In “De-Eurocentricizing Cultural Studies”, Stam and Shohat explain the importance of a multicultural outlook on international affairs, and recognize that Eurocentric discourse has generated a bound set of world power relations in favor of the West. European discourse isn’t limited to literature and general media, but extends to art in the sense that it “projected colonized people as body rather than mind… as the colonized world was seen as a source of raw material rather than of mental activity or manufacture” (487).
Eurocentrism uses the privilege of English language to address other cultures as ‘peripheralized’ areas. This creates an “unequal distribution of knowledge and prestige” from the European perspective. In this sense, “ Eurocentrism rigs the historical balance-sheet” and creates the notion of ‘the other’. This is an example of Gramsci’s idea of the hegemonic bloc.
Theorists have criticized multiculturalism for it’s Eurocentric foundation, creating a disjuncture in reality and discourse. As the authors note, “It all depends on whom is multiculturalizing whom, from what social position, in response to what hegemonies, as part of what political project”, etc. Although there have been critiques to Eurocentric representations of cultures, actual non-European cultural productions have been neglected in popular communiqué. This is the downfall of cultural studies as we know it.
Stam and Shohat conclude their chapter in discussing the logic in transforming cultural studies to multicultural studies. The point of multicultural studies is to rid the West of their narcissistic perspective of the “other”. When we think of modern global issues, we find it easy to blame individual countries that have really developed into world powers, but in reality, countries like the US, China, etc. merely adopted these practices from European imperialism and expansion. These ideas permeate today even after colonialism in the traditional sense has “ended”.
Natalie, Grace, Anna, Andrew, Beau.