“There are many reasons for writing a biography of Semyon Frank. Quite apart from his philosophy, he lived a remarkable life. Born in Moscow in 1877, he was exiled from Soviet Russia in 1922 and died in London in 1950. The son of a Jewish doctor, he became a revolutionary Social Democrat in his teens and finished his life as a Neoplatonist Christian. One of the Russian revisionist Marxists, he was then involved in the Kadet Party during the 1905 revolution before breaking with active political activity and turning to philosophy. He lived in Petrograd through the First World War until September 1917, after which he went to Saratov, where he experienced the chaos of the Russian Civil War. Living in Germany after his exile, he witnessed the rise of Hitler in Berlin, left for France in a hurry in 1937, and spent part of the war hiding from the Gestapo in the Grenoble mountains. It was a life that encompassed a lot of history.
”Yet along with this, Frank was arguably Russia’s greatest twentieth-century philosopher. Indeed, V.V. Zen‘kovskii, the historian of Russian philosophy, considered Frank ’in strength of philosophic vision … the most outstanding among Russian philosophers generally — not merely among those who share his ideas.‘ For its lucidity, conciseness, systematic character, and unity, Zen’kovskii considered Frank’s system ‘ the highest achievement … of Russian philosophy.’ Doubtless, Zen‘kovskii’s assessment is disputable, but his remarks emphasize Frank’s stature in the Russian tradition. In the style of German idealism, Frank constructed a comprehensive philosophical system, which he believed offered a coherent alternative to materialism. He was deeply worried by the implications of epistemological relativism and constructed a system of metaphysics designed to link epistemology and ontology, to bridge the gulf between thought and being. In addition, he attempted to express the idea of a personal God in philosophical language. His system also embraced social philosophy, anthropology, and ethics.“
— from the Introduction by the author
Eleven years before Uncle Tom's Cabin fanned the fires of abolition in North America, an aristocratic Cuban woman told an impassioned story of the fatal love of a mulatto slave for his white owner's daughter. So controversial was Sab's theme of miscegenation and its parallel between the powerlessness and enslavement of blacks and the economic and matrimonial subservience of women that the book was not published in Cuba until 1914, seventy-three years after its original 1841 publication in Spain.
Also included in the volume is Avellaneda's Autobiography (1839), whose portrait of an intelligent, flamboyant woman struggling against the restrictions of her era amplifies the novel's exploration of the patriarchal oppression of minorities and women.
In the mid-seventeenth century, Shabbatai Zvi, a rabbi from Izmir, claimed to be the Jewish messiah, and convinced a great many Jews to believe him. The movement surrounding this messianic pretender was enormous, and Shabbatai's mission seemed to be affirmed by the numerous supporting prophecies of believers. The story of Shabbatai and his prophets has mainly been explored by specialists in Jewish mysticism. Only a few scholars have placed this large-scale movement in its social and historical context.Matt Goldish shifts the focus of Sabbatean studies from the theology of Lurianic Kabbalah to the widespread seventeenth-century belief in latter-day prophecy. The intense expectations of the messiah in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam form the necessary backdrop for understanding the success of Sabbateanism. The seventeenth century was a time of deep intellectual and political ferment as Europe moved into the modern era. The strains of the Jewish mysticism, Christian millenarianism, scientific innovation, and political transformation all contributed to the development of the Sabbatean movement.By placing Sabbateanism in this broad cultural context, Goldish integrates this Jewish messianic movement into the early modern world, making its story accessible to scholars and students alike.
Winner, Dan and Marilyn Laney Prize, Austin Civil War Round Table, 2005
In an 1882 speech, former Confederate president Jefferson Davis made an exuberant claim: "That battle at Sabine Pass was more remarkable than the battle at Thermopylae." Indeed, Sabine Pass was the site of one of the most decisive Civil War battles fought in Texas. But unlike the Spartans, who succumbed to overwhelming Persian forces at Thermopylae more than two thousand years before, the Confederate underdogs triumphed in a battle that over time has become steeped in hyperbole. Providing a meticulously researched, scholarly account of this remarkable victory, Sabine Pass at last separates the legends from the evidence.
In arresting prose, Edward T. Cotham, Jr., recounts the momentous hours of September 8, 1863, during which a handful of Texans—almost all of Irish descent—under the leadership of Houston saloonkeeper Richard W. Dowling, prevented a Union military force of more than 5,000 men, 22 transport vessels, and 4 gunboats from occupying Sabine Pass, the starting place for a large invasion that would soon have given the Union control of Texas.
Sabine Pass sheds new light on previously overlooked details, such as the design and construction of the fort (Fort Griffin) that Dowling and his men defended, and includes the battle report prepared by Dowling himself. The result is a portrait of a mythic event that is even more provocative when stripped of embellishment.
