Non-European Technology

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Primary emphasis on Americas, some on Polynesia, Africa; Japan and China are covered elsewhere.

Technologically "Simple" Cultures

Often have highly ingenious technologies.

Technologically higher cultures

Some achievements of Native America

Some achievements of other cultures

How Did They Do It?

Time, patience and concentration

Western society emphasizes high output in a short time.

Allied POW's in Germany during WW II accomplished surprising feats with little material but lots of time.

Until the advent of mass-production in the early 19th Century, every object was hand-made and unique.

Moral: the great feats of pre-technological cultures become easy to understand from a standpoint of slow output and great patience. Pyramid builders from outer space need not apply.

European attitudes toward less-developed parts of world

Concept of "wilderness" as desirable is very recent, for the most part

Idea that native cultures should be preserved also very recent

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Created 20 May 1997
Last Update 20 May 1997

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