Friday, June 27, 2008

PART II: Rel and G

this is from the section on Islam. since i am already aware of a lot of the facts written here, my notes will focus on the ones i find pertinent to what im studying now

189-arabs are only 20% of muslim community

194-since late 60s there been a islmc revival

?-18th and 19th ce revivals: Sanusi-Libya, Fulani-Nigeria, Padri-Indon, Wahhabism-SA, Mahdi-Sudan

238-W. imperialists set up univs to westernize elites

239-early 20th ce egyptian secular educators promoted islm's history of secularism
240-Taha Husayn and Ali Abd al-Raziq were both sutdents of 19th ce islamic modernist Muhammad Abdul. Other modernists: Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Muhammad Iqbal (both from S. Asia)--Iqbal wanted a universal liberal Sharia
243-founder of pakistan (M. ali Jinnah) was secularist
244-2 revivalist movements circa the 1930s: brotherhood (mass) and Jamaat (relus scholar mvment) w/ Mawlanda Abul Ala Mawdudi--both tried to show that "w" values were "really" islamic values
249-1965 several brotherhood leaders were accussed of assasination attempt and executed (including qutb who was starting to support violent jihad)

250-late 20th ce mosque attendance has risen

252-wars in the 60s and 70s made many question "w. models of dvlpmnt and natn building as well as personal life" ('69 riots in Kuala Lumpur, '71 pak-bangledesh civil war, leb civil war, arab/israeli wars, iran rev)
255-more relus violence: assas of Sadat '81, taking of grand mosque in mecca in '79, afghanis fighting russia, shia revolts, Gamaa Islamiya in egypt
256-many revivalists became integrated into political systems, elected (Nahda-Tunisia, FIS-Algeria, welfare-turkey)

264-Initially muslm govs and groups have debated all teh diff aspects of the how and where to change

266-today, w. muslms r not primarily immigrant but rather 2nd and 3rd gen

267-in us "more than 1 million" have converted to islam
-mabye 20% of african slaves were muslim
-says 60%(non indigenous heritage)/(around)35% AA/5%(?) white
271-b/c of experiences in us, muslims have changed: tendency of nonmuslims to identify "natl culture" as judeo-Xn and not islam
272-amer courts have at times refused to regard the wearing of the hijab as relus--rgarding it as an attempt to prostelytize
-adaption: mosque architecture, local imams, creating mechanisms to obtain legal fatwas from local muftis, muslim orgs for social, ed, and media causes, schools

273-G has made global networks of relus knowledge--schoalrs, preachers, activists, entertainers

274-questions muslims now ask: what does it mean to b a muslim in a contemp society? what is the relevance of islam to everyday life?

277-implementation of sharia law has been diff in ea place: iran, sudan, afghan, pak, sa
-eg taliban rule (afgh and sa) didnt let women vote, while in iran and pak they could and hold office

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

PART I: Religion and Globalization by Esposito, Fasching and Lewis

Religion and Globalization: World Religions in Historical Perspective (2008)

The preface to this book says it is a World Religions Today (which these same authors wrote) for grad students and that these authors represent Oxford Univ Press (tho I only know of Esposito who is of course one of the most preeminent Western scholars on Islam).

in Part I here, i want to talk about the introduction chapter

def of G: "G is the product of the growing interdependence of cultures thru emerging global techno-economic sociocultural networks. These networds transcend nt'l boundaries and in teh process tend to challenge previous forms of authority and identity."4

-but rel and G have been working together since first human societies when ppl from different tribes moved together (in cities, captivity, whatever). this elicited diff responses: violence, sycretism, unconscious borrowing, mutural transformation

- Jeurgesnmeyer suggested G goes w/ rel b/c rel has "permeable boundaries that absorb 'foreign' influences as they move around the globe.'
3 kinds: a) relus pluralism b) transnt'l (missionary, converting whole cultures) c) diasporas (self contained communities)

5-"pomo society" (Lyotard)=collapse of grand narratives, relus and secular--erodes confidence in rel as universal

6- also (according to Bryan s. turner) G increases trade of commodities (and ideas) which are not regulated by pol.l, relus or intellectual authorities, so they are taken up and adapted in very diff ways

-distinguishes btwn pomoty/pomo society and pomosm. pomoty=describes how G has relativized society. pomosm=is an ideology/philosophy that affirms that pluralism/relativism R good b/c they undermine the totalism authority of tradtl and modst societes

7-says present time is "in transition btwn 'modty' and a new pmo era"

-the idea that rels are disparate bodies is a monothesitic idea not found in roman times (from which the word "rel" is from)

8-it meant "to tie or bind" or "acting w/ care"

-ppl are "'tied or bound' by relations of obligation to whatever powers we believe govern our destiny"--this evokes "ambivalent feelings of facination or dread" (Otto, who also suggested that this is ppl in the prescence of the sacred.)

