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Moral Topology and the Making of Cosmological Boundaries

The Case of Neo-Pentecostal Exorcism in Brazil

Matan Shapiro

Seeking to uproot evil from people’s life, neo-Pentecostal exorcists in Brazil separate between internal and external bodily surfaces and then ‘close’ the victim’s entire body to protect against further malignant intrusion. Based on fieldwork in Brazil and the analysis of expulsion videos online, I demonstrate that exorcists self-consciously use topological imaginaries of connectedness and disjunction to generate a reality in which demons and humans occupy mutually exclusive ontological domains. I argue that the moral transformation that these rituals encourage is thus contingent on the successful disentanglement of bodily surfaces, which distinguishes inside from outside and humans from demons. I use the term ‘moral topology’ to analyze this process and call for further cross-cultural attention to the ethnographic vitality of topological imaginaries in the making of cosmological boundaries.

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Moroccan Jews in Modern Times

Orientations and Reorientations

Norman A. Stillman

Until the mid twentieth century, Moroccan Jewry constituted the largest non-Ashkenazi Jewish community and had more than double the population of any other Jewish community in the Islamic world. Under the influence of the Alliance Israélite Universelle school network, French colonialism, the experience of World War II and the innate tensions between Zionism and Arab nationalism, the Jews of Morocco underwent a variety of transformations and ultimately the dissolution of the community as a result of the mass exodus to Israel, France and North America.

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A Nexus of Sensationalism and Politics

Doar Ha-Yom and the 1929 Western Wall Crisis

Ouzi Elyada

This article looks at how a group of radical Revisionist journalists who assumed effective control of the newspaper Doar Ha-Yom in July 1929 attempted to fuse politics and sensationalism against the background of the Western Wall affair that, in late August of that year, evolved into the violent incidents collectively known as the 1929 riots (or massacres). Examination of the paper during the month preceding the riots shows clearly that its editors made a systematic attempt to inflame the Jewish population of Mandate Palestine. These sensationalist editing techniques, reminiscent of the pamphleteer style, were employed not only to sell more copies of the paper, as had been the case before the Revisionists took control, but also to advance Revisionist political goals. The article examines the model that the Revisionists used to shape their incendiary strategy, the provocative process itself, and the question of the editors’ responsibility for the 1929 riots.

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Cristina Clopot, Ullrich Kockel and Vytis Čiubrinskas

At the end of last year, the AJEC team received the sad news that Christian Giordano had suddenly died during his Christmas holidays in Vilnius. Christian was one of the founders of AJEC, shaped the journal significantly during its early years as co-editor (1990–2001) and, for a time (1992–1998), publisher. He remained connected with it over the years, regularly acting as peer reviewer and informal advisor during Ullrich’s tenure as editor. His final contribution to AJEC (Giordano 2018) was an essay for last year’s special issue in memory of Ina-Maria Greverus, reflecting on their encounter through a shared interest in Sicily, their long personal friendship, and their often-theatrical academic relationship.

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Jamie Barnes

This article offers a reflexive and phenomenological response to some of the challenges of the recent ontological turn. It argues, first, that a focus on embodiment is crucial in understanding the formation of ontological assumptions, and, second, that researchers have an ethical responsibility to practice an ‘ontological reflexivity’ that goes beyond the conceptual reflexivity of much recent ontological work. It conceives the anthropological domain as a place of ‘intra-actment’ and maintains that to avoid ontological closure, researchers must contextualize their ontological assumptions by reflexively sensitizing themselves to how these assumptions are shaped by both embodied experience and the contexts in which they are articulated and performed. This article seeks to enact this through an auto-ethnographic exploration of the author’s own embodied experience as it relates to demonic manifestations and the divine.

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Physical Responses to Trauma

Examining Behavioural Reactions in Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do! and Eimear McBride's A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing

Chu He

This article compares Brian Friel’s play Give Me Your Answer, Do! with Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing to inquire into why the characters react to their traumas with seemingly aberrant behaviours. These two modern Irish works seem to suggest that the characters find a devious, physical way of self-preservation when combatting their extremely powerless state of traumatisation, which exposes our conflicting drives in the face of trauma: although trauma is mostly associated with death drive towards self-destruction, we cannot overlook its connection to life drive. By analysing these traumatised characters’ bodies as the very platform on which the symbiosis of the two opposing instincts is staged, this article explores trauma’s indelible impacts on the body and the body’s troubled resilience.

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Amanda Bonnick, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and Theophilus Kwek

High Seas, by Amanda Bonnick

My Life Is a Shadow of a Faraway Incident, by Fakhry Ratrout. Translated by Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and Theophilus Kwek

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Elizabeth Turk

Engaging Humphrey and Laidlaw’s ‘archetypal actions of ritual’, this article explores the thing-like and seemingly externally derived quality of ritualized action in ‘alternative’ medical settings in Mongolia. The cultural rupture of the Soviet era presents a case study in which the continuity of ritualized action cannot be assumed in ritual making during the post-1990 (re)construction of national culture. Elements derived from shared public knowledge have become constituted in ritual more recently and frequently than can be accounted for by an aperture-like model, where previously external elements gradually filtered in. Building on regional literature concerning loss of ritual form and recent syncretic innovation, I suggest that the affordances of form—mobility, iterability, and malleability—capture the politics inherent in the reordering of associations in the making of ritual.

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Majed Aladylah

It is important to stress that Arab women writers have produced a new kaleidoscope of narrative fiction in English. They focus on a variety of representations with respect to identity, dislocation, cultural hybridity and belonging. Moreover they have tried to construct a stable subjectivity and a space of belonging. These narratives are now dispersed and relocated by Arab women diasporic novelists such as Hala Alyan. This article will examine Hala Alyan’s 2017 novel, Salt Houses. This debut novel has amalgamated different narrative experimentations and techniques, and how polyphonic spaces have dislocated the conventional act of narration and relocated it in tandem with the non-homogeneity of the Arab world itself.

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Nikolett Szelei

Although European educational policies seemingly promote multilingualism, many countries continue to grapple with developing educational responses that recognise students’ complex linguistic identities. This discussion piece reflects on questions relating to multilingualism that have occurred within the Portuguese education system.