Asian and African Cultures
According to Sayre, “Worldwide, non-Western cultures faced fundamental challenges to their cultural identities-not so much a re-centering of culture but a decentering of culture.” (Sayre, 2010, p. 419) I take this quote to mean that many of these countries are being influenced by Western cultures, especially in Asia. For example, in many Asian and African nations McDonalds and others like Starbucks and fashion malls are coming to there (Sayre, 2010). These countries of Asia and Africa are influenced by Western cultures (Sayre, 2010). The non-Western cultures will have a hard time because they have to try and change to not lag behind into the twenty first century (Sayre, 2010).
“Non-Western cultures have decentering to look forward to due to the challenges of new world order from the nineteenth century and beyond” (Sayre, 2010). In two short centuries most cultures were trying to be modern to fit in with all the changes of the times, (Sayre, 2010), But at the turn of the century, movies, music, and the media has had a major influence on fashion and trends in all aspects of day to day life (Sayre, 2010). According to Sayre, In contrast to early centuries, one of the things that stand out in the world during the twentieth century was the growth of technology (Sayre, 2010). Advances had been made in technology by the end of the twentieth century (www.wvculture.org). Communications, information technology, transportation technology and medical advances have radically altered daily lives of non-western cultures (www.wvculture.org).
Native American Cultures
Concerning the Native Americans and the Europeans, the Native Americans were living a peaceful and productive life living off the land until the Europeans arrived in the seventeenth century (Sayre, 2010). According to Sayre, “the three main cultural conquests against the Native Americans were disease, trade, land and religion” (Sayre, 2010). Also according to Sayre, “after the American Revolutionary War and the Louisiana Purchase the movement westward was accelerated” (Sayre, 2010). Due to expansion conflicts between the Native Americans and Europeans war was unavoidable” (Sayre, 2010). The Native American saw the land as theirs and the settler saw it as being theirs as a resource to use as they liked (Sayre, 2010). Sayre stated, “Unfortunately, the fate of the Native American was linked to the buffalo and the slaughter of the buffalo was encouraged to accomplish the extermination of the Native American” (Sayre, 2010).
Chinese and British Cultures
Concerning the relationship between the Chinese and British was the issue of control of the opium trade (Sayre, 2010). The British was making tons of money through the export of this drug and the Chinese were suffering addiction to opium on a massive scale (Sayre, 2010). When the Chinese wanted to ban opium Brittan declared war (Sayre, 2010). The Brits acknowledge that China had a right to restrict the use of opium to the Chinese, but they considered the ban on trade a violation of their freedom of trade (Sayre, 2010). According to Sayre, “before the nineteenth century China was inhabited by simple people and ruled by warlords (Sayre, 2010). According to Sayre, “western nations did not pose a threat to the Chinese at the time; however, western nations sought to dominate them through aggressive military and economic policies designed to transfer wealth to their own countries and limit their sovereignty” (Sayre, 2010).
The British East India Company opium trade crippled India’s economy as well. According to Sayre, “India had one of the most productive economies in the world” (Sayre, 2010). Also, according to Sayre, “Britain imported cast steel from India, where many were employed in mills and mines” (Sayre, 2010). By the end of the eighteenth century, India lost its European markets for finished goods after the “British East India Company bought raw materials at extremely low prices (Sayre, 2010), while undercutting Indian manufacturers by selling the finished goods in India at low prices” (Sayre, 2010). Over the course of two centuries most Indians became indentured servants (Sayre, 2010), and also had gone from producing cast steel to producing only iron ore (Sayre, 2010). Over the course of two centuries “India experienced series of famines, as well as widespread unemployment and poverty” (Sayre, 2010). Also, according to Sayre, “In 1750 India produced 25 percent of the world’s industrial output, but by 1900 it was reduced to 2 percent” (Sayre, 2010).
Sayre states that “Japan was a disciplined and traditional country prior to 1853, because it had been closed to the west for 250 years” (Sayre, 2010). Also, that “Commodore XXXXX XXXXX sought to gain the Japanese government’s assistance in opening trade as well as providing a safe haven for stranded sailors” (Sayre, 2010). He was there as a guest of the Japanese, but he demanded and received the concessions he was after (Sayre, 2010). “The goal of the Japanese was to become a modern country while maintaining their sovereignty as well as their ancient traditions” (Sayre, 2010). According to Sayre, anyone visiting Japan had to follow carefully laid out itineraries if they wanted to visit beyond the “treaty ports” (Sayre, 2010). The purpose of this concession was to maintain some semblance of control of the image of their country that the visitor’s took home with them (Sayre, 2010).
Japan also realized that if they wanted to be a modern society they had to industrialize, and by the late nineteenth century the Japanese economy was expanding (Sayre, 2010). The artistic print thirty-six views of Mount Fuji illustrate the “transience of the human experience and the permanence of the natural world” (Sayre, 2010). This print also shows the perils at the time as “represented by the dilemma of the boatmen and the values of the nation, represented by the solidity of the mountain” (Sayre, 2010).
Africa and Empire Cultures
Africa made an effort to increase the power of nation-states known as imperialism (Sayre, 2010). According to Sayre, “the world is still living with the effects of imperialism even today” (Sayre, 2010). The control over the African continent began with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 (Sayre, 2010). The reason for the conflict is Suez Canal was considered to be the shortest route to India (Sayre, 2010). Also protect Egypt from the conflict the Brits advanced into the Sudan (Sayre, 2010). European found the untapped natural resources and land mass too much to resist (Sayre, 2010).
Sayre stated that, Social Darwinism was used in theory to justify the concept of Imperialism (Sayre, 2010). According to Sayre, “it was used to validate imperialism and the colonial regimes it fostered in Africa and Asia” (Sayre, 2010). I take that to mean that since Great Britain and the United States were powerful countries, they could simply come in and take over as they pleased (Sayre, 2010). According Sayre, “the use of eugenics was used to get rid of undesirable and unfit members of society by encouraging the spread of intelligent and physically fit humans through breeding by means of state intervention, tax and other incentives” (Sayre, 2010).
“Worldwide, non-Western cultures still face fundamental challenges to their cultural identities-not so much a re-centering of culture but a decentering of culture” (Sayre, 2010, p. 419). After researching this topic I believe that as American and European countries exact their influence upon other cultures, they lose more and more of the traditions that made their countries what they were and the line between being modern and traditional are constantly being blurred (Sayre, 2010).
Sayre, Henry M. Discovering the humanities. Oregon State University, 2010.
Pearson Education, Inc.
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