9- it elicits ritual and myth obligation

11- and spiritual leaders (ppl who really know the stories and texts) and therefore institutions and therefore morality which makes identity and "cosmos in which they live" (12)

12- these authors even call soviet russia (atheistic) holidays "relus" bc it makes morals

14-diff relus symbos makes it difficult to compare rels, but "perhaps the real measure of comparison should be how ppl live their lives rather than" (15) diverse symbols/concepts

17-urbanization (3k to 1500 bc) forced ppl to confront those with other beliefs and new differentiated ways of life--individual ID develops--

19-new rels transcended old local gods

25-"we suggest that there is a strong correlation btwn the pomo challenge 2 modty and the postcolonial challenge to colonialism"

26- Is modsm simply imperialism? "yes and no" no, bc it 'brings about such a profound transformation in humanity's understanding of itself that it really represents a crisis four all tratl rels and cultures."

31 says pomoty has roots in the late 19th ce social sciences that questioned all narratives, even science
-some praise it saying its the end of absolutism that ppl use to justify violence, others say relativism willbring barbarism

32- we're now in a world where everyone one, even if they are significantly influenced by their birth environment, has to choose their rel against other choices

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Religion, Modernity and Postmodernity

Religion, Modernity and Postmodernity ed. by Paul Heelas and David Martin (1998)

The back of the book says: "Religion, Modernity and Postmodernity is the first book to engage the study of religion with contemporary theorizing about culture. It addresses important issues such as whether there are postmodern forms of religion, whether theories of religion framed in terms of modernity can be recast to suit new or emerging circumstances, and how the study of religion can be better integrated with recent developments."

Here are some notes from "Introduction: on differentiation and dedifferentiation" by Paul Heelas

1- there are disagreements over what is pomo rel: 1. seeking "sacred unconsciousness" 2. revitalizing premodern pasts 3. opposition to modernity (esp Romantic opposition) 4. rel is changed with capitalism

- some theorists (eg Scott Lash 1990) see modty as differentiation and pomoty as dedifferentiation

4-antoher theory (james beckford 1992) is "that truth provided by the exercise of reason and the transmission of tradition is--at least in measure--weakened, even abandoned."

5-ethics are seen in "pragmatism and relativsim" instead of in authoritative narratives

7-8 pomo: dediff= all cultural products are equal diff=microdiscourses (detraditionalism)
mo: dediff=totalizing universals diff=essential differences and hierarchies of value and discrimination

9- another ? Is moty too complex to be called "post"? durkheim pointed out how complex religions were

The rest of the article gives brief synopses of the stances taken in the books articles which are incredibly varied. Some deny pomoty, some say it is very specific

16- Heelas concludes by noting that "There is little doubt that there has been a shift of emphasis in favour of dedifferentiated rel. Even tho God might remain the ultimate author, when rel is functioning beyond the curch and the chapel the authority of God - as exercised thru the institutionalized - is obviously diminished. Rel can only too readily become swallowed up by individual desire. The X file culture which appears to surround us might benefit by way of detraditionalization; might be (relatively) popular precisely becuz it is not (obviously) policed. But the more that people come to treat rel as a consumer item, the less likely they are to be attracted to the 'real' thing. It might well be claimed that the omens for religion - as something requiring discipline, obedience, the exercise of the suprea-individual, authorial - are not too good."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Orientalism by edward said

by Edward Said 8-1

This book is considered by many to be the seminal work in post-colonial theory. Said, who uses his incredible, vast reservoir of knowledge, shows the history of the Western study of the "Orient." In so doing, he demonstrates how Western scholarship developed since the beginning of the modern era, how it has been intimately tied to Western political/military/economic imperialsim, how racial theories permeated it in the 19th ce, and how the stereotypes of "foreigners" have been taken up in today's world.

