raphy) against the backdrop of imperialism, cult to insist literal

on

it is

going to be extremely

diffi-

boundaries between the metaphorical and the associations of imperialism and education. The Western thirst for clear, distinct

learning in that earlier era was supported by, where

it

was not simply an ex-

OUT OF THE PAST tension

the desire for colonial acquisition and political domination exercised by the European powers. Imperialism, in turn, fostered a global market for Its own educational resources, as it sought to make the world into a storehouse of knowledge: “The sixteenth century collected facts as it collected exoi,

otic objects, assembling

them

for display in

cosmographies

rios in a cabinet,” Elliott writes (1970, p. 30).

great deal to learn

having taught

from the world but very

The West

little

that

it

like so

many

believed that

would

it

cu-

had

a

credit others as

with few exceptions. Adventurous autodidacticism prevailed among the curious and the carefree who set off to teach themselves about these new realms, only to return home to interested audiences keen on learnit,

what these self-made scnolars made of the world. For all of the learning that went on abroad, Europeans showed little appreciation for their native ing

teachers,

who were

regarded as informants. There remains the ironic sense that the sophisticated learned from the naive, a role reversal that, it is as-

sumed, was not

fully appreciated

porary dressed-up

on language,

as likely

teachers.

^

by natives who served the colonists

After

all,

who was

it

who

as

tem-

took those lessons

example, and turned them into learned papers, dictionaries, grammars, and other works of scholarship? And how are we now to question for

the hold of the

West on the

role

of global authority and educator?

Learning proved another way for the

VC^est to

take the rest of the world in

hand, whether by conducting geological surveys, preserving ancient texts, or setting up schools. None of this can be faulted, except that the globalization

of Western understanding was always about a relative positioning of the West by a set of coordinates defined by race, culture, and nation. Although

we

can-

not hope to ascertain the precise contribution of scientific efforts to advancing the colonial empires nor calculate the whole of imperialism’s educational interests, we must still be prepared to challenge grade 7 student George Heplers advice to just say no to history. We need to ask him whether this al-

ways

partial inquiry

does not

too often passes as the

human

at least

hold out the hope of dislodging what

nature of difference.

history of divisions that, for example, set call

them

into question.

It

reveals

cated amateurs working hand

and

m

how

one

To

trace the natural(izing)

race apart

from another

these divisions were

first

cast

is

to

by dedi-

hand with champions of global expansion

domination. With time, an education system arose that encompassed the resulting systems of classification, the history of a triumphant racial

West, the worldly powers of the English language, and the literature of island 8

The

race

and

were kept present when, for example, Lt. lerome Becker, Congo during the 1880s, spoke of using “our black domestic ser-

class differences

stationed in the Belgian

vants ... as language teachers” (cited by Fabian, 1986,

p. 30).

253

254

OUT OF THE PAST

A

paradises.

the colonized, cover.

And

cultural

dome of learning was

gilded

who

constructed upon the columns of

were held to be sheltered from their

own

savagery by this

today, the educational legacy of imperialism extends across the

spectrum

—whether

textbook treatments of Chinese history, Dis-

in

ney theme parks, or television reruns of Wild Kingdom. The imperial gaze sustained in

many

tourist

and educational

enterprises, representing a certain

domestication of imperialism while continuing as a

classroom of instruction and delight.^

ucators ever-present hope, that

I

is

It is

staking out of the world

its

with caution, then, and an ed-

turn to the schools to consider the prospects

of gaining a greater measure of critical distance from

this

educational legac>^

In School

As

It

turns out, George Heplers

the past

is

exactly

recommendation

to his classmates to forget

what schools have often done and done very

well, in the

face of controversy. Standard practice for educators, always with brave excep-

been to shy away from subjects wherein

tions, has

some. Educational programs on

life

turns serious and fear-

sexuality, substance abuse,

and violence,

for

example, have been a long time coming. What, then, of Imperialism’s troubling legacy, especially as IS

no longer

It

implicates the arts

viable as a scientific category,

ogy textbooks do by

default,

is

and

To

sciences?

say that race

which the majority of recent

one thing, but

biol-

to ignore science’s long service

m the construction of race seems an act of miseducation, leaving students to wonder how

race has taken

on such weight

as a

nonbiological

phenomenon.

Although one science textbook has dealt with the eugenics movement (Bullard et

al., 1992.),

sciences larger contribution to the

yet to find a place within

what students can expect

meaning of race has

Fortunately, this head-In-the-sand attitude has always struck as irresponsible,

about biology.

to learn

some educators

and, far from the mainstream of educational publishing, they

have created excellent support materials on the science of race and the economics of neocolonialism, to name two examples introduced earlier in this

book

(Gill

and Levidow, 1987; Gage,

and sciences that

In writing

I

see as

1993).

It is

this critical

look at the

arts

an important addition to the considerable work that

of “the legacy of conquest”

the American West, Patricia Nelson Limerof struggles over land and legitimation through cultural tourism, while portraying an ongoing educational treatment of this harsh heritage: “When Indian war dances became tourist spectacles, when the formerly scorned customs of the Chinese drew tourists to Chinatown, when former out-groups found that characteristics that had once earned them disapproval could now earn them a living, when fearful, lifethreatening deserts became charming patterns of color and light, the war was over and the frontier could be considered closed and even museumized” felt in

ick describes the continuation

(1987, p. 25).

