Notion of western vs eastern

Apr 2016
61
USA
Friends, the term "western" usually refers to europe. Can we consider Africa west as well since its west of the cradle of civilization--mesopotamia? In the same regard, India and China are both considered Eastern.
Shouldn't both Africa and Europe be considered Western together? What do you guys think?
 
May 2009
1,346
I think the sheer size of Africa means it should be in a category all its own.

I think the same is true with India. It may be part of Asia and the east geographically, but most people in the west think of India as its own entity.
 
Jan 2016
611
United States, MO
Yes, I think it would be more accurrate to do something like Western Europe, Eastern Europe with Russia, Middle East with North Africa, Sub-saharan Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Austraila-Oceana, North America, and South America. This just divides more accurately along cultural lines throughout history
 
Jan 2015
955
EARTH
Indians are historically Westerners. This perception changed in the past 1-2 centuries, but that's due to a changing social context.
Why do you think the famous Chinese Novel is titled "Journey to the West"?

Everyone West of the Central Plains = Westerners.

The acceptance of the modern definition of East vs West or Asia vs Europe throughout the world is a relatively recent phenomenon.
 
Oct 2016
95
3rd planet of the Solar System
agree!

Lumping East Asia, Southeast asia, South Asia, Middle East, and Central Asia all together as one cultural group is nonsense

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Tuthmosis III

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,738
the middle ground
Friends, the term "western" usually refers to europe. Can we consider Africa west as well since its west of the cradle of civilization--mesopotamia? In the same regard, India and China are both considered Eastern.
Shouldn't both Africa and Europe be considered Western together? What do you guys think?
The late professor Lee Daniel Snyder, member of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, had an interesting take on this (starting on page 4):
http://www.iscsc.org/wsp_images/snyder_address.pdf

West/East is Victorian vintage. Modern historians use more precise and descriprive terms.
Agreed. The concepts of "west" and "east" - and much related thinking on "civilizations" - was in response to European expansion and first coming to serious terms with other cultural traditions. Things have progressed beyond what was essentially a nice way of saying "us and them".

Lumping East Asia, Southeast asia, South Asia, Middle East, and Central Asia all together as one cultural group is nonsense
LOL. You remind me of a professor I had (long ago :sad:) who used to question how 'monotheistic' Islam, 'polytheistic' India, and 'atheistic' China could possibly be considered as some kind of single "Eastern" culture. Another liked William H McNeill's use of "Far West" to describe Europe from a Chinese perspective...
 
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Feb 2011
1,595
Shouldn't both Africa and Europe be considered Western together? What do you guys think?
From the geographical point of view alone this does not really add up. From a Chinese perspective, Africa is as much south as west to it.

Sometimes one finds in modern (multiculturalistic) history works Islam lumped together with European Civilization to "the West", but IMO this tells the reader more about the far-left mindset dominant in American academia than actual history. Islam and European Christianity always regarded each other as "the other" and for a good reason.
 
Apr 2017
1,678
U.S.A.
Most people use the term "western" to refer to Europe and the Americas, "east" can refer to anything from India to Japan, "middle east" anything from Morocco to Afghanistan, and Africa is just referred to as "Africa." This isn't historically or geographically accurate, just how people/media refer to it for simplicity based on average peoples knowledge (or lack thereof).
In my opinion the following terms should be used "Western" (with subgroups of European, Latin American and Anglo-American), "Sub-Saharan Africa" (which gets difficult at border regions), "North African" (north of/including Sahara), "Middle-East" (Egypt to Turkey to Iran), "Central Asia" (including former Soviet central Asia and Afghanistan), "Caucasus" (former Soviet including Chechnya-Dagestan region), "Indian subcontinent" (including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), "East Asian" (with subgroups of Southeast Asia, Northeast Asian and Central East Asian) and other smaller regions including Australia and South Pacific. That is not to say all these regions are similar or have similar cultures, but a somewhat accurate/simple geographic/cultural grouping.
 
Apr 2017
484
Sioux City, IA
I would suggest that Europe and European descended states are one division. East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, etc) is another. The Middle East, although it can and should be studied along with Europe to understand THAT region, should be classified as its own region. India is another, and Africa (Sub-Saharan) is yet another. And pre-Columbian America yet another.

And this is no perfect arrangement. There is NO arrangement that could be. But these are my thoughts on the matter.