Beyond Eurocentrism

Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven in Aeon:

With the publication of Orientalism in 1978, Edward Said would become one of the most influential scholars of our era. The book transformed the study of the history of the modern world, as it offered insights into how racist discourses created and maintained European empires. As much for his political activities, Said and his work attracted a number of Right-wing critics, most notably perhaps Bernard Lewis. Less well known in the West is Samir Amin, the Egyptian economist who coined the term ‘Eurocentrism’. The term comes from Amin’s book Eurocentrism (1988), which criticised Said’s view of empire from the Left and offered an alternative view, one based not on culture or discourse, but on a materialist understanding of capitalism and imperialism.

Said spent most of his career in the Global North, in New York City, while Amin spent his mostly in Africa, attempting to build African academic and political institutions to challenge the dependencies created through imperialism. When I met Amin for an interview back in 2016, he was 85 and still vigorously involved in building alternative institutions and challenging Eurocentric social theory. Although he died in 2018, his legacy remains acutely relevant.

More here.