OUT OF THE PAST is

being done on numerous fronts in multicultural global education (Gold-

and McLaren,

berg, 1994; Sleeter

1995).'^

This book has sought to ask readers to tional legacy for their

own

reflect

education and that of the young.

tend to provide adequate support for teachers

themes of

book

this

The

My

into their classrooms.

provide a basis for teachers to educations.

on imperialism’s educa-

down

sit

starting point

world within the scope of this

who

wish to introduce the

hope, however,

is

that

it

will

together to reflect on and compare

how we

to get a feel for

is

does not pre-

It

think and see the

This reflection could

intellectual legacy.

lead,

imagine the process, to the selection or development of specific supplements, for each of the subject areas, that encourage student and teacher to

as

I

step back

though

and examine how the subject has come approach

this

intended to change the way

is

of history, geography, and other subject legacy

is all

that

one would want

areas,

frame the world." Al-

we

envision the teaching

does not

it

to teach or learn about.

situating the lessons, maps, textbooks, it

to

and

provides a sense of where these lessons

films, that

It

mean

that this

becomes

make up an

came from and how,

a

way of

education;

in trying to

move beyond this legacy of colonialism, they need to change, to be viewed in a new way. Although this sense of change can be introduced through passing

comments perhaps

reflecting

imperialism’s educational legacy

on

one’s

own

would form

education, direct lessons on

a postcolonial

supplement

to the

curriculum. As a starting point in helping educators imagine, in a crudely

schematic sense, what in the world might be taught to the young this

book,

I

as a result

have drawn up a “postcolonial supplementary project grid” that

gratuitously reduces this In considering

what

book it

to a

would

snappy student

activity sheet (fig.

realistically take to

make

i).

the educational

legacy of imperialism part of the curriculum, classroom handouts aside, foresee three

of

major objections that touch on what

'®See Peter McLaren, who, in the

name of a

is

I

can

both too remote and too

“revolutionary multiculturalism,” proposes

“we must actively help students to challenge sites of discursive hierarchy rather than delocalizing and dehistoricizing them,” which will redeem us “from our finitude as passive supplicants of history” (1994, pp. 68-69). " Derrida captures the educational value of the supplement in Rousseaus ^mile, where that

education, [which

the keystone of Rousseauist thought, will be described or presented as a system of substitution [suppleance] destined to reconstitute Natures edifice in “all

the most natural

way

is]

possible” (1974, p. 145).

He

points out that the supplement “adds

Avrmor outside of the positivity to which it is superadded, alien to it must be other than it” (p. 145; Derridas emphasis). Just so, we need a history of imperialism to which is superadded imperialism’s writing of history and other disciplines as an infiuence on the formation of the disciplines, as both alien to what has been meant by studying history and capable, in that way, of replacing only to replace”;

it

“is

that which, in order to be replaced by

some

small part of it.

255

256

OUT OF THE PAST Figure

1.

A Postcolonial Supplementary Project Grid Identity Concepts

Gender

Race

Culture

Nation

Empire

Disciplines

The Educational Legacy ofImperialism

History

1)

Geography

2) In the treatment

In the portrayal of the other

the

Science

Students

of distance from

Families

West

3) In the

Language

Domains ofInquiry

Teachers

placement of the non-Western

Schoolbooks

outside history

Literature

Community

4) In the suggestion

Others

of evolutionary

differ-

ences along moral, cultural, and/or

Informal

psychological lines 5) In the construction

6) In the equation

Popular Culture

Education

of racial differences

Arts

of culture and/or

Literature

nationality with race

Scholarship State

HOW THE PROJECT

GRID WORKS: With any of the

disciplines, the teacher

can use instances from schoolbooks or popular culture to demonstrate how a discipline continues the educational legacy of imperialism, which has an impact on what are termed, for purposes of this grid, identity concepts and domains of inquiry.

Examples beginning with the

disciplines

might include the following. The

disciplines listed are only those that receive detailed treatment in this book. (a)

History. Students look at

an informal education setting such

how

the concept of nationality

as a

museum

exhibition

\s

presented in

on the American

Revolution. (b)

Geography: Students interview

understanding of the (c)

Science. Students

identity in (d)

members of the community ^howx. changing meaning of culture.

to racial

humans.

Language: Students examine the educational implications of the

language policies in the (e)

examine old biology schoolbooks

their

new South

African constitution.

Literature: Students review previous

mances, and

critical

miscegenation.

state

works on Othello

assignment questions, perfor-

for their treatment

of race, gender, and

OUT OF THE PAST immediate about whether

legacy,

this topic.

in

use of literature to

Some may

say that imperialisms educational

geography s exotic representation of the other or in the civilize, is simply removed from today’s struggles against

racism in the school yard and workplace. Imperialism seems a topic

more wanting makes

when thinking about American

in relevance

vivid the colonial entanglement of conquest

America did

to construct

how

dents appreciate

an educated rationale for both.

the

schools, until

one

slavery,

^J7e

and

all

is

that

need to help stu-

the ideas that took root in that context could

form the way the world to relearn the world.

and

all

still

in-

divided, with the challenge before us being trying

By way of examples,

I

have tried to

tie

the persistence of

most unassuming of ideas within our education. Perhaps the best instance is the geographically elusive boundary between Asia and Europe, which is otherwise so firm and fixed a great divide in our minds. Impethis legacy to the

rialisms intellectual

accomplishments can be shown to be an immediate and present aspect of how the West continues to construct the world in an educational sense.

