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dialogue of civilizations?
by Andre Gunder Frank
01 May 2002 03:18 UTC
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There has been a vivid discussions among Eastern Intellectuals on the
problem of inter-civilizational dialogue.

Indeed the UN named 2001 the Year of Dialogue of Civilizations.
Therefore the UN University in Tokyo had a big conference about it.
Here is the fist paragraph of my intervention there [the remainder is on
my web-page]


CIVILIZATIONS NO: There are no and have never been distinct pristine
civilizationS, societieS, cultureS nor even peopleS. The very ideas are
nothing but ideology, pure and simple although their use occults - that
term is created chosen deliberately! - simple and complex reality. In the
plural, the invention and use of these terms especially in reference to
one's own "civilization" as distinct from others, not to mention
"barbarism" of others, knowingly or not represents an often occult and
sometimes even express claim -no more and no more less - to an alleged
superiority. It invokes a [God?] chosen Herrenvolk of us, distinct from
and even against others.  This claim since the nineteenth century and
still in the twenty-first, has recently been most and best expressed in
and through still widely reigning American ideology. With abundant
self-congratulation it claims already to have arrived at The End of
History [Fukayama] even as it still faces "The Clash of Civilizations" of
"The West against the Rest," [Huntington] and Jihad vs. McDonaldization
[Barber] to combat "The Coming Anarchy in the World" [Kaplan]. All of
these pundits and their misleading civilizational theses of civilizational
clash between "us" and "them" are ideologically suspect and
socio-politically divisive, often intentionally so. We must counter them
with more realistic and at the same time humano- and eco-centric studies
with messages that reflect past, present and future reality as well as our
continued need for diversity in unity and unity in diversity.


               ANDRE    GUNDER      FRANK

Senior Fellow                                      Residence
World History Center                    One Longfellow Place
Northeastern University                            Apt. 3411
270 Holmes Hall                         Boston, MA 02114 USA
Boston, MA 02115 USA                    Tel:    617-948 2315
Tel: 617 - 373 4060                     Fax:    617-948 2316
Web-page:csf.colorado.edu/agfrank/     e-mail:franka@fiu.edu


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