This review of The Price of
Freedom Denied: Religious persecution and conflict in the
twenty-first century , by Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke
(Cambridge University Press, 2011) appeared in the Times Literary
Supplement on 1 June 2012, under the heading
‘Repression by numbers’.
Most cultural anthropologists are sceptical about the
Henry V and the interrogative
conscience as a space for the performative
negotiation of confessional conflict
Mary A. Blackstone
Despite the relative distance in time between Shakespeare’s England and
the upheavals of earlier Reformation and Counter-Reformation periods,
persistent aftershocks of anxiety surrounding religious belief and allegiance
continued to destabilize the bedrock of English society from the level of the
court and members of the nobility down to parish churches and their clergy
and even to the level of Shakespeare’s groundlings
This book explores a range of literary and theatrical forms as means of mediating religious conflict in early modern England. It deals with the specific ways available to mediate religious conflict, precisely because faith mattered more than many other social paradigms. The first part explores the ways in which specific religious rituals and related cultural practices were taken up by literary texts. In a compelling rereading of the final act of 'The Merchant of Venice', the book investigates the devotional differences informing early modern observances of Easter. Subsequently, it explores the ways in which Christmas provided a confessional bridge uniting different religious constituencies. Goodnight ballads were not only commercially successful pieces of public entertainment but also effective forms of predominantly Protestant religious persuasion. The book's consideration of Elizabethan romance links the literary form to the sacrament of the Eucharist, and argues that the Eucharist debate had an impact on Elizabethan romances. The second part 'Negotiating confessional conflict' provides a rereading of When You See Me You Know Me, exposing the processes of religious reform as an on-going means of mediating the new normality of confessional plurality. It examines the potential of the tragic form by a reading of the play The White Devil, and discusses the ideological fault line in the views of witchcraft. The book also shows that Henry V anticipates later sermons of John Donne that served to promote 'an interrogative conscience'.
This book regards Arab Islamism and liberalism as distinct political ideologies with all-encompassing views on the structure and appropriate roles of society and the state. The thesis presented here on the different functions of Israel and Zionism within these two ideologies refers to a protracted period of time. It also establishes several generalizations about the actions of individuals and groups in a vast geographic and linguistic space. The book first offers a chronological overview of the Islamist ideological opposition to Zionism. It portrays the main characteristics of and driving forces behind this resistance and explores the different pragmatic approaches toward Israel that have developed in the various epochs of Islamist thought. The book then discusses Islamist depictions of Zionism and Israel as role models and analyses the reasons for the formation and acceptance of such interpretations. It also offers a chronological overview of the evolution of liberal thought with regard to the Zionist enterprise. It depicts the various perceptions of peace and normalization created within this thought and demonstrates the contradictory ways in which the Arab liberal struggle for freedom and democracy has been intertwined with the Israeli-Arab conflict. Finally, the book discusses liberal interpretations that represent Zionism and Israel as role models, and analyses the reasons for the formation and acceptance of such interpretations.
This book explores the theory and practice of authority during the later sixteenth century, in the religious culture and political institutions of the city of Nantes, where the religious wars traditionally came to an end with the great Edict of 1598. The Wars of Religion witnessed serious challenges to the authority of the last Valois kings of France. In an examination of the municipal and ecclesiastical records of Nantes, the author considers challenges to authority, and its renegotiation and reconstruction in the city, during the civil war period. After a detailed survey of the socio-economic structures of the mid-sixteenth-century city, successive chapters detail the growth of the Protestant church, assess the impact of sectarian conflict and the early counter reform movement on the Catholic Church, and evaluate the changing political relations of the city council with the urban population and with the French crown. Finally, the book focuses on the Catholic League rebellion against the king and the question of why Nantes held out against Henry IV longer than any other French city.
Identity is contingent and dynamic, constituting and reconstituting subjects with political effects. This book explores the implications of Protestant and 'British' incursions for the development of Irish Catholic identity as preserved in Irish language texts from the early modern period until the end of Stuart pretensions. Questions of citizenship, belonging, migration, conflict, security, peace and subjectivity are examined through social construction, post-colonialism, and gendered lenses from an interdisciplinary perspective. The book explains the issue of cultural Catholicism in the later middle ages, by way of devotional cults and practices. It examines Catholic unionism vis-a-vis Victorian politics, military and imperial service, the crown, and the position of the Catholic Church with relation to the structures of the state in Ireland. In particular the North American experience and especially the importance of the USA for consolidating a particular interpretation of Irish Catholic nationalist identity, is explored. Children studied in English Catholic public schools like Stonyhurst and Downside where the establishment Irish Catholics and rising mercantile classes sought to have the characteristics of the Catholic gentleman instilled in their progeny. The book sets out to detect the voices of those Catholic women who managed to make themselves heard by a wider audience than family and friends in Ireland in the years between the Act of Union of 1800 and independence/partition. It considers what devotional interests both Gaelic Irish and Anglo-Norman actually shared in common as part of a wider late medieval Catholic culture.
For over four decades, events in Palestine-Israel have provoked raging conflicts between members of British universities, giving rise to controversies around free speech, ‘extremism’, antisemitism and Islamophobia within higher education, which have been widely reported in the media and subject to repeated interventions by politicians. But why is this conflict so significant for student activists living at such a geographical distance from the region itself? And what role do emotive, polarised communications around Palestine-Israel play in the life of British academic institutions committed to the ideal of free expression? This book invites students, academics and members of the public who feel concerned with this issue to explore the sources of these visceral encounters on campus. Drawing on original ethnographic research with conflicting groups of activists, it explores what is at stake for students who are drawn into struggles around Palestine-Israel within changing university spaces facing pressures associated with neoliberalism and the ‘War on Terror’. It begins from this case study to argue that, in an increasingly globalised world that is shaped by entangled histories of the Nazi Holocaust and colonial violence, members of universities must develop creative and ethical ways of approaching questions of justice. Tragic Encounters and Ordinary Ethics curates an ethnographic imagination in response to the political tensions arising out of the continuing violence in Palestine-Israel. It invites students and academics to attend to lived experiences within our own university institutions in order to cultivate ethical forms of communication in response to conflicts of justice.
called for the promotion and
intensification of diplomacy to end the conflict. This faction has sided,
at times fervently, with normalization between Israel and its neighbours,
and regarded the democratization of the Arab world as dependent on
peace with Israel. The opposing liberal faction, the ‘refusal camp’, has
rejected the terms of the diplomatic negotiations between Israel and
its neighbours and resolutely opposed normalization with Israel. This
faction has perceived the democratization of Arab societies as the necessary precondition for posing
been seen for many
years (Dugan 2009; Rifkind 2009). Alice, who was an undergraduate at Redbrick
University during this period, described how an emergency students’ union general meeting ‘sparked off massive arguments and lots of conflict and led to an
occupation … a month-long occupation and their demands were … that the university should be helping these Palestinian people and Palestinian students that
are suffering’.3 On the other side of the country at Old University, a students’ union
motion supporting Gazans and condemning Israel was debated at a full
Contested framings: democratic conflict
and the public university
In April 2012, the annual NUS conference was dominated by a confrontation between the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and pro-Palestine activists.
Commenting on this in the Jewish Chronicle, a Jewish student activist took the
opportunity to raise a familiar rhetorical question: ‘What I do not understand
is this: why the problems in the Middle East, and in particular the Palestinian
cause, continually gain so much attention within the arena of student politics?’
(Carroll 2012). By questioning