After imperialism’s seeming remoteness, a second challenge facing educators

is

how

to teach

about

this legacy

jects themselves. Placing the actual

lum under

scrutiny

is

Typically, as with sex

when

and

a different order of dealing with controversial issues.

and drugs, aim

history, to

how

it

is

taken at the teenage behavior that

courage that exceeds the

what

is

so

level

is

would ask

this particular

that

its

managed

own

to ob-

of educational

required to teach about safe sex or dangerous

wrong with

pride rather than apology? Well, I

eye toward

to ask the school for a level

the

West

Every society does; such ethnocentrism

still

self-critical

has both participated in and

scure the privileging of the West,

drugs. Yet

of the school sub-

critical

content and organization of the curricu-

needs constraining. Asking the school to turn a practices

it is

I

is

telling

its

best story to

only natural.

would respond,

some allowance be made

regime of ethnocentrism, that

this

Why is

not do

where we

for the scale is,

its

young? with

it

are,

and

and proximity of

for the global educational

consequences of imperialism’s legacy within and beyond the West. In fostering this critical stance toward education, have proposed that we begin with 1

our

own

schooling, to see

how

matters of identity and difference have

changed and have been retained since the collapse of colonialism. “We were born in an era when Europe still seemed to be and perhaps was Queen of the world,” reflected Henri Baudet in 1959, “yet the West’s great retreat from





Asia and Africa, which spelled the visible end of our classic expansion and of

Western mastery of the world has taken place within the space of

less

than

257

258

OUT OF THE PAST one generation”

(1965, p. 6). In taking this critical

disciplines, those

of us

who

fall

approach to the academic

today within that single generations span are

asking students to join with us in rethinking what

Baudet goes on

“We

say,

we have

As

have witnessed a tremendous event, requiring in-

and explanation, even though we may,

sight, interpretation,

inherited.

in the

meantime,

be unable to provide more than a mere provisional explanation of a very gen-

My

eral nature” (pp. 6-7).

have an irreversible,

will

and

third

final area

diate spaces of teaching,

colonialism, the

that the pursuit of such accounts

not exactly predictable, effect on imperialisms

if

ways of dividing the world,

A

hope remains

to the educational benefit

of concern,

also

touching on the close and imme-

comes from returning

way people were

of all concerned.

to

what was most ugly about

divided at every turn as different, inferior.

What impact will this have on racial awareness and tension in the classroom? What will this make of the color-blind classroom? Will it add to the backlash that has

formed against the gains that have been made

firmative action,

in

and other forms of redistributing power?

have any choice but to

hope

set aside the liberal

gender equity, I

af-

do not think we

for color blindness

and

to

address the backlash with the undiminished sense of difference and distance to

which the students

historical

bound

are always already witnesses,

working with them on the

and interested construction of those categories of difference.

to be disconcerting to delve into, for example, the

ing of racial categories in the service of imperialism. Such filled

with the awkward, discomforting

moments

that

teacher bearing witness to truths that are difficult to under.

To

give an intellectual

book has sought

and

historical

It is

Euro-American

work

is

bound

fix-

to be

come of student and find a way out from

account of our education, which

how the personal experience of it is written on the bodies of those who are now asked to study it. This was brought home to me by Ceila Haig-Brown, who described how presenting this

her historical

to do, can

work on

vinced her just

fail

to allow for

native residential schools to First Nations leaders con-

how inadequate academic account giving can

allows for a bearing of witness by those

conducted

in the

name of cultural

who

salvation

More

it

also

suffered the outrages that were

and

assimilation.

been on giving an account, but what that presumes of ‘2

be unless

its

My

focus has

audience, of

how

James Fenton has written on what he terms the “unfinished nature of imperial business through an examination of English poetry that comes to much broader conclusions: “Much as everyone might like it the empire does not collapse overnight. It recently,

collapses once.

Then

continues to collapse.

It breaks up once and then it breaks up again and again and again, and again. Peoples lives are ruined by it. Nations are ruined by it. People are still on the move, because there once was an empire and now the empire is no more” (1996, p. 62). it

OUT OF THE PAST that history speaks to them, also has to

form part of the pedagogy among

stu-

dents and teacher as a

way of coming at these lessons. What needs to be made clear is that, as the schools have contributed to racialized identities, so they need to be engaged in study of their own historical construction. This is no more than education’s assuming responsibility for its

its

own handiwork, no more and

faulty lessons,

to

do

than a faith in

so with the

who

suffer those earlier lessons.

clear

of the sort of “liberal transaction”

it

in the

and need

to revise

young because they may be

the ones

its

ability

This embrace of history that, as

will also

Glen Loury

American context, portrays African Americans

as

need to steer

(1995)

denounces

no more than

vic-

tims of historical injustices. Victimization forms yet another side of the imperial gaze. Rather, the

aim here

is

to effect a series

what we make of education. These would include,

how

example, examining

for

categories of identity are treated as facts of nature rather than products

of history. This that

of course corrections in

it

is

too conceptual, perhaps, and

end prejudice or

will

inequality.

Nor

I

is it

don’t assume, as I’ve said,

about denying what Loury

terms “the saliency, the power, the inescapability of race”

(p. 66). It

helping students find what these categories have

mean, and thus

find themselves, especially as

vides of race, culture, If teachers

tion

how

today

in

many of them

and nation through

come

to

is

about to

have crossed those historical di-

their

own

lives.

can see their way past these obstacles, there remains the ques-

ready students are to attend to such histories.

making sense of such

history, culture,

and

Where

are students

difference? Well-publicized

surveys regularly reveal the wealth of historical and geographical ignorance possessed by the young, which

would seem

into the category of the overly ambitious.

we

possibly

hope

to

go

in disentangling

to

put the aspirations of this book

Where do we

start

although

we may owe

are not ready for

As

it

is,

around the geography

I

it,

the

not sure what

young an explanation

and thus we

can

it

for

will

be no definite

would mean

to say that

what we have made, they

are absolved of our responsibility.

have been encouraged by what high school students from

Pacific region in a

am

1

far

what imperialism has wrought from

what we know and what we would teach the young? There answer to such questions, but

and how

have written about culture, language, history, and

study that Lynn

Thomas and

1

have been conducting.'^ They

'^For a description of the study, see John Willinsky (1994b).

