I'm beginning to rely on these Wiley-Blackwell Companions. There are about 20 in their religion suite I want to read. From my 2-3 so far (not on religI'm beginning to rely on these Wiley-Blackwell Companions. There are about 20 in their religion suite I want to read. From my 2-3 so far (not on religion) they tend to be larger than your Cambridge Companions and with a strong historical thrust, in addition to the theme approach.
This says 'interdisciplinary'; it also integrates the religious traditions, most of the time. Not difficult to read. Nicely up to date. Useful. ...more
I found a few of these essays – those situated in the UK – so very useful I almost gave this an extrQuiet scholarship in a noisy and polemical field.
I found a few of these essays – those situated in the UK – so very useful I almost gave this an extravagant five stars. It felt like slipping into a warm bath of calm and reasonableness, after I had had a look around an overactive industry of books (blame the demand) with either antisemitism or Islamophobia in the title that are written to leave you more scared, angry, prejudiced, one-sided and misinformed than you were before. The trouble is, you can buy ten of those books for the price of this one. This one began as an issue of a journal [Ethnic and Racial Studies, volume 36, issue 3, 2013] and it’s the journal I read, with institutional access (I’m sorry to miss the afterwords, which were added for the book). It was worth publishing the collection as a book, but what’s the use with this limited access? The pieces are not in academese – as a layperson in the field I skipped a few technical sentences but most was easy to read. Brian Klug’s even has humour.
I said ‘with either antisemitism or Islamophobia in the title’: rarely together, and it’s that which underpins these essays, that they need to be examined together, and with the advantage of studies in racism, because these two have been each of them isolated in ‘silos’ (of more heat than light). Even this approach is controversial and causes upset: for one thing, as the editor says, ‘…yet, alas, the political space for solidarity among Muslim and Jewish groups is increasingly squeezed by geopolitical imperatives’, and for another, the phobia in fashion does not want to associate with racism. It seems to me the approach makes sense. My instincts were – I don’t know whether they still are now I’ve read a little – to avoid these terms that make a certain prejudice an isolated case. I had that instinct for Islamophobia; I didn’t presume to have an opinion on antisemitism, with which I was less acquainted. That was because people have set up defences against Islamophobia, being a Word they can think is newly invented; whereas to say anti-Muslim feeling is simpler and doesn’t at once bring up the rejection. In my uninformed way, that means I wanted an approach like this one. Different authors in here have different views and stances, but that framework is what they have in common: to study these side by side and in the light of wider work on racism. ...more
Young D.'s first splash, which I never read; I suppose I had it down as pre-arrest and gauche. I feel I've cheated because I've read the contextualisaYoung D.'s first splash, which I never read; I suppose I had it down as pre-arrest and gauche. I feel I've cheated because I've read the contextualisation of it in Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt, 1821-1849; I suspect this one, unlike his later immortal works, doesn't exactly work without its context, since he does a few radical things here that you wouldn't be aware of unless you're up on your Russian and European history of novels. In brief -- I won't cheat again by going back to Frank, this is from memory -- the novel of letters was in fashion but about the upper classes; here he turns the format to a down-at-heels clerk and his impoverished girlfriend. In Russia, Gogol had written about a lowly clerk in The Overcoat, but remained in a 'look down and pity' perspective, instead of the inner life as seen from the inside, and with Gogol's satirical bent. So, Poor Folk was the first in Russia to treat these poor of Petersburg in the manner that he does, and he uses the tropes of the sentimental novel to do so. It's funny when his clerk reads excerpts from a send-up of these sentimental novels, about the upper classes, without himself having the temerity to think, what we the readers notice, that his own sentiments are more fine and genuine than those in this 'fine literature'. At the time D. was under the influence of the French Socialist writers, Victor Hugo and George Sand with her novels about the noble poor.
Anyhow, its history aside, I enjoyed this more than expected; it was a tear-jerker and a spoof, and self-referential, with satire of the writers of the day; and his observations about overcoats are an attempt to deepen Gogol: add psychology, says Dostoyesky....more