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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rethinking Eurocentrism







~I picked up this book several years ago, having found it while wandering around the bookstore. Its a serious book that delves into the ways the media encourages viewers/readers/ listeners to accept a Eurocentric perspective--to be quite honest, this book influenced me to create the MasCultura banner through which I make music and propagate the rhythms of so-called Third World nations. Heres a brief excerpt from the book:

"Unthinking Eurocentrism focusses on Eurocentrism and multiculturalism in popular culture. It is written in the passionate belief that an awareness of the intellectually debilitating effects of the Eurocentric legacy is indispensable for comprehending not only contemporary media representations but even contemporary subjectivities. Endemic in present day thought and education, Eurocentrism is naturalized as "common sense." Philosophy and literature are assumed to be European philosophy and literature. History is assumed to be European history..."

The authors go on to add that Europe is placed at the center of the world--when we refer to the Middle East or the Far East, we unconsciously place Europe as the central focus point...the "arbiter of spatial evaluation," as the authors state.

All this is not to say the Europe/Europeans are bad or wrong---no, rather the authors are simply making us aware of a Eurocentric discourse that permeates much of popular culture across the globe. Think Indiana Jones, James Bond, or the nightly news that, when referring to some post-colonial nation consisting of dark-skinned people, must show them screaming and hollering at the camera, most of the time setting fire to an American flag or some other symbol of our nation.

As someone greatly interested in what corporate music marketing stategists have blandly labeled "World Music," I am curious to see what the future holds as the rhythms of post-colonial nations in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East blast loudly out of speakers in cities across the US and Europe. The youth of today are sweating on the dancefloor to cumbia, kuduro, baile funk (which is rooted in Miami Bass with some Brazilian influence), balkan beat, etc....How is this fact going to alter the Eurocentric discourse that has dominated popular culture for the last century or so?

El Hilwa Di (coucou)

Fela--Viva Afrika!!

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