More than

dents have participated thus far from twelve countries; for the

a

thousand stu-

round of analysis on students’ drawing and labeling maps of what they envision as the Pacific region, see Willinsky and Thomas (1994); and on ethnic tensions, see Thomas and Willinsky (in press). The work of paraticipating Japanese students reported here has been translated into English by Allan Bailey. first

259

26 o

OUT OF THE PAST do

not, as a rule,

show

understanding of

a great historical

gion, but out of the sheer range of their responses tain awareness

and vulnerability

way of seeing what as imperialism.

a

has been

one

this

By way of previewing our

as a result

report

on

this

The

reader can hear

how students

more

elaborate

of such phenomena

ongoing study,

sample of the students comments on culture that convey

have already acquired about one of imperialism’s more

re-

finds expressed a cer-

that could be coaxed into a

made of the world

complex

just

I

offer

what they

elastic concepts.

seek a place within the reality of cate-

Hawaiian student’s expression of bewilderment over how one is be identified and where one feels one belongs, in a variation of that ques-

gories, in this

to

“Where

tion

I

is

feel that

I

Korean but considered ture

and

here.^”:

belong to two cultures, but only one community. I

feel also a bit

local,

of Hawaiian since

born and raised in Hawaii. but most of that

their beliefs

from the mainland, who gave them at

how Koreans do

Korea, and

this local

community

here on

I

love the

gone due

is

I

to

Hawaiian

it

make

full

cul-

to the missionaries

go

by.

When

don’t feel a part of it

Does

am

Hawaii and [am]

live in

new culture

things,

that culture, but not that culture. is

a

I

I

sense?



look

I

like

1

am

My community

Oahu.

This student chooses locality over race and the “fullness” of blood and genealogy, as if to recognize that against cultural loss

always and finally living

hood.

It is

the

known world of one’s own

the other sense, of dislocation, that

understand with

them with

locally, in

books history work,

this

a sense

and transformation, one

I

want

in the

not that culture. Does

it

make

neighbor-

to help students better

hope

of history to their feeling that “like

is

I

that

am

it

may

provide

that culture, but

sense?”

At a northern California high school where, judging by students’ comments, there is a fair amount of racial tension, a student captured the struggle against

m

an ascribed and dislocating identification:

from

group called Asian and most of the school students call us names and make fun of us. So, me and my friends stood up for ourI

selves

long,

a

and then some of the students Thailand.

Most Asians

[want] to get along, so

told us to go back to

don’t like starting problems but

others can’t we’ll

if

This students regard for the

where we be-

we

just

do the same back.

label “Asian” suggests

how coming

to

America

mean learning one is Asian. This is a called-name (“call us names and make lun of us ), an assigned identity, with the student setting off the presumed true home of Thailand in quotation marks, as if to point to the ignocan

OUT OF THE PAST ranee and absurdity at

nation of identity

work

here.

The

student seems to recognize that desig-

part of something larger, outside

is

except to do the same back.

The

rest

of it, the

local

what can be challenged pushing around, name-

and pushing back, is also about disruptions and dislocations in the meaning of this place. It may seem little enough to say to these students that

calling,

there

is

a history here that

we can unpack, but

this

what education does

is

best.

Among

the

comments

the students from the

that

Solomon

we have

up

collected

to this point, those of

which achieved independence from

Islands,

Great Britain in 1978, present an especially poignant sense of how the legacy of imperialism might continue to haunt the education of those outside the ^X^est, just as it is

colonies, as

often obscured in

one Australian student

what

are

known

study put

in the

as the

dd

it,

m

Solomon

the

sensibilities,

as a

community,

way of life and concentrate on our own.” The

Islands felt the tensions

between an acceptance and

settler

think that

like to

our culture included those of the Aboriginal people but we, basically ignore their

former

students

between colonial and postcolonial

a questioning

of their assigned place

m the world. More than one of the Solomon Islands students gave expression to Hegel’s lesson

Solomon quotation but the

on how the non-Western world

Islands, a

Paradise lost in time,’”

may owe more

critical

to be the

how one

Eden

their place in the

European

that

put

The

student’s

would redeem

world through

The

students could imag-

eyes, living in a “Paradise lost” that

the imperial dream.

They could

their relation to a distant center.

wrote, “Unlike other European countries

Solomon

was find

Thus they

Islands only have

sons a year, namely rainy and sunny seasons,” and “Here

ous

it.

“The

to the tourism slogan than to postcolonial irony,

stance does not seem out of reach.

ine themselves, through

meant

is

exists outside history.

we do not

two

sea-

get seri-

might seem that these students have learned lessons that seem to be largely about distance and differ-

illnesses like overseas.” It

their lessons well,

ence: “Far

from the reach of Europeans, people here roam[ed] the

food, and other essential things for survival.

sense of history and

economy managed

to

The Solomon touch on

all

the

forest for

Islands students’

main themes of

imperialism with a remarkably even hand:

We

depend mainly on our neighbor countries and we regard them as our bigger brothers. They are Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.

Geography has made has

made

us neighbors, history

us partners. Primitive

made

us brothers and trade

you might think we

beings according to our culture, that’s what

we

are.

are,

but civilized

Though we

are scat-

261

262

OUT OF THE PAST bond

tered about, the

that holds us together as

Wantoks of the

Pacific

will last forever.

