1112 Chapters
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Roman Loimeier Indiana University Press PDF


When considering more than 1,300 years of historical development of Muslim societies in Africa, it is tempting to look through the lens of politics and to see Muslim societies in a longue durée perspective as primarily political bodies: after all, Muslims have built powerful empires and have inscribed Islam in African history in a way which cannot be disputed, in particular considering the emergence of the imāmates of sub-Saharan West Africa in the context of the movements of jihād in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I would contend, however, that the true dimensions of the impact of Islam cannot be grasped by looking at political development only. Islam has become the religion of more than 450 million Africans today (see map 8), because Muslims have offered multiple solutions in periods of crisis as well as in contexts in which

Africans were looking for new orientations. In addition, Muslims have advanced an agenda of societal development that was and is attractive beyond purely political considerations, such as stability and protection, as well as economic prosperity through trade, new modes of production, and integration in translocal networks of exchange.

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4. Melancholia, Forgiveness, and the Logic of The Gift

Edited by Morny Joy Indiana University Press ePub

There is a line in Marcel Mauss’s renowned essay The Gift that never fails to interrupt that simple repetitious rhythm of one mind engaged with another in the act of reading; I am talking here of the easy tick-tock movement of the head, from left to right and back again, like the pendulous bulb that gives to time its measure. The passage in question resists this motion, demands pause, and a measure of its own. Each time I finish reading the phrase, I invariably return to its beginning to read it over once again, and again, as if repetition in rupture will somehow make sense of itself.

The line reads as follows: “Now in our view one of the most important acts noted . . . and one which throws a strong light on sexual relationships, is the mapula, the sequence of payments by a husband to his wife as a kind of salary for sexual services” (Mauss 1967, 71). Mauss here is simply referring to Malinowski’s work on the Trobriands, and of the system of gift exchange that functions as the substratum of their economy. So, why does this straightforward sentence, a passing observation that is not returned to again in the book, jar the fluid, forward motion of my reading? It may be because this is one of very few references made by Mauss to an economy of the gift that includes women, who are typically the objects of gift-giving and not the recipients (though it is true that Mauss does not actually include in his reference the gifts received by the women for their “sexual favors”). It could also be because this is the only reference where Mauss discusses the active participation of women in the giving of gifts, that is, as donees, and not just as objects or recipients. Then there is Mauss’s ambiguous yet sweeping reference to the power of this information to “throw a strong light on sexual relationships” generally. But the phrase itself, which implicitly frames so much of the contemporary literature on gift-giving, rests precariously on a presupposition. In Mauss’s sentence, women are the objects of desire, since they give as their gift “sexual services.” Women are positioned in the sentence as the recipients of desire. The husband must give something other, something the wife needs— but does not “desire”—as a payment for his desires. Yet for Mauss’s statement to have meaning of any kind, one must accept that his observation is contingent upon the assumption that women are without desire(s), that they must gift their bodies to the desires of men, but they themselves do not desire.

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5. Free Will and Divine Sovereignty

Hugh J. McCann Indiana University Press ePub


A satisfactory resolution of the problems canvassed in the last chapter can be had in only one way: by according God an active role as creator in the production of human action. To revert to the Openness view would be to give away too much—to accede, in effect, to the anti-theist's objection that belief in the God of tradition cannot be sustained in the face of the world's sin and suffering. And nothing short of a full involvement in the operations of creaturely wills seems consistent with the omniscience and sovereignty appropriate to a God who is as perfect as we can imagine him to be. But what shall we then say about libertarian freedom, which in the standard free-will defense places the primary responsibility for moral evil on us, and insulates God from our sinfulness? One option is simply to drop the idea of libertarianism, and opt for a completely different notion of human freedom. That was the reaction of Jonathan Edwards, who would never have accorded less than complete sovereignty to God, and whose version of free will is straightforward Lockean compatibilism.1 Compatibilist freedom is a conditional matter: I am free in acting just in case I would have done otherwise if some causal condition had been different—if, for example, I had chosen to behave differently, or if behaving differently had been my strongest desire. This kind of account permits both my action and the choice that led to it to have been determined, in which case they simply form part of the natural causal order. If that is all there is to free will, God can easily be complete master of the universe, as well as fully cognizant of all that occurs in it, for he can make the world a completely deterministic affair, in which all that will ever occur is fixed from the beginning in accordance with natural law.

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13. Ritualized Figuration in Special African American Yards

Edited by Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula S Indiana University Press ePub

Grey Gundaker

The larger, the more human, the less technical the problem of practice, the more open-eyed and wide-viewing the corresponding method. I do not say that all things that have been called philosophy participate in this method; I do say, however, that a catholic and farsighted theory of the adjustment of the conflicting factors of life is—whatever it is called—philosophy.

