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Gunder Frank's Comments, Libraries and source materials
by Malcolm Pratt
31 January 2002 10:19 UTC
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Andre Gunder Frank comments on B. Y's  request is an interesting starting 
point for discussion.  He is of course right that the premise of the 
question should be challenged.  Should it be "why do so many 
commentators/theorists believe that capitalism was formed in the 16th 
century?" or something similar, but it also raises questions about source 
materials, the role of libraries.

The first question obviously relates to source material.  Leo the African 
whose family had been expelled from Grananda after the final phase of the 
Reconqusita, suggest in his work on the geography and history of Africa, 
that one of the reasons that the peoples of Africa had little history was 
the systematic distruction of their books by conquerers.  His belief may 
have been influenced by historical record of the Roman destruction of the 
Library of Alexandria or by the bonfire of Islamic texts in the city square 
of Granada which had followed the city's surrender.  Whatever the case, it 
is interesting point to discuss whether as part of warfare and colonialism 
it has been a comon practice to try to destroy books and textural elements 
or other societies.

The second element is whether in fact, alongside all the books and records 
which disucss european exceptionalism etc, there are other works, in 
particular, archival records which point in opposite directions.  How many 
archives outside Europe are consulted, how many texts written in 
non-european laguages remain untranslated and why.    On this list we have 
been discussing languages and how many scholars are learning non-european 
languages, but what is often missed is that knowledge of ancient varients of 
say Islamic texts or even Latin, is even rarer.   Perhaps one of the roles 
that we should be considering is a wider search for sources and 
collaboration in the translation of historical texts, the incorporation of 
specialist linguists and the translation modern non-european works too.  
This of course, calls for a wider role for academics, Libraries and 
Librarians like myself.

A bit of a general ramble there, but I thought it may be an interesting 
point of discussion.


There are whole world libaries full of material on this  - and ALL of
them/it are totally MISleading down the garden path into a cul de sac.
Best thing to do is to abandon your question as one of the type
''when did you stop [or in your case start] beating your wife/husband?''

go look at the evidence - chinese:  seek trutth from facts - and figure
out what the right - not your WRONG! - question/s is/are
gunder frank

Wed, 30 Jan 2002, B. Y. wrote:

>Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 09:21:32 +0200
>From: B. Y. <yeldiren0@hotmail.com>
>To: wsn@csf.colorado.edu
>Subject: Help Request
>I am working on a short paper approximately thirty pages about "Formation 
Capitalism during 16.cc".  Main subject is represent that this century was 
age of transition.
>Outline is as shown below:
>* 16.cc is an age of transition from Ancient Regime to Capitalism
>  - What is system theory?
>  - What is the transformation of a world system
>  - Examples of this transition from Europe in 16.cc
>* How did this transition happen in Britain?
>  - Economically
>  - Religious strucutes and divisions in Christianity (Reflection of social
chages on them)
>  - Govermental Structure
>* Effects of this transition on humans culture/ideology

Malcolm Pratt
Flat 4, 37 Stratford Road, London, W8 6RA
0171 937 2489

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