This is a very important book if u want to know about Middle East/Islamic Studies, imperialism, racial stereotyping (and its "scientific support"), Western intellectual history (and how the different disciplines of today tie together), or how stereotypes of middle easterners/muslims came to be in the west.

For methodology, Said uses Foucault's (and thusly Vico's) idea of discourses to show how and why the stereotypes have been passed on. He says he does not want the book to be a bibliography of all lit dealing witht he orient, as that would take volumes (he mentions that 60,000 works dealing with the orient were published btwn 1850? and 1950 alone). His goal is to provide a narrative that touches on the main highlights

He says europeans have used the label of "orient" at least as far back as Homer. it was an ambiguous term with plenty of deragatory stereotypes to go with it (heathens, barbarians, sexually debased, etc.) In the modern era, tho, ppl began to do disciplined studies of the orient (see d'herbelot--late 17th ce--and ockley's "history of the saracens" 1708), tho these were usually from a Christian standpoint. Ockley's work was impressive, but stereotypes proliferated.

the "modern" discipline of oriental studies begins, according to said, with Silvestre de Sacy (late 18th ce) who was trained in many languages and took it upon himself to translate a huge number of original arabic texts and created the corpus of primary sources that were to be used throughout the 19th ce. Trained it pedagogical theory, sacy believes that in order to teach the bewildering mess of material, it is necessary to choose bits and pieces (fragments) to teach the students with (called chrestomathy). by doing this, however, he ends up shaping what exactly will be the ideas of what is the "orient." It is typically "classical" works written by elites and his analyses of them say how inferior they are to the "West." The orient is also romanticized for its exoticness. It is also interesting to note that Sacy, like many of his Orientalist followers, was hired by the state (Napolean) to help understand the world that the state was invading/colonizing/exploiting--a tendency that has been all too common since.

The next important Orientalist is Renan who is a philologist studying the semetic languages (in the vein of Bopp--indo-european--and Champollion--rosetta stone). he concludes that semetic is lower form of language than indo-european and is not capable of full expression, and so neither are its speakers. Renan's ideas were supported by concurrent racial superiority theories and "scientific proofs" of Cuvier, Gobineau, and Robert Knox and darwin--all incredibly popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, b/c they supported imperialism and the Western monopoly on "truth"

Because of the incredible influence of Sacy and Renan, all subsequent orientalists had to acknowledge and imitate them, passing on ideas of the "orientals'" "lower" status of personhood. With these scholars also being employed by govs for imperialist purposes (John Westlake and Gustave le Bon), their "knowledge" was taken up beyond academia and then stereotypes of the orient became "facts" supported by "academics" and "science."

After WWI, ppl begin to question the onesidedness of the field, but it is only a minority. After WWII, americans take over as europe essentially left the ME and the US had the most interest there. Euro scholars fleeing facist regimes came to the US and brot their stereotypes of the orient. The US, tho, did not have the same philological development as europe and so did not have and special criticism to offer euro ideas. The US did have different social sciences but that simply meant orientalism fragmented, and each of the fragments retained old prejudices. and the same employment of scholars by the state (the MEI eg) continued. he notes that while other minority areas ended the perpetuation of stereotypes in academics, arabs/muslims couldn't.

Said says there is some hope. likes geertz and all those who he says are driven by intellectual ideas and not held down by occupational dogmas--they have to be very self critical and really know where they are theoretically located.

120-4 elements of 18th ce thot that served as the foundation 4 mod ortlsm:

1) Expansion: of the wide history of the or—removing it from pure biblical ref

2) Historical confrontation: ppl understanding eruo history compared it w/ others in a secular way

3) Sympathy: borders were more fluid, intellectually

4) Classification: of man thru (Vico) color, race, origins, temperament, character, nation, etc.

121-and relus (xn) patterns were reconstituted in these secular frameworks

-and these patterns “resided in the ortlst’s conception of himself, of the ort, and of his discipline”; “the mod orst has, in his view, a hero rescuing the ort from the obscurity, alienation, and strangeness which he himself had properly distinguished” eg rosetta stone (Champollion)

THESIS: 122-“my thesis is that the essential aspects of mod orst theory and praxis (from which present-day orsm derives) can b understood, not as a sudden access of objective knowledge about the ort, but as a set of structures inherited from the past, secularized, redisposed, [sic] and re-formed by such disciplines as philology, which in turn were naturalized, modernized and laicized substitutes for (or versions of ) xn supernaturalism, In the form of new texts and ideas, the E. was accommodated to these structures.”

