In This Review

Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization and Its ‘Others’
Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization and Its ‘Others’
Edited by Silvia Federici
Praeger, 1995, 210 pp.

As the title suggests, the authors in this volume are not enamored of Western civilization and argue strongly for a multicultural curriculum to balance what they regard as the ethnocentrism of the traditional university. Many of the arguments start with kernels of truth: that Western civilization is not the unified tradition it pretends to be, that it borrowed from many non-Western sources, and that the teaching of other cultures is often terribly deficient. For the authors, however, these parts add up to a self-defeating agenda, exemplified by the chapter ‘Mathematics and Eurocentrism,’ which argues for the teaching of an ‘anti-racist’ math. The result, however, would not be greater sympathy for or knowledge of non-Western cultures, but a compromised education.