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Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood and Frank G. Karioris

As noted in our introduction, the Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities hopes to do things differently. One of these differences, which perhaps may not be all that different, is that our journal will have a rotating cover image. Each issue will include a different image that is reflective of the journal or perhaps of a particular article in the issue. One goal behind this practice is to promote spaces and places that may be unknown to scholars working in the field; as such, we will work with various archives to acquire images that we can freely disseminate, and in each issue we will provide a brief overview of the archive consulted to obtain the cover image. Too often archives work in isolation; sometimes they are funded by private sources and are not part of the academy.

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Afterword

Comparison in the Anthropological Study of Plural Religious Environments

Birgit Meyer

Highlighting common threads in the pieces by Beekers, Kasmani and Mattes, and Dilger, this concluding essay reflects on the potential of comparison as conceptual innovation in the anthropological study of religious plurality. Asking how to develop innovative practices of comparison for the sake of grasping the dynamics of plural societies in the light of the articles in this collection, I argue that it is necessary to transcend the bifurcation of the study of religions, which was accentuated with the rise of the anthropologies of Islam and Christianity, in favor of a focus on the secular configuration as a whole, paying attention to power dynamics that assign different spaces for action to different religions (notwithstanding their equality in legal terms). The point of comparison, understood as a critical project geared toward conceptual innovation, is not only to discern so far overlooked, unexpected differences and similarities, but also to understand how these differences and similarities, as well as the possibility to compare as such, are outcomes of long-standing entanglements.

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Afterword

The Urban and the Carceral

Steffen Jensen

In this afterword, I consider some of the important insights that are generated in this special issue. The thorough and detailed consideration of the ways in which detainees and formerly incarcerated persons survive confinement and the constraints imposed on them illustrates the power of ethnography. Each of the contributions builds on strong empirical material and sometimes decade-long engagement with people in and on the brink of confining institutions. In this way, the contributions form a comprehensive empirical foundation for understanding confinement beyond the carceral institutions, while also allowing us to ask new kinds of questions about confinement beyond site. While firmly rooted in prison ethnography, the special issue thus inspires urban studies and anthropologists more broadly to think concertedly about the role of confinement, not only as the fate of many urban residents but as an ever-present element of the urban imaginary and of urban life.

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America's Favorite Doll?

Conflicting Discourses of Commodity Activism

Diana Leon-Boys

Emilie Zaslow. 2017. Playing with America’s Doll: A Cultural Analysis of the American Girl Collection. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Daniela R. P. Weiner

During the Allied occupation of the Axis countries, education and the revision of educational materials were seen as a means of ensuring future peace in Europe. Most scholarly literature on this topic has focused on the German case or has engaged in a German-Japanese comparison, neglecting the country in which the textbook revision process was first pioneered: Italy. Drawing primarily on the papers of the Allied occupying military governments, this article explores the parallels between the textbook revision processes in Allied-occupied Italy and Germany. It argues that, for the Allied occupiers involved in reeducation in Italy and Germany, the reeducation processes in these countries were inextricably linked. Furthermore, the institutional learning process that occurred in occupied Italy enabled the more thorough approach later applied in Germany.

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The Art of Doubting

A Jewish Perspective

Danny Rich

Many will agree that the world around them changes at a faster pace than perhaps one might be able to follow, and politically the world seems to have moved into a constant battle between truth, lies and the in-between. Many seek to distinguish three types of statement – first, the true; second, the matter of faith with a possibility of truth; and third, the absurd – and there is much of this grappling within the sphere of religion. Doubt is very much an integral part of grappling with Judaism, and Jewish identity, and it is certainly worth considering whether this religious doubt can help break the spell of political stalemate and unpleasant populism.

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The Art of Doubting

A Christian Perspective

Daniela Koeppler

This article discusses how issues of doubt and scepticism were addressed during the history of the Reformation, citing as examples disagreements between Luther and Erasmus. It focuses on the less familiar figure Sebastian Castellio, whose disagreements with John Calvin put his life at risk. He took a stand against all the leading Reformers who understood themselves to be the chosen proclaimers of a single true Protestant teaching and considered every deviating opinion or critical question to be a betrayal of God’s work and of God’s renewed Church. His last, incomplete book, ‘On the Art of Doubting and of Believing, of Not Knowing and of Knowing’ was written in exile in Basel.

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Jane F. Hacking, Jeffrey S. Hardy and Matthew P. Romaniello

This special issue of Sibirica is devoted to exploring Russia’s complicated relationship with Asia. Along with an edited volume (Russia in Asia: Imaginations, Interactions, and Realities, forthcoming), it is an outgrowth of the “Asia in the Russian Imagination” conference that was held at the University of Utah in March 2018. This conference brought together an interdisciplinary body of scholars from the United States, Canada, and Russia to discuss how Russians imagined and interacted with the peoples of Eurasia. Chronologically this conversation spanned the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and post-Soviet Russia, and included not just the geography and peoples possessed by Russia but also the bordering states of Japan, China, and the Ottoman Empire. This is certainly not a new line of inquiry, but there is still much to be understood about these complex relationships, both real and imagined.

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"Avoiding the mistakes of the past"

Tower block failure discourse and economies of risk management in London's Olympic Park

Saffron Woodcraft

A powerful dystopian imaginary dominates political and cultural representations of Britain’s postwar tower blocks, which continue to be linked to social dysfunction and alienation despite extensive empirical research that challenges such claims. Th is article asks what contested declarations of failure “do” by examining how “tower block failure” is discursively deployed by placemaking professionals—planners, architects, housing managers, regeneration practitioners—engaged in the construction of a “model” mixed-tenure neighborhood in London’s Olympic Park. Examining how the aesthetic figure of the “failed” high-rise housing estate is configured in relation to the normative models of citizenship and community that infuse social and spatial policy, I argue “failure” is entangled with a speculative, future-oriented economy of risk management, which refracts wider questions about the nonobvious forms that power takes in the neoliberal city.

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Bath Houses

The Shared Space between Athens and Jerusalem

Lev Taylor

While some philosophers have posited Judaism and Hellenism as opposites, interesting collaboration has always taken place in the liminal spaces between the two poles. In this article, I explore one such space: the bathhouse. I draw on two stories from different epochs and places: Rabban Gamliel’s interlocution with Proclus ben Philosophus in second-century Akko; and Rabbi Lionel Blue’s experience with Rabbi Dr Werner van der Zyl in twentieth-century Amsterdam. Based on these two stories, I argue that certain spaces allow for collaboration, wherein seemingly contrasting cultures can be reconciled. I focus particularly on how attitudes to minds and bodies are articulated through the prism of bathhouses.