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Abstract

Flags are conceptual representations that can prime nationalism and allegiance to one’s group. Investigating children’s understanding of conflict-related ethno-national flags in divided societies sheds light on the development of national categories. We explored the development of children’s awareness of, and preferences for, ethno-national flags in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, and the Republic of North Macedonia. Children displayed early categorization of, and ingroup preferences for, ethno-national flags. By middle-childhood, children’s conflict-related social categories shaped systematic predictions about other’s group-based preferences for flags. Children of minority-status groups demonstrated more accurate flag categorization and were more likely to accurately infer others’ flag preferences. While most Balkan children preferred divided versus integrated ethno-national symbols, children in the Albanian majority group in Kosovo demonstrated preferences for the new supra-ethnic national flag. We discuss the implications of children’s ethno-national flag categories on developing conceptualizations of nationality and the potential for shared national symbols to promote peace.

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture

Abstract

Numerous scholars from different fields ranging from history, political science, ethnic and cultural studies, sociology, and anthropology have discussed ethnic and racial identity issues in the People’s Republic of China. Most have noted that there are competing narratives regarding the conceptions of race and ethnicity. Much of the scholarship has been based on social constructivist orientations. This essay is directed towards a merger between social constructivist and cognitive science approaches on essentialism that may open the doors for further research and investigation of this important topic.

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture

Abstract

What is the relationship between war propaganda and nationalism, and what are the effects of each on support for, or participation in, violent acts? This is an important question for international criminal law and ongoing speech crime trials, where prosecutors and judges continue to assert that there is a clear causal link between war propaganda, nationalism, and mass violence. Although most legal judgments hinge on the criminal intent of propagandists, the question of whether and to what extent propaganda and nationalism interact to cause support for violence or participation remains unanswered. Our goal here is to contribute to research on propaganda and nationalism by bridging international criminal law and the behavioral and brain sciences. We develop an experiment conducted with Serbian participants that examines the effects of propaganda as identified in the latest international speech crime trial as causing mass violence, and thereby test hypotheses of expert witness Anthony Oberschall’s theory of mass manipulation. Using principal components analysis and Bayesian regression, we examine the effects of propaganda exposure and prior levels of nationalism as well as other demographics on support for violence, ingroup empathy, and outgroup empathy. Results show that while exposure to war propaganda does not increase justifications of violence, specific types of war propaganda increase ingroup empathy and decrease outgroup empathy. Further, although nationalism by itself is not significant for justifying violence, the interaction of increased nationalism and exposure to violent media is significant for altering group empathies. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to international criminal law and the cognitive science of nationalism.

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture

Abstract

The Cognitive Science of Nationalistic Behavior (CSNB), presented in this paper, integrates the political sciences of nationalities as invented communities with an evolutionary cognitive analysis of social forms as products of the human mind. The framework is modeled after the Cognitive Science of Religion, where decades of cross-disciplinary work has generated standards, predictions, and data about the role of individual cognitive tendencies in shaping societies. We study the nationalistic calendar as a cultural attractor and draw on cue-based behavioral motivation and differential autobiographical memory systems to explain its appeal to the human mind. Calendrical elements are analyzed in the context of essentialist thought patterns and action representation systems. We conclude with the implications of calendrical thinking on the control of elites who aim to forge and reinforce national identities. This paper lays the groundwork for applying a similar approach to the study of other nationalistic elements.

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
Author: Robert Morrison

Abstract

This article argues that astronomers’ discourses about cosmology, specifically their arguments for an ordered cosmos comprised of uniformly revolving orbs, were in a conversation with ʿilm al-kalām during the period under discussion, which is from the end of the fourteenth century through the mid-sixteenth century. In kalām, Taftāzānī’s Sharḥ al-Maqāṣid contended that the astronomers’ views of cosmic order were but a conviction (iʿtiqād) for which there was no demonstration. Mīrim Çelebī’s commentary on the popular astronomy text al-Risāla al-Fatḥiyya noted, however, the theological value of the astronomers’ ordered cosmos. Another astronomer contemporary with Mīrim Çelebī, Bīrjandī, was well-versed in kalām texts and certainly agreed with other astronomers about how the cosmos was ordered. Yet Bīrjandī did not explore the theological ramifications of an ordered cosmos.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World
Author: Vera B. Moreen

Abstract

Judeo-Persian manuscripts include many surprising and hitherto unstudied texts. Among them are a number of anonymous elegies on the death of Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh (r. 1848–1896). This study focuses on the question of their authorship. Based on internal evidence, these poems, replete with textual problems and variants probably caused by oral transmission, were most likely penned by Muslim writers and copied into Judeo-Persian by Jews. For despite this monarch’s uneven and ineffective protection of Iran’s Jewish minority during his reign, some Jews had obviously been deeply moved by his assassination to the point of copying dirges likely in circulation after the Shāh’s death.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World

Abstract

The present article reports the discovery of previously unknown quotations from the Longer Theology of Aristotle (LThA), preserved in Lisān al-Dīn Ibn al-Khaṭīb’s (d. 776/1374) philosophical-mystical treatise Rawḍat al-taʿrīf bi-l-ḥubb al-sharīf (composed in Granada ca. 1366). The first of these quotations contains the famous ekstasis passage, which is not preserved in Judeo-Arabic. The second quotation has a close parallel in the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity (Ikhwān al-ṣafāʾ). An analysis of these quotations provides additional evidence to the transmission of LThA in Arabic characters. The Appendix provides an up-to-date inventory of the Judeo-Arabic manuscripts of LThA, complete quire analysis of manuscripts A and C, and a table of correspondences between the unpublished “MS Fenton,” Borisov’s references to LThA, and modern pagination.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World

Abstract

Judaeo-Arabic manuscripts with complete vocalisation are rare, a problem which makes reconstructing the pronunciation of the medieval language challenging. This study presents an edition of a Judaeo-Arabic translation of Ecclesiastes from the Cairo Genizah with full Tiberian vocalisation. This manuscript exhibits noteworthy features of dialectal medieval Arabic and a palaeographic style which places it in twelfth-century Egypt-Palestine. The transcription system provides specific evidence for the pronunciation of a type of medieval Judaeo-Arabic, while the translation offers a window into the culture of popular Bible translations and scribal activity in the medieval Middle East.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World

Abstract

In examining two Judaeo-Arabic adaptations of Qiṣṣat al-ğumğuma ‘The Story of the Skull’ (Cairo JC 104 and CUL T-S 37.39) alongside two Muslim Middle Arabic versions (CUL Qq. 173 and BnF Arabe 3655) from the Ottoman period, this paper explores the extent of linguistic similarities and divergences on the level of adverbial subordination, and the means through which these are expressed. It questions the long-established methodological boundaries imposed on the study of Middle Arabic, in which linguistic features of confessional varieties are generally examined in relation to Classical Arabic grammatical rules and modern spoken dialects, rather than other contemporaneous denominational varieties of written Arabic.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World