123-“I am interested in showing how mod orlsm, unlike the precolonial awareness of dante and d’herbelot, embodies a systematic discipline of accumulation.”—imperialism—“And far from this being exlusively an intellectual or theoretical feature, it made orlsm fatally tend towards the systematic accumulation of human beings and terrirtories. To reconstruct a dead or lost ortl lang meant ultimately, to reconstruct a dead or neglected ort; it also meant that reconstructive precision, science, even imagination could prepare the way for what armies, administrations, and bureaucracies would later do on the ground, in the ort. In a sense, the vindication of orlsm was not only its intellectual or artistic successes but its later effectiveness, its usefulness, its authority.”

126-sivestre de sacy was a great scholar (late 18thce, early 19th ce) and teacher

-1802 Napolean commissioned the institute de france “to form a tableau generale on the state and progress of arts and sciences since 1789”

-sacy was 1 of the writers, it encouraged putting together a comprehensive work of “secular” of secular history

-first mod historian of ort

-and sacy employed his pedagogy methods (reducing and re-arranging to communicated the best)

128-“not only r ortl literary productions essentially alien to the eurpn, they also do not contain a sustained enough interest, nor r they written w/ enough ‘taste and critical spirit,’ to merit publication except as extracts…Therefore the orst is req’d to present the ort by a series of representative fragments, fragments republished, explicated, annotated, and surrounded w/ still more fragments”—“chrestomathy”

129-Invsly: “objective structure (designation of ort) and subjective restructure (representation of ort by ortst) became interchangeable. The ort is overlaid w/ the orlsts’s rationality; its principles become his…from being unsustainable on its own, it becomes pedagogically useful; from being lost, it is found, even if its missing parts have been made to drop away, from it in the process…sacy’s work canonizes the ort…”

-“…[sacy’s] enrichments and restrictions were passed on [to his students] simultaneously”

139-philology was showing that lang was created by man—not divine. Renan was a philologist focusing on the ort of sacy—meaning that scholarship of ort was leaving relus lean

140-he recognized that “semetic” was a man-made label/creation

142-and (racist) theories based off it were “idealized” types

149-“when we read renan and sacy, we readily observe the way cultural generalization had begun to acquire the armor of scientific statements and the ambiance of corrective study”

-the vocab “located the ort in a comparative framework”

-orlsm as a profession grew out of these opposites…and thus the actual profession of orst enshrined this inequality and special paradoxes it engendered”

156-renan and sacy’s textual attitudes combine w/ firsthand interactions of brit and fr. Colonists to “constitute a formidable against which no one, not even marx, can rebel and which no one can avoid”

197-“…later orsts, scholarly or imaginative [travelers, novelists], took firm hold of the scene” [created by renan, sacy and lane, w/ all their stereotypes] and later shaped by govt

204-“ortlsm was sucha system of truths [doctrines]…it is therefore correct that every erupn, in what he could say about the ort was consequently a racist, an imperiealist, and almost totally ethnocentric. Some of the immediate sting will b taken out of these labels if we recall additionally that human societies, at least the more advanced cultures, have rarely offered the indv anything but imperialism, racism, and ethnocentrism for dealing w/ ‘other’ cultures”

206-stereotypes: “eccentricity, its backwardness, its silent indifference, its feminine penetrability, its supine malleability”

207-completely male-centered (ort and ortsm)

209-210-big ortsts, tho good, had racist tendencies and were put in govt posts

215- ort thot and knowledge had become so supportive of govt rule that by the early 20th ce “the ort had been both what brit ruled and what brit knew about”

233-racial theory was supported by “science”, linguistics, geography, rel, imperialism

246- by early 20th ce “orlsm shifted from an academic to an instrumental attitude”—that westerners, no matter from what aspect, adopts orst views

248-but increasing revolts and cries for indpce forced orsts to rethink it in 1920s, 30s eg—but that wasn’t a resolution on their own terms after wwI

257-b/c the w was losing power worldwide, the ort started to become something to b studied to released academics from “sterile specialization” and excessive parochial self-centeredness, shows real central issues of cultre

259-some humanists tried to look at culture worldwide (aurbach ?)