Before the 1500s, the Pacific was an isolated universe.

Still

a virgin, far

from the hands of white men. Natives roamed over jungles. Eventually the age of discovery came. Men looking for new lands arrived. Explorers discovered

cestors.

our lands.

Cook

Captain

It is

a time of wonder

devils

from the

came

east

friendly

and would

ing to the Pacific as cial responsibility in

very

known

next

much

to be savages, but

we can be

(1961, p. 391).

it

initial

assured that “knowing

in reflecting

educators have a spePacific

came

encounter, as a

to

way of

way.

help us to detach ourselves from our

Levi-Strauss put

Pacific: “In

anyone.” With the West turn-

how the people of the

teaching the young

new

resisted presence in

nowadays, they are very

of the great educational claims of anthropology

the exotic native,

Mendara the when the white

map of the

New World of opportunity,

learning the region again in a

less

of the

a part

be “known” as savage and primitive during that

One

is

and

a viable

flash their Pacific smile at its

our an-

to our beautiful Pacific.

it is still

the past, the natives are

for

Islands,

in the Pacific

As the legacy of imperialism remains these students’ lives, so

Cook

discovered the

Solomons. The most spectacular event

and change

on

own

his study

The anthem of detachment

them

society,

of

is

that, in the

study of

better does nonethe-

which

Brazil’s

is

how Claude

indigenous people

has long served the causes of an-

thropology, social studies, and cultural tourism. Yet

denies the dependence

it

that Hegel describes as holding the master to the slave, as well as overlooking the resistance of those we would know. One might want to

think about

knowing them self

from,

our

better

own

knowing others

is

really

about affixing oneself to, not detaching one-

society,” as Levi-Strauss puts

better than they

Western identity and

know

it.

This idea of ourselves

is

naming an ongoing

identification for the learned, a history that has been

wrapped up

history of in imperi-

alisms particular structuring of

human

gued requires new lessons

are finally to interrupt that structure.**^

we

as

themselves has long been a source of

license. Levi-Strauss

if

how

difference

and

that this

book has

ar-

Yet postcolonial approaches to learning are emerging, including the anti-anthropological films ofTrinh Minh-Ha, who calls for an educational ^Cornel West dernonstrates

how

Whiteness’

is

a politically constructed category para-

on Blackness, using the example of Irish and Sicilian immigrants arriving in America and having to “learn that they were ‘White’ principally by adopting American discourse of positively-valued Whiteness and negatively-charged Blackness” (1990, p. 29). sitic

OUT OF THE PAST process that begins by

naming

the

nialism that has long operated in the

Maintaining the

tion as taught by the

am

Western Subject

dominant which keeps on renewing

humanistic discourses.

I

name of humanism:

emotional Other under the

intuitive,

lage of the rational, all-knowing

the

and often forgotten extent of a colo-

full

not

at all sure

.

.

is

an everlasting aim of

through a wide range of

itself

Decolonization often means dewesterniza-

.

White man.

(1991, p. 20)

whether we can un-install the

mammoth program

Westernization that the world has absorbed, nor would this

the best course of action

is

scientistic tute-

I

want

on behalf of others. W^hen

world we know, the best that we can hope for

is

to

it

of

to decide that

comes

to the

supplement what we know,

to learn again, rather than to

imagine walking away from being the educated subjects that we have become. Still, I hope I have made clear why it is fair and necessary to unsettle what

we have

for so long treasured as

knowing perspective on the world, why this inquiry, the cultivated pleasures

it is

only

an educated and

fair to reconsider, in light

of

of the museum, the wildernesses turned

into parks, the utopias envisioned natives, the ruins visited in

and dramas written out of encounters with Malaysia and monuments climbed in Mexico.

This idea of supplementary lessons on imperialism’s legacy an account of how the West came to divide the world as

one of the more

To

significant instances

return to

my own

instance,

from

us

and

to

make

ourselves

tance and forgetting,

what

I

one with

have

come

it

about providing

it

has, to

draw on

this legacy.

where once,

from Europeans, many of us now find

is

easy

as Jews,

enough

this culture

and

to

its

we were put

a race apart

this past

behind

learning. This accep-

to realize in writing this

book, obliterates

form of learning has made of the world and of the ways in which it has been divided. As one who has made his living through education, it is not this

enough its

to allow that this education has finally secured a place for

hold on the world.

I

have

now

me within

to offer an account of what this education

makes of others, those who continue

to

fall

outside

its

measure of the world.

This book has been written against the learned forgetfulness and complacency displayed in the face of history. How far we can go in seeing the world other than as

always

lies

we have

inherited

it, I

do not

yet

know. The educational project

ahead.

This book began with questions of

how we

are

known, questions

that

symbolized the way imperialism divided the world. The imperialism of colonial jurisdictions

to

China and the

sort lives

on

in

continues to fade away, hastened by

Hong

Kong’s reversion

close of the twentieth century. Yet imperialism of another

how

each of us

is

known and how each of us comes

to

know.

263

264

OUT OF THE PAST One

resolution of the identity question in light of this legacy

“read [oneself] in quotation marks,” to identification.’ 5

We are not anything so much as what we have learned to call and against how we have been

written, too, seems part of the educational project ahead.

oneself is also about learning to read the other, as

and

to learn to

borrow Tzvetan Todorov’s method of

ourselves. Learning to read ourselves within

the learned

is

learn-d’^ perceptions

we

of difference.

