This article explores the modern-day festival as a timely site for analyzing the politics of indigenous cultural and religious presence in postcolonial and neoliberal Africa. Focusing on the ancient Osun Osogbo Festival and the newer Calabar Carnival and Festival in Nigeria, it raises broader questions of how indigenous religion gets reframed as culture, heritage, and tourist commodity for local, national, and international audiences. Attention is paid to the multiple debates over festival content and representation in the context of local political, economic, and religious interests. The article ultimately makes the case for more comparative research on what may be termed the “festivalization of religion” and how this development relates to questions of “public religion” and “civil religion” in the contemporary African context.
Knut A. Jacobsen and Ferdinando Sardella (eds.), Handbook of Hinduism in Europe: Pan-European Developments. Leiden: Brill, 2020. 2 vols., 1641 pp. ISBN 9789004433434 / 9789004433441 (hbk.), 9789004432284 (ebk.)
The book overall is geographically comprehensive and topically contextual. The editors’ purpose is made evident right at the beginning in the introduction. The keyword seems to be “plurality,” signaling the idea that Hinduism in Europe needs to be understood in its plural manifestations rather than in a uniform expression. The structure is well planned with broader background of Hinduism in Europe in the first part and then a
The syntactic analysis of ritual initiated by Frits Staal (1979) provides an effective means for the study of differences between rituals within a particular ritual culture, of changes to a ritual over time, and of changes as rituals are transmitted from one ritual culture to another. The utility of a syntactic approach continues to be obscured by Hans Penner’s critique (1985), which when examined in the first section of this article, “Clearing the Ground,” proves to be faulty. Despite Penner’s critique, some scholars have employed syntactic analyses, and the work of five of them is discussed in the second section, “Existing Constructive Projects.” The following section, “Foundations,” examines the methodological bases of ritual syntax – formalism and abstraction, the difference between production and analysis – and distinguishes three levels of syntactic analysis that parallel linguistic analyses of sentences and sentence structures. The final section, “Extending the Construction,” further develops the technical aspects of a syntactic analysis of ritual into new areas, including alternative diagramming of syntactic structures.
Sarah Stewart in collaboration with Mandana Moavenat, Voices from Zoroastrian Iran. Vol. 1: Urban Centres. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2018. xv + 440 pp. ISBN 9783447111294 (pbk.)
Sarah Stewart in collaboration with Mandana Moavenat, Voices from Zoroastrian Iran. Vol. 2: Urban and Rural Centres – Yazd and Outlying Villages. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2020. xv + 395 pp. ISBN 9783447114783 (pbk.)
Zoroastrianism is an officially recognized religious minority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. While there is a relatively lively research scene on the Zoroastrians of India – the Parsis – given language barriers
In their article on ‘Investigating historical abuses’ Yannick Balk, Georg Frerks and Beatrice de Graaf (2022) present an applied history of intercountry adoption to the Netherlands over the past 70 years and conclude that a moratorium on intercountry adoption is necessary because of the many adoption abuses. In this paper we comment on their aims, methods, results, and conclusions. Applied historical analysis without considering the numerous empirical studies on the effects of (de-)institutionalization is problematic if the application is to impact policy. Furthermore, using inaccessible archival material and opaque triangulation hinders replication. An estimate of the overall frequency of adoption abuses is absent. Any adoption abuse is a serious violation of children’s rights and needs to be addressed. However, we argue that their findings do not necessitate the recommendation to (temporarily) stop intercountry adoption at the expense of children in institutions for whom intercountry adoption would be the last resort.
We appreciate the attention paid by professors van IJzendoorn and Bakermans-Kranenburg (hereafter IJ/B) to our work and the report by the Committee Investigation Intercountry Adoption (hereafter CIIA). We are grateful to the Journal of Applied History (JOAH) for the possibility to respond, since we do not agree to all IJ/B’s observations and criticisms.
IJ/B’s comments hinge to a large degree on the undesirability of institutional care and how that compares with intercountry adoption as a last resort. We have not addressed or researched this in our work, as we
Recent years have seen the rapid descent of relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (prc). Hopes for cooperation in places of common concern like climate change gave way to strains in almost all areas. In place of “engagement,” the administration of Donald J. Trump adopted a tougher approach of “strategic competition” that its successor so far has continued. This article explores the relationship between the demise of engagement and opinions coming from the American China expert community. Specifically, it questions the impact on engagement of five secular dynamics that these China authorities have experienced—generational turnover; the field’s vast expansion and diversification; increased disciplinary specialization; the enhanced prominence of the generalist in national security discussions in place of China specialists; and changes in the media leading to more skeptical journalistic voices on U.S.-prc relations. Without over-emphasizing either the influence of the expert community on U.S. decision-making, or underplaying the more repressive and authoritarian actions of the Chinese Communist Party, this article suggests that the China expert community has been more of a factor in the end of engagement than current accounts of academics and commentators acknowledge.
During 2021, the International Security Studies Forum (issf) posted a series of articles on H-Diplo, the Diplomatic and International History discussion network, in which leading scholars of U.S. foreign relations assess the legacy of President Donald J. Trump’s policies in world affairs. As the editors explain, these essays examine and evaluate “the effects of the Trump presidency, from a range of different perspectives, and in light of the events of the Trump years, . . . on the United States’ standing in the world.”1 Many articles address the impact of Trump’s policies on specific regions and
For a generation before the 2008 global financial crisis, Sino-U.S. relations were premised on a modus vivendi of détente. While neither of the two great powers ever was willing to sacrifice its own geopolitical interests, the larger framework guiding the relationship was one of pragmatic cooperation and issue management. That shared understanding has helped keep Asia generally stable since 1979, the last time the region experienced an interstate war. But by 2016, President Barack Obama’s final year in office, the Pentagon had begun prioritizing great power war as the next big paradigm. Washington’s think tank industry had churned out piles