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Columbus and the Ends of the Earth

Europe's Prophetic Rhetoric as Conquering Ideology

Djelal Kadir


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Columbus is the first blazing star in a constellation of European adventurers whose right to claim and conquer each land mass they encountered was absolutely unquestioned by their countrymen. How a system of religious beliefs made the taking of the New World possible and laudable is the focus of Kadir's timely review of the founding doctrines of empire.

The language of prophecy and divine predestination fills the pronouncements of those who ventured across the Atlantic. The effects of such language and their implications for current theoretical debates about colonialism and decolonization are legion. Kadir suggests that in this supposedly postcolonial era, richer nations and the privileged still manipulate the rhetoric of conquest to justify and serve their own worldly ends. For colonized peoples who live today at the "ends of the earth," the age of exploitation may be no different from the age of exploration.

University of California Press, 9780520074422, 276pp.

Publication Date: January 15, 1992

About the Author

Djelal Kadir has recently been appointed Professor of Humanities and Editor-Director of the international quarterly, World Literature Today at the University of Oklahoma.