Cultural Amnesia by Clive James

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By Clive James

'One stupendous starburst of untamed brilliance' SIMON SCHAMA 'Aphoristic and acutely provocative: a crash path in civilization' J. M. COETZEE geared up from A via Z, and containing over a hundred essays, Cultural Amnesia is the final word consultant to the 20 th century. 'This is a gorgeous ebook. James proves himself not just to be in ownership of a towering mind, yet a unique skill to speak his passions' Observer 'Witty, insightful and unashamedly erudite, the e-book is a wonderful miscellany of 20th-century cultural and political subjects' The Sunday occasions 'Over the previous 40 years James has been scribbling notes within the margins of the books he has learn ...and this can be the outcome. shrewdpermanent, contentious and funny' mum or dad 'An eclectic trip in the course of the twentieth century, as Clive James explores the careers of luminaries akin to Charles de Gaulle and Charlie Chaplin' day-by-day convey

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Note, however, that Casas did not object to Africans being enslaved and brought to work in the mines and plantations (although he was later to change his mind and condemn the enslavement of blacks). Here we can see also an early version of different attitudes to the Other, one that has persuaded many subsequent students of the subject to insist on the idea that there are a variety of racisms rather than a singular, monolithic combination of discriminatory doctrine and practice. 22 More importantly, both the Casas and the Sepulveda perspective involved the potential annihilation of the culture of the Indians, for as the French historian Todorov has argued, the Indians were caught in a double-bind built into the logic of this particular either/ or.

Whereas caste had been one of many social divisions around which the traditional social life of Indians had been organized, together with temple, clan, village, linguistic, and regional identities, overlain with divisions of trade and occupation, the British insisted on a simplified four-caste differentiation and emphasized caste as the most central organizing principle of Indian culture. Only members of the Brahman caste were regarded as being of proper Aryan stock, the other castes being considered as descended from inferior races.

Metaphors of the family, paternalism, and historical progress allowed women, the working class, and inferior races in the colonies alike to be portrayed as child-like and requiring the firm but benign hand of the white middle- and upper-class male. The empire was seen as a ‘family’, and both women and inferior races thus became part of a natural order ruled over benignly by white middle- and upper-class males at home and abroad. This went hand in hand with what one might call the effeminization of the natives in the colonies.

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