Islamic exorcism and psychiatry: a film monograph

What is it like to be a Muslim possessed by a jinn spirit? How do you find refuge from madness and evil spirits in a place like Denmark?

As elsewhere in Europe and North America, Danish Muslims have become hypervisible through intensive state monitoring, surveillance, and media coverage. Yet their religion remains poorly understood and is frequently identified by politicians, commentators, and even healthcare specialists as the underlying invisible cause of ‘integration problems’.

Over several years Christian Suhr followed Muslim patients being treated in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital. With this book and award-winning film he provides a unique account of the invisible dynamics of possession and psychosis, and an analysis of how the bodies and souls of Muslim patients are shaped by the conflicting demands of Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states.

The book reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work not only to produce relief from pain, but also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain. Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera, both text and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, so as to allow patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.

Editor: Gareth Atkins

This collection of essays examines the place of ‘saints’ and sanctity in nineteenth-century Britain. It argues that holy men and women were pivotal in religious discourse, as subjects of veneration and inter-confessional contention. Protestants were as fascinated by such figures as Catholics were. Long after the mechanisms of canonization had disappeared, they continued not only to engage with the saints of the past but continued to make their own saints in all but name. Just as strikingly, it claims that devotional practices and language were not the property of orthodox Christians alone. Even in an age of confessional strife, doubt and secularisation, devotional practices and language remained central to how both Christians and their opponents reflected on that changing world. Making and remaking saints is significant, then, because until now no-one has explored how sainthood remained significant in this period both as an enduring institution and as a fruitful metaphor that could be transposed into unexpected contexts. Each of the chapters in this volume focuses on the reception of a particular individual or group. Together they will attract not just historians of religion, but those concerned with material culture, the cult of history, and with the reshaping of British identities in an age of faith and doubt

by the general, rather than the particular, world of the spiritual or numinous. But the dilemma is that, despite this urge away from particular dogmaticism, the Irish writer, in representing a culture in which the religious has been so pervasive, can hardly be expected to avoid the terminology of the religious. This problem was addressed interestingly, if not entirely satisfactorily, by John F. Deane in the introduction to his valuable anthology Irish Poetry of Faith and Doubt: The Cold Heaven.8 Deane says that his material is: poetry that has sprung from a

in Irish Catholic identities
Open Access (free)

word. Ben Astley, in his 1998 article ‘“Somewhere Between Faith and Doubt”: R. S. Thomas and the Poetry of Theology Deconstructed’, sees this ‘breaking open’ of language as a manifestation in Thomas’s work of ‘Derridean deconstruction’ in which ‘the free-play of the sign destroys any attempt to reduce or restrict the associations of the sign’ (77). While this seems true, it should be noted that in the discourse of the via negativa the word becomes an approximation, often more accurate in its cataloguing of what a thing, in this case deity, is not, rather than of what

in R. S. Thomas
Jews as Europeans in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries

Venice, 1550-1670 , Oxford, 1983 , p. 117. For further debate on this subject, see Edwards, ‘Religious faith and doubt in late medieval Spain: Soria circa 1450-1500’, Past and Present , 120, 1988 , pp. 4-5 and ‘Why the Spanish Inquisition?’, Studies in Church History , XXIX, 1992 , pp. 227-9. 34

in The Jews in western Europe 1400–1600
Abstract only
Anatomy of a metaphor

perspective, viewing medieval religion as a mixture of intolerance and superstition. The structure and politics of the Church and conflicts between Christianity and Islam in films about the crusades often form the background of medieval movies in general. But in many medieval noir films, personal faith and doubt and its testing are very much the central themes and also determine the progress of the plot and

in Medieval film
British and German war memorials after 1918

experience: the dead of both sides are interred together and the bravery of one side is commemorated by the other. Emblematically it foreshadows the famous closing lines from Wilfred Owen’s poem, Strange Meeting: ‘I am the enemy you killed, my friend. I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed. I parried; but my hands were loath and cold. Let us sleep now …’11 Faith and doubt: The ambiguity of war memorial symbolism Owen himself was killed just one week before the end of the war, also in an action that involved a canal – the

in The silent morning
The crisis of masculinity in Ian McEwan’s early fiction

Whitney’, ‘Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero’, Frontline, PBS.org , April 2002, www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/faith/interviews/mcewan.html (accessed 26 April 2013)

in Incest in contemporary literature

’; ‘Faith and doubt in Shakespeare’s Henry VI , Parts 1 and 2, and King John ’, Shakespeare Jahrbuch , 149 (2013), 73–87 (p. 82). Goodland, Female Mourning , discusses Constance’s passionate rhetoric from the perspective of Reformation prohibition of mourning rituals, pp. 119–33 (p. 133). 38 See

in Interweaving myths in Shakespeare and his contemporaries
The Innocent and Black Dogs

reuniting of Leonard and Maria, seem to be concessions to filmic narrative: the dismemberment (necessarily) happens off camera, for example; and Maria engineers her relationship with Bob immediately after the killing of Otto, in order to save Leonard. See The Innocent (Island World, 1993), directed by John Schlesinger, starring Anthony Hopkins (Bob Glass), Isabella Rossellini (Maria) and Campbell Scott (Leonard). 15 Helen Whitney, ‘Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero’ (interview), Frontline (April 2002), available at www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ faith

in Ian McEwan