non-Western World (non-western + world)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The Cage of Nature: Modernity's History in Japan

Julia Adeney Thomas
"The Cage of Nature" focuses on the concept of nature as a way to rethink Japanese and European versions of modernity and the historical tropes that distance "East" from "West." This essay begins by comparing Japanese political philosopher Maruyama Masao and his contemporaries, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. Both sets of authors define modernity as the moment when humanity overcomes nature, but Maruyama longs for this triumph while Horkheimer and Adorno deplore its consequences. Maruyama insists that Japan has failed to attain the freedom promised by modernity because it remains in the thrall of nature defined in three ways: as Japan's deformed past, as the mark of Japan's tragic difference from "the West,"and as Japan's accursed sensuality, shackling it to uncritical bodily pleasures. In short, Maruyama sees Japan as trapped in the cage of nature. My argument is that Maruyama's frustration arises from the trap set by modern historiography, which simultaneously traces the trajectory of modernity from servile Nature to freedom of Spirit and at the same time bases the identity of the non-Western world on its closeness to nature. In other words, nature represents both the past and the East, an impossible dilemma for an Asian nationalist desirous of liberty. By revising our historical narratives to take into account the ways in which Western modernity continued to engage versions of nature, it becomes possible to reposition Japan and "the East" within modernity's history rather than treating them as the Other. [source]

The Christian Religion in Modern European and World History: A Review of The Cambridge History of Christianity, 1815,2000

David Lindenfeld
Volumes 8 and 9 of the Cambridge History, representing the work of 72 scholars, reflect two major recent historiographical trends: 1) the increased attention paid to religion in modern European history, and 2) the increasing importance of Christianity in as a topic in world history. While these volumes serve to summarize the work already done in the first field, with articles on a wide variety of European countries, they should significantly move the second field forward by bringing together the work of specialists on many different parts of the world in a single place. Volume 8 summarizes scholarship on the Western religious revivals of the nineteenth century, both Catholic and Protestant. By integrating religion and politics, it also presents a more complex picture of the formation of European national identities than Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities suggests. One third of the volume is devoted to the spread of Christianity to the non-Western world. In Volume 9, the European and world history perspectives are more evenly interspersed. Major themes include the papacy, ecumenism, colonialism, Pentecostalism, and the independent churches of Africa and Asia. The 1960s emerge as a turning point, if for different reasons in different parts of the world. This was the decisive period of secularization in Europe, and the final section documents the social and cultural impact of that shift, particularly on the arts. Although there are inevitable gaps in coverage, these volumes will serve as an invaluable research tool for years to come. [source]

Global Religious Transformations, Political Vision and Christian Witness,

Vinoth Ramachandra
From the nineteenth-century onwards religion has been, and continues to be, an important resource for nationalist, modernizing movements. What was true of Protestant Christianity in the world of Victorian Britain also holds for the nationalist transformations of Hindu Neo-Vedanta, Theravada Buddhism, Shintoism and Shi'ite Islam in the non-Western world. Globalizing practises both corrode inherited cultural and personal identities and, at the same time, stimulate the revitalisation of particular identities as a way of gaining more influence in the new global order. However, it would be a gross distortion to identify the global transformations of Islam, and indeed of other world religions, with their more violent and fanatical forms. The globalization of local conflicts serves powerful propaganda purposes on all sides. If global Christian witness in the political arena is to carry integrity, this essay argues for the following responses, wherever we may happen to live: (a) Learning the history behind the stories of ,religious violence' reported in the secular media; (b) Identifying and building relationships with the more self-critical voices within the other religious traditions and communities, so avoiding simplistic generalizations and stereotyping of others; (c) Actively engaging in the political quest for truly participatory democracies that honour cultural and religious differences. In a hegemonic secular culture, as in the liberal democracies of the West, authentic cross-cultural engagement is circumvented. There is a militant secularist ,orthodoxy' that is as destructive of authentic pluralism as its fundamentalist religious counterpart. The credibility of the global Church will depend on whether Christians can resist the totalising identities imposed on them by their nation-states and/or their ethnic communities, and grasp that their primary allegiance is to Jesus Christ and his universal reign. [source]

History, Geography and Difference in the Post-socialist World: Or, Do We Still Need Post-Socialism?

ANTIPODE, Issue 2 2008
Alison Stenning
Abstract:, This paper seeks to build on ongoing work in east central Europe and the former Soviet Union,in geography and beyond,to think through the conceptualisation of post-socialism. The rationale for this is threefold. Firstly, we see a need to understand post-socialist conditions as they are lived and experienced by those in the region. Secondly, we seek to challenge the persistent tendency to marginalise the experiences of the non-western world in a discourse of globalisation and universalisation. Thirdly, we identify a need to ask how the conditions of post-socialism reshape our theorising more widely. Centring our analysis on history, geography and difference, we review a wide range of perspectives on the socialist and post-socialist, but argue for a strategic essentialism that recognises post-socialist difference without eclipsing differences. In outlining how we might understand history, geography and difference in post-socialism, we draw on key theorisations from post-colonialism (such as the articulation of the post- with the pre-, the relationship to the west, the rethinking of histories/categories, the end of the post) and outline post-socialisms that are partial and not always explanatory but nevertheless important. [source]