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Paul S. Spalding

Abstract

Jonathan Israel appears not to credit sufficiently how ‘moderates’ could contribute in practice to the agenda of the Radical Enlightenment. General Lafayette struck compromises with the old order in France up to 1792, for instance, but only so as to promote radical values that he had pursued from youth and would continue to pursue for the rest of his long life. Liberal or centrist sympathizers, particularly those in London and Hamburg, provide another instance. During Lafayetteʼs incarceration and exile in 1792–1799, they supported him financially, maintained secret communications, plotted breakouts, and publicized his case. By defying the traditional order and helping enable his release and eventual return to public activity, they too promoted the radical agenda.

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Gabriela Stoicea

Abstract

This essay explores some of the ways in which Jonathan Israel’s concept of Radical Enlightenment can be made useful for literary studies. An in-depth analysis of Sophie von La Roche’s novel Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim (1771) will show that although Israel offers little in the way of new insights into eighteenth-century gender relations, his pluralistic account of the Enlightenment does provide a fresh lens through which to reexamine the literary merits of female writers. It will also be argued that the benefits of pairing historiography with literary fiction run both ways – in other words, that La Roche, in turn, can help address what is missing from Israel’s thinking, namely an acknowledgment that some of the foremost intellectual debates of the time were also waged on literary ground, and also by women.

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Claudia Breger

Abstract

Starting from the notion of a “postsecular society” in current German debates about immigration, this essay investigates links between racism and collective identity in German debates about immigration that took place in the context of an academic as well as broader public return to “premises” during the 2000s. It explores this emerging episteme of (not always strictly religious) faith and affirmation through the newly popular philosophies of Stanley Cavell and Alain Badiou. In juxtaposing their in many respects divergent theoretical models, it develops a concept of critically affirmative reconfiguration and argues that it enables productive responses to ongoing political affirmations of collective identity. The case study is the topos of “Christian universalism,” which has been used, in significantly different ways, both in conservative and mainstream articulations of national identity (Sarrazin; “headscarf” legislations) and in Badiou’s radical counter-figuration.

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Editors Migration and Religion

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Editors Migration and Religion

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Kamaal Haque

Abstract

Discussions of the Muslim population in Germany often focus on those of Turkish, and to a lesser extent, Arab descent. This is logical, since the Turkish- and Arab-German populations are the two largest Muslim groups in Germany. The focus on these two groups, however, elides significant distinctions within the population of Muslim migrants in Germany. In this essay I focus on three less-discussed groups: Iranian, Afghan and Pakistani migrants. All three of these groups differ, above all, from Turkish migrants in Germany, because their departure from their home countries was occasioned, on the whole, more by political and religious and less by economic factors. Iranians and Afghans fled revolutions and wars in their countries, while the Pakistani community in Germany includes many Ahmadis, a heretical sect of Muslims according to the Pakistani constitution. Thus, the Pakistani-German community, in particular, presents a fascinating picture of a minority-within-aminority in Germany. This essay provides an overview of the history and current status of these three distinct groups of Muslim migrants in Germany. In addition, I discuss how popular perception of these communities often subsumes them into the larger Turkish-German community.

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Rebekka Habermas

Abstract

Around 1900 German orientalists, missionaries and representatives of colonial pressure groups started a debate about the so-called Moslem world. This debate created new spaces, connecting Africa, Europe and the Ottoman Empire: It equally shaped and was shaped by old and newly invented religious traditions and it made and was made by changing coalitions between political, academic and economic interests of transnational scientific associations, local African societies and by worldwide organized missionary groups. Above all this debate shows surprising connections to current discussions and thereby provides an insight into the ongoing German discussions about modern migration and the role of religion.

Migration and Religion

Christian Transatlantic Missions, Islamic Migration to Germany

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Edited by Barbara Becker-Cantarino

This volume looks at how religious identity and symbolic ethnicity influence migration. Religion – Christianity – was an important factor in European transatlantic migrations; religion – Islam – is a major issue in the immigration debate in “post-secular” Germany (and Europe) today. Essays focus on German missionaries and their efforts in the eighteenth century to establish new communal forms of living with Native Americans as religious encounters. In a comparative fashion, Islamic transnational migration into Germany in the twenty-first century is explored in a second group of essays that look at Muslim populations in Germany. They provide an insight into the ongoing discussions in Germany about modern migration and the role of religion. This volume is of interest to all who are engaged in issues of historical and contemporary migration, in Cultural and German Studies.

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Thomas Schmitt

Abstract

The debate about a new mosque in Manhattan to be located near Ground Zero echoed around the world in 2010. Since the end of the 1980s, plans for new mosques have been highly contested in the western world. The main aim here is a comparison of different mosque conflicts, with a focus on German examples. “No mosque in our town!” is, with its variants, a common slogan of local neighbors and citizen action groups in Germany when a new mosque is to be built. So it is only a minor exaggeration to state: “No new mosque in Germany without a local conflict.” Also, since the late 1980s, inconspicuous mosques in Germany have been increasingly replaced by buildings that combine traditional elements of Islamic architecture (minarets, domes) with modern western and postmodern forms. This analysis differentiates at least three aspects of these conflicts: (1) spatial aspects, e.g., questions of town planning, but also the relevance of the built environment for personal and collective identity, (2) interethnic and intercultural aspects, e.g., the relation between the establishment and outsiders, and (3) interreligious aspects, e.g., the mutual conceptualizations of Islam and Christianity or relations between Islamic organizations and a “secular” state. It also considers how these conflicts escalated through the interaction of both structural and accidental factors, in particular: anti-Islamic discourses, social polarizations, and an accumulated potential for interethnic conflict in residential areas with a high number of migrants.

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Karl Ivan Solibakke

Abstract

Thilo Sarrazin's bestselling diatribe against the Muslim population in Germany, Germany is Doing Away With Itself (2010), has generated opprobrium from the political elite and a mass following among the population at large. Basing his arguments on demographic trans-formations substantiating fears about a reduction of the indigenous population, Sarrazin decries the rising dominance of Muslim migrants in Germany, who purportedly reproduce at a much higher rate than the national average and prey on the country’s shrinking social benefits. At the same time, he limns Germany’s transformation from an industrial society to an information provider and services economy, presaging that this change poses educational, political, social and economic challenges as the native population ages and its industries struggle to surpass global competitors.