JOHN DEWEY ([1910] 1997: 44)

This paper explores the placement and ritualized use of statuary of animals, religious figures, and mythic beings in special African American yards to contribute to the philosophical “adjustment of the conflicting factors of life” (Dewey [1910] 1997: 44). Practitioners who make these yards call the spaces around their homes “yards” and view them as exceptional; certainly, they are not typical of African American domestic landscapes. Figuration in these yards is ritualized because, by drawing on a stable visual and material repertoire and recurring spatial practices, practitioners work toward, as John M. Janzen puts it, “the amplification of layers and layers of meaning, . . . [and] the addition of more lines of communication to those normally used between individuals” (1992: 174).

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CH 9 Logistics at Holy Sites

Leppakari, M.; Griffin, K.A. CABI PDF


Logistics at Holy Sites

Anna Trono*

University of Salento, Lecce, Italy


The rapid transformation of modern society has led to radical developments in the ancient practice of pilgrimage. While conserving distinctive characteristics of a religious nature concerning visits to holy places and the experience of pilgrimage itself (Belhassen et al., 2008), pilgrimage is now undertaken for a new set of reasons linked to the search for authenticity, spirituality and cultural enrichment. However, this also means that destinations require complex organization in the provision of structures, infrastructure and services, and the active involvement of public and private sectors, as well as secular and religious authorities.

These changes, which partly reflect the parallel sociocultural transformation of the average visitor, have led to a profound reorganization of the places involved, with consequent socio-economic and environmental impacts. While conserving the spiritual meaning of pilgrimage, sites of religious interest have adapted to the new visitors’ needs by acquiring infrastructure and structures for providing transport (car parks, low-cost flights, coach lines), catering and accommodation for the pilgrims/tourists. The latter also generate demand for tourist goods (religious souvenirs, local food and craft products) and services (travel agencies, specialized tour operators). There is a proliferation of promotional activities (creation of foundations, tourism bourses) and complementary initiatives of a cultural nature (concerts, festivals, shows). These generate interest while consolidating and strengthening the image of the place, diversifying tourist demand with potential socio-economic effects on the region (Herrero et al., 2009).

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1. Global Senegal

Beth A. Buggenhagen Indiana University Press ePub

By early 2000, it was evident that families were frustrated with more than twenty years of policies of economic and political liberalization in Senegal. These reforms aimed at economic growth, implemented under the aegis of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank starting in the 1980s, had been accompanied by substantial unemployment, shortages of food and other necessities, rural-urban migration, an urban housing crisis, and the declining availability and affordability of health care and education. As many Senegalese men faced the declining value of the agricultural potential of their land and the inability of the state to secure their social welfare, they sought moral renewal through submission to Muslim shaykhs.

The Muslim clergy responded to this fiscal and moral uncertainty by denouncing what they deemed to be inflated bridewealth payments and costly family ceremonies, especially women’s practice of exchanging locally woven and dyed cloth, a measure of women’s wealth and worth, and calling for an Islamic family law through which limits would be set on these payments. Additionally, religious associations, nongovernmental organizations, and others who professed an interest in national development characterized these practices as belonging to the realm of cosaan,1 Wolof for “custom” or “tradition,” rather than Islam. Certainly, debates over Islam and the historical practices that predate its spread in West Africa are prevalent in the region and common elsewhere in the Muslim world as well (Cooper 1997:xxxiii). These debates have a considerable impact on women’s lives. In Senegal, cloth became a contentious object of debate because—through its use in dress, display, and bestowal—it made forms of women’s wealth and value visible, displaying the hidden potential of women as producers and bearers of history.

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4 The Famine and Its Impacts, 1840s to 1860s

Ian N. Gregory Indiana University Press ePub


It has almost become a cliché to argue that Ireland’s population development over the last 150 years has been unique. It is the only developed nation in the world with a current population below that in the mid-nineteenth century and the only European country to have suffered a century of demographic decline in its recent history.1 However, spatiopolitical qualifications must be applied to this assertion. The population decline of the area that is now the Republic has been remarkable, but the area that is now Northern Ireland was able to arrest its population decline at a much earlier stage. Furthermore, at the time of the Great Famine all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, and what might be described as a long-term regional population decline seems less spectacular when it is considered within the context of the U.K.’s rapid urban population growth, to which Irish migrants made a significant contribution.2 Still, the impact of the Great Famine of the mid-nineteenth century on the shaping of modern Ireland cannot be trivialized. More than any other event it has defined both the literal and the metaphysical places of the Irish in the world. It has sent shock waves down through the centuries that are not only demographic but also socioeconomic, cultural, and political.