Fascism was the first and prime instance of a modern political religion. Rereading signs, symbols, cults, and myths, Italy's leading scholar of Fascism offers a new history of Italian nationalism as a civic religion, albeit in its extreme form, and of Italian Fascism as a vital catalyst for contemporary mass politics. Emilio Gentile decodes Italy culturally, going beyond political and social dimensions that explain Italy's Fascist past in terms of class, or the cynicism of its leaders, or modernizing and expansionist ambitions.By looking back at the Risorgimento's civic and moral renewal of the Italians as a free people educated in the faith and worship of a "national religion," at the jarring countereffects of the secularized nation-state not trusting mass political mobilization, and at Fascism's retrieval of history from Rome, the French Revolution, and Romanticism, Gentile reconstructs the cultural configurations of a sacred politics. He shows how Mussolini used the concept of propaganda as a project in civic pedagogy, and how the Fascists thus cultivated a new consciousness that filled the void left by the decline of traditional religion. Fascism mobilized the masses through spectacle and public ceremony in an effort to conquer and shape the mentality and customs of a still emerging nation.
Besides the numerous institutions that the Church sponsored, it brought together a wide spectrum of the city’s diverse ethnic populations and offered them several routes to assimilation. Catholic Sacramentans have always played an active role in government and in the city’s economy, and Catholic institutions provided a matrix for the creation of new communities as the city spread into neighboring suburbs. At the same time, the Church was forced to adapt itself to the needs and demands of its various ethnic constituents, particularly the flood of Spanish-speaking newcomers in the late twentieth century.
Until September 11th, 2001, few in the West fully appreciated the significance of religion in international politics. The terrible events of that day refocused our attention on how thoroughly religion and politics intermingle, sometimes with horrific results. But must this intermingling always be so deadly? The Sacred and the Sovereign brings together leading voices to consider the roles that religion should—and should not—play in a post-Cold War age distinguished by humanitarian intervention, terrorism, globalization, and challenges to state sovereignty. But these challenges to state sovereignty have deep and abiding roots in religion that invite us to revisit just what values we hold sacred.
Offsetting the commonly shared idea that religion is politics' perennial nemesis, this volume demonstrates that religious traditions, institutions, and ideas are essential elements of the political quest for human rights, peace, order, legitimacy, and justice. The Sacred and the Sovereign brings distinguished scholars of religious studies, theology, and politics together with ranking members of the military and government to reflect seriously about where—and if—safe boundaries can be drawn between religion and politics in the international arena.
Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of America’s history. Currently, about 40 percent of the nation’s annual population growth comes from the influx of foreign-born individuals and their children. As these new voices enter America’s public conversations, they bring with them a new understanding of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity to a society that has been marked by religious variety.
Sacred Assemblies and Civic Engagement takes an in-depth look at one particular urban area—the Chicago metropolitan region—and examines how religion affects the civic engagement of the nation’s newest residents. Chapters focus on important religious factors, including sectarianism, moral authority, and moral projects; on several areas of social life, including economics, education, marriage, and language, where religion impacts civic engagement; and on how notions of citizenship and community are influenced by sacred assemblies.
Making a foundational contribution to Mesoamerican studies, this book explores Aztec painted manuscripts and sculptures, as well as indigenous and colonial Spanish texts, to offer the first integrated study of food and ritual in Aztec art.
Aztec painted manuscripts and sculptural works, as well as indigenous and Spanish sixteenth-century texts, were filled with images of foodstuffs and food processing and consumption. Both gods and humans were depicted feasting, and food and eating clearly played a pervasive, integral role in Aztec rituals. Basic foods were transformed into sacred elements within particular rituals, while food in turn gave meaning to the ritual performance.
This pioneering book offers the first integrated study of food and ritual in Aztec art. Elizabeth Morán asserts that while feasting and consumption are often seen as a secondary aspect of ritual performance, a close examination of images of food rites in Aztec ceremonies demonstrates that the presence—or, in some cases, the absence—of food in the rituals gave them significance. She traces the ritual use of food from the beginning of Aztec mythic history through contact with Europeans, demonstrating how food and ritual activity, the everyday and the sacred, blended in ceremonies that ranged from observances of births, marriages, and deaths to sacrificial offerings of human hearts and blood to feed the gods and maintain the cosmic order. Morán also briefly considers continuities in the use of pre-Hispanic foods in the daily life and ritual practices of contemporary Mexico. Bringing together two domains that have previously been studied in isolation, Sacred Consumption promises to be a foundational work in Mesoamerican studies.
The School of Chartres was a bold intellectual movement of the twelfth century that introduced the World Soul and the Chartrian cosmology to Christendom. In his controversial book, The Sacred Cosmos, theologian Peter Ellard analyzes the most radical aspects of Chartrian thought and traces their relation to classical and late-antique philosophers such as Boethius and Plato. In addition, Ellard investigates the Cathedral of Chartres as an important proof and example of Chartrian theology in this essential volume for anyone interested in the intersection of spirituality and philosophy.
Covering the ritual use of caves in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, Mesoamerica, and the US Southwest and Eastern woodlands, this book brings together case studies by prominent scholars whose research spans from the Paleolithic period to the present day. These contributions demonstrate that cave sites are as fruitful as surface contexts in promoting the understanding of both ancient and modern religious beliefs and practices.
This state-of-the-art survey of ritual cave use will be one of the most valuable resources for understanding the role of caves in studies of religion, sacred landscape, or cosmology and a must-read for any archaeologist interested in caves.
