cultures in transition, over time
December 5, 2009 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Looking for writing on how cultures/nations/tribes handled, fared, cope/d with alien influences. In the past or now, ongoing.

Examples of what was irretrievably lost?
Examples of resilient traditions that bent and absorbed.
Involuntary-thru colonialism or war. (e.g. Catholicism on the Aztecs)
Or just the gradual seeping of one tradition into another (advertising, the internet)
posted by ebesan to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
First Contact by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson is about the discovery by miners of natives in what was thought to be an uninhabited part of New Guinea; it was written in the early 1980's but the native community was discovered in the 1930's. It's quite an interesting story. The authors also made a film of the same name.
posted by Commander Rachek at 4:24 PM on December 5, 2009

There are First Contact the documentary is the first part of a trilogy, followed by Joe Leahy's Neighbors and Black Harvest. All essential viewing for an anthropologist.
posted by The Michael The at 5:12 PM on December 5, 2009

Ignore my poor editing on that last post...
posted by The Michael The at 5:12 PM on December 5, 2009

The Meiji Restoration in Japan partially involved the end of a couple centuries of refusal to trade with outsiders. All in all this period might be more complicated than what you're looking for, though.
posted by rhizome at 5:13 PM on December 5, 2009

This is a huge topic within the field of anthropology. A couple of classics I'd point you toward are Eric Wolf's Europe and the People without History and Marshall Sahlins' Islands of History.
posted by drlith at 6:14 PM on December 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

It is a huge topic, so huge that I might suggest working with the reference librarian at a nearby university rather than asking someplace like here.
posted by Miko at 7:44 PM on December 5, 2009

The way the Romans dealt with the Christians until the 4th C BCE is pretty interesting, especially compared with they way they dealt with Jews. There are many sources, both online and not, that explain it better than I can, but it might be worth looking into.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:44 PM on December 5, 2009

The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America describes new beliefs in devil-contracts and the baptism of money (among other things) in Columbia and Bolivia. Taussig argues that these were ways of makings sense of new capitalist practices and they way they fetishized commodities and undermined traditional values.

Savage Systems discusses the cultural interchange on colonial frontiers with specific attention to discourse about religion.

Both of these books are excellent, IMHO.
posted by farishta at 8:53 PM on December 5, 2009

I think Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs & Steel, and Charles Mann's 1491 are both great looks at this topic in a broader context.
posted by anildash at 10:49 PM on December 5, 2009

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