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Notes on video lecture:
Imagined Hierarchies in History
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
impurity, stratified, itself, privileged, race, Africa, caste, discrimination, Barbie, evolutionists, Brahmin, Ham, moral, hygienic, segregation, undereducated, children, justify, ethical, souls, dominance, circumstances, jati, viscous, Gypsies, spoiled, biological
what accounts for all the different societies and hierarchies throughout history?
in most cases, hierarchies were based on historical                            and then simply perpetuated over many generations
Hindu            system
the peoples of central Asia invaded the Indian sub-continent and subjugated the local population, created a                      society in which they were on top
invaders were fewer in number than local populations
feared that over time, they might lose their                      status
to prevent this, they divided the population into castes
each caste had a different legal status, privileges, and duties
mixing of castes was prohibited
became an integral part of Hindu religion
in order to give legitimacy to the stories they tried to convince everyone including              that this caste system was not a human invention, but that it reflected some kind of cosmic order and that it was there to protect society against some kind of                 
many religions teach that particular groups of people are impure and contact with them will lead to impurity
e.g. women were often seen as a source of pollution, so they shouldn't go near he scriptures or mix with men, etc.
e.g. if a ruling group wanted to keep Jews or                out from somewhere, stories would be created that these groups of people are impure
this is a particular effective analogy for ruling classes to use since people in general had experience of others coming in contact with impure substances such as rotten corpses or                food and as a result becoming ill or dying, and so this analogy was particularly useful in convincing                           , superstitious and gullible people of imagined stories of their religions
it was was a way a hijacking scientific knowledge of substances which can truly harm you and extending it through analogy in order to coerce populations of people into behaving in certain ways
this was common in the Hindu caste system where                  where taught to not only stay away from garbage and contaminated water in order not to contaminate their bodies, but also to stay away from the lower caste of people in order to not contaminate their           .
as people grew up, these ideas became deeply embedded in their culture, and continued to be fearful of caste pollution
over time the caste system changed, at the beginning there were only four castes, but over the years more castes were added, in the end there was the concept of "        " or birth, in which there were over 3000 kinds of jati that you could be born into
a person's jati determines where you can live, whom you could marry, and what kind of job you could have
even today, matters of marriage and career are still heavily influenced by freeing people from the idea of castes
American society and imagined stories regarding race
the story of          in America has many similarities with the story of castes in India
it began with the importation by European conquerors of millions of people from Africa who were forced to live and work as slaves
why did Europeans choose to import slaves from              instead of employing the local inhabitants or importing labor from Europe? There are many reasons and all of them are quite accidental:
1. the reason they didn't employ or enslave local inhabitants for the most part is because Europeans brought with them many unfamiliar diseases which decimated the local populations, for example, in Mexico it is estimated that 90% of the population, or 20 million native Americans died of imported diseases in the 16th century, so there were simply not enough local inhabitants to work the plantations, so the European masters had to look for free labor some other source
2. the reason why slaves were imported from Africa and not from Europe itself, or India, or China is because Africa was simply closer so it was cheaper to transport slaves from e.g. Senegal to Brazil than from Vietnam to Brazil
3. in Africa, there already existed a very well-developed slave trade, mainly Muslim slave traders had developed in the previous centuries a slave trade in which slaves were exported from central Africa to North Africa and the Middle East, so it was easier for Europeans to begin at and extend a market that already existed than to create one
4. American plantations of sugar, cotton and coffee were located mostly in hot, humid and tropical areas such as Haiti, Brazil, Louisiana and Virgina, and these places were plagued by diseases such as malaria and yellow fever which had originated in Africa, and Africans had developed at least partial immunity from these diseases
because of this slave history, the countries in the Americas tended to be divided into a ruling class of white Europeans and a subjugated group of black Africans from Africa.
in order to explain this segregation and domination of one group of people over another, the European masters did not mention the above four reasons since these are not just, but created imagined stories, for example:
1. European theologians invented the story the Africans descended from       , who was cursed by his father Noah that his offspring would be slaves, and this is why, they suggested, it is                for Europeans to own slaves
2. European biologists and                            argued that is was ethical to enslave black Africans because according to their science, blacks were supposedly less intelligent and had less developed            senses than whites and so it is okay if they are kept as slaves by whites
3. European doctors argued that blacks spread diseases because they have worse                  habits and therefore they should be kept apart from and taken care of by whites
even after Britain outlawed slavery in 1833, and the United States in 1865, these imagined stories continued to dominate public thinking as an accepted cornerstone of American society which perpetuated                        up into the 1950s and 1960s.
