Contemporary civilisational analysis has emerged in the post-Cold War period as a forming but already controversial field of scholarship. This book focuses on the scholarship produced in this field since the 1970s. It begins with anthropological axioms posited by Ibn Khaldun, Simon Bolivar and George Pachymeres. Three conceptual images of civilisations are prominent in the field. First, civilisations are conceived as socio-cultural units, entities or blocs in an 'integrationist' image. They emerge out of long-term uneven historical processes. Finally, in a 'relational' image civilisations are believed to gain definition and institute developmental patterns through inter-societal and inter-cultural encounters. The book traces the history of semantic developments of the notions of 'civilisation' and 'civilisations' coextensive with the expansion of Europe's empires and consubstantial with colonialism. Early modernities are more important in the long formation of capitalism. Outlining the conceptual framework of inter-civilisational engagement, the book analytically plots the ties instituted by human imaginaries across four dimensions of inter-civilisational engagement. It also interrogates the relationship between oceans, seas and civilisations. Oceanian civilisation exhibits patterns of deep engagement and connection. Though damaged, Pacific cultures have invoked their own counter-imaginary in closer proximity to past islander experiences. Collective memory provides resources for coping with critical issues. The book also explores Latin American and Japanese experiences that shed light on the engagement of civilisations, applying the model of inter-civilisational engagement to modern perspectives in culture and the arts, politics, theology and political economy.
of Pacificcultures were disavowed or suppressed in taking up the new faith, Christianity nevertheless became the dominant religion through Islanders’ agency in suturing the new to the old in accordance with their own understanding of how one embraces the future. Rather than understanding the Pacific Islander Christian through disjuncture with the past, then, we might look for those moments in which Christianity is positioned in relation to pre-conversion culture.
We can see this at work in the third instalment of ‘Kiro’s Thoughts about England’. Initially, Kiro
confirms disbelief in the southern continent even as it directs its gaze toward it’. 18
Figure 2.1 Beato de Liebana Burgo de Osma, 1086
Contemplating the corporeality of antipodality, Goldie similarly argues that the concept of the Antipodes can be embodied and performed. Using Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s term ‘beside’, Goldie considers how the encounters between ‘British and Pacificcultures’ in the nineteenth century can perform a ‘wide range of desiring, identifying, representing, repelling, paralleling, differentiating, rivalling, leaning, twisting
Ontologies of connection, reconstruction of memory
Jeremy C.A. Smith
powers intruded, stimulating inter-civilisational engagement, including with its
most ruinous consequences. Though damaged, Pacificcultures have invoked
their own counter-imaginary in closer proximity to past islander experiences. Collective memory –whether continuous or reconstructed –provides
resources for coping with critical issues. The cultural fund of memory can
also help with thinking differently about climate change and other environmental problems facing the region. Latin America is on the eastern edge of
this context also. As another new world, for
Goodenough had come, by 1875, to represent imperial British exploration to a degree almost comparable with that earlier achieved by Cook, Messer perhaps hoped to increase perceptions of the significance of his report by revealing the commodore to be vulnerable to malign and superstitious influences. What is certain is that the Pearl had recently become a site of peculiar significance to debates concerning the best means of ‘modernising’ South Pacificcultures; as experts in unrelated fields, it is tempting to imagine Goodenough and Messer arguing for the relative merits