The zoo is in many respects a place of remembrance. In zoos, one is reminded of one's own childhood, outstanding human and animal figures, various human cultures past and present, the genetic heritage of natural evolution and the origins of humans. Zoo animals, therefore, cannot be readily associated with wildlife in its natural setting alone. Indeed, zoos are not only about animals, as they purport to be; they are also metaphorical places and about memory. Memories are always socially conditioned and never innocent; the same holds for zoos. I ask whether zoos without colonialist and imperialist undertones are even conceivable today and if human communities could be involved in zoo management to a larger extent.
A Metaphor for National and Religious Identity
The Women of the Wall wish to participate in communal prayer in the women's section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Their practice is to pray as a group, wrap themselves in a tallit, and read from the Torah scroll. They represent Jewish pluralism in that their group includes Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and secular women. They represent openness to change in that they base their claims on Halakhic interpretation, thereby embracing the capacity of Jewish law to evolve. This article reviews the resistance of the religious and political establishment in Israel to their claim and their struggle, unsuccessful so far, to get recognition.
Ideology and Representation in the Zen Garden
Allen S. Weiss
It is impossible to separate the semiological from the mytho- logical, the poetic from the historical, the aesthetic from the ideo- logical. Since, as the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty insisted, any entity can be taken as an emblem of Being, one must be attentive to the symbolic power and semiotic valences of every word, object, and image. This article is an attempt to sketch out the role of the rock in Zen-inspired Japanese gardens and, consequently, to offer a new inter- pretation of one of the most famous gardens in the world, Ryōan-ji.
Examining the Ainu Chisei Nomi Ceremony
The evolutionary importance of religion is a topic of considerable debate in recent scholarship. This article reassesses Neil Gordon Munro's ethnography of the Ainu people in Hokkaido area focusing attention on the Chisei Nomi ceremony. Munro describes kamui (ancestor spirits), who take part in the Chisei Nomi as active, observant, non-living persons. The ritual acts in the Chisei Nomi ceremony are reinterpreted using recent theoretical perspectives of perspectivism and evolutionary-communication theory. The Chisei Nomi promotes a healthy environment for close kin by establishing respect for long deceased ancestors.
Reflections on the Study of Sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa
Allon J. Uhlmann
After outlining the aims of this thematic section, I introduce the articles that follow. Although they reflect different geographical interests and theoretical orientations, the articles raise some interesting issues, of which I take up two. One is the role of Islam. It appears that both Islam's historical role and its contemporary effect are critical, yet indeterminate and contestable. The other issue is comparative. There is much in common between the way sexuality is configured in Europe, on the one hand, and in the Middle East and North Africa, on the other. But there are also significant differences. I discuss some of these differences in the way sex and sexuality are culturally mobilized to construct genderedness.
Alon Confino, The Nation as a Local Metaphor; Württemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918 (University of North Carolina Press, 1997)
The author provides a historical analysis of the use of gender metaphors in republican discourse, chiefly the representation of the republic as a father (patria) and as a mother (matria). Both metaphors are present throughout the history of Western political thought, from ancient Rome to the Modern Era. The text shows that their use has profound implications in the way citizenship is conceived and loyalty to the republic can be justified. Finally, the text also identifies a third republican metaphor, fraternity, which has been mostly neglected by republican thought, with few important exceptions. The author concludes by exploring the normative and theoretical possibilities opened up by substituting fraternity for the gendered metaphors.
Theo Jung and Javier Fernández Sebastián
Matthias Kroß and Rüdiger Zill, eds., Metapherngeschichten. Perspektiven einer Theorie der Unbegrifflichkeit [Histories of Metaphor: Perspectives of a Theory of Nonconceptuality] (Berlin: Parerga Verlag, 2011), 259 pp.
Bodies and Machines in Enlightenment Descriptions of the State
This thematic section of Contributions to the History of Concepts takes up the necessity – and at the same time the problematic nature – of studying metaphors as a part of conceptual history. As Frank Beck Lassen argues in his article, “Regular, Dependable, Mechanical: J.F. Struensee on the State of Denmark,” not only concepts but also metaphors must be considered by historians of political thought as politically significant figures of speech. Metaphors may constitute condensed political arguments, the applications of which play an important role in the continuous semantic struggle over the definition of political reality.
Keynes and Marx, Merchants, and Poets
This article is a history of liquidity presented as interaction between metaphors and theoretical concepts in social contexts. While taking note of Zygmunt Bauman’s metaphor “liquid modernity,” the study instead surveys the wider conceptual field. The text turns around mercantile liquidity (liquidity as clarification) and liquidity in modern economics (characteristic of all assets), as well as older metaphors, notably the famous phrase of the Communist Manifesto, “all that is solid melts into air” (Alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft), which is revealed to have resonance in texts by poets, notably Heinrich Heine. The main result is the historical consistency of the field, where liquidity is a promise of knowledge and clarity.