1865 after slavery was abolished
most black families were far poorer and far less educated than white families
the stories that used to justify slavery continued to                segregation
the general theme of "social pollution" was used in America just as in caste society in India to keep certain groups separated
these stories were built into other areas of society such as aesthetics in which beauty was determined as white beauty or fashion that blacks could not attain, e.g. the              doll
you might think that over the years that people would gradually understand that these stories are just                mythology, but in many ways, people became more entrenched in these stories, in fact, these stories were often translated into laws which were meant to safeguard the racial order which had long ago been established by the institution of slavery
this is an example how imagined realities which are based on quite accidental circumstances can go on from generation to generation and grow into viscous circles that perpetuate and expand themselves for centuries
often in history the unjust                              of one group of people often gets worse, not better over time
most social/political hierarchies in human history lack any objective, biological or logical basis, they are usually the result of accidental events which are supported by stories that people invented over time to justify their                    over others
this is one of the best reasons to study and know history
if the division between European Americans and African Americans, was grounded in an objective,                      reality, if people in the                caste really had bigger brains, then you could study this with biology. History, on the other hand, is studying and explaining the dynamics of how
people create and use their stories to organize large societies. We can understand these phenomena only by studying the events, the circumstances, and the power relations that over time transformed the imagination of people into very real, and very cruel social structures.
The Context of History and Our Extended Human Family
How Walking Upright Led to Better Social and Cooperative Skills
The Importance of Fire and Cooking
Why Did Other Human Species Become Extinct?
The Cognitive Revolution and the Beginning of Human History
The Language of Homo Sapiens
How Fictive Language Enabled Larger Social Groups
The Power of Imagined Realities
How the Ability to Tell Stories Enabled Humans to Cooperate in Massive Groups
The Cognitive Revolution and the Variety of Human Communities
Spiritual Beliefs of Early Humans
Politics and Warfare of Pre-Agricultural Societies
45,000 Years Ago: Human's Decimation of Australia's Large Mammals
14,000 BC: Human Migration to the Americas
Agriculture: The Good and the Bad
10,000 BC: Agricultural Revolution
The Origins of Agriculture
The Code of Hammurabi and Other Imagined Realities
Inter-Subjective Reality and Romantic Consumerism
The Human Brain's Outsourcing of Mathematics
Unjust and Imagined Hierarchies
Imagined Hierarchies in History
Culturally Defined Gender
Three Theories of Gender Domination
The Direction of Humankind: Global Unity
The Essence of Money
The History of Money
The Historical Definition of Empire
The Relationship between Science, European Imperialism and Capitalism
Science, Capitalism and European Imperialism
Columbus: Last Man of the Middle Ages, Vespucci: First Man of the Modern Age
European Empires, Science, and Capitalism
How Capitalism is Based on Trust in the Future
On the Interdependence of Science and Capitalism
How Capitalism Enabled Small European Countries to Explore and Conquer the World
The Relationship Between Capitalism, the Slave Trade, and Free Market Forces
Industrialization, Energy and Raw Materials
The Second Agricultural Revolution and its Effect on Animal Treatment
The Ethics of Capitalism and Consumerism
On Limitless Energy Resources and the Hegemony of Modern Time Schedules
State/Market vs. Family/Community
Humankind's Rigid and Violent Past, and Flexible and Peaceful Present
Reasons for Our Current Unprecedented Era of International Peace
Three Theories on the History of Happiness
Psychological and Biological Happiness
Measuring Human Happiness
The Future of Cyborgs and Robots
What Do We Want to Want?