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Mesopotamia and the Garden of Civilizations

Public Life and the Politics of Solidarity and Difference along Turkey’s Syrian Border

Patrick C. Lewis and José Rafael Medeiros Coelho

This article draws on ethnographic fieldwork and analysis of mass media to explore how public life is perceived and made by residents in Turkey’s Syrian borderlands. Deploying two case studies from the ethnically and religiously diverse border provinces of Mardin and Hatay, we investigate how people in these borderlands contest and renegotiate terms of solidarity across multiple forms of social difference, considering how this process both responds to and is reflected in larger shift s in Turkey’s politics, economy, and public culture. In addition, we explore how differently positioned actors practice manifold forms of identification and competing forms of political alignment, paying close attention to how “ideological axes of social differentiation” (Gal and Irvine 2019) are deployed in understanding and making relations of solidarity and difference.

Free access

Navigating the Intersection

Refugee and Displaced Girls and Contemporary Feminism

Claudia Mitchell and Ann Smith

In the evolving discourse of contemporary feminism, a critical intersection at the nexus of girlhood studies and the experiences of refugee and displaced girls is evident. We are witnessing unprecedented levels of such displacement because of conflict and climate change among other causes of instability, and this brings the challenges and the triumphs of girls on the move into sharp focus in feminist advocacy and scholarship. This Special Issue, Girls on the Move: Girlhood and Forced Displacement, Migration, and (Re)settlement, guest edited by Rosemary Carleton and Nesa Bandarchian Rashti explores some of the intricacies of this intersection and the articles as a whole advocate for a nuanced feminist response centered on the rights, needs, and voices of refugee and displaced girls.

Open access

Of Ice and Meteorites

Geologic Glitches and Temporal Viscosity in the Antarctic Ice Sheet

Alexis Rider

Abstract

This article engages with the natural phenomena of meteorite concentrations in Antarctica to explore how ice, particularly flowing, viscous ice, can offer alternative conceptions of change over non-human time. Drawing from historical research at the Smithsonian Institute as well as ethnographic experience in the High Arctic, I foreground glaciological understandings of ice as a monomineralic rock, one that indicates geologic time (rather than climatological crisis). In highlighting the rocky relationality between ice and meteorites, this article focuses on moments of capricious interruption into uniformitarian time: material instances where the geo-logics that underpin scientific conceptions of the non-human past were ‘glitched’. This article argues that the glitches the viscous ice makes visible can help reframe human and non-human time, and Geo-Anthropos relations; a crucial step to better understanding the momentum and meaning of the ‘Anthrop’/‘Capital-ocene’.

Resume

Cet article a pour objet le phénomène naturel des concentrations de météorites dans l'Antarctique et explore la manière dont la glace, et particulièrement la glace visqueuse et se délitant, peut offrir des conceptions alternatives sur le temps non humain. À partir d'une recherche historique au Smithsonian Institute et d'une expérience ethnographique dans le Haut Arctique, je propose une compréhension glaciologique de la glace comme un roc non monominéral, porteur d'indications sur le temps géologique (plutôt que sur la crise climatologique). En se concentrant sur la relationalité rocheuse entre la glace et les météorites, cet article attire l'attention sur ces moments d'interruption capricieuse du temps uniforme : les instances matérielles où les géo-logiques qui sous-tendent les conceptions scientifiques sur le passé non humain connaissent des « ratés ». Cet article défend l'idée que les ratés que la glace visqueuse rend visibles peuvent nous aider à recadrer le temps humain et non humain et les relations Géo-Anthropos ; une étape cruciale pour mieux comprendre le momentum et la signification de « l'anthropo’-capital-ocène ».

Open access

The Okjökull Memorial and Geohuman Relations

Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer

Abstract

Focusing on the life and death of Okjökull, the first of Iceland's major glaciers to disappear because of anthropogenic climate change, this article discusses the complex relationships between cryospheres and human communities in Iceland. It asks how distinctions between non-living entities and living beings can offer insights to anthropology, and transdisciplinarily, as a model for recognising mutual precarities between the living and non-living world in the face of anthropogenic climate change. Detailing the authors’ ethnographic encounters with Ok mountain and Okjökull (glacier), the authors argue that by attending to non-living forms, and by registering their ‘passing’ or loss, we are able to document and better comprehend threshold events in the larger life of the planet.

Résumé

En se concentrant sur la vie et la mort d'Okjökull, le premier des principaux glaciers islandais à disparaître en raison des changements climatiques anthropogéniques, cet article discute les relations complexes entre la cryosphère et les communautés humaines en Islande. Il questionne la manière dont les distinctions entre entités non vivantes et êtres vivants peuvent offrir des perspectives à l'anthropologie et la transdisciplinarité en tant que modèle pour reconnaitre des précarités mutuelles entre monde vivant et non vivant en face du changement climatique anthropogénique. En détaillant la rencontre ethnographique entre les auteurs, la montagne Ok et l'Okjökull (le glacier), les auteurs défendent l'idée qu'en prenant acte des formes non vivantes et en marquant leur « disparition » ou leur perte, nous sommes en mesure de documenter et de mieux comprendre les événements de bascule dans la vie de notre planète.

