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ABSTRACT. This paper investigates the sources and consequences of the concept of ‘Universal Human History’. First, the paper make use of Chakrabatty and Foucault to understand the critique of historical reason. Second, the paper examines the literature in radical political economy that engages with the idea of the Eastern origins of Western civilization. Third, the paper uses notions of Orientalism and Black Athena to understand the decisive reassessment of the Western philosophical tradition. Fourth, in this light the essay returns to Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of History to analyze human history as the metanarrative of a developing self-consciousness. Hegel outlines a history of the world which begins with the East as a first “unreflective consciousness” and a “realized rational freedom” in politics with- out ever advancing to the “subjective freedom” that characetrizes the West. In the final section the paper briefly discussion the possibility of a post-Hegelian philosophy of history. pp. 63–77

Keywords: philosophy of history; Hegel; Foucault; Said; Orientalism; Black Athena; Eastern origins of the West

How to cite: Peters, Michael A. (2014), "Eurocentrism and the Critique of 'Universal World History:' The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization," Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 6(1): 63–77.

MICHAEL A. PETERS
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University of Waikato
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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