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The West and the World: Cultural Crisis and the New Imperialism, 1870-1914 The West CHAPTER 23.

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Presentation on theme: "The West and the World: Cultural Crisis and the New Imperialism, 1870-1914 The West CHAPTER 23."— Presentation transcript:

1 The West and the World: Cultural Crisis and the New Imperialism, The West CHAPTER 23

2 Medicine and Microbes Development of germ theory, antiseptic surgery and anesthesia transformed Western medicine Death rates from infectious diseases fell, and survival rates from surgery increased Awareness of germs fostered anxiety and fueled desires for physical isolation - growth of seaside resorts

3 The Revolution in Physics The development of x-ray, quantum physics and the theory of relativity undermined conceptions about the absolute nature of time, space and matter Much science became incomprehensible to lay people Unsettling prospect that objective reality was determined by subjective perception

4 Social Thought: The Revolt Against Positivism Emergent social sciences emphasized the role of nonrational forces in human nature Development of social theories that criticized the development of modern nation-states - Gustave LeBon, Max Weber Sigmund Freud proposed that the human unconscious was far deeper and more significant than conscious reality

5 The Triumph of Evolutionary Theory Development of evolutionary theories in geology and biology - Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin Challenged Christian cosmology and the biblical Creation narrative Provided scientific framework for explaining and confirming positivist thought and the European socio-economic system

6 Social Darwinism and Racial Hierarchies Evolution theory contributed to new social and racial theories that justified European patriarchy, hierarchy and imperialism Argued that white European males represented the pinnacle of evolution Cultivated fears that evolutionary regression and the decline of civilization were possible

7 The Fin-de-Siècle A mood of social uneasiness and despair Fear of the degradation of Western culture, fueled by perception of rising crime, and the reality of increasing drug and alcohol abuse Friedrich Nietzsche argued that overemphasis on rationality had weakened Western culture and that scientific reality was an illusion

8 Tightening Gender Boundaries Efforts to define gender boundaries more rigidly Condemnation of feminism as physically and morally dangerous to women Criminalization and medical condemnation of male homosexuality Greater efforts to understand and define “normal” sexuality

9 The Birth of Modernism Challenged accepted standards and truths, rejected established authorities Argued that the arts were autonomous and rejected the idea of art as a moral and emotional instrument Emphasized discontinuity, artistic experimentation, and individual emotion and experience

10 Popular Religion and Secularization Religious beliefs remained powerful Served to unify immigrant groups, support national identities and justify imperialism Division between Christians who embraced progress and change, and those who rejected modern society and science Growing sphere of secular entertainment undermined religious practices

11 Understanding the New Imperialism European dependence on raw materials from non-Western sources Creation of new, captive markets Global investment boom Appeal to nationalist and conservative sentiments National competition - the Scramble Effect

12 The Imperial Idea A belief system that permeated middle-class and mass culture Based on the assumption that Europeans were morally, technologically and biologically superior - the imperial destiny of Europe Often presented as a heavy burden and a moral duty Critics of empire were a minority

13 The Scramble for Africa Shift in perception of Africa, from an empty desert to a potential treasure house Technological developments enabled Europeans to penetrate and survive the African interior and crush resistance Forced labor and brutal punishment were common in European-controlled Africa Only Ethiopia successfully resisted European conquest

14 Asian Encounters Spread of European powers into the Pacific Emergence of the US, Japan and Russia as imperial forces in Asia and the Pacific Slow erosion of Chinese political and economic sovereignty, but no formal partition Identification of Australia as Western, and white Suppression of indigenous peoples and cultures in the US and Australia

15 A Glimpse of Things to Come: The Boer War Conflict in South Africa challenged the imperial idea Utilization of terror and concentration camps against civilian populations Aroused fierce opposition inside Britain - support for imperialism could fall, if the costs were too high Defeat of the Boers brought only limited victory to the British

16 Reshaping the West: Expansion and Fragmentation Cultural, intellectual and geographical boundaries of the West transformed Expansion of the West, in the US and Australia Development of social theories proclaiming white superiority Emergence of artistic and scientific ideas that fragmented and challenged Western experiences and assumptions


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