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Enemies Of Civilization: Attitudes Toward…

Enemies Of Civilization: Attitudes Toward Foreigners In Ancient…

by Mu-Chou Poo

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112820,536 (3.5)None
  1. 00
    Ancient China and its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History by Nicola Di Cosmo (Jakujin)
    Jakujin: A suggestion for early China's perceptions of/interactions with the north.
  2. 00
    The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs by Jan Assmann (thcson)
    thcson: For ancient Egypt, I would consult Assmann's work instead. He goes into much greater detail in his analyses of Egyptian thought. Unfortunately I don't know of any equally good sources for Mesopotamia and China.

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I don't think this sinks its teeth into the subject. ( )
  Jakujin | Apr 28, 2013 |
This book deals with an interesting subject but somehow it felt like the author couldn't penetrate it very deeply. The book is surprisingly short and the limited space devoted to each civilization isn't really enough to give a clear view of the social context of ethnic thinking. Perhaps the project of comparing three civilizations was a bit too ambitious. A stricter focus on China, for example, may have produced a more interesting book.
1 vote thcson | Nov 16, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0791463648, Paperback)

Enemies of Civilization is a work of comparative history and cultural consciousness that discusses how "others" were perceived in three ancient civilizations: Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. Each civilization was the dominant culture in its part of the world, and each developed a mind-set that regarded itself as culturally superior to its neighbors. Mu-chou Poo compares these societies' attitudes toward other cultures and finds differences and similarities that reveal the self-perceptions of each society.

Notably, this work shows that in contrast to modern racism based on biophysical features, such prejudice did not exist in these ancient societies. It was culture rather than biophysical nature that was the most important criterion for distinguishing us from them. By examining how societies conceive their prejudices, this book breaks new ground in the study of ancient history and opens new ways to look at human society, both ancient and modern.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:28 -0400)

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