Social Scientist. v 24, no. 278-79 (July-Aug 1996) p. 2.


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2 SOCIAL SCIENTIST

interventions. Any of my friends who have deigned to follow the course of my writings during the past twenty years will please forgive the feeling of deja vu that this presentation may evoke. My final disclaimer: Europe, in what follows is not a field of scholarly enquiry. From my location in what still passes for the East, Europe stands for the colonizing West.

It is a popular misconception that only the Orient was invented by colonial domination of the known world by Europe. Europe as we think of it today was also imagined to correspond to the self-image of the West. It was born with the triadic structure that became a paradigm in the late eighteenth, early nineteenth centuries when the ancient/medieval/modem became the foundation of the teleology that needed to be worked out.

Europe became the landmass that was supposed to have successfully completed the organic process that had brought the society to a successful fruition. It was Europe's positionality that determined what was going to be considered the East. Once that was accepted, there was no problem of its own self-perception as 'the West'.

However 'natural' this hegemonic normative centrality of Europe may be made to look, it was fraught at the edges with contestation. Let us begin with the cradle of this European civilisation in Greece. Martin Bernal in Black Athena called the popular celebration of Hellenism as 'the fabrication of Ancient Greece' calling it the 'Aryan model', whereby Greek civilisation is ^een as the result of the mixture of Indo-European-speaking Hellenes and their indigenous subjects. This, according to Bernal, was made the hegemonic model in order to reinforce 'the penetration of racism' and 'continental chauvinism' of the historiography of Europe in general. As the first volume of Black Athena goes on to show how the Egyptian and Semitic roots of Greek culture were erased, as 'For the 18th and 19th century Romantics and racists it was simply intolerable for Greece, which was seen not merely as the epitome of Europe but also its pure childhood, to have been the result of the mixture of native Europeans and colonising Africans and Semitics'.

So Europe had to define herself against possible contamination by 'the other' in order to emerge as the dominant culture. This process is similar to the one that I have designated in another context as the 'sel-ethnocisation' process that marks the assumption of power by the hegemonic group. A special claim to civilisation leading to a monopoly of understanding of all possible explanations—both social and physical—marks the claim of Europe to a civilisation rule vis-a-vis the rest of the world. One of the major symptoms of this emergence of Europe as a space for cultural as well as economic domination was the



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