Is the call to spirituality embedded in human biology? Authors Nancy K. Morrison and Sally K. Severino draw on cutting-edge research, including the recent discovery of brain "mirror neurons" and the elucidation of the physiology of social affiliation and attachment, to make a bold case that we are, in fact, biologically wired to seek oneness with the divine. They have termed this innate urge "sacred Desire."
In their new book on the subject, ,em>Sacred Desire: Growing in Compassionate Living, Morrison and Severino, both highly esteemed academic psychiatrists, draw on neurophysiology, relationship studies, research on spiritual development, and psychotherapy to show how spirituality is intimately connected with our physical being. The authors offer several clinical examples of how recognizing sacred Desire can advance a person's healing and they provide an action plan for using Desire to move from fear to love of self, others, and all creation.
In addition to psychiatrists and neurophysiologists, who will undoubtedly welcome this significant contribution to their fields of study, Sacred Desire is sure to appeal as well to the much wider audience of spiritual seekers looking for intellectually and scientifically credible ways to understand spirituality in today's world.
The Sacred Door and Other Stories: Cameroon Folktales of the Beba offers readers a selection of folktales infused with riddles, proverbs, songs, myths, and legends, using various narrative techniques that capture the vibrancy of Beba oral traditions. Makuchi retells the stories that she heard at home when she was growing up in her native Cameroon.
The collection of thirty-four folktales of the Beba showcases a wide variety of stories that capture the richness and complexities of an agrarian society’s oral literature and traditions. Revenge, greed, and deception are among the themes that frame the story lines in both new and familiar ways. In the title story, a poor man finds himself elevated to king. The condition for his continued success is that he not open the sacred door. This tale of temptation, similar to the story of Pandora’s box, concludes with the question, “What would you have done?”
Makuchi relates the stories her mother told her so that readers can make connections between African and North American oral narrative traditions. These tales reinforce the commonalities of our human experiences without discounting our differences.
From its origins in the mid-seventeenth century visions of the French nun Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–90) to its continuing employment in worship today, the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been controversial. Vigorously promoted by Jesuit spiritual directors, embroiled in the controversies of Jansenist writers, closely associated with Royalist political causes in France, and taken around the world by Sister Sophie Barat in the nineteenth century, the Devotion’s practices took on the shape of its evolving visual culture and iconography. This volume traces the unfolding visual biography of the sacred heart and shows how imagery documents the Devotion’s remarkable evolution.
The ceque system of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire, was perhaps the most complex indigenous ritual system in the pre-Columbian Americas. From a center known as the Coricancha (Golden Enclosure) or the Temple of the Sun, a system of 328 huacas (shrines) arranged along 42 ceques (lines) radiated out toward the mountains surrounding the city. This elaborate network, maintained by ayllus (kin groups) that made offerings to the shrines in their area, organized the city both temporally and spiritually.
From 1990 to 1995, Brian Bauer directed a major project to document the ceque system of Cusco. In this book, he synthesizes extensive archaeological survey work with archival research into the Inca social groups of the Cusco region, their land holdings, and the positions of the shrines to offer a comprehensive, empirical description of the ceque system. Moving well beyond previous interpretations, Bauer constructs a convincing model of the system's physical form and its relation to the social, political, and territorial organization of Cusco.
Winner, Hubert Herring Book Award, Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies
Candomblé, an African religious and healing tradition that spread to Brazil during the slave trade, relies heavily on the use of plants in its spiritual and medicinal practices. When its African adherents were forcibly transplanted to the New World, they faced the challenge not only of maintaining their culture and beliefs in the face of European domination but also of finding plants with similar properties to the ones they had used in Africa.
This book traces the origin, diffusion, medicinal use, and meaning of Candomblé's healing pharmacopoeia—the sacred leaves. Robert Voeks examines such topics as the biogeography of Africa and Brazil, the transference—and transformation—of Candomblé as its adherents encountered both native South American belief systems and European Christianity, and the African system of medicinal plant classification that allowed Candomblé to survive and even thrive in the New World. This research casts new light on topics ranging from the creation of African American cultures to tropical rain forest healing floras.
Sacred Matter: Animacy and Authority in the Americas examines animism in Pre-Columbian America, focusing on the central roles objects and places played in practices that expressed and sanctified political authority in the Andes, Amazon, and Mesoamerica.Pre-Columbian peoples staked claims to their authority when they animated matter by giving life to grandiose buildings, speaking with deified boulders, and killing valued objects. Likewise things and places often animated people by demanding labor, care, and nourishment. In these practices of animation, things were cast as active subjects, agents of political change, and representatives of communities. People were positioned according to specific social roles and stations: workers, worshippers, revolutionaries, tribute payers, or authorities. Such practices manifested political visions of social order by defining relationships between people, things, and the environment.Contributors to this volume present a range of perspectives (archaeological, art historical, ethnohistorical, and linguistic) to shed light on how Pre-Columbian social authority was claimed and sanctified in practices of transformation and transubstantiation—that is, practices that birthed, converted, or destroyed certain objects and places, as well as the social and natural order from which these things were said to emerge.
