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Interrogating civilisational analysis in a global age

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.

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defence of them. Second, cultural and political movements in the Pacific since the 1980s have affirmed the civilisational character of Oceania and crucially add that islander societies have a living vitality and are engaged recreations of Oceanian civilisation. Latin American and Pacific new worlds were invaded and overtaken by historically specific forms of state. Oceanic empires and the oceanic civilisations and imperial imaginaries from which they issued were the wellsprings of conquest. As I demonstrate in Chapter 5, they are distinguished from portal civilisations

in Debating civilisations
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Ontologies of connection, reconstruction of memory

houses of Raiatea in the Leeward Islands (Matsuda, 2012:132). Both sets of islands hatched outpost societies generally regarded as separate civilisations. Archaeologists, historians and to a degree anthropologists have marvelled at the achievements of the Rapa Nui and the Hawaiians and with ample reason. The extent of migration is evidence of the power of mobility in Oceanian civilisation. 136 136 Debating civilisations Exchange as a paradigm of engagement From the outset, travel by water was an indispensable part of relations between island cultures. The maritime

in Debating civilisations

(but see Smith, 2014c). This chapter completes the in-​depth studies of Part II. I have fathomed particular examples of inter-​civilisational engagement. My survey includes oceanic civilisations, the Oceanian civilisation, Latin American movements of political and cultural engagements and, finally, Japan’s exceptional encounter with the West and instances of political and cultural engagement that ensued. I have examined, to varying degrees in all cases, the four dimensions of inter-​ civilisational engagement to support my critical synthesis of the illuminating

in Debating civilisations
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Uses and critiques of ‘civilisation’

entirely untouched in civilisational analysis, it is analysed in Chapter 6 as a specific substantive case study. Characterising the Pacific, with Epeli Hau’ofa (2008), as Oceanian civilisation, I argue on the basis of critical scholarship for a wider perception of indigenous civilisations and the range of historical experiences of dispossession, survival and revival. Case studies of modern cultural and political engagement and conflicts in the inter-​civilisational region of Latin America underscore the context and legacies of colonialism. One of the cases is indigenous

in Debating civilisations