270-massignon, but who also placed ort in ancient time

272-“turth as that all representations r embedded in the lang and then in the culture, instituttns, and poll ambiance of the representer”

“…the real issue is whether indeed there can be a true representation of anything, or whether any and all representations, because they are representations, are embedded first in the language and then in the culture, institutions, and political ambience of the representer. If the latter alternative is the correct one (as I believe it is), then we must be prepared to accept the fact that a representation is eo ipso implicated, intertwined, embedded, interwoven with a great many other things besides the ‘truth,’ which is itself a representation. What this must lead us to methodologically is to view representations…as inhabiting a common field of play defined for them, not by some inherent common subject matter alone, but by some common history, tradition, universe of discourse. Within this field, which no single scholar can create but which each scholar receives and in which he then finds a place for himself, the individual researcher makes his contribution. Such contributions, even for the exceptional genius, are strategies of redisposing material within the field…”(272-273)—so there is always a discourse

284-after wwII, orsm was “broken into many parts [of the amer social sciencese]; yet all of them stil served the tradl orst dogmas”

1) 285-polualr images anad social cience representations

287-eg Columbia univ courses

Popular images, social science representations, and cultural relations policies: The “Arab is associated either with lechery or bloodthirsty dishonesty,” an “oversexed degenerate” and “always shown in large numbers. No individuality, no personal characteristics or experiences…Lurking behind all these images is the menace of jihad. Consequence: a fear that the Muslims (or Arabs) will take over the world” (287)
These ideas have spread to the people in the Orient (322). Schools, economies, and “native informants”

291-amer social cience ort avoids lit

2) 293-cultural relations policy

295-MEI was founded to support US imperialistic policies

296- gibb went to Harvard and US took erupn orsm (and other euro scholars exaping from facism)

301-while other academic areas have achieved freedom from theortical oppression (African, jew, etc) ort has not

305-1970 cambridge history continued old stereotypes

3) 306-merely islam—semites r “simple”

315-criticizes b. lewis

4) 321-orlsm is continuing

322-these ideas have spread to the ortl ppl

-their schools are based on colonial set ups

324-“native informants” –arab ortsts

-consumerism and thusly “orts” symbols

325-good scholarship: “is most likely to b produced by scholars whose allegiance is to a discipline defined intellectually and not to a ‘field’ like orsm defined either canonically, imperially, or geographically”

-likes geerz

-and ort-trained scholars w/ methodological self-consciousness

Other things mentioned: d’herbelot wrote encyclopedia on islam 1698? biased

Ockley wrote history of Saracens in 1702? Said said it was good, tho still contained biases

Racism supported by: cuvier (animal kingdom), gobineau, Robert knox—darwind science was “proof”—since these ppl were “lower,” they “had” to be led—John Westlake, gustave le bon

Also recommends maxime rodinson? Islam and capitalism

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Article: "Islam in the age of postmodernity"

by Akbar S. Ahmed and Hastings Donnan in Ahmed and Donnan (eds) Islam, Globalization and Postmodernity (1994)

This is the first article in a book written by the editors of that book. It gives a brief overview of what affects globalization has had on Islam (from a 1994) perspective and gives brief summaries of the other articles in the book.

One of the founding premises of the book is that Said's criticism of Orientalist bias has been locked on to by scholars which has resulted in ppl constantly going back to it to criticize others--"stultifying" the study of islam. Their answer to contextualize "local versions of islam within global structures" (5) --(said's main criticism is that "orientalists" overgeneralize the "orient", see edward said 1978 p. 108)

couple other pts
1) some authors have said islam explicitly encourages travel (p5)
2) islam has spread globally thru new media, transportation, diasporas, global scholar class, pan-islamic world muslim league, Islamic conferences
3) this new world has led to quest for identity not only for muslims living in new places but for those in old places that have changed (p6). "The outside wrld now reaches into even the most guarded muslim home, most obviously thru television and the vcr" (p17) and also ppl who travel abroad and return (p6)
4) global politics "tends to polarize tensions btwn muslims and nonmuslims" (p7)
5) global media is looked at and therefore given different meaning by diff ppl (p8)
6) wider nat'l, global cultural and political forces change popular culture (islam changing in turkey, shia in carribean, etc.) (15)
7) pomo view can help us look at hybridity, and to reveal religious dimensions in "secular" education (p16)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Islam in a Globalizing World by Thomas Simons, Jr.

