person:david marquand

  • #David_Marquand on the End of the West

    Before we talk about your five books, I am interested in definitions of #East and #West. What do you regard as the old fashioned perception of East and West?

    The essence of the old fashioned perception is this. The West is seen as the home of modernity, of the values of the Enlightenment, of democracy and of market economics. The East is seen as backward, and lacking in the values of the Enlightenment which it never experienced. In the eyes of many people in the West, it follows that the West is both more advanced than the East and morally superior to it. This is a gross over-simplification of course, but that is the old perception.

  • The Ornament of the World By Maria Rosa Menocal

    about Great historical #civilisations out of the #West.

    David Marquand in an interview ;
    I found the book quite inspiring because it showed the possibility of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish civilisations living together”

    Maria Rosa Menocal’s The Ornament of the World, describes a time when the three big religions of #Christianity, J#udaism and #Islam lived in harmony.

    This had a huge influence on me when I was researching my latest book. I think the biggest threat to the values of pluralist democracy in present day Europe is Islamophobia. There is a very serious danger that this will be to the 21st century what anti-semitism was to the last century. I don’t think it has done so yet, but it could. I found the Rosa Menocal book quite inspiring because of what it showed about the possibility of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish civilisations living together. They managed to co-exist peacefully and to learn from each other in the period that we think of as the Middle Ages or even the Dark Ages [the eighth to 16th centuries].

    She describes #Andalusia in Spain.

  • The #Cosmopolitanisation of #Cartography Raising The Specter of Legitimacy in #Geography

    This work is about arguing that the maps of the world should be reconsidered in a #global_dialogue: in a process that opens the dispute of boundaries between union-states, regions, zones, or other similar #geo-political terms. David Marquand, in his important opus The End of the West (2011) reminds us that #West and #East perhaps never existed and in the case wherein we are told that they do, have, and are: such are parochial and illegitimate claims.


    We shall have to put the (Indian) inventors of Arabic numerals in our pantheon alongside the Greek inventors of geometry, and Ibn Rushd alongside Aristotle. We shall have to abandon our self-centred and patronizing belief that #democracy and free discussion were exported to a backward “East” by a progressive “West,” and reconstruct our mental universe to take account of the indigenous Indian tradition of public reasoning and religious toleration that long antedated the “Western” presence in the subcontinent. More generally, we shall have to recognize that the familiar “Western” narrative of global history, in which uniquely precious and, in evolutionary terms, uniquely successful “Western” values moulded the modern world in our great-grandparents’ image, is a parochial distortion of a far more complex truth. (Marquand, 2011: 176-77)

    His argument, I feel, is important because it challenges what many in this world have come to take for granted. In the case of this paper, it is the maps we are familiar with, the design of the globe that we have on our desks or which are offered to our children, which are parochial and relics of imperial abuses. This discussion is a needed one, as we have for example, no clear indication as to where Europe stops and that indigenous peoples for example have not had the inclusive and legitimate chance to contest the territorial boundaries which often split their nations. It is an attempt to bring a democratic legitimacy to cartography which is patently lacking.

    This will be done firstly by discussing in a broad and simple way why current maps are parochial and relics of #imperial_domination. We will then follow this argument up with another broad argument detailing how we could begin a global dialogue designed to spark debate over maps and to form a call for the democratic reform of cartography. Essentially, it argues that we must give people and groups a chance to define their boundaries and not have them imposed on us by those holding the Maxim Gun. Lastly, we will engage this discussion in relation to China’s territorial claims.