Renowned as one of the most significant museums built by private collectors, the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, seeks to engage viewers in an acutely aesthetic, rather than pedagogical, experience of works of art. The Menil's emphasis on being moved by art, rather than being taught art history, comes from its founders' conviction that art offers a way to reintegrate the sacred and the secular worlds. Inspired by the French Catholic revivalism of the interwar years that recast Catholic tradition as the avant-garde, Dominique and John de Menil shared with other Catholic intellectuals a desire to reorder a world in crisis by imbuing modern cultural forms with religious faith, binding the sacred with the modern.
Sacred Modern explores how the Menil Collection gives expression to the religious and political convictions of its founders and how "the Menil way" is being both perpetuated and contested as the Museum makes the transition from operating under the personal direction of Dominique de Menil to the stewardship of career professionals. Taking an ethnographic approach, Pamela G. Smart analyzes the character of the Menil aesthetic, the processes by which it is produced, and the sensibilities that it is meant to generate in those who engage with the collection. She also offers insight into the extraordinary impact Dominique and John de Menil had on the emergence of Houston as a major cultural center.
Often called the musical equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Trent codices have dramatically broadened our understanding of Renaissance music. Much has been written about this collection of fifteenth-century music manuscripts, most of which were discovered in the Cathedral at Trent, but none of the seven codices--generally called Trent 87 through Trent 93--has ever been published in its entirety. Thus Rebecca Gerber’s edition of Trent 88, which took more than a decade to prepare, will be the first to appear. As such, this volume is a landmark in the publication of early music.
Trent 88 comprises an extensive anthology of 145 compositions tailored to the ceremonial and daily religious services of the period. The international scope of the collection is both impressive and significant: early English, French, German, and Spanish mass cycles appear alongside simple hymns and Magnificats. Music by renowned composers—including Guillaume Du Fay, Johannes Ockeghem, Johannes Cornago, and John Bedingham—is joined here by an even larger repertory of anonymous compositions with great aesthetic and historical value. Edited to accommodate both scholars and performers, and augmented with Gerber’s expert introduction, this volume will significantly deepen existing knowledge of a crucial period in the history of music.
The author traveled thousands of miles over a ten-year period to meet and interview tribal elders, visit sacred places, and discuss the power of sacred objects in order to present the essential debates surrounding tribal historic preservation. Without revealing the exact locations of sacred places (unless tribes have gone public with their cultural concerns), Gulliford discusses the cultural significance of tribal sacred sites and the ways in which they are being preserved. Some of the case studies included are the Wyoming Medicine Wheel, Devil's Tower National Monument, Mount Shasta in California, Mount Graham in Arizona, and the Sweet Grass Hills in Montana. Federal laws are reviewed in the context of tribal preservation programs, and tribal elders discuss specific cases of repatriation.
Though the book describes numerous tribal tragedies and offers examples of cultural theft, Sacred Objects and Sacred Places affirms living traditions. It reveals how the resolution of these controversies in favor of native people will ensure their cultural continuity in a changing and increasingly complex world. The issues of returning human remains, curating sacred objects, and preserving tribal traditions are addressed to provide the reader with a full picture of Native Americans' struggles to keep their heritage alive.
Federico Borromeo, Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan (1564–1631), is well known as a leading Catholic reformer and as the founder of the Ambrosiana library, art collection, and academy in that city. Less known is the fact that the institution's art museum was the culmination of many decades of reflection on the aesthetic qualities and religious roles of art. Borromeo recorded his reflections in two treatises.De pictura sacra (Sacred Painting, 1624) laid out the rules that artists should follow when creating religious art. Borromeo touched on dozens of iconographical issues and in so doing drew on his deep knowledge not only of church fathers, councils, and scripture but also of classical art and literature. In Musaeum (1625) Borromeo showed a less doctrinaire and more personal side by walking the reader through the Ambrosiana and commenting on specific works in his collection. He offered some of the earliest and most important critiques to survive on works by artists such as Leonardo, Titian, and Jan Brueghel the Elder.This volume offers, for the first time, translations of the treatises directly into English as well as freshly edited Latin texts, an introduction, extensive notes, and an appendix on the Academy of Design that was established in conjunction with the museum. These treatises will be of great interest to students of the history of art, museums, and religion.
Some of today's most significant writers and poets explore the relation between what we call the sacred and what we witness in the apparent world.
This unprecedented anthology brings together a provocative mix of new and well known writers whose poetry and prose broaches the possibility of something "bigger" going on, something more significant at stake. Is some powerful agency at work in what we see or are we just wishing (or fearing) that there were? Who can say? Who would dare? What’s most intriguing about the selections in this volume is that the authors do dare. What’s most attractive about them is that they resist answering that dare with reductions. They prefer the swoon of multiple possibilities over the relative comfort of conclusions. Various as they are, the works collected in The Sacred Place share a common reverence for the word itself, and perhaps best of all—they share a common understanding that no one of them comprehends fully what that means. They seem to desire instead a sense that the humble stuff surrounding us affords a likely enough habitation for the sacred, even now.
