Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/4665
Title: Thinking about the history of Africa in the eighteenth Century
Authors: Thomson, Ann
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Ann Thomson, “Thinking about the history of Africa in the eighteenth Century”, in Guido Abbattista (edited by), Encountering Otherness. Diversities and Transcultural Experiences in Early Modern European Culture, pp. 253-265.
Abstract: 
It is generally believed that sub-Saharan Africa was largely unknown to
eighteenth-century Europeans except as the source of slaves, and it is largely
absent from philosophical history. However, eighteenth-century writings
about Africa provided many histories of nations with different types of
government, which belie the view of one undifferentiated mass peopled
by savages with no history. But abolitionist writings represented Africans
primarily as innocent children of nature, the victims of European traders who
provoked wars by their Machiavellian maneuvers. This made it impossible
to place them in a coherent historical narrative or to accord them a political
history of their own, and as Africans could not be assigned a clear place in
the stadial scheme of history, they were generally excluded from historical
thinking. They became childlike victims to be enslaved or, increasingly,
converted and civilized by the Europeans. Thinking about the Africans was
increasingly confined to the field of natural history and anthropology and to
their place in the racial hierarchy.
Type: Book Chapter
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/4665
ISBN: 978-88-8303-306-3
Appears in Collections:Encountering Otherness. Diversities and Transcultural Experiences in Early Modern European Culture

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