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Portrait

J. D. Y. Peel

Marloes Janson, Wale Adebanwi, David Pratten, Ruth Marshall, Stephan Palmié, Amanda Villepastour, J. D. Y. Peel, Richard Fardon and Ramon Sarró

In Nigeria, a country associated with conflict and violence, a common phrase in Pidgin English used to characterize the nation is “Nigeria is a war.” However, as J. D. Y. Peel has pointed out in his extensive work, Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria are not marked just by conflict and violence. Christians and Muslims have long lived side by side in Yorubaland in southwestern Nigeria, often in harmony with practitioners of Yoruba religion—the boundaries between the three not always sharply demarcated (Peel 2000). In line with J. D. Y.’s optimistic nature, his work has a positive message: the Yoruba teach us about how different faiths can co-exist in peace.

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Eckhardt Fuchs

The words “textbook revision” immediately conjure up certain images. We generally think of conflicts surrounding the contents of textbooks, conflicts which are debated in public and usually have an international dimension. Textbook revision generally refers to books on history, geography and social studies, occasionally also religion or biology. It generally relates to those activities aimed at correcting false or distorted interpretations in school textbooks. In addition, it involves two further aspects: improving the quality of teaching with revised textbooks, and conveying universal norms in addition to knowledge of the subject. History and social studies teaching can thus make an important contribution to peace and human rights education.

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Meron Medzini, Sheila Jelen, Amalia Ran and Russell A. Stone

Neil Caplan and Yaakov Sharett, eds., My Struggle for Peace: The Diary of Moshe Sharett, 1953–1956 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019), 3 vols. 1,950 pp. Hardback, $125.00.

Adia Mendelson-Maoz, Borders, Territories, and Ethics: Hebrew Literature in the Shadow of the Intifada (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2018), 252 pp. Paperback, $30.00. Kindle, $26.00.

Alejandro Paz, Latinos in Israel: Language and Unexpected Citizenship (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018), 327 pp. Hardback, $75.00. Paperback, $32.00. Kindle, $20.00.

Neta Oren, Israel’s National Identity: The Changing Ethos of Conflict (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2019), 291 pp. Hardback, $65.00.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Security is one of the most salient issues in Latin America today. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won re-election in June 2014 in a vote that was essentially a referendum on the peace negotiations that he has established with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC acronym in Spanish) in hopes of ending Colombia’s decades-old civil war. Simultaneously, Mexico has witnessed further upheaval as citizens in some areas have taken up arms, and received support from the federal government, in opposition to drug cartels. These are only two examples of high profile developments in Latin America related to security issues.

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Muhammad Ayaz Naseem

This article examines the textual constitution of militarism and militaristic subjects in and by educational discourse in Pakistan. The article focuses on two subjects, namely social studies and Urdu, which are taught in the public school system of Pakistan. In order to examine the constitution of militaristic subjectivities, the author draws upon concepts of poststructuralist theory and critical discourse analysis. The author's main argument is that it is vital to first deconstruct the constructs of war from the minds of people in order for the constructs of peace to be instilled. There are many sites where such deconstruction needs to begin. One of the likely places for such an exercise is in textbooks, for these are sites in which war and violence are or can be constructed and instilled into the minds of future citizens. These are also natural sites for the construction of defenses of peace, for these spaces harbor agency to resist war and violence. This article examines textual and discursive data from Pakistan's educational discourse (mainly curricula and textbooks) to illustrate how war and militarism are constructed by these discourses via curricula and textbooks.

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Avi Shlaim

Rabbi John Rayner was an eminent proponent of ethical Zionism. His views about Israel are related in this article to his views about Judaism and Jewish ethics. The three pillars of Judaism are: truth, justice and peace. Rabbi Rayner personified these values to a remarkable degree. The common thread that runs through his countless sermons and articles was the emphasis on the gentler and more outward-looking values of Judaism. It is by cultivating and exemplifying these values, he believed, that Jews could best help humanity find signposts to justice and peace, not only in the Middle East but everywhere. Ethical Zionism, as understood by Rabbi Rayner, is based on Jewish values. The State of Israel is the main political progeny of the Zionist movement. It follows that the State of Israel ought to reflect Jewish values in its external relations. In the event of a clash between Israeli behaviour and Jewish ethics, Rabbi Rayner invariably came down on the side of Jewish ethics. He consistently placed principle above pragmatism and morality above expediency. He was an honest and courageous man who always spoke truth to power.

