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Colonialism I: Economic and Political

(905 words)

Author(s): Schlatter, Gerhard
When Columbus discovered the American continent in October 1492, Latin America had to embark on a trail of sorrow that is not yet over. In 1521, with unexampled cruelty, Hernan Cortes annihilated the Aztec Empire, the city of Tenochtitlan was razed to the ground, and the population was practically exterminated. Priests and missionaries supplied the coup de grâce by assuring the devastation of all works of art and all libraries, thereby forever depriving humanity of a rich and multiform culture (’Mission). Only twelve years later, the Spanish adventurer Pizarro overcame the E…


(1,924 words)

Author(s): Schlatter, Gerhard
“The Tourist Way of Knowledge” 1. “The Tourist Way of Knowledge” was a performance by David Byrne in the Public Theater in New York at the beginning of the 1980s. Taking the denotations of the title, we seem to see something like the hero of old, the seeker of knowledge and new impressions. These ‘heroes,’ however, carry their limited, limitable knowledge along with them, within their own limits, everywhere they go, all of it available on the inside of their own limitations. They are not requited wit…

South Sea/Australia

(2,961 words)

Author(s): Schlatter, Gerhard
The Area ‘South Sea’ is an old name for the Pacific Ocean. Today it means the part of the Pacific comprising the Islands of Oceania. This is an area of ca. 70 million square kilometers, all surrounding 7,500 Pacific islands between America, the Philippines, and Australia. Oceania can be divided into Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. New Zealand in the South, and Papua-New Guinea in the West, are also numbered among the states of the South Sea, while Australia, as a continent by itself, no long…


(402 words)

Author(s): Schlatter, Gerhard
The concept and theory of ‘animism’ are linked to the name of religious anthropologist Edward B. Tylor (1832–1917), who, in his Primitive Culture (1871), thus designated any belief in the ensoulment of nature and the existence of spirits. Tylor sought to answer the question of how human beings came to develop the concept of a ‘soul.’ He supposed that the religious conceptualizations of the primitives had their origins in dreams or hallucinations, through which they must have arrived at the conviction of having an alter ego, a ‘second I.’ The latter departs from the body in sleep…


(1,343 words)

Author(s): Schlatter, Gerhard
1. One hundred fifty thousand years after the arrival of the original Australian people, the first colonization of Australia began with Captain Cook. The ‘natives,’ from now on all called Aborigines, had so little interest in Cook's paltry presents, his material gifts, that Cook wrote in his journal: “All of the things that we gave them, they left lying on the spot and paid no attention to them. On my view, this means that they believe themselves to be provided with all of the necessities of life.” The key to the Aborigines'…


(1,201 words)

Author(s): Schlatter, Gerhard
1. Mission Impossible (USA, 1996; direction, Brian De Palma)—a film on a troop of agents on a reprisal ‘mission’; MISSION—cosmetic lozenges from Vichy; The Sojourner Mission (of the little Martian robot). ‘Mission’ has many meanings today—all except that of a ‘sending.’ ‘Sending’ would be the literal translation of the Latin word missio. With respect to Christian mission, the term derives from the words of Jesus in Matt 28:18–20. While the word ‘mission’ itself does not occur in the biblical text, it stands in Luther's Bible in several headings,…