Sacred Possessions is an unprecedented collection of thirteen comparative and interdisciplinary essays exploring the cross-cultural dynamics of African-based religious systems in the Caribbean. The contributors analyze the nature and liturgies of Vodou, Santeria, Obeah, Quimbois, and Gaga as they form one central cultural matrix in the region. They ask how these belief systems were affected by differing colonial histories and landscapes, and how they affected other cultural expressions (from the oral tradition to popular art and literature), and how they have been perceived and (mis)represented by the West.
The book is a unique contribution to the study of the Caribbean as a site of multiculturalism, demonstrating the linkages between anthropology, religion, literature, and popular culture. Also included are a stunning photoessay on Cuban Santeria, a glossary of terms, and an insightful introduction by the editors.
Sacred Queens and Women of Consequence is a pathbreaking examination of the contact encounter in Hawaii from the perspective of Hawaiian women. Jocelyn Linnekin offers a reconstruction of Hawaiian women's authority and status before contact with the West and examines changes in their cultural valuation and social position during the first century of Western contact. Through a detailed analysis of women's roles in exchange, production, kinship, and politics during the political and economic transformations of the nineteenth century, Linnekin challenges the view that Polynesian women were doomed to a peripheral status by the ritual logic of pollution. She demonstrates how Hawaiian women maintained their position as points of access to land and power, while frequently resisting the constraints of the tabu system as well as later Western-influenced attempts to abridge their authority.
This book is a unique and important contribution to the scholarship on Hawaiian history as well as to the growing literature on women and colonialism and women and social stratification. It will appeal to scholars and students who work in the areas of gender studies, social stratification, cultural change, Oceania, and historical anthropology.
The reincarnation of a legendary nineteenth-century Caribbean emperor as a contemporary African leader is at the heart of this novel. Sacred River deals with the extraordinary lives, hopes, powerful myths, stories, and tragedies of the people of a modern West African nation. It is also the compelling love story of an idealistic philosophy professor and an ex-courtesan of incomparable beauty. Two hundred years after his death, the great Haitian emperor Henri Christophe miraculously appears in a dream to Tankor Satani, president of the fictional West African country of Kissi, with instructions for Tankor to continue Henri Christophe’s rule, which had been interrupted by “that damned Napoleon.”
Ambitious in scope, Sacred River is a diaspora-inspired novel, in which Cheney-Coker has tackled the major themes of politics, social strife, crime and punishment, and human frailty and redemption in Malagueta, the fictional, magical town and its surroundings first created by the author in The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar, for which he was awarded the coveted Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Sacred River is equally about love and politics, and marks the return to fiction of one of Africa’s major writers.
For 250 years, the Turkic Muslims of Altishahr—the vast desert region to the northwest of Tibet—have led an uneasy existence under Chinese rule. Today they call themselves Uyghurs, and they have cultivated a sense of history and identity that challenges Beijing’s official national narrative. Rian Thum argues that the roots of this history run deeper than recent conflicts, to a time when manuscripts and pilgrimage dominated understandings of the past. Beyond broadening our knowledge of tensions between the Uyghurs and the Chinese government, this meditation on the very concept of history probes the limits of human interaction with the past.Uyghur historical practice emerged from the circulation of books and people during the Qing Dynasty, when crowds of pilgrims listened to history readings at the tombs of Islamic saints. Over time, amid long journeys and moving rituals, at oasis markets and desert shrines, ordinary readers adapted community-authored manuscripts to their own needs. In the process they created a window into a forgotten Islam, shaped by the veneration of local saints.Partly insulated from the rest of the Islamic world, the Uyghurs constructed a local history that is at once unique and assimilates elements of Semitic, Iranic, Turkic, and Indic traditions—the cultural imports of Silk Road travelers. Through both ethnographic and historical analysis, The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History offers a new understanding of Uyghur historical practices, detailing the remarkable means by which this people reckons with its past and confronts its nationalist aspirations in the present day.
Sufism, the mystical path of Islam, is a key feature of the complex Islamic culture of South Asia today. Influenced by philosophies and traditions from other Muslim lands and by pre-Islamic rites and practices, Sufism offers a corrective to the image of Islam as monolithic and uniform.In Sacred Spaces, Pakistani artist and educator Samina Quraeshi provides a locally inflected vision of Islam in South Asia that is enriched by art and by a female perspective on the diversity of Islamic expressions of faith. A unique account of a journey through the author’s childhood homeland in search of the wisdom of the Sufis, the book reveals the deeply spiritual nature of major centers of Sufism in the central and northwestern heartlands of South Asia. Illuminating essays by Ali S. Asani, Carl W. Ernst, and Kamil Khan Mumtaz provide context to the journey, discussing aspects of Sufi music and dance, the role of Sufism in current South Asian culture and politics, and the spiritual geometry of Sufi architecture.Quraeshi relies on memory, storytelling, and image making to create an imaginative personal history using a rich body of photographs and works of art to reflect the seeking heart of the Sufi way and to demonstrate the diversity of this global religion. Her vision builds on the centuries-old Sufi tradition of mystical messages of love, freedom, and tolerance that continue to offer the promise of building cultural and spiritual bridges between peoples of different faiths.