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1. Literary Text, Literary Approach: Getting the Questions Straight

Meir Sternberg Indiana University Press ePub

The few, by Nature form’d, with Learning fraught, / Born to instruct, as others to be taught, / Must study well the Sacred Page; and see / Which Doctrine, this, or that, does best agree / With the whole Tenour of the Work Divine.

John Dryden, “Religio Laici”

What goals does the biblical narrator set himself? What is it that he wants to communicate in this or that story, cycle, book? What kind of text is the Bible, and what roles does it perform in context? These are all variations on a fundamental question that students of the Bible would do well to pose loudly and sharply: the question of the narrative as a functional structure, a means to a communicative end, a transaction between the narrator and the audience on whom he wishes to produce a certain effect by way of certain strategies. Like all social discourse, biblical narrative is oriented to an addressee and regulated by a purpose or a set of purposes involving the addressee. Hence our primary business as readers is to make purposive sense of it, so as to explain the what’s and the how’s in terms of the why’s of communication.

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9 - Philanthropic Decisions of American Jews: The Influence of Religious Identity on Charitable Choices

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

The Influence of Religious Identity on Charitable Choices

Arnold Dashefsky and Bernard Lazerwitz

A tourist to a foreign country entered the premier concert hall in the capital for a tour and inquired of the guide, “Is this hall named after the famous prize-winning author?” “No,” replied the tour guide, “it is named after a local person.” “So,” inquired the tourist of the guide, “what great work did your local author write?” To which, the tour guide replied, “A check!” Gifts of charity are generally viewed as generous, selfless acts, but Marcel Mauss and other social scientists noted that there is a payoff of some sort to the giver, although it may be viewed by some as in this world (i.e., social recognition or psychic gratification) or by others as in the next world (i.e., eternal salvation or a heavenly abode).1

Despite these rewards, a specter is haunting American society and the European community. It is the specter of devolution—the devolution of the responsibility for the poor, the ill, and the infirm from the government to the citizenry. This essay examines the conditions under which charity may fill the gap. Charity and philanthropy are conceptualized as part of the literature on gift exchange in society. Such gifts have reached extraordinarily high levels in recent years in the United States: $260 billion in 2004, representing 2.1 percent of GDP, with about three-quarters of that sum (or $199 billion) coming from individuals.2 The largest beneficiaries of those charitable gifts in 2004 were religious congregations and denominations, which received $93 billion or 36 percent of total contributions. That religion should receive the largest share of such contributions is not surprising since charity is a central tenet in the major religious traditions.

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Medium 9780253013064

2 • Forgetting to Remember: Gyapagpa Temple’s Shifting Identity

Melissa R. Kerin Indiana University Press ePub

Tibetan Buddhism often places a strong emphasis on memory. Supernatural powers of recollection, for example, are among the great abilities acquired through enlightenment; the saṃsāric state, by contrast, can be described as amnesic.1 In artistic contexts, this ideal of perfect recollection has often found visual expression in the form of maṇḍalas, iconographic compositions of highly orchestrated constellations of deities housed within precisely rendered geometric forms. Another visual tool used to catalyze a more pragmatic level of mnemic engagement2 is the illustrated lineages of Buddhist teachers who have mastered and taught Vajrayāna practices. Wall paintings such as the ones found at the Gyapagpa Temple include painted lineages that are carefully and deliberately used to communicate the veracity and heritage of a specific teaching and lineage. This lineage works in concert with the larger iconographic program including deities, Buddhas, and bodhisattvas, all identified with accompanying inscriptions. But what happens when these carefully crafted identities—both divine and human—are forgotten? In this chapter I look at precisely this problem.

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Medium 9780253014191

7. Eucharist and Sacrament

Christina M. Gschwandtner Indiana University Press ePub

Marion has explored sacraments and especially the Eucharist throughout his work, beginning with his rather controversial treatment in God without Being and culminating with two accounts in Le croire pour le voir. Why is the Eucharist so important for Marion? On the one hand, it is obviously a central liturgical rite that particularly defines Christian identity. It is therefore especially significant for a phenomenology that seeks to explore religious experience. One might say that the Eucharist is Christian religious experience par excellence. On the other hand, the Eucharist is believed to be a central place of God’s self-revelation. The Eucharist is said to be the “body of Christ” who is given to the ones who participate in the rite. Eucharist is hence not merely something religious people do, but it is something they receive: the eucharistic elements are given to us. It is hence above all a gift and, in fact, eucharistia means “thanksgiving.”

