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Towards a Historical Ontology of Violence

Yusuf Has

My aim in this article is to move the problematic of violence and its role in politics to a historico-ontological plane. I propose a perspective that breaks with the dominant subjectivist concept of human violence and its metaphysical foundations, which fail to distinguish this concept from that of aggression. According to this perspective, we are already in the field of violence in our everyday social existence, regardless of our personal choices or intentions, the sources of which are systemic. The ontological essence of this systemic violence lies in the fact that it is not external to human subjects but is engraved in their very social being by penetrating into the discourses, practices and frames of mind that make up their historical disposition, which makes it in many instances harder to escape than subjective violence. What I call from this ontological perspective the 'violence of closure' has the effect ultimately of suppressing the possibilities of social being open to human beings in their given historical situation, by normalising the existing way of social and political existence, and closing them off to alternatives. I argue that to this violence of closure must be opposed the violence of dis-closure, which, in its various particular intellectual and practical forms, can open up human social existence to its repressed possibilities.

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Ontologies and Politics of Biogenomic 'Race'

Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther and Jonathan Michael Kaplan

All eyes are turned towards genomic data and models as the source of knowledge about whether human races exist or not. Will genomic science make the final decision about whether racial realism (e.g. racial population naturalism) or anti-realism (e.g. racial scepticism) is correct? We think not. The results of even our best and most impressive genomic technologies under-determine whether biogenomic races exist, or not. First, different sub-disciplines of biology interested in population structure employ distinct concepts, aims, measures and models, producing cross-cutting categorisations of population subdivisions rather than a single, universal biogenomic concept of 'race.' Second, within each sub-discipline (e.g. phylogenetics, conservation biology), genomic results are consistent with, and map multiply to, racial realism and anti-realism. Indeed, racial ontologies are constructed conventionally, rather than discovered. We thus defend a constructivist conventionalism about biogenomic racial ontology. Choices and conventions must always be made in identifying particular kinds of groups. Political agendas, social programmes, and moral questions premised on the existence of naturalistic race should accept that no scientifically grounded racial ontology is forthcoming, and adjust presumptions, practices and projects accordingly.

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Reassembling The Social Organization

Collaboration and Digital Media in (Re)making Boas’s 1897 Book

Aaron Glass, Judith Berman, and Rainer Hatoum

digital tools—be they local databases or public-facing websites—around Indigenous cultural ontologies and epistemologies, so the structural principles of organization and access to digital “objects” and their metadata are drawn from and support Native ways

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Contradictory Concepts

An Essay on the Semantic Structure of Religious Discourses

Lucian Hölscher

The widespread opinion among conceptual historians is that political concepts are always contested in their actual usage. Religious concepts in modernity are also not only contested; they are constructed on an ontological contradiction. They imply that the object to which they refer exists, and at the same time that it does not. I demonstrate this idea using four religious concepts: religion, God, the beyond, and spirit. I conclude with discussion on the reality status of religious concepts in modern historiography and religious studies.

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Doing Memory

Teaching as a Discursive Node

Alexandra Binnenkade

This article outlines the “discursive node” as an approach to a cultural analysis of how memory is being done in history classrooms. Teaching is a practice embodied in the interactions between teachers and their audiences, between texts, imagery and institutional formations, and between material and immaterial participants in an activity that entails not only knowledge but also emotions, experience and values (Henry Giroux). Discursive nodes are useful metaphors that enable research of a phenomenon that is ontologically and empirically fluxional, heterogeneous, unstable, situative and fuzzy—memory.

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The Riddle of a Common History

The United States in Mexican Textbook Controversies

Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo

By identifying two general issues in recent history textbook controversies worldwide (oblivion and inclusion), this article examines understandings of the United States in Mexico's history textbooks (especially those of 1992) as a means to test the limits of historical imagining between U. S. and Mexican historiographies. Drawing lessons from recent European and Indian historiographical debates, the article argues that many of the historical clashes between the nationalist historiographies of Mexico and the United States could be taught as series of unsolved enigmas, ironies, and contradictions in the midst of a central enigma: the persistence of two nationalist historiographies incapable of contemplating their common ground. The article maintains that lo mexicano has been a constant part of the past and present of the US, and lo gringo an intrinsic component of Mexico's history. The di erences in their historical tracks have been made into monumental ontological oppositions, which are in fact two tracks—often overlapping—of the same and shared con ictual and complex experience.

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Editorial

Sandra H. Dudley and Conal McCarthy

ontological dichotomies underpinning repatriation but also brings to the fore the multiple performative and symbolic aspects of the processes at work. It also enables a more complex and nuanced approach to coproduction, cultural hybridity, and, particularly

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Eternity and Print

How Medieval Ideas of Time Influenced the Development of Mechanical Reproduction of Texts and Images

Bennett Gilbert

created that it “emanates.” Plotinus flattens the process of creation: as emanation it is a strictly rational development of the ontologically dependent many out of the absolutely simple One and not at all a temporal process. 26 Gregory will stand for

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An Intellectual Genealogy of the Revolt against “Esprit de Système”

From the Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment

Jeffrey D. Burson

of Aristotle; of Neoplatonists like Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus; and of Hermetic texts. In this way, then, both Ficino and Pico synthesized scholastic ontological hierarchies with the moral philosophy of humanism, and their systems popularized

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Observations on the Semantic Trajectory of Pluralism in Scholarly Discourse

A Study of Two Argumentative Tropes

Jean Terrier

emanating from various entities, not just one; in contrast, the egoist recognizes only one entity. 6 Immanuel Kant also made use of the term pluralism and gave it several meanings. On the one hand, he followed Wolff’s ontological usage. 7 On the other