In Sacred Violence, the distinguished political and legal theorist Paul W. Kahn investigates the reasons for the resort to violence characteristic of premodern states. In a startling argument, he contends that law will never offer an adequate account of political violence. Instead, we must turn to political theology, which reveals that torture and terror are, essentially, forms of sacrifice. Kahn forces us to acknowledge what we don't want to see: that we remain deeply committed to a violent politics beyond law.
Paul W. Kahn is Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities at Yale Law School and Director of the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights.
Cover Illustration: "Abu Ghraib 67, 2005" by Fernando Botero. Courtesy of the artist and the American University Museum.
What are the origins of the idea of human rights and universal human dignity? How can we most fully understand—and realize—these rights going into the future? In The Sacredness of the Person, internationally renowned sociologist and social theorist Hans Joas tells a story that differs from conventional narratives by tracing the concept of human rights back to the Judeo-Christian tradition or, alternately, to the secular French Enlightenment. While drawing on sociologists such as Émile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Ernst Troeltsch, Joas sets out a new path, proposing an affirmative genealogy in which human rights are the result of a process of “sacralization” of every human being.
According to Joas, every single human being has increasingly been viewed as sacred. He discusses the abolition of torture and slavery, once common practice in the pre-18th century west, as two milestones in modern human history. The author concludes by portraying the emergence of the UN Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 as a successful process of value generalization. Joas demonstrates that the history of human rights cannot adequately be described as a history of ideas or as legal history, but as a complex transformation in which diverse cultural traditions had to be articulated, legally codified, and assimilated into practices of everyday life. The sacralization of the person and universal human rights will only be secure in the future, warns Joas, through continued support by institutions and society, vigorous discourse in their defense, and their incarnation in everyday life and practice.
In Sacrifice, René Girard interrogates the Brahmanas of Vedic India, exploring coincidences with mimetic theory that are too numerous and striking to be accidental. Even that which appears to be dissimilar fails to contradict mimetic theory, but instead corresponds to the minimum of illusion without which sacrifice becomes impossible.
The Bible reveals collective violence, similar to that which generates sacrifice everywhere, but instead of making victims guilty, the Bible and the Gospels reveal the persecutors of a single victim. Instead of elaborating myths, they tell the truth absolutely contrary to the archaic sense. Once exposed, the single victim mechanism can no longer function as the model for would-be sacrificers.
Recognizing that the Vedic tradition also converges on a revelation that discredits sacrifice, mimetic theory locates within sacrifice itself a paradoxical power of quiet reflection that leads, in the long run, to the eclipse of this institution which is violent but nevertheless fundamental to the development of human culture. Far from unduly privileging the Western tradition and awarding it a monopoly on the knowledge and repudiation of blood sacrifice, mimetic analysis recognizes comparable, but never truly identical, traits in the Vedic tradition.
When Europeans came to the American continent in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they were confronted with what they perceived as sacrificial practices. Representations of Tupinamba cannibals, Aztecs slicing human hearts out, and idolatrous Incas flooded the early modern European imagination. But there was no less horror within European borders; during the early modern period no region was left untouched by the disasters of war.Sacrifice and Conversion in the Early Modern Atlantic World illuminates a particular aspect of the mutual influences between the European invasions of the American continent and the crisis of Christianity during the Reform and its aftermaths: the conceptualization and representation of sacrifice. Because of its centrality in religious practices and systems, sacrifice becomes a crucial way to understand not only cultural exchange, but also the power struggles between American and European societies in colonial times. How do cultures interpret sacrificial practices other than their own? What is the role of these interpretations in conversion? From the central perspective of sacrifice, these essays examine the encounter between European and American sacrificial conceptions—expressed in texts, music, rituals, and images—and their intellectual, cultural, religious, ideological, and artistic derivations.
Critical and creative studies that offer fresh perspectives on ancient ideas and practices
The contributions to this volume deal in various ways with the cult at the Jerusalem Temple that epitomized the religious, cultural, and socio-political identity of Judaism for many centuries. Some essays examine ancient constitutive practices and concepts, such as purification rituals, sacrifices, atonement, or sacred authorities at the temple, with the goal of interpreting their meanings for modern readers. Other essays explore alternatives to ancient cultic meaning and practice. Essays critique established traditions, attempt to renegotiate them, or use metaphor and spiritualization to expand the potential of these phenomena to serve as terminological and ideological resources. Thus they examine and affirm the continuing relevance of ancient Jewish cultic notions long after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.
A landmark book, David Pan’s Sacrifice in the Modern World seeks to explain the continuing emphasis, in modern times, on sacrifice. Pan specifically turns to the culture of sacrifice—ritualized and sanctified death—in Nazi Germany, showing how that regime co-opted an existing discussion of sacrifice and infused it with its own mythology. Pan suggests that sacrifice is a key value in every society but that there is a preponderance of association of sacrifice with Nazi culture and therefore a largely pejorative treatment of sacrifice.