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On Ayin or Mystical Nothingness in the Dialogical Encounter

Complementarity in the Thought of Martin Buber Today?

Jordan Jacobs

Abstract

In this article I suggest how a moderated form of pause or withdrawal may yield relational fruit in contexts of interpersonal encounter. Consequently, I posit that mystical nothingness – otherwise known as Ayin in Jewish mystical lore – offers a promising way forward, and indicate how it may be synonymous with Buberian concreteness and inclusion. In conclusion, I explore the Tsaddik as a metaphor that highlights not only the relevance of Ayin or nothingness interpersonally, but also its complementarity with the I and Thou encounter as envisaged by Martin Buber.

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Owning Bodies, Owning Lands

Property Formation in the Early Plantation Colonies

Allan Greer

Abstract

This article presents a broad and comparative examination of property formation in the French and English plantation colonies of the Caribbean and the southern North American mainland. It considers the connections between claims to exclusive control over human beings and claims to portions of the earth's surface. In the two early modern empires, planters pushed consistently and successfully to remove social, legal, and ecological constraints that limited their full control over their human and terrestrial property. Moreover, they insisted on legally fusing fields and workers, assimilating slaves to the category of real estate for purposes of inheritance and legal liability for debt. By the mid-eighteenth century, the French and British colonies had developed precociously modern capitalist property forms. In the Age of Revolutions, ideologues from plantation colonies, such as Thomas Jefferson and Michel-René Hilliard d'Auberteuil, emerged as radical advocates of absolute private property rights.

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Paperwork Selves and Arab Refugee Girls’ Experiences of Resettlement in Tennessee

Ida Fadzillah Leggett

Abstract

For refugees, the experience of displacement does not always end with resettlement. Multidisciplinary research with educators and refugee students at a Tennessee high school demonstrates how some school personnel prioritized the alienating concept of so-called paperwork selves when talking about their refugee students, highlighting exotic stereotypes of innocence, ignorance, and a lack of educational history. I focus here on educators’ perceptions of Arabic-speaking refugee girl students, and contrast these with the girls’ own words about their experiences and self-understanding. The girls’ narratives demonstrate their keen sense of identity as young women connected to real places, remembered histories, and imaginaries of a future as transnational young women with global possibilities.

Open access

Planning, state building, and the days after in Palestine

Kareem Rabie

Abstract

Drawn from ethnographic fieldwork and documentary research, this article examines three shifts in national-scale planning in Palestine. In the period after the Oslo accords, Palestinian planners were tasked with the responsibility to create formal structures of governance and build for a future, eventual state there. Through that process and especially after the second intifada, national planning came to focus almost exclusively on market openness, privatization, and capitalistic development as part of a state and economy building project. Increasingly since 2015, planners have attempted to re-take some kind of formal authority. This article argues that such regimes show how Palestine is increasingly crafted at the state-scale as a node in wider global political economies in order to ostensibly stabilize the political situation, and in ways that have wide consequences for Palestine.

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Poesis, God, and the Connectedness of All Beings

J. G. Herder's Comparative Method

Tanvi Solanki

Abstract

The article examines the significance of J. G. Herder's analogical thinking in the history of comparative practices. It shows how Herder's comparative method, of positing one phenomenon as another in its own singular and inimitable manner, emerges from his concept of God and nature as informed by Baruch Spinoza, as well as his study of scientific and cultural phenomena, including the active mechanisms of poesis as sensory perception. While Herder's concept of comparison and his analogical practices influenced prominent thinkers contemporary to him such as J.W. Goethe, the specificity of his comparative method has been overlooked by scholars past and present, such as Michel Foucault, as Herder's approach resists assimilation in histories of comparativism centered on nineteenth-century projects of comparison. Yet his outlook on the tension between difference and identity offers fresh insight into relations between distinct cultures and entities without effacing their particularity or placing them in static hierarchies. Herder's comparative method provides new perspectives on contemporary debates on the benefits of and dangers of historical analogies.

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Postcolonial Studies Meets Global History

Rendez-vous in the Francophone World

Burleigh Hendrickson

Abstract

In the aftermath of the French Revolution, Georg W. F. Hegel labeled it a “world-historical” event. Just a few decades later, Karl Marx was equally fascinated by this Revolution, contributing to the notion that it served as a global turning point that would bend European society toward a post-feudal, modern world. Though scholars of postcolonial studies have long scrutinized these nineteenth-century thinkers’ narratives of progress, they played a large part in cementing the French Revolution's place in world history. Scholars of French studies have recently challenged long-held notions of French exceptionalism. This article explores the relationship between postcolonial studies and global history, both tenuous and complementary, as they relate to the emerging field of global French studies. Providing a reading of these intersecting methods in the historiography of both the French Revolution and 1968 in France, I contend that postcolonial studies is a form of global history.