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.
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.
Conal McCarthy and Sandra H. Dudley
After special issues of Museum Worlds: Advances in Research in 2016 and 2017, Volume 6 (2018) is an open issue. In the last two years, the journal has canvassed issues to do with museum archeology, repatriation, and engaging anthropological legacies, as well as with its annual scan of books, exhibitions, conferences, and other events around the museum world, not just in the Anglophone North Atlantic but also in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific.
Venenum, un Monde Empoisonné, Musée des Confluences
The Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France, recently organized a remarkable exhibition: Venenum, un Monde Empoisonné. It ran from April 2017 to April 2018 and was located in one of the museum’s five large temporary exhibition spaces. Venenum did justice to the multidisciplinary and multi-thematic nature of this newly founded museum, bringing together objects otherwise classified separately as natural history, art, ethnography, or history.
Stefan Berger, Anna Cento Bull, Cristian Cercel, Nina Parish, Małgorzata A. Quinkenstein, Eleanor Rowley, Zofia Wóycicka, Jocelyn Dodd and Sarah Plumb
War Museums and Agonistic Memory
Within the EU-Horizon-2020-funded project Unsettling Remembering and Social Cohesion in Transnational Europe (UNREST),1 one work package (WP4) analyzed the memorial regimes of museums related to the history of World War I and World War II in Europe. An article by Anna Cento Bull and Hans Lauge Hansen (2016) entitled “Agonistic Memory” provided the theoretical framework for the analysis. Drawing on Chantal Mouffe’s work (2005, 2013), the authors distinguish three memorial regimes: antagonistic, cosmopolitan, and agonistic.
Unexpected Encounters: Museums Nurturing Living and Ageing Well
As the world’s population ages, how can museums nurture living and aging well? The conference Unexpected Encounters: Museums Nurturing Living and Ageing Well, organized by the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) from the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, set out to interrogate this question, and invited conference delegates to consider how museums unconsciously make assumptions about older people and perpetuate the dominant societal view of aging as a “problem.”
Knowledge Fields and Sociolegal Phenomena
A new colleague in a recent email communication about this journal posed the question of whether the term ‘legal’ was being put in opposition to ‘illegal’: was there an illegal anthropology? My response must be left in part to the views of other likely interlocutors as to what is or can be evoked when we seemingly endeavour to attach or subdivide anthropology in envisaged specialist areas. The acknowledged spaces to bring out understandings of the legal alongside and within anthropology, in general, through particular frames and representations turn our attention to a dialogical field of knowledge in relation to sociolegal phenomena. I further consider that legal anthropology is not simply, if it ever was, about a type of anthropology called legal, whether opposed to illegal or not, to give a nod to such asides. The wide scholarship eschews any isolated idea of legal in anthropology and incorporates analyses of everyday settings marked, for instance, by implicit and explicit systems of governance and how these are experienced. This also ranges from historical readings of customs and norms to accounts of contemporary rational-legal settings.
New to Berghahn Journals in 2019: The Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities