Artikel/Video: Wat maakte het Westen groot? Deel 1: Concurrentie

Vincent van den Born / The Old Continent

After summarising and commenting on art historian Kenneth Clark’s 1969 13-part series Civilisation, what better than to follow up with historian Niall Ferguson’s 2012 six-part PBS-series called, well, Civilisation, based on his book of the same name.

In the first episode Ferguson discusses the way in which ‘Westerners’ came to dominate ‘Resteners’ after 1500. He identifies six ‘killer apps’ which made this possible, which he says they’re “history’s greatest revelation.” In this episode, his main argument is a comparison between Europe on the one hand and China on the other.

Both because of his timeframe and the vast geographical area he covers, Ferguson’s narrative has some oversimplifications and generalisations. He admits as much himself in the introduction to the book. His defence is that without these ‘errors’, the book cannot be written, the series not made. What has been left out, “has been left out for a reason.

….lees verder

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Artikel: A fresh common sense view on European culture

Eva Vlaardingerbroek / The Old Continent

Hearing a 100-strong choir sing ‘’Alle Menschen werden Brüder’ at the top of their lungs, it is hard not to feel moved. Almost everyone will recognize this part of Beethoven’s ninth symphony, nowadays known by most as the anthem of the European Union. An excellent choice if you think about it: a great piece of music from one of our greatest composers, embodying the great ideals of a united Europe, or so we hoped. Instead, in the last decade Europe has been facing quite a few problems. To name a few: the Greek financial crisis, the refugee crisis, Islamic terrorist attacks, mass-immigration, a growing cultural schism between West and Eastern Europe and even Australia was allowed to participate in the Eurovision Songfestival, for heaven’s sake!…lees verder