video record
Media not available in the Digital Archive
Prof. Ferguson gives his personal views of the meaning of "civilization". He sees the civilization of western Europe as one of many. As an example he reads a letter addressed by the Emper...or of China to the King of England in 1793. Ferguson reads the letter Ferguson examines the ideas of Toynbee and Kenneth Clark on civilization. Ferguson uses Toynbee's A study of history on which to base his critique. He discusses Toynbee's concept of geographically and temporally defined civilizations. Toynbee's 25 civilization are given and his contrast of these with primitive societies is examined. Ferguson tries to show that some of what Toynbee calls "primitive societies" have every right to be classed as civilizations. As examples he cites aspects of African cultures 1. The obelisks of Axum, Ethiopia. 2. Brick walls of Zimbabwe, Rhodesia. Still shots of these. Ferguson uses K. Clarks series "Civilization" on which to base his critique of Clarks. Ferguson disagrees with Clarks views on the relative merits of Greek classical art and African art. Ferguson shows that both can be considered art. Ferguson gives several examples of things Clark considers keypoints of civilization and points out the barbarous elements in each. Shots of: 1. Palace of the D'Este family in Ferrara. 2. Ducal Palace, Venice. Ferguson examines the ideas of Clive Bell on civilization. Arthur Marwick's uses of the word "civilization" discussed by Ferguson. Ferguson gives a preview of topics which will be covered in future units in the context of his idea of civilization. He gives a list of these topics and briefly discusses the reasons for their inclusion. To illustrate his view that civilization is a product of all men rather than a priviliged few, Ferguson reads a translation of a poem by Berthold Brecht. Ferguson sees Clark's "Civilization" as being aristocratic. It cannot belong to the common man. He feels that Clark has ignored the role played by women in civilization, a role he thinks is an essential ingredient. Ferguson criticises Clark for trying to make war an essential factor of civilization. To show that this is not so Ferguson cites the example of Atilla. Ferguson: Must civilization consists of preserved remnants? He cites African wood sculpture, the Illiad etc. to illustrate his view that it need not.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A100, Humanities: a foundation course
Item code: A100; 03
First transmission date: 06-02-1972
Published: 1972
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:00
+ Show more...
Producer: Peter Scroggs
Contributor: John Ferguson
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Civilisation
Master spool number: 6HT/70449
Production number: 00525_2351
Videofinder number: 1549
Available to public: no