The begining of this capitalist stuff?
Abu-Lughod’s book begins with the author stating that she is not arguing for one side of history but merely stating the facts that can best link to the modern world system. “My plan is to examine this world system as a whole, treating Europe at that time as it should be seen, as an upstart peripheral to an ongoing operation”(13). She gives the reader two points on pg. 24 about the historiography methodological problems that readers need to be aware of before reading to deep into the truths of time; first being that the people who could keep record intact are the people who tell history and that the amount of “equally reliable data” (24) is never the same place to place. The second is what she names “the problem of testimony” (25). She claims it is the gap between now and then. She uses a visual representation on the known world and how they are connected using various rings to connect them, like a world vie diagram. She starts the beginning by stating the Roman Empire caused the parts of Europe (except Italy) fell into the “dark ages” because of the fall of the empire. Finishing off the first part of the book, Abu says that the fall was due to growing population and urbanization. After that she brings up the most interesting part of the first 51 pages: that she attributes Europe’s integration back into the global society of the Cursades.
I found it very interesting that Europe’s integration back into the global arena was driven by religion. That is a bold statement considering that religion seems to be the hot topic in the world. Just a reminder that religion still and always will play a role in our lives down to the global relationships is just mind boggling. It was also interesting to learn that traveling to foreign lands caused the crusaders to trade because what was there (Palestine) wasn’t in Europe and vice versa. I also learned that China had so much to do with history keeping but was never a part of the history writing. This brings up a good point that history is skewed and what one says is true might not be what another believes to be true. Finally, I found in the article was that Italy somehow was left out of the dark ages. Was this simply because they had fallen but were okay? Time and time again, the loser or the fallen empires in wars were totally destroyed and needed to have some heavy rebuildment. I’m not saying that they didn’t rebuild but what were they not affected? Just doesn’t make sense.
I think she needs to talk about the processes of global interactions and how they came to be. She pre-dates how they came to be, but never what were the under lying reasons for them. Obviously wealth plays a huge role, but I would like to ask her, “Did every one want to participate or did the west force itself into the territories of the Middle East to cause this interaction?” The flips side of that coin is that well, they would have explored it anyway. My final question is where would we be now, if religion wouldn’t have been such a fundamental part of this who scheme? I’m not for it or against it, it is just a thought…