If Zerubavel were asked the question: “Did Christopher Columbus discover America?” he would say that he did not discover it. Zerubavel defends his argument that Columbus does not deserve the credit for discovering America in “Terra Cognita: The Mental Discovery of America” based on how we define discovery.

Your 20% discount here!

Use your promo and get a custom paper on
Zerubavel on Columbus

Order Now
Promocode: SAMPLES20

There are different definitions of what it means to “discover.” When Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, there were already thousands of people (Native Americans) living here. He was not the first person to discover it. It was already inhabited. Because he was not the first person to set foot on American soil, he was not the person who originally discovered it, according to Zerubavel.

Another variable Zerubavel discusses are the ways one defines discovery. Discovery for some might mean having a view or knowledge of a land, while others would believe that one would have to actually set foot on the land to have discovered it. Columbus did not land on the main land. His journey took him to the Bahamas. Another fact is that Columbus did not even know what he had found. He believed the islands he landed on were part of Asia. It took centuries of rediscovery for America to be completely realized by Europeans. And even then, they were not the first inhabitants on the land.

Zerubavel suggests that Columbus did not “discover” America because there were already thousands of people living here, and, he was not even on the main land. Columbus also did not even realize what he had “discovered,” believing it was part of Asia. Zerubavel says that credit for discovering America should be given to the American Indian’s ancestors who discovered it thousands of years before Columbus cam across the ocean.

Miner on the Nacirema

2) Why do you think Miner is telling us about the Nacirema? What message does he want you to get from reading this piece?

In Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual of the Nacirema” he tells us about the extreme rituals the Nacirema practice, as well as their belief in magic, based on the belief that the body is a curse. The Nacirema perform “magic” and other rituals that degrade the body. Miner discusses how they seem to be very masochistic and even sadistic in nature. Their customs show some of the extreme conditions the body can endure.
The reason Miner is telling us about the Nacirema is to show how much the human body can endure, and also, how mankind was, at least at one point in history, influenced by seemingly barbaric ideas and rituals—which eventually urged man to become more civilized. Mankind can attribute the level of living we have now, in part, to magic—or the idea of magic; magic helped mankind reach the level of civilization we now know.