But learning

to read

how to rewrite we to overcome

consider

How are

we have so often made of the other, if not by first finding we have made ourselves over through education and as we

the foreignness that it

in ourselves, as

were

born foreign (ignorant, poorly spoken, barbaric)? Julia Kristeva

all

answers the question by asking us to discover idea of) ourselves.

That may be enough

how we

are strangers to (the

to stir a certain

compassion toward

those officially defined as aliens, foreigners, immigrants.

within me,” Kristeva

insists,

“hence we are

all

“The

foreigner

is

We

can

by studying the

cul-

foreigners” (p. 192).

better understand the shaping of that shared foreignness

(1991)

and manufacture, the cataloging and display of the categories that have done so much for nation and empire. In this way, we see how we are tivation

pierced by the persistent past. Lessons on this legacy will bring us back,

it is

an educational project that was originally intended to profit and delight some at the expense of others, but it needn’t continue that way. true, to

'^Todorov:

can no longer subscribe to my ‘prejudices’ as I did before, even if I do not atmyself of all ‘prejudice.’ My identity is maintained, but it is as if it is neutral-

“I

tempt

to rid

ized,

read myself in quotation marks

(1995, p. 15). I am also cautioned in my approach by Cornel Wests advice that education must not be about a cathartic quest for identity,” which he writes in “Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism.” Rather, it must foster credible sensibilities lor an active critical citizenry I

to identity



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/„

**

*r

/I

2

1

INDEX

Abella,

I.,

14

American Museum of Natural History, 65 Amery, L. S., 220

Abramson, Howard, 149 Achebe, Chinua, 203, 222

n.

1

,

1

239

Anderson, Benedict, 7

n. 4, 199,

235

Ackroyd, Annette, 88, 104

Anderson,

Adams, John, 206

Anderson, Kay,

Adario, Chief,

anthropology, 25, 28, 61-63, 65-66, 86,

1 1

Adas, Michael, 30 Africa, 3, 9,

n.

1 1

n. 1

3

0,

60,

5,

1

1

1

arts,

126

n. 15,

67, 210; travel, 52-53, 78-79,

18

Kwame Anthony, 92

Applebee, Arthur, 222

Aravamudan,

n.

3

n.

12

S.,

31 n. 5

Arawaks, 55-57, 61, 77, 150, 162

1

Aijaz, 11 n. 10,

99

n. 12,

204,

Archibald, Jo-anne,

94-95

Arendt, Hannah, 26

Ahmad, Jalal

Al-e,

Ahmad, Rahimaj

140

Haji,

3

n.

99

n.

Arinori, Mori,

12

Aristotle,

Aladdin, 12

T, 185

Alembert, Jean

1

17

207 n. 5,

225, 246

Armstrong, Nancy, 66

25

n.

Arnold, Matthew,

Aldrich, R., 122

Algeria,

n.

Arabia, 46, 97-98, 125

205

Alcoze,

15

n,

Aquinas, Thomas, 49

82-83, 145

Ahmad,

57

Appadurai, Ajun, 43, 44

Appiah,

127,

46-47, 172, 180; and the

African Queen, The,

1

13-15,232-33

anti-Semitism,

8,

132; and schooling, 90, 101-102; and science, 35,

20

133, 181 n.

167-68, 170-74, 176-77, 227, 262

138-39, 156, 161,204,210,252; and history, 118, 121,

J.,

le

n.

7

9, 14, 42,

43

n. 16,

220, 228

Rond

d’,

72-73

Aryan, 42, 43

32

43

n. 17,

Ashbury, Margaret, 129

Allardyce, G., 124 Altick, R. D., 63, 70, 75,

n. 16,

Ashcroft, B. G.,

85

214

n.

Ashworth, Mary, 193

293

1

44

1

294

1

INDEX Asia,

1

1

n. 10, 12,

42, 46-47, 52-53,

Bibliotheque Royale, 66

161,252

Birdsell, J. B.,

109, 128, 138,

Association for the Exploration of the Interior Part of Africa, I4l

214

Blaut,

M.,

J.

178

n. 13,

94

U.,

223

Blake, William,

Association of Literary Scholars and Critics,

Bitterli,

171

16

1

n.

2

Blodgett, Jean, 152

Athens, 125

Blumenbach, Johann, 171

Auden, W. H., 234

Boas, Franz, 65, 167-68, 176-77,

Austen, Jane, 214, 217

Bogdan, Deanne, 223

Australia,

Bolton, R., 214

1

14

n.

Bougainville, Louise- Antoine, de,

Baartman,

Saartjie,

59-61

Boyd, D., 7

Bacon, Francis, 25, 27, 29, 34, 49-50, 62,

245

Baker,

John 173

174

n. 15,

17

n.

Bakhtin, Mikhail, 59 n. 3 Bal,

Mieke, 60

Bannerji, Himani,

Banton, Michael, 162

n.

n.

n. 2,

126

182-84

Museum,

10, 15,

British Parliament, 41,

186

Brockway, Lucile, 70

Barkan,

Brooklyn Museum, 66

167-68, 173

Barker, M., 175 n. 18

Brown

Baron, D. E., 201-2

Brown, Laura, 216

Barr, B. B.,

182

n.

22

Bry,

249

Barzun, Jacques, 186 Batsleer, J.,

207

n.

12

Bazin, Maurice, 185

T, 175

n.

19

Theodore

Buddha, 43

n.

de,

Behn, Aphra, 216

Comte

225 Bullard,

J.,

184

Burke,

209

Edmund, 41-42

Burroughs, Edgar Rice, 71

n.

n. 11

Butler, Richard, 13 n. 14

Byron, George Gordon, 234

Bennett, Tony, 64, 72, 75 n. 14 Bernal, Martin, 140

Cabot, Sebastian, 28-29

Besant, Annie, 104 n. 17

Calcutta Botanic Garden, 70

106

15

17

Burton, Richard, 228

Benjamin, William, 75

Bible, 23,

n.

