Article ID: CBB001421509

Continents and Consequences: The History of a Concept (2014)


Originally intended to provide an accessible overview for colleagues in Papua New Guinea, this article outlines the emergence of the continental division of the world in classical antiquity. In medieval Europe this survived as a learned conception which eventually acquired emotional content. Nevertheless, the division was still within the context of universal Christianity, which did not privilege any continent. Contrary to the views of recent critics, the European sense of world geography was not inherently `Eurocentric'. While Europeans did develop a sense of continental superiority, Americans, Africans, and many Asians also came to identify themselves with their continents and to use them as weapons against European domination. The application of the division to Melanesia is also considered.


Description Argues that “the European sense of world geography was not inherently `Eurocentric.'”

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Authors & Contributors
Gautier Dalché, Patrick
Prontera, Francesco
Sezgin, Fuat
Scott, Anne M
McIlroy, Claire
Hiatt, Alfred
Geographia antiqua
Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften
Technai, An International Journal for Ancient Science and Technology
Imago Mundi: A Review of Early Cartography
Micrologus: Natura, Scienze e Società Medievali
University of Chicago Press
Levenger Press
École des chartes
Maps; atlases
Science and culture
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Historical geography
Waldseemüller, Martin
Eratosthenes of Cyrene
Ptolemy, Claudius
Mercator, Gerardus
Mustafa b. `Abdallah (Haggi Khalifa; Katib Chelebi)
Time Periods
16th century
Early modern
17th century
18th century
Mediterranean region

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