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Marc Saperstein

A graduate of Jews' College, Morris Joseph became the leading spokesman for British Reform Judaism as spiritual leader of the West London Synagogue. Though not a pacifist, he was one of the founders of the Jewish Peace Society in 1913. Unlike French and German colleagues who emphasized their patriotic loyalty to their ruler, love of their fatherland and bonds with their fellow citizens in fighting an evil adversary, Joseph expressed deep dismay in his first sermons following the outbreak of war in August 1914. His subsequent sermons – some printed the following Friday in the Jewish Chronicle, others eventually published in his third and final book of sermons – were delivered on various occasions: on ordinary Sabbaths and holidays, on National Days of Prayer and Intercession, at funeral services for members of his congregation killed in action, and at Confirmation services for students who might be joining the army a few years later. Central themes include the theological issues about God's role in the war, and the effort to define a coherent position, personally repudiating the pacifist refusal to serve in the struggle, while condemning any glorification of war and insisting that peace was an ultimate value of his Judaism.

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Liberal emplacement

Violence, home, and the transforming space of popular protest in Central America

Staffan Löfving

This article is about the changing meaning of home among people engaged in the Guatemalan guerrilla movement. It shows that during the war, the revolutionary committed struggled for home more in terms of communal spheres of insurgent societal transformation than in terms of the defense or reconstruction of family or house. Though the counterinsurgency state was bent on their annihilation, it was only with the implementation of liberal peace that their commitment was ultimately destroyed. Most of them then opted for 'return' to their pre-war settlements and they gave up the political project of preserving their progressive civil organization. 'Home' under liberal peace in post-revolutionary Central America is continuously held together mainly by the migration of youth in search of opportunities elsewhere as hope for improved living conditions has become a question no longer of transforming but of leaving society in order to save oneself and/or one's household. The notion of liberal emplacement is brought forward in this article to conceptualize the destruction of political movement through the creation of an individualized necessity of spatial movement.

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Introduction

Reconciliation, reconstruction, and everyday life in war-torn societies

Marita Eastmond

This special section of Focaal explores processes of social recovery and peace-building in the aftermath of radical violence and political upheaval. The articles draw on detailed ethnographic case studies from Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that was shattered by war and ethnic cleansing in the 1990s, and raise issues of relevance to other post-conflict situations. Challenging “reconciliation” as a moral discourse with universalist claims, the articles highlight the dynamics of its localization in different contexts of intervention in post-war society. The four contributions explore different facets of this dynamic as it is played out in the key areas of justice, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, and NGO peace-building activities. They illuminate what happens when the global paradigm of reconciliation encounters and filters through meanings and motivations of actors in local contexts. They also note that everyday interactions between former adversaries take place not as a moral engagement with reconciliation but as part of rebuilding a sense of normality. The findings point to the need to critically investigate the conditions under which such encounters may empower or prohibit the rebuilding of social relations and trust in post-war societies.

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Chinichi Arai

Despite modernization of the Japanese school system after 1872, this period was marked by the war in East Asia and nationalism focusing on the emperor, whereby the imperial rescript of 1890 defined the core of national education. Following defeat in the Second World War, Japan reformed its education system in accordance with a policy geared towards peace and democracy in line with the United Nations. However, following the peace treaty of 1951 and renewed economic development during the Cold War, the conservative power bloc revised history textbooks in accordance with nationalist ideology. Many teachers, historians and trade unions resisted this tendency, and in 1982 neighboring countries in East Asia protested against the Japanese government for justifying past aggression in history textbooks. As a result, descriptions of wartime misdeeds committed by the Japanese army found their way into textbooks after 1997. Although the ethnocentric history textbook for Japanese secondary schools was published and passed government screening in 2001, there is now a trend towards bilateral or multilateral teaching materials between Japan, South Korea, and China. Two bilateral and one multilateral work have been published so far, which constitute the basis for future trials toward publishing a common textbook.