39

Burns, Ignatius Robert, 13 n. 13

Begley, S., 175, 186

Warren, 12

Board ofEducation, 14

Burchfield, Robert, 206,

Bederman, G., 76

Bello,

6

Bulfon, Georges Louis Leclerc

Baudet, Henri, 138, 161

Beardsley,

n.

Browne, Janet, 34

Barros, Joao de, 191

Barthes, Roland, 73-74, 155,

v.

34-35, 63

96

Britzman, Deborah, 249

Barba, R. H., 185 n. 25 E.,

16

Columbia Ministry of Education,

British

21

165

Bright, Charles,

115,

234

10 n. 21

74-75

British

Banks, Joseph, 37-38, 40, 70

1

Breckenridge, Carol,

4

n.

6

n.

W,

Brazil, 96,

209-10

Bailey, Richard,

30-31

Brahmo Somaj, 104 Brandon,

Bagchi, Jasodhara, 105

227

Calcutta Madrassa, 40

1

de,

A

INDEX Cambridge Examination Syndicate, 107 Cambridge University, 122, 132 Canada,

5 n. 2, 11, 14, 103, 225,

144-46, 151-57, 181-85,

n. 6,

190, 220. SeealsoFwsx. Nations peoples

Cannadine, D., 10

Cape Dorset,

8

n.

86

Code of Gentoo [Hindu] Law, A, 40 Coetzee,

J.

M., 219

Cole, Sir Henry, 64

191,225, 227

Carnoy, Martin, 107-8

Europe, 55-58

Carpenter, Mary, 103

36

n. 16,

Condamine, Charles de

Castle, K., 105

Confucianism, 48-49

Cells,

W.,

48-49

Ill,

Conrad, Joseph, 36, 18

Constantine,

202

Certeau, Michel de, 24

Aime, 10

II,

n. 8, 100,

103

97

S.,

Cook, James,

Coon, Carlton, 183

n. 23,

S., 19,

n.

9

n. 5

Cheng, Vincent, 228

Creager, n.

18

247

Crystal, David,

210

125, 139, 180, 227; and history,

Cullin, Stewart,

66

116-18, 126, 131, 250-51; and

Cummins,]., 190

schooling, 108—9; and science,

Cuvier, Georges,

Chomsky, Noam, 12

Christianity, 24,

n. 11,

47—51

194-95

43

n. 16, 80,

117

n. 5,

conversion, 3, 47-49, 100, 131; and

1

n. 7,

199

n.

8

63

71,7

Cyclopedia,

93-96

D’Souza, D., 17

18

n.

Darwin, Charles,

3, 51,

64, 79-81,

165-66 Davidson,

131-32

Basil,

Church of England, 41,91

Dayal, Samir, 3

Church of Jesus Christ Aryan Nation,

Dcbord, Guy, 77

13 n. 14

3

6

121, 130, 138, 140 n. 3, 207; and

schooling,

n.

G., 182

J.

Crowley, Tony, 196

47, 49-50, 53, 74,

2, 5 n. 2, 6,

n.

31 n. 4

170-74,

Crawford, Michael, 140

249

in

221-22

36-40, 44, 58, 146,

3, 32,

Chauduri, Nirad, 221

Rey,

12,

n. 8

Costa Rica, 6

Chow,

la,

118, 145, 209,

Chatterjee, Partha, 120 n. 10, 132

China,

1

Arts,

Coolahan,]., 101

29

Cheng, C. C., 7

246, 252;

225, 246

Chamber, Ephraim, 72 Charles

n. 22,

Cook, Frederick, 83

Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, 76

Cesaire,

1

46

France, 44,

Cassirer, Ernst, 19, 111

n.

1

Columbus quincentenary, 20 Commission of the Sciences and

Carrier,]. G., 151

Celan, Paul, 228

1

130, 137, 141 n. 4, 150, 153, 161,

Carnegie, Andrew, 220 n. 7

Catholicism,

9, 23, 28,

34-35, 38, 47, 76-77,

101

9, 25, 93,

Carter, Paul,

n. 5

Columbus, Christopher,

Cardono, Girolamo, 24 Caribbean,

Clifford, James,

49

Collins, Jane, 148-51, 157 n. 14

52-53

1

Clark, Kenneth, 14 n. 15 Clavius, Christoph,

232—35, 243, 247; and language, 190, 195; and schooling, 6-9, 129-30, 143

Civil Liberties Association, 5 n. 2

n.

1

Defoe, D., 215, 226, 236

295

1

296

1

INDEX Degerando, Joseph-Marie, 28

English Virginia

Degler, C. N., 168

Erwing,J„ 123

DeGreer, Christian, 129-30, 132

Euclid,

Delany, Martin, 52

Europe,

Derrida, Jacques, 37,

1 1

0

n.

2 1,

21

1

n.

1

48-49

130,

2,

Company, 24

9, 27, 53, 56,

64, 70, 103, 128,

138-39

246-47 204

Desai, Gaurav,

Fabian, Johann, 28 n. 2, 32,

Descartes, Rene, 27, 57 Description de VEgypte,

Fanon, Frantz, 14

45-46

Dictionary ofNational Biography, Diderot, Denis, 30-31, 72, 74,

1

1 1

20 1,

Faulkner, William,

14

Wentworth, 79, 101

Fausett, D.,

Fiala,

Disneyland, 81, 254

Finley,

Dixon, Thomas, 217

First n. 13,

173,

16

n.