Surveying the arguments of philosopher Alfred Baeumler and other symptomatic Nazi texts, Pan shows how the Nazis’ reactionary intellectual culture unraveled much of the Enlightenment project. In so doing, he is able to offer a compelling new perspective on basic theoretical concepts in the work of Kant, Nietzsche, Adorno, Bataille, Girard, and others. He posits that it is only by clearing our way through the Nazis’ misuse of sacrifice that we can understand the durability of sacrificial structures that—following several of the theorists he discusses— establish the fundamental values by which we live our lives.
Rather than condemning the Nazi appeal to sacrifice itself, this book looks at the particular ways in which sacrifice was distributed and structured within that society. All cultures must grapple with the existential violence of the human condition, and they frequently do so through aesthetic treatments of sacrifice, rooted in myths and traditions. Pan argues that our task is not to eradicate these traditions but to engage them by carefully evaluating the commitments and values that they imply.
When Athenians suffered the shame of having lost a war from their own greed and foolishness, around 404 BCE the public’s blame was directed at Socrates, a man whose unique appearance and behavior, as well as his disapproval of the democracy, made him a ready target. Socrates was subsequently put on trial and sentenced to death. However, as René Girard has pointed out, no individual can be held responsible for a communal crisis. Plato’s Apology depicts Socrates as both the bane and the cure of Greek society, while his Crito shows a sacrificial Socrates, what some might consider a pharmakos figure, the human drug through whom Plato can dispense his philosophical remedies. With tremendous insight and satisfying complexity, this book analyzes classical texts through the lens of Girard’s mimetic mechanism.
In a special precinct dedicated to ritual sacrifice at Huaca de la Luna on the north coast of Peru, about seventy-five men were killed and dismembered, their remains and body parts then carefully rearranged and left on the ground with numerous offerings. The discovery of this large sacrificial site—one of the most important sites of this type in the Americas—raises fundamental questions. Why was human sacrifice so central to Moche ideology and religion? And why is sacrifice so intimately related to the notions of warfare and capture?
In this pioneering book, Steve Bourget marshals all the currently available information from the archaeology and visual culture of Huaca de la Luna as he seeks to understand the centrality of human sacrifice in Moche ideology and, more broadly, the role(s) of violence in the development of social complexity. He begins by providing a fully documented account of the archaeological contexts, demonstrating how closely interrelated these contexts are to the rest of Moche material culture, including its iconography, the regalia of its elite, and its monumental architecture. Bourget then probes the possible meanings of ritual violence and human sacrifice and their intimate connections with concepts of divinity, ancestry, and foreignness. He builds a convincing case that the iconography of ritual violence and the practice of human sacrifice at all the principal Moche ceremonial centers were the main devices used in the establishment and development of the Moche state.
From a Western perspective, the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991 largely fulfilled the first President Bush's objective: "In, out, do it, do it right, get gone. That's the message." But in the Arab world, the causes and consequences of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and his subsequent defeat by a U.S.-led coalition were never so clear-cut. The potent blend of Islam and Arab nationalism that Saddam forged to justify the unjustifiable—his invasion of a Muslim state—gained remarkable support among both Muslims and Arabs and continued to resonate in the Middle East long after the fighting ended. Indeed, as this study argues in passing, it became a significant strand in the tangled web of ideologies and actions that led to the attacks of 9/11.
This landmark book offers the first in-depth investigation of how Saddam Hussein used Islam and Arab nationalism to legitimate his invasion of Kuwait in the eyes of fellow Muslims and Arabs, while delegitimating the actions of the U.S.-led coalition and its Arab members. Jerry M. Long addresses three fundamental issues: how extensively and in what specific ways Iraq appealed to Islam during the Kuwait crisis; how elites, Islamists, and the elusive Arab "street," both in and out of the coalition, responded to that appeal and why they responded as they did; and the longer-term effects that resulted from Saddam's strategy.
Lynn Chancer advances the provocative thesis that sadomasochism is far more prevalent in contemporary societies like the United States than we realize. According to Chancer, sexual sadomasochism is only the best-known manifestation of what is actually a much more broadly based social phenomenon. Moving from personal relationships to school, the workplace, and other interactions, Chancer uses a variety of examples that are linked by a recurrent pattern of behavior. She goes beyond the predominantly individualistic and psychological explanations generally associated with sadomasochism (including those popularized in the "how to" literature of the recent Women Who Love Too Much genre) toward a more sociological interpretation. Chancer suggests that the structure of societies organized along male-dominated and capitalistic lines reflects and perpetuates a sadomasochistic social psychology, creating a culture steeped in everyday experiences of dominance and subordination.
In the first part of the book, Chancer discusses the prevalence of sadomasochistic cultural imagery in contemporary America and examines sadomasochism through several perspectives. She develops a set of definitional traits both through existential analysis of an instance of S/M sex and by incorporating a number of Hegelian and psychoanalytic concepts. In the second part of the book, she places sadomasochism in a broader context by exploring whether and how it appears in the workplace and how it relates to gender and race.
How the notion of unique eras influenced the Roman view of time and the narration of history from various perspectives.
