Monday, November 5, 2007

Tapping Topic: Civilization

Tapping Topic: Civilization

What constitutes a civilization, and does the term civilization “stand for something” in particular? Are their objective criteria for establishing a civilization in the world? What does it mean to be a citizen within the construct of a civilization? How is a civilization related to concepts that we have of the nation state, culture, and society? Does term denote a certain complexity over an above the concept of society? Is there a sense in which civilization can be critiqued historically as a particular phenomenon, especially western civilization? What is the relationship of people who are situated outside of civilization to those who dwell within its boundaries? What types of boundaries does a civilization even have to begin with? What are the similarities and differences between civilization and other ways of organizing social structure such as familial organization or tribal organization? One might even be so bold as to ask, what does it mean to be civilized, and will it be possible for us to be civilized on Wednesday at John Harvard’s at 7:00? Why doesn’t Villanova have an anthropology major, and does it need one? What do we have to learn about the meaning of civilization from literary nancy-boy Oscar Wilde pulling a de Tocqueville in the quote below?

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”


Love and Peace,

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