Of Cannibals By Montaigne

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I will begin by explaining the title of my paper, in such a way that not only is it comprehensible to me, but to anyone who happens to come across this paper in the future. I believe that Michel de Montaigne possessed attributes of which great anthropologists today would be envious. Montaigne not only realizes that bias due to ones’ own culture exists, he writes an entire essay, much like an ethnography, in which he discusses the customs and culture of the Brazilian natives discussed in “Of Cannibals” in comparison to the beliefs and customs of his own culture. De Montaigne was clearly a curious and intelligent man, and these traits are what leads me to believe my thesis regarding his promise as an anthropologist is true. Not only do I feel…show more content…
Montaigne could only see the hypocrisy in calling other cultures barbaric, when his own nation carried out acts just as barbaric or worse. Then one must look at what it means today. As simply put, ethnocentrism is “the belief in the inherent superiority of one’s own ethnic group or culture.”(dictionary.com) In layman’s terms, ethnocentrism is believing that your own culture is above or better than others because of bias. This bias seems to be unavoidable unless it is mentioned or brought up during early childhood. For example, my own mother was adamant on my understanding that all across the globe, different cultures and religions existed. She ignited a passion for travel, world religions and culture in me that will never be extinguished. She also allowed me to see various parts of the world to understand that the differences that exist between cultures are not necessarily bad nor good, they simply exist. Her goal in doing this was for me to understand at an early age the premise that everyone is different and this is a positive thing. However, she also wished for me to realize that I was no better than the other people all over the world, simply because I am different from them: because I wash my hands, boil my water, or wear clean clothes. She aimed for me to embrace the differences of other cultures, and in doing so inadvertently changed the path of my life and future career. This is why I feel safe in saying that Montaigne could have been a modern day anthropologist, after all, this is my field of study and I will soon be an anthropologist

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