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Enemies of Civilization

by Mu-chou Poo Ancient civilisations came into contact with one another through various channels, including trade and exchange, and warfare, which inevitably led to differentiation between 'us' and 'them'. The ways in which ancient societies conceived of this difference, and how it manifested itself in their culture, is the subject of this comparative history of attitudes towards foreigners in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and China. Rather than examining each civilisation in turn, Mu-chou Poo approaches the subject thematically exploring primarily textual evidence for key concepts such as 'self', ethnic identity, prejudice, cultural consciousness, and asks where these attitudes originated, why they came about and on what grounds they were based. What he finds is that, unlike today, foreignness was not thught of as a racial or biological difference, but was the result of cultural difference, involving issues of geography, language, religion and socio-economic development.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations Preface List of Abbreviations Chronological Table 1. Introduction The Question about The Others Ethnic Theories and Ancient History Choice of Subjects About the Comparative Study of History Structure, Scope, and Sources 2. In Search of Cultural Identity Geography Language Looking for Foreigners 3. Representations Designations of Self and Others Textual and Graphic Evidence 4. Relations and Attitudes Enemies Demons Friends and Allies From Apprehension to Appreciation 5. Foreigners Within Social Positions Foreign Goods and Languages 6. The Transformation of the Barbarians To Assimilate or Not to Assimilate Between Ideology and Reality 7. Conclusion The Illusive Others Official Ideology and Private Sentiments The Comparative Gaze The Problem of Great Civilizations Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Mu-chou Poo is Professor and Research Fellow in the Institute of History and Philology at Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He is the author of several books, including In Search of Personal Welfare: A View of Ancient Chinese Religion, also published by SUNY Press.

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