249

18 n. 7

1

Anthony, 83

M.

246

L,

4

n.

Nations peoples, 5

179, 193, 21

n.

20

Dreifus, C., 85

Flaubert, Gustave,

46

Fletcher, C. R. L.,

123

Drohan, M., 208

13

n.

49

Forster, E.

Du Bois,WE.

B.,

217

DuCamp, Maxime, 46 Dunlop,

Louis,

S.,

n.

155

44

n.

n.

13

Company,

n.

20

Forster,

18

20

n.

M., 12, 79, 81, 92, 216, 221,

George, 32

Foucault, Michel, 27, 33-34, 56 n. 2,

250-51

France, 45-46, 60,

42, 64, 94, 97-98,

14

45

n.

13

Friedman, Thomas, 128

Egypt, 44-46, 57, 90, 101, 105

Frye, Northrop, 8, 19,

Einstein, Albert, 15, 173

Fukuyama, Frances,

Eisenstadt, S. N., 121

Furedi, Frank, 12 n. 11

1

n.

16

Emancipation Act of 1833, United

Emberley,

Julia,

211

Gage, Susan, n. 16,

235

n.

22

Gaitskell, D.,

56

1

102

Encyclopedia Britannica, 74

Galbraith, D., 182 n. 22

Encyclopedie, 7 2-7 A, 14

Galton, Francis, 165, 184

English as a Second Language (ESL),

Gandhi, Mahatma, 109

192-93, 201-2

Garn,

S.

M., 171

n.

17

213-15, 223-40

Fusco, Coco, 61-62, 85

Kingdom, 163

19

Franciscans, 93

Freeman, A., 208

221-22, 233, 252

n.

71-72

Eberhardt, Isabelle, 82

Eliot, T. S., 15,

n. 22.

237-38

Eagleton, Terry, 59 n. 3

100

224, 235

228

Fourier, Jean-Baptiste

East India

94-95,

Fishman, Joshua, 198, 209 FitzGerald, Edward,

Dumont,

n. 2, 11,

n. 16,

1

Douglass, Frederick, 76, 121,217, 248

S.,

18-19, 32, 86,

5,

See also Indigenous peoples

Dolpin, R., 181

Du,

7

215

Feirman, Steven,

Disney, Walt, 12

174

n.

204

Fasold, R.,

Dobzhansky, Theodosius, 171

1

18

89, 93, 198

Dickason, O. R, 94

Dilke, Charles

n.

1

13

INDEX Gates, William,

191 n. 3

Jr.,

Greek

Gaugin, Paul, 225 Geertz, Clifford,

culture,

1

43

4, 42,

n. 16, 11 5,

117n. 5,125,127,138,140,161, 18 n. 7

1

246

n.

4

Geological Survey, 36

Greenblatt, Stephen, 112, 157

Gerbi, A., 33

Greenfeld, Liah,

Germani,

1

Germany,

10

9,

21

n.

42

n. 16,

43, 117,

n.

1

19 n. 9

16

Greenlaw, Jim, 6

n.

3

Gregory, William, 37, 181

184

214

Griffiths, G.,

44^6, 72-73

Gilman, Sander, 13

9

n.

Gregory, Derek, 58

Ghosh, Chandra Suresh, 40, 99

Gillispie, Charles,

19

Greenhalgh, Paul, 75

Geyer, Michael, 126

Gill, D.,

1

n.

1

Guangpi, Xu, 48

n. 13, 14 n. 15,

59-60

Gilroy, Paul, 52, 121, 122 n. 13, 164 n. 3

Haig-Brown, C., 95

Gilson, fitienne, 245 n. 3

Hakluyt, Richard, 24, 28-29

Gobineau, Arthur de, 1 63-64

Hales,

Goetzmann, William, 83

Hallead, G.,

Goldberg, David Theo, 255

Hampton,

Golding, William, 222

Haraway, Donna, 51,71

Goldman, Edward, 181

9, 61,

62

n. 5,

n. 11

Ivor E, 144, 144 n. 7

Gossman,

Lionel,

Gottfried,

S.,

43

n.

n.

22

176-77 n. 11,

16

85

Hardy, Augustine, 71

Hatem, M., 105 Headrick, Daniel, 99, 100

169-70, 186

163

Hebert, Yvonne, 190

1

10

n.

21,

138, 139 n. 2

1

15-22, 245; influence

124-28,

of,

130-31, 133, 147, 248-50, 261

Gramsci, Antonio, 7

Heidegger, Martin, 57-58

Grange, M., 5

Heimler, C. H., 182

2

Gray, Edward, 64 n. 6

n.

22

Heine, Heinrich, 42, 43

Great Britain, 37, 64, 74, 81

n. 16,

90,

n.

Herbert, Bob, 11-12

governance of the empire,

Herbert, Christopher, 147

42-46, 80; and

2,

10-12,

India, 48,

and

Herder, Johann Gottfried, von, 89, 162,

lan-

198-99

guage, 190-91; and race, 131, 163;

Herodotus,

and schooling, 86, 91, 122-23,

Herrnstein, Richard, 175

131-32, 141-42, 144-45,214, 221

Hirsch, E. D., 251

Ireland, 100;

Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, London,

74—75

16

Henry, G. A., 131

105, 120,219, 225; and Africa, 107;

98-100; and

n. 14, 102,

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 42,

Grafton, Anthony, 24-25,

18, 29,

n. 6,

Hastings, Warren, 40-42, 44

Graff,