Western Supremacy: The Triumph of an Idea

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Sophie Bessis tells the story of the West`s relationship with the world it came to dominate - from the conquest of the Americas, through the slave trade and the Scramble for Africa, the White Man`s burden, Manifest Destiny and the growth of scientific racism, to decolonisation, the ideology of development and structural adjustment. Western Supremacy is the history of colonial and developmentalist thought. Starting with the Enlightenment idea of universality it traces how this facilitated a notion of the West rooted in a Hellenic inheritance systematically shorn of Egyptian or Arab influences. Though the hierarchy of races has now given way to the hierarchy of development, Bessis argues that developmentalism is the new incarnation of the West`s paradoxical aspiration to lead the world into universalism whilst maintaining its own supremacy. An extraordinary tour-de-force which will fascinate everybody who has an interest in globalization, development and the history of ideas.