Saturday, June 21, 2008

History 5 - the end

Berkeley's History 5, faithfully reported by me this semester, is an excellent lecture series portraying the history of Europe from the renaissance to the present. The arc spans from the early rise of Europe to a point where we cannot say it is the end, but the signs look like a downfall; Europe losing more and more of its importance and weight.

The end, in the lecturer, Professor Anderson's, view shows a definitive decolonization and possibly a reverse. As to colonization, this comes to an end with not just all the European colonial powers having lost their overseas dominions, but also the final retreat of a certain imperial grip the Soviets (and the Americans if you will) have had on Europe. This I suppose, is seen by most people, but where lies the reverse?

The reverse lies herein, as Anderson puts it, after the Europeans had penetrated the rest of the world and then they had retreated, the world has begun to penetrate into Europe. First and foremost this is seen in the widely publicized rise of Islam and Arab and Turkish population in the heart of Europe. More profoundly and generally, since Europe's birth rates are low and the population is declining, Anderson tries to show, that necessarily, the continent even if it turns into an immigration area will be expected to get drained and therefore decline. Europe looks bound to lose the centrality it acquired with the renaissance.

More History 5:
Post-1945 Europe,
The Great Dictators,
New Europe, Old Europe,
Women and Freud,
Romanticism and Bismarck.

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