i was surprised to find out, after seeing how poorly written this book was, that it was written by a former US ambassador with a PhD. This book is very short and really offers nothing new besides a very superficial comparison of Islamists with 19th ce Russian revolutionaries.

here are some notes:
15-Simons: during Islam's first 1000 years it was at the forefront of globalization

24-because of the strength of Western modernity, all responses to it (3: accept, adapt, resist) were all "modern" responses (even when the actors themselves denied it) because they addressed modern issues and used modern means to address them

26-the 3 responses all had a western correlate
a) accept/top down modernizers/puppet leaders--euro liberals
b) adapt/landowners/professionals who adapted islam to modern ideas--euro nationalists
c)resist/ religious radicals--euro social revolutionaries

40-primarily uses Richards and Waterbury's analysis of how education and unemployment created Islamists *which is a very superficial analysis. so Simons obviously didn't get into accuracy he could have by using Roy

41-42-Russia had similar circumstances from 1870 to 1917
rapid industrialization due primarily to primary goods (coal, tho russia wasn't as dependent on it as ME is on oil), urbanization (tho russia didn't stop agriculture the way the ME did), population boom, and huge increase in number of ppl educated--which lead to socialist revolutions

52-khomeni used cassette tapes to spread his msg during exile

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America

Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America

by Gregory Rodriguez 8-1

This book offers a very comprehensive, easy-to-read narrative of the history of intermixing in Mexican and Mexican American history. Thoroughly researched with many details, stats and anecdotes from a wide variety of historians and common people, this book also offers a new way to look at ideas like "race," "mexican," "latino," "hispanic," "chicano," "mestizo," and "mixed"--and ultimately the impact of these terms on immigration issues.

here are a few highlights from the book:

1) intermixing between spanairds and mexican indians began practically as soon as spaniards arrived when in 1511 a conquistador ship crashed and while most of the survivors were captured by mayans, one essentially integrated with a tribe, married and had three children before Cortes even arrived at Cozumel in 1519.

2) it is widely known that Cortes and his soldiers, because they had no women spanish women there, took indian wives. Often, these wives were given to the Spaniards as acts of welcome by vanquished tribes or those seeking an alliance to fight the Aztecs (eg the Totonacs and Tlaxcalans). sometimes indian women went with the soldiers by choice because they saw it as a better life. Of course, spanish soldiers, because they were not regulated by a government they respected, also resorted to rape

3) most sexual relations btwn spaniards and indians were done outside the real of marriage--concubinage. Combined with the fact that concubines sometimes had relations with multiple men meant that the paternity of children was often questioned. even when it wasn't, because there were no laws forcing the men to care for their offspring, these mestizos sometimes would be treated as spaniard and sometimes treated as indian

4) 200,000 african slaves arrived in New Spain during colonial times with a male to female rate of 4 to 1, so they also heavily intermixed with indians and mixed

5) the indian population of mexico was decimated by diseases brought from spain and africa. 25 million in 1500 to 1 million in 1620 (the nadir), so mixed people were more and more common, becoming the majority as mixed people bred with indians, other mixed people, and spanish.

6) soon, the country was so mixed that elaborate caste systems (which were never uniform) were developed to distinguish between the level of rights btwn all the mixed ppl. However, as more mixed ppl were accepted as "spanish," even the highest caste, then, became mixed and mixing it was extremely hard to determine differences btwn ppls ancestries.

7) also, because of the diseases, sometimes tribes had only a very few survivors (not enough to survive by themselves) who moved into the urbanized, capitalist mexico city to find work. Often detribalized indians adapted spanish cultural traits so they could adapt more to the employment they could get. This meant that Culture differences btwn indians, mixed and spaniards also became harder to distinguish, further blurring "racial" and "ethnic" lines

8) when spaniards went north into modern-day US states, they brought mixed ppl, christianized indians, and slaves. Because life was very difficult on these frontiers, this created equality for survival purposes, and intermixing was rampant.

9) as anglo-saxon whites, however, because they were used to dealing with the binary racial grouping of white vs. black, had difficulties (and multiple inconsistencies) when it came to accepting mexicans as equals--and most flat out refused, tho they often said that mexicans were superior to blacks.

