mongols and others

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Thu, 13 Oct 1994 16:20:39 CDT

recognize that one can't call Mongols "primitive" as of the point when they
were at the peak of their career of conquest, and had appropriated or
improved upon the state of the art technology for the thirteenth century.
But let's consider the Mongols as of circa 1170, before the career of
Chinggis Khan who, be it noted, wasn't the sort of historical figure who
comes along every week. (Neither was the Zulu emperor, Shaka, whose relevance
appears below.)

Mongol was a linguistic category, along with Tungusic and Turkic. Within
each of these linguistic categories there were tribal peoples. I am saying
that, not knowing what was about to happen, a hypothetical anthropologist
from the Hegemony (= "Western Civilization") would without question have
selected one of these tribal peoples, ethnographed it, typologized it, and
theorized about it, within the generalized paradigm of the Advanced/Western-
ized-Primitive. The same has occurred not only with other gatherer-hunter-
pastoralist peoples of Central Asia and Siberia, but with "tribal kingdoms"
of Sub-Saharan Africa more technically advanced and politically more complex
than the Mongols were in 1170. The career of Shaka, the Zulu emperor, is
construed entirely within the paradigm-discourse of the Advanced-Westernized
vs Primitive.

Another example. Consider a hypothetical anthropologist from the Hegemony
encountering Visigoths and Vandals in the fourth century, before they'd
settled within the frontiers of the Roman Empire. Again, they'd have been
objects of investigation in terms of the Primitive end of the paradigm. Even
with their conversion to Arian Christianity.

Can there be any doubt of this?

Daniel A. Foss