I wondered about the history of Eurocentrism. So I collected some basic info.
Eurocentrism is thoughts or practices privileging European identity, culture, and historical events over those of other regions. Implicit in Eurocentric practice is the claim that European culture and peoples are superior to those of other continents. Flamingly evident in the "Great Books" educational tradition, the distortion often conceals a dangerous denial of the origins of European culture and ideas in African and Asian traditions.
Eurocentism is reflected in unthinking conceptions of the geographic extensive of the West. In his 2009 book The Burdens of Disease: Epidemics and Human Response in Western History, author J.N. Hays discusses the Western response to disease as occurring in Europe, the countries along the Mediterranean coastline that include the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Australasia. In effect, the only part of the world that is not the West is Asia.
Eurocentrism is a particular case of the more general phenomenon of ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism refers to the regard of one's own ethnic group or society as superior to others. Other groups are assessed and judged in terms of the categories and standards of evaluation of one's own group. Eurocentrism, therefore, is defined as a thought style in which the assessment and evaluation of non-European societies is couched in terms of the cultural assumptions and biases of Europeans and, by extension, the West. Eurocentrism is a modern phenomenon and cannot be dissociated from the political economic and cultural domination of Europe and, later, the United States. It may be more accurate to refer to the phenomenon under consideration as Euroamericocentrism. Eurocentrism is an important dimension of the ideology of modern capitalism ( Amin 1989 ) and is manifested in both the daily life of lay people and the professional lives and thought of sociologists and other social scientists. Furthermore, although Eurocentrism originates in Europe, as a thought style it is not confined to Europeans or those in the West. Eurocentrism in sociology is defined as the assessment and evaluation of European and other societies from a decidedly European (read also American) point of view. The European point of view is founded on concepts derived from European philosophical traditions and popular discourse ...
During most of the last two centuries,the prevailing popular view of world history held that a mainstream of facts could be identified in the flood of events taking place since the dawn of humanity. Essentially, this mainstream coincided with the history of Europe and its antecedents and successors—all the heirs and transmitters of civilization. The source of this stream of facts was located in Egypt and the Near East, and via Greece and Rome it slowly flowed westward to medieval western Europe. In the course of two colonization waves—the first starting in 1450, the second in 1870—it finally came to encompass the whole planet.
FIVE LEVELS OF EUROCENTRISM
The mainstream principle reveals a broader tendency— namely, to perceive one’s own culture as the center of everything and other cultures as its periphery. This tendency is called ethnocentrism.
--Dr. Antoon De Baets History Dept., Univ. of Groningen,
Political and social thought regarding Latin America has been historically characterized by a tension between the search for its specific attributes and an external view that has seen these lands from the narrow perspective of European experience. There has also been an opposition between the challenge of the rich potentialities of this New World and distress over its difference, which stands in contrast with the ideal represented by European culture and racial composition. Nonetheless, external colonial views and regrets because of the difference have been widely hegemonic. A brief revision of the texts of the first republican constitutions is enough to illustrate how liberals, in their attempt to transplant and install a replica of their understanding of the European or North American experience, almost completely ignore the specific cultural and historical conditions of the societies about which they legislate. When these conditions are considered, it is with the express purpose of doing away with them.
The affliction because of the difference—the awkwardness of living in a continent that is not white, urban, cosmopolitan, and civilized—finds its best expression in positivism. Sharing the main assumptions and prejudices of nineteenth-century European thought (scientific racism, patriarchy, the idea of progress), positivism reaffirms the colonial discourse. The continent is imagined from a single voice, with a single subject: white, masculine, urban, cosmopolitan. The rest, the majority, is the “other,” barbarian, primitive, black, Indian, who has nothing to contribute to the future of these societies. It would be imperative to whiten, westernize, or exterminate that majority.
Eurocentrism and Colonialism in Latin American Social Thought
6. David Goldberg (1993) argues that modernity became increasingly to be defined by and through race. For Goldberg, race was normalised in terms of modern moral reason. He sees the shift from medieval premodernity to modernity as being in part a shift from a religiously defined human identity and personhood to a racially defined identity and personhood. Race and reason are intertwined in Enlightenment thought. Thus, Eurocentrism, as racialised knowledge, was a central focus of meaning in the constitution of ‘modernity’, including what it means to be human. Class relations and the individualisation of subjects are similarly embedded in the development of modernity.
Despite the conditions of its emergence, Eurocentric knowledge was construed as being scientific, objective and impartial - white scientists, (predominantly male and bourgeois), in their pursuit of knowledge saw themselves as neutral observers of the human condition.
White Over Black: Discourses of Whiteness in Australian Culture