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Avi Shilon

David Ohana, Jacqueline Kahanoff: The Levantine [In Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Carmel Publishing House, 2022), 350 pp. Hardback, $25.00.

Shaul Magid, Meir Kahane: The Public Life and Political Thought on an American Jewish Radical (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021), 296 pp. Hardback, $35.00.

Johannes Becke, The Land beyond the Border: State Formation and Territorial Expansion in Syria, Morocco, and Israel (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2021), 286 pp. Paperback, $31.95

Open access

Mourning at New Year's Day (Nowruz)

Cultural Practice against Ideology

Reinhold L. Loeffler and Erika Friedl

Abstract

As Persian Muslims, Iranians observe Old Persian rituals in the solar calendar, such as the spring equinox, as well as Islamic rituals in the lunar calendar, such as mourning the martyr's death of Imam Huseyn. In 2006, the dates coincided, causing distress as people tried to combine the demands of a joyful, life-affirming tradition with that of a religious ideology that allowed no compromise. Living in a tribal village at that time, we recorded people's reactions and their solutions to the problem of doing right by both the demands of their tradition and those of a government-enforced ideology of martyrdom that moved the affair from the cultural and practical plane to the political and ideological plane.

Open access

Ordinary Trauma

Twenty-One Disabled Women Surviving the 1989 Polish Transformation

Natalia Pamula

This article analyzes the Polish disability memoirs in Cierpieniem pisane: Pamiętniki kobiet niepełnosprawnych (Written through Suffering: Disabled Women’s Memoirs), published in 1991. Written through Suffering consists of twenty-one short memoirs submitted as a response to a memoir competition organized around the theme “I am a Disabled Woman” in 1990. Published two years after the first democratic elections, which took place in Poland in June 1989, this anthology shows that contrary to the mainstream narrative in Poland, Western Europe, and the US, 1989 did not bring about a revolution or any dramatic change for disabled women. Women’s memoirs included in this collection question the teleological narrative of linear progression from state socialism to democracy and capitalism and point to the uneven distribution of newly acquired rights.

Open access

‘Pilgrimage of the Poor’

Religious, Social and Political Dimensions of a Moroccan Local Pilgrimage

Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Abstract

Pilgrimage destinations other than the Ka'aba in Mecca are a contested subject amongst Muslims. For the Moroccan ‘poor’, who are unable to perform the Meccan pilgrimage, a local pilgrimage known as the Hajj al-Miskin or the ‘Pilgrimage of the Poor’ is performed as an alternative spiritual journey. In this article, I discuss this pilgrimage at two sites in Morocco. Approaching Islam as a lived religion, I discuss how Moroccans navigate between religious considerations and the realities of everyday life. I argue that the Pilgrimage of the Poor plays a key role in the lives of the pilgrims at both the individual and community level. The debate about the Pilgrimage of the Poor reveals how different groups of Muslims negotiate their positions with respect to different interpretations of the global discursive tradition of Islam, applying these interpretations within their local context.

Open access

Zuzanna Kołodziejska-Smagała

Between 1880 and 1914, a small group of Jewish female authors writing in Polish approached the vital-at-the-time woman question from different angles. Although they incorporated discussions of women’s sexuality, for these Polish supporters of women’s emancipation, access to education remained the focal point. This article explores the writings of seven Jewish women authors in the historical context of the emerging women’s emancipation movements in the Polish lands, demonstrating that their educational aspirations were not always identical to those expressed by Polish emancipationists. By examining the involvement of Polish-Jewish women writers in Polish women’s organizations, the article complicates the picture of the Polish suffrage movement and highlights the interconnectedness of Polish and Jewish social history.

Open access

Pavel Grebenyuk

This article investigates cultural trends and promotion of cultural establishments in the northeastern USSR in the 1950s and 1960s. I examine the relationships of the government and intellectual network in the context of new sociocultural policy in the unusual conditions of the outgoing Dalstroy epoch. The Magadan Region underwent a kind of “perestroika” in this period, but it was a “perestroika” within the outlined ideological boundaries and under conditions of strict party control. The cultural policy and authorities’ activity on background changes in public-political life was directed on “de-Dalstroy” process by formation new regional identity and creation of numerous new avenues of regional self-expression in the form of institutions, creative unions, and organizations.

Open access

Nadeem Ahmed Moonakal and Matthew Ryan Sparks

Abstract

Throughout the Islamic world, the era of COVID-19 has witnessed controversial changes to highly ritualised traditional Islamic funeral rites. To combat the pandemic in Egypt, the government and Al-Azhar implemented restrictions surrounding group prayer and burial which many Egyptians viewed as impinging on their religious duties as well as on their ability to mourn. Utilising participant observation, interviews, and deductive research, this article explores the social and anthropological ramifications involved in the modification of traditional Islamic burial rituals in the era of COVID-19 and the negotiations involved amongst different actors, looking specifically at cases in Egypt.

Open access

Ready to discuss our future?

The Kapuscinski Development Lectures

Jan Szczyciński

What world do we want? And how to achieve it? When we are designing our future, words matter. Interaction between people, expertise, and leadership play important roles as well. For 13 years, thousands of students and top global thinkers have been exchanging important words contributing to our future at the Kapuscinski Development Lectures (KAPTalks). Come and join the community!

Open access

Reinventing a Traditional Ritual

Commemorating Karbala's Youngest Martyr in Iran

Atefeh Seyed Mousavi

Abstract

This article explores recent ritual developments in the Iranian religious culture honouring Ali-Asqar (d. 680 CE), the infant son of Imam Husayn. In 2003, a new ritual, the Husayni Infancy Conference, was introduced. The ritual is the only public Muharram assembly dedicated to women and their infants. Based on observation and interviews, I identify ritual transformations, terms of institutionalisation, and the staging of rituals and their structure, and I also examine the objectives behind the Conference from the perspectives of the organisers and participants. I argue that the organisers seek to promote new interpretations of the significance of the Battle of Karbala. This objective is shared by some participants whereas many continue to seek out traditional reasons to commemorate the Battle, such as receiving God's blessings. Attending large ritual gatherings also offers opportunities for socialising and empowerment.

Open access

Reports

Publications

Rose Wellman and Max Klimburg

Marjo Buitelaar, Manja Stephan-Emmrich and Viola Thimm (eds), Muslim Women's Pilgrimage to Mecca and Beyond: Reconfiguring Gender, Religion, and Mobility (London: Routledge, 2021), 213 pp.

Erika Friedl, Religion and Daily Life in the Mountains of Iran: Theology, Saints, People (London: I.B. Tauris, 2021), xix + 178 pp.