The Victorian Era. The Age of Enlightenment. The post-9/11 years. We are accustomed to demarcating history, fencing off one period from the next. But societies have not always operated in this way. Paul Hay returns to Rome in the first century BCE to glimpse the beginnings of periodization as it is still commonly practiced, exploring how the ancient Romans developed a novel sense of time and used it to construct their views of the past and of the possibilities of the future.
It was the Roman general Sulla who first sought to portray himself as the inaugurator of a new age of prosperity, and through him Romans adopted the Etruscan term saeculum to refer to a unique era of history. Romans went on to deepen their investment in periodization by linking notions of time to moments of catastrophe, allowing them to conceptualize their own epoch and its conclusion, as in the literature of Vergil and Horace. Periodization further introduced the idea of specific agents of change into Roman thought—agents that were foundational to narratives of progress and decline. An eye-opening account, Saeculum describes nothing less than an intellectual and cognitive revolution, that fundamentally reorganized the meanings of history and time.
Safari Nation opens new lines of inquiry in the study of national parks in Africa and the rest of the world. The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s most iconic nature reserve, renowned for its rich flora and fauna. According to author Jacob Dlamini, there is another side to the park, a social history neglected by scholars and popular writers alike in which blacks (meaning Africans, Coloureds, and Indians) occupy center stage. Safari Nation details the ways in which black people devoted energies to conservation and to the park over the course of the twentieth century—engagement that transcends the stock (black) figure of the laborer and the poacher.
By exploring the complex and dynamic ways in which blacks of varying class, racial, religious, and social backgrounds related to the Kruger National Park, and with the help of previously unseen archival photographs, Dlamini’s narrative also sheds new light on how and why Africa’s national parks—often derided by scholars as colonial impositions—survived the end of white rule on the continent. Relying on oral histories, photographs, and archival research, Safari Nation engages both with African historiography and with ongoing debates about the “land question,” democracy, and citizenship in South Africa.
In the late sixties, as the world was waking to a need for Earth Day, a pioneering group founded a small non-profit research and education organization they called the New Alchemy Institute. Their aim was to explore the ways a safer and more sustainable world could be created. In the ensuing years, along with scientists, agriculturists, and a host of enthusiastic amateurs and friends, they set out to discover new ways that basic human needs—in the form of food, shelter, and energy—could be met. A Safe and Sustainable World is the story of that journey, as it was and as it continues to be.
The dynamics and the resilience of the living world were the Institute's model and the inspiration for their research. Central to their efforts then and now is, along with science, a spiritual quest for a more harmonious human role in our planet's future. The results of this work have now entered mainstream science through the emerging discipline of ecological design.
Nancy Jack Todd not only relates a fascinating journey from lofty ideals through the hard realities encountered in learning how to actually grow food, harness the energy of the sun and wind, and design green architecture. She also introduces us to some of the heroes and mentors who played a vital role in those efforts as well, from Buckminster Fuller to Margaret Mead. The early work of the Institute culminated in the design and building of two bioshelters—large greenhouse-like independent structures called Arks, that provided the setting for much of the research to follow.
Successfully proving through the Institute's designs and investigations that basic land sustainability is achievable, John Todd and the author founded a second non-profit research group, Ocean Arks International. Here they applied the New Alchemy's natural systems thinking to restoring polluted waters with the invention and implementation of biologically based living technologies called Ecomachines and Pond and Lake Restorers. A Safe and Sustainable World demonstrates what has and can be done--it also looks to what must be done to integrate human ingenuity and the four billion or so years of evolutionary intelligence of the natural world into healthy, decentralized, locally dreams hard won--and hope.
All homes are not shelters. But then again, some are. Welcome to the home of Marie-Helene Bertino.
History records only one peaceful transition of hegemonic power: the passage from British to American dominance of the international order. What made that transition uniquely cooperative and nonviolent? Does it offer lessons to guide policy as the United States faces its own challengers to the order it has enforced since the 1940s? To answer these questions, Kori Schake explores nine points of crisis or tension between Britain and the United States, from the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 to the establishment of the unequal “special relationship” during World War II.Over this period, Safe Passage shows, the United States gradually changed the rules that Britain had established at its imperial height. It was able to do so peacefully because, during the crucial years, Britain and the United States came to look alike to each other and different from other nations. Britain followed America’s lead in becoming more democratic, while the United States, because of its conquest of the American West, developed an imperial cast of mind. Until the end of World War II, both countries paid more attention to their cumulative power relative to other states in the order than to their individual power relative to each other.The factors that made the Anglo-American transition peaceful, notably the convergence in their domestic ideologies, are unlikely to apply in future transitions, Schake concludes. We are much more likely to see high-stake standoffs among competing powers attempting to shape the international order to reflect the starkly different ideologies that prevail at home.
Drawing on extensive archival and ethnographic research in New York City and San Francisco, Hanhardt traces the entwined histories of LGBT activism, urban development, and U.S. policy in relation to poverty and crime over the past fifty years. She highlights the formation of a mainstream LGBT movement, as well as the very different trajectories followed by radical LGBT and queer grassroots organizations. Placing LGBT activism in the context of shifting liberal and neoliberal policies, Safe Space is a groundbreaking exploration of the contradictory legacies of the LGBT struggle for safety in the city.
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