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Professor Anna Stilz and Interviewed by Dr Christine Hobden

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“Welcome to Divinity College”

Subjectification in Pilgrimage to the Iran-Iraq War Battlefields in Contemporary Iran

Mahshid Zandi

Abstract

“Welcome to Divinity College,” reads a welcome sign to the state-sponsored fieldtrips of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) battlefields in Iran. Rahian-e Noor battlefield tours follow the model of Shia pilgrimage and commemorative rituals, while also tapping into nationalist discourses of the country as an ancient homeland. I ask whether these trips are a means of disseminating knowledge, and what forms of ignorance are assumed to prevail among the visitors that this “Divinity College” seeks to eliminate? Even more importantly, since the tours are state-sponsored, what ignorances are rendered possible, if not encouraged, at the cost of this selective knowledge dissemination? Drawing on fieldwork, I argue that the tours provide a space of encounter with what is presupposed as the visitors’ already acquired knowledge. On RN tours, both knowledge and ignorance are co-constitutive of the transformative power of pilgrimage, where ultimate knowledge is interpreted as putting the already-known-words into deeds.

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John Eade

Abstract

This article focuses primarily on the role of the camera in representing the famous, much visited Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes, France, and what this role tells us about the relationship between gazing, knowledge, and the body. After outlining the historical development of the shrine, the discussion proceeds to consider the growth of popular media and the cinematic gaze, the expansion of tourism, debates concerning the morality of gazing at bodies as personal cameras and smartphones becoming increasingly available and used at the shrine, the representation of human and saintly bodies, and the part played by the camera in the attempt to ensure security.

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Michael Hughes

Abstract

This article examines how Le Queux's writings about Russia both reflected and shaped the construction of the country in the British imagination in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first part examines Le Queux's early novels, showing how his conviction that tsarist Russia posed a major threat to the security of the British Empire was reflected in his surprisingly positive treatment of the Russian revolutionary movement. The second part then examines how Le Queux's later writings on Russia reflected the changing nature of international politics following the outbreak of war in 1914. Russia's new-found status as Britain's ally in the First World War shaped the content of a number of books written by Le Queux in 1917–1918. These include Rasputin the Rascal Monk (1917) and The Minister of Evil: The Secret History of Rasputin's Betrayal of Russia (1918), in which Le Queux claimed that Rasputin was a creature of the German government.

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Brett Holman

Abstract

In contrast to William Le Queux's pre-1914 novels about German spies and invasion, his wartime writing is much less well known. Analysis of a number of his works, predominantly non-fictional, written between 1914 and 1918 shows that he modified his perception of the threat posed by Germany in two ways. Firstly, because of the lack of a German naval invasion, he began to emphasise the more plausible danger of aerial attack. Secondly, because of the incompetent handling of the British war effort, he began to believe that an ‘Invisible Hand’ was responsible, consisting primarily of naturalised Germans. Switching form from fiction to non-fiction made his writing more persuasive, but he was not able to sustain this and he ended the war with less influence than he began it.

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Book Reviews

Hegelianisms without Metaphysics?

David James, Bahareh Ebne Alian, and Jean Terrier

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Book Roundtable

Discussion text: Chin, C. 2018. The Practice of Political Theory: Rorty and Continental Thought.

Lasse Thomassen, Joe Hoover, David Owen, Paul Patton, and Clayton Chin

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Olusegun Steven Samuel and Ademola Kazeem Fayemi

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This article is a critique of Thaddeus Metz's modal relational approach to moral status in African ethics (AE). According to moral relationalism (MR), a being has moral status if it exhibits the capacity for communal relationship as either a subject or an object. While Metz defends a prima facie plausibility of MR as an African account of moral status, this article provides a fresh perspective to the debate on moral status in environmental and ethical discourse. It raises two objections against MR: (1) the capability criterion inherent in MR is not only exogenous to African thought but also undermines the viability of MR; and (2) MR cannot account for the standing of species populations. Both objections have severe implications for biodiversity conservation efforts in Africa and beyond.

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Cross-Generational Abuse

Priests, Parishioners, and the Catholic Church in New Spain

Zeb Tortorici

Abstract

This article analyzes the influence of confessional manuals on Catholic priests who solicited sexual favors from parishioners during confession throughout colonial New Spain. It proposes that we think about centuries of sexual encounters between priests and parishioners through the concept of cross-generational abuse, which describes intersecting forms of priestly exploitation based on chronological age differentials, allegorical power relations based on the rhetoric of spiritual kinship, and priests’ own abilities to profess redemption years after conviction and thereby regain positions of authority over parishioners. The plurality of these forms of abuse move beyond the usual associations of cross-generational sex solely with the question of age. It opens up the category of cross-generational sex and enlarges its potential to be a topic for historical reflection.

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Nicholas L. Syrett

Abstract

The introduction situates the historiography on queer intergenerational sex in the realm of scholarship on queer history, the history of childhood, and the literature on the significance of chronological age. It lays out three broad schemas that have organized queer intergenerational sex—looking at it as a phallic economy where boys submitted to older men in ways that were akin to women; as a function of pederastic or pedophilic desires; and as abuse—and also explores the overlap and permutations among these categories. It then introduces the six articles in this forum, elucidating their central arguments and the contributions that they make to this dynamic field.