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35 August 2, 1943: The Uprising in Treblinka

Yitzhak Arad Indiana University Press ePub

August 2 began like any other day in the Lower Camp and the extermination area: reveille, roll call, a meager breakfast, and report to work detail. Ostensibly a routine morning, one of many; however, the prisoners felt different. The Underground members barely succeeded in concealing their excitement. In the workshops they were sharpening knives and axes; the storeroom workers prepared tins of gasoline to burn down the warehouses. Many other prisoners noted the unusual attitude of their fellow workers and understood that something was about to happen. Indeed, many prisoners knew of the Underground’s existence, as well as of the general idea of an uprising and escape, and rumors abounded that the fateful day was near.

Sonia Lewkowicz states:

The truth is that I didn’t know when the uprising would break out. . . . For the past weeks they were saying every day that there would be a rebellion. But the day before it occurred, and especially on the actual day, we felt it had to be, it had to break out, because the entire camp seemed to be electrified. We could feel it. . . . Everyone prepared bundles of clothing for the way.1

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5. Woman Goes Forth

Stephen Gottschalk Indiana University Press ePub

After the publication of “One Cause and Effect,” an editorial note by Hanna in the Journal commented that even to the longtime student of Science and Health “some of the statements of this article come with startling force … because of the forceful originality of their putting.” He spoke of it as “one of the strongest and most comprehensive epitomes of the doctrine of Christian Science we have ever read.”1 It was a tightly reasoned and closely argued piece of metaphysics and theology, and it was, furthermore, the product of a woman’s pen—a point of some importance, when one takes into account that during the period in which Eddy lived, the tradition of Christian theology had been to an overwhelming degree a male enterprise.

By the latter part of the twentieth century, women were to play an increasing role in the life of the church—in theology, liturgy, and expressions of spirituality. Historically, however, the makers of Christian doctrine from Augustine and Aquinas through Luther and Calvin to Schleiermacher and Barth were men. The intellectual bastions of Christianity have been monasteries and seminaries populated until recent decades almost wholly by men. Christian doctrine has reached the laity largely through preaching in pulpits by men. Within most Christian communions, the sacraments have been and are administered almost entirely by men. Mary Baker Eddy was in some respects the beneficiary of male thinkers such as Augustine, Calvin, Luther, and Edwards—especially Jonathan Edwards, the progenitor of the New Light Theology in which she was raised. But she did not aspire to be elevated to some theological Mount Rushmore, dialoging across the ages with the great male figures of the Christian tradition.

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5. Gangamma as Ganga River Goddess

Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger Indiana University Press ePub



As my fieldwork associate and I arrived at Tatayyagunta temple to attend the alankara of the goddess during the Navaratri festival in the fall of 1999, I noticed a young woman wrapped in a wool shawl,1 wearing a large red bottu, sitting in the interior temple mandapam in front of a microphone. She gestured for us to come and sit down next to her and proceeded to ask who I was. When I told her my research interests in Gangamma, she identified herself as a purana pandita (lit., female scholar/reciter of the puranas), and said that she knew the stories (using the words caritra and patalu, history/biography and songs, respectively) of Gangamma. And she immediately launched into the story of the descent of the river goddess Ganga, which proceeded to flow into the narratives of Adi Para Shakti and Yogamaya Devi (the girl child substituted for Krishna when his nemesis, the king whose downfall had been predicted by the birth of this baby, smashed the baby against the ground). Annapurna’s performance voice is extraordinarily strong and confident. But in this case, the performance was rushed, and the clattering fan overhead and crowd noise resulted in an unclear recording.

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24 Portraits of the Perpetrators

Yitzhak Arad Indiana University Press ePub

The German extermination machine, which geared itself to the concentration and transport of the Jews of Poland and other European countries to Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, included in its ranks thousands of people—government officials and SS personnel of the highest ranks in the Third Reich, who made the decisions and published the orders to transport the Jews to the extermination camps; local administrative and police personnel, whose job was to round up the people and have them brought to the trains; the executives and workers of the Reich railway; and the security personnel who accompanied the deportees to the camps.

The suffering and hardships that the hundreds of thousands of Jewish deportees experienced while still on their journey to the camps were the direct result of the attitude and treatment that was meted out to them by the Germans and the collaborators of other nationalities, who were all part of this very complicated network. But the most excruciating experiences that the deportees went through, in the final hours of their lives, when they finally reached their destination, were determined above all by the local SS personnel, and especially by the commanders. This was likewise true with regard to the daily routine set for the prisoners who were kept on in these camps.

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