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Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization
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Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  7 reviews
From one of the world's leading experts on Native American law and indigenous peoples' human rights comes an original and striking intellectual history of the tribe and Western civilization that sheds new light on how we understand ourselves and our contemporary society. Throughout the centuries, conquest, war, and unspeakable acts of violence and dispossession have all be ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by St. Martin's Press
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3.93  · 
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 ·  55 ratings  ·  7 reviews

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Margaret Sankey
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Williams outlines one of the oldest of mankind's "othering" processes--we are civilized, you are a savage, lacking some crucial element of human-ness like xenia, even if you are richer or more organized, and thus we are justified in fighting you and taking your stuff. The problems here are two fold. First, Williams is a very strong legal scholar, but he's not a classicist, and as a result is using dated translations for fairly crucial points made about specific words, and second, he makes this a ...more
Grazyna Nawrocka
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Initially I thought that the book will be about all of those "perfect native people and bad whites." What I found out, as I was reading, was deeper understanding of the history.

It's obvious that white people invaded continents outside of America, but I wouldn't think they followed some philosophical or religious system. They were poor, and they immigrated looking for a better life, business, and farms. It was a new concept to me, that "civilized" people decided officially in some government, th
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5-4 stars. Provides a detailed look on the origin of the idea of the "savage" in western civilisation and traces this throughout time. Parts of it are a bit dry, but it's not terribly difficult.
May 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Very interesting. Gives new perspective on symbolic notions of conquest. While certain examples (like cultural appropriation) arent explicitly stated, the general origins of where certain dynamics and phrases originated are explained in this book. There is a large focus on Greek and Roman mythology so if you are curious about the ways that intersects with Indigenous peoples then this is def the read for you. Only criticisms are that it can be a little repetitive at times and can get boring when ...more
Andrew Gardner
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mr. Williams and his editor have a great deal of discipline. Drawing a straight line through from Homer to contemporary Indian law is no easy task, if for no other reason than because there are so many tempting tangents that a scholar could explore. Given that challenge, this book is tightly written, and I appreciate the scope of the perspective. I am neither a lawyer nor a historian nor a classicist, so I will leave it to others to evaluate the arguments presented; I will just saw that I am con ...more
James Romanow
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating review of the philosophic and social underpinnings of our notion of the "savage". Not sure I completely agree with the author's conclusions (I suspect that although the Greek version is modernity's version, all societies at all times have invented "the Other" as equivalent.)

Worth reading if you like hard core discussions of this sort. Also worth reading to discover (or rediscover?) how far back in time most of 'Modern' views go.
Susan Mumpower-spriggs
The thesis of the book is an interesting one that Williams provides a long history of evidence to support. I would recommend this book for anyone who cares about American Indian history and rights, European Americans' historical antecedents, human rights, and a better understanding of why and how we make excuses for dehumanizing the "other."
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