Media Theory — Weekly Reflection 4/27
I have to say, last week’s lecture was my favorite one this semester because I learned so much about how colonialism, imperialism, and nationalism have shaped our whole world and how society runs today. While I learned about this material in high school, I feel like I obtained more from the lecture because my hometown was super conservative and teachers would always brush over how awful colonialism was and how Europe wasn’t always the powerhouse in our history. For example, I was informed about empires and borders prior to the thirteenth century, however, I was not aware that Eurocentric states weren’t as wealthy as East Asia, Islamicate, and Africa during the thirteenth century. I was also not taught that many things delivered in the industrial revolution came from Asia and Islamicate; take for example gunpowder, which I used to associate with the civil war and the beginning of the United States, however, it was invented in China. It’s crazy how the concept of race was brought about from the Spaniards/Portuguese Reconquista, and then it turned into a whole spectrum of how individuals were defined. I took a diversity and literature class my junior year of undergrad, where we read this paper on how an individual was defined as white. From the essay I read, it explained anyone who wasn’t male, adult, wealthy, and from the United Kingdom was not considered fully white.
After last week’s lecture, I decided to look through some YouTube videos on what the world would be like if colonization never happened and I stumbled upon a video called “What if Columbus Never Discovered America?” At the beginning, there’s mention of how Indiginious Americans lived in higher complex societies than Europe had, which goes back to the conversation we had about how Europe wasn’t always the powerhouse in world history. The video also mentions that indigiounous tribes were living in the Americas 20,000 years before colonization happened, so I can only wonder what the Americas would look like now? I’m trying to imagine all the technology and services that could exist given their long history. Maybe the indigenous tribes would have had to travel to gather and exchange more resources with other continents to gather materials. I’m wondering what it would have looked like if these tribes traveled to other continents and tried to exchange goods with their citizens. I imagine some of those continents may have been annoyed that the Indigenous Americans were coming to their land and feel threatened, however, they could’ve worked out a peaceful agreement and come together to create powerful societies around the world. Unfortunately, we’ve seen there’s never peace and agreement when it comes to building a society.
I stumbled on a controversial video after watching the previous one titled “What if American Slavery Never Existed?” which first talked about how the Caribbean islands would look more like European states. The video creator then theorized and discussed his research on the topic, where he said Europe would not have ever interacted with African individuals and they would have continued to be thought of as non-human. He then says America would be filled with mosty European descendants and the main tension there would be between religions like, Catholics and Protestants. At the end of the video, the speaker says even if The Atlantic slave trade didn’t happen, Africa would have eventually been colonized just in a later period of time. After watching this video, I tried to research what the world would like if colonization and slavery never happened, but couldn’t find any research tying the two together. I want to continue my research on colonization and I’m also interested in seeing what the world would like if capitalism never happened or was stopped entirely.