This issue of the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology is the first under my tenure as the new editor. The journal began life in 1973 under the title Cambridge Anthropology. The first issue aimed to provide a forum for University of Cambridge ‘undergraduates, research students and staff in which ideas and different theoretical approaches can be developed’ (Cambridge Anthropology 1973: ii). I inherit the journal forty-five years later, during which time the scope of the journal has expanded.
What Do We Do and Where Are We Going?
One of the opportunities that we can offer as a journal is to publish papers delivered at conferences whose subject matter fits our overall remit. They may appear as a section within an issue of the journal which otherwise covers a miscellaneous range of topics. Sometimes, when there are sufficient materials, we invite the organizers to consider providing someone to be a guest editor so that the entire issue can be devoted to the particular conference. Some recent examples are: The State of Ladino Studies 2010/11; German Rabbis Abroad 2012; Writing Jews in Contemporary Britain 2014; Rabbis and the Great War 2015.
Yoram Peri and Paul L. Scham
It cannot have escaped the notice of any Israel Studies Review readers—or, indeed, of much of the world’s literate population—that 2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. Academics commemorated the anniversary in their usual way, with a host of conferences in Israel, the US, and plenty of other places on innumerable topics relating to everything Israeli.
Ethnographic Explorations of Moral Economies across Europe
Sabine Strasser and Luisa Piart
For this special issue we are bringing together six ethnographic cases of intimate uncertainties that are situated within different regimes of reproduction, healthcare and borders in and beyond Europe. These ethnographic inquiries exemplify unprecedented settings of moral ir/responsibility shaping the intimate on different scales and in various sites of power (agencies, clinics, borderlands). These uncertainties in times of major transitions from old to new moral orders, from industrial to postindustrial, from welfare to austerity spark off a renewed debate on moral economy. The authors of these contributions all focus the theoretical lens of moral economy squarely onto the intimate.
The introduction offers an overview of English-language and Spanish-language scholarship about Spanish comics since 2000. This research is typically concerned with one of four main chronological periods, i.e. early comics history 1875-1939; the Francoist dictatorship 1939-1975; the Political Transition 1970-1985; and Democratic Spain from the early 1980s, and some of its recurrent themes are memory, gender, regional identities and history, and/or a focus on social or educational comics. The articles in the two special issues on Spanish comics (11.1 and 11.2) almost all relate to these periods and themes in different ways, and together they show that comics scholarship about Spanish comics is a fascinating field, and one that offers plenty of opportunities for further study.
Doing Ritual While Thinking about It?
Religious anthropology and ritual studies have increasingly acknowledged that ritual and religion are subject to criticism. There is stil a tendency, however, to argue that doubt, skepticism, and forms of ‘critical reflexivity’ develop somewhere outside the ritual ‘frame’, in connection with external processes. In presenting this special section of Religion and Society, this introduction harks back to past research arising out of structural and performative approaches to rite, introduces the notion of critical reflexivity, and outlines the ways it is used to shed light on overlooked formal aspects of religious rituals. In order to stress the subtle connection between ritual action and (local) reflection on this action as evidenced in situ in the course of performance, linked with internal features of ritual activity, the article evokes two lines of empirical inquiry: institutionalized episodes of ritual assessment and ritual ‘accidents’ that do not necessarily imply ritual ‘failure’.
Ruy Llera Blanes, Sondra L. Hausner and Simon Coleman
Lenience in Systems of Religious Meaning and Practice
Maya Mayblin and Diego Malara
Questions of discipline are, today, no less ubiquitous than when under Foucault’s renowned scrutiny, but what does ‘discipline’ in diverse religious systems actually entail? In this article, we take ‘lenience’ rather than discipline as a starting point and compare its potential, both structural and ideological, in religious contexts where disciplinary flexibility shores up greater encompassing projects of moral perfectionism as opposed to those contexts in which disciplinary flexibility is a defining feature in its own right. We argue that lenience provides religious systems with a vital flexibility that is necessary to their reproduction and adaptation to the world. By taking a ‘systems’ perspective on ethnographic discussions of religious worlds, we proffer fresh observations on recent debates within the anthropology of religion on ‘ethics’, ‘failure’, and the nature of religious subjects.
Indigenous Resurgence, Decolonization, and Movements for Environmental Justice
This volume of Environment and Society aims to set forth a theoretical and discursive interruption of the dominant, mainstream environmental justice movement by reframing issues of climate change and environmental degradation through an anticolonial lens. Specifically, the writers for this volume are invested in positioning environmental justice within historical, social, political, and economic contexts and larger structures of power that foreground the relationships among settler colonialism, nature, and planetary devastation.
Shakespeare and the Jews
The relationship between Shakespeare and the Jews is a multifaceted one with an extensive history dating back to the Elizabethan era. Attitudes to Jews in Shakespeare’s England comprise a complex topic with religious, racial and cultural components that has been explored in detail in James Shapiro’s seminal monograph Shakespeare and the Jews. Jewish elements in the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries extend far beyond the infamous figure of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, and the history of critical and interpretative approaches to such elements is extremely variegated, including shifting perceptions of Shylock on the page and stage over the centuries, different ways of addressing Jewish themes within the plays in writing and performance, and the representations of Jews and Judaism in translations of Shakespeare into other languages.