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16 Ranke’s dismissal of India and China stood for an exclusion of all non-European societies, as the subjects covered by his World History make clear. Even though India and China both, Ranke must have known, possessed well-documented, ancient histories, they, like other non-European societies, still belonged to natural history rather than to history. 17 Chronology alone did not, Ranke implied, make a nation historical. To be a subject of historical inquiry, a society had to have writing, appear to be progressing, and possess some fundamental connection to the narrative of European history.
69 By refusing to be photographed in their costumes, Bismarck Bell and other performers threatened to transform Luschan’s anthropological images into demonstrations of the fabricated nature of primitive culture (which is, indeed, how I use them). 71 Instead of allowing the uncooperative individuals to destabilize the performance of colonial culture, Luschan transformed them into object lessons in the undesirability of colonial subjects adopting the culture of European colonists. Luschan was thus able to publish the volume of commemorative portraits without undermining the discourse of primitive natural peoples and advanced cultural peoples, even though many of the photographs show Africans wearing European clothes.
11 In general, German academics seemed to be willing to apply a pluralist or relativist notion of culture only to themselves and a few other societies. The emergence of history as a fundamental category of German thought in the nineteenth century only increased the exclusivity of the humanities. Hegel’s interest in development led him, in his lectures on the KULTUR AND KULTURKAMPF 41 philosophy of history in the 1820s, to declare most societies not worthy of study. ” Only certain societies, that is, embodied spirit and became relevant to world history.
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