Cultural Syncretism

Topics: Culture, Africa, Western world Pages: 7 (2184 words) Published: February 4, 2013
Cultural Syncretism

Cultural Syncretism
Christina Doty
Alexis Garrett
American InterContinental University Online
HUMA215-1205B-07 Topics in Cultural Studies
Erin Pappas
January 27, 2013

The legacies of cultural syncretism in Africa, and the Americas have been compared and contrasted with the resistance to cultural change Westerners encounter in China and India. The cultural factors that caused these different outcomes are discussed. This discussion is followed by the legacies that the differences in types of encounters and degrees of cultural change that are left today. Next the differences in the Americas regarding modern culture had syncretism not occurred are listed. Finally the differences in China or India are mentioned if cultural syncretism had been successful.

Cultural Syncretism
Throughout history cultural syncretism occurred in some societies, but not in others. This occurrence or lack thereof changed the way these societies were shaped. Looking back Western Europe was becoming a power house by attempting to dominate other nations around them. This domination was successful in some areas of the globe, but not the other. Many research look to understand why. When the Westerners landed in Africa, the Americas, China, and India there were just one of two outcomes: syncretism and rejection.

Compare and Contrast the Legacies of Cultural Syncretism
Cultural syncretism came more easily within Africa and the Americas, than it did to China and India from the Westerners. In both Africa and the Americas there were many different tribes present thus causing a weakening of the people as opposed to China, India, and the Westerners who had created nations (Sayre, 2009). For example even though the Aztec tribe was large in numbers they had created many enemies by waging war on neighboring villages. This was done to retain individuals for their sacrificial rituals, which naturally their neighbors did not approve of. As a result when the Spanish launched an attack on the Aztecs the other tribes were more than happy to help the foreigners out (Sayre, 2009). If these tribes had been united as one, then they would have been able to fight together to ward off the invaders. Another element that led to the cultural syncretism of Africa and the Americas had to do with the fact that neither group held advanced weaponry. The Spanish for example had come with gunpowder, cannons, and muskets to overtake the native peoples (Sayre, 2009). The diseases that the Westerns carried unintentionally wiped the natives out, because they did not have as advanced of an immune system. They were also easily tricked by the invaders who used their myths and legends against them to gain their trust. In the Americas, specifically the Aztecs were quite advanced in comparison to other natives that explorers had encountered. Another city by the name of Teotihuacán was actually comparable to Constantinople and was laid out in grid (Sayre, 2009). These cities were easier converted into the Westerners’ beliefs, because they were so similar but also so young. It appears that the natives may have believed that the Westerners were more superior, because of their advancements over their cultures. On the other hand China and India had resisted the invasions of the Westerners. Both countries had believed that their culture was superior over that of the Westerns’, which made it difficult to convert them to their ways (Sayre, 2009). China and India had much richer backgrounds and had advanced more rapidly than cultures in Africa and the Americas. The cultures of China and India had a deeper history whereas the cultures in Africa and the Americas were just beginning to assert themselves. China and India held other forms of resistance to the invading Westerners. They had large populations that allowed them to fight back rather than being overtaken. Not only were the populations in these nations large, but they...
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