10) the issue was further complicated as mexicans would downplay their indian heritage to claim that they were "really" white to move up socially

11) these "mexicans" were becoming integrated with anglo society and even began intermarrying (tho rarely in texas).

12) but when mexican born mexicans started immigrating, inviting perenial criticsims of immigrants such as stealing jobs and being criminals and lazy, racism was inflared.

13) foreign born mexican, tho, often stayed, sometimes intermarrying with native born latinos--thereby mixing culturally (americanized w. traditional mexican ways)

14) this issue has persisted to the present. But the rise in a latino middle class has shown the growth and diversity of hispanics and the rising percentage of latino US citizens indicates that they are changing popular ideas about race. In the southwest, eg, interracial marriage is much more common than the rest of the US. one survey said in LA in 1990, interracial marriage was 5X national average. Also, 2/3 of ppl born to a mixed marriage with one latino parent, identify as latino.

15) book also touches on the la raza movement and other political activists

random books on race issues

--The Failures Of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream
by Sheryll Cashin

good book about actual discriminatory housing practices, focuses mostly on african american issues. Very easy read, good introduction

--The Power Broker by Robert A Caro

great book (hailed as a "masterpiece") about the most prolific producer of public works in US history, Robert Moses. Built a ton of stuff in NY (made Jones Beach, Triborough, BQE, most of the parks and tons more). City planners from accross the US and the world imitated his stuff. But he built all this stuff with racism and classism in mind. He made all bridges too low for buses (so poor ppl couldn't escape the city, only wealthy ppl with cars could go to his parks), he refused to put hardly any parks in harlem and other minority areas (and when he did put his first park in harlem, he had the builders put wrought iron monkeys on the fences). And the dude did all this stuff illegally, and had all the city councils, mayors, governors and even the president FDR under his thumb. Huge book but worth it.

--Mexicanos: A history of mexicans in the united states
by Manuel G. Gonzales

great overview, very easy to read and provides good info about how the different cultures evolved in the US (New Mexico compared to San Antonio compared to LA)

--The Contemporary History of Latin America (Latin America in Translation/En Traducción/Em Tradução)
by Tulio Halperín Donghi

very detailed history, focuses on the political economies, the revolutions, the neo-imperialism/colonialsm--a ton of info

--Barrio Urbanism: Chicanos, Planning and American Cities
by David R. Diaz

Just read the intro today--says it focuses on the racist planning, banking, and real estate issues in the southwest, especially LA, and how the demographics are changing and class tensions arise as more chicanos move to suburbs
finished the book: editing could have reduced this book by 1/3. The first 100 or so pages are very tedious, he repeats a lot of stuff over and over w/out new info. But, the middle of this book is filled w/ facts and a easy to follow narrative that neatly covers a wide range of related issues (urbanism, racism, politics, demographic changes, culture, etc.). still, i recommend reading the whole thing because, according to, this is a very respected author and book

The book talks about the major Southwest cities, especially LA, and going into intricate detail about their chicano populations' histories, detailing their struggles for equality, focusing on political struggles relating to the barrios.

Anyways, great comprehensive resource for the history of chicano activism for urban problems

Religion and the Rise of Capitalism R. H. Tawney

Religion and the Rise of Capitalism R. H. Tawney 8-2

*note, this is only about Christianity

--Have you ever wondered how exactly Christianity of the new testament--which was so strongly egalitarian--came to be used to justify capitalism and its use of slavery, class oppression, genocide, and exploitation?

--Have you ever wondered how "Christians" today can justify buying sweatshop labored produced products or simply look down on others as lazy or inferior despite all the signs of economic repression?

This book paints a picture that shows how these ideas grew in history starting in the middle ages. Written in 1926, it is an important work in the fields of sociology, history, economics and religion. The book is filled with quotes from maybe hundreds of primary sources, and relates all the majore political, economic, and religious events from 1500-1700

here's the gist:

1. Medieval europe was a serfdom and the church reinforced this by saying that everybody is part of the social "body". There was little change, little class mobility. BUT there were some financial centers that dealt with trade and the growing mining industry (main center was in Florence, Italy and the Roman Church controlled some finances, thru taxes and trade between states). Overall, financiers were generally criticized as evil, greedy ppl who did not work for their money and charged exorbirant interest rates--true, tho the church neatly evaded criticizing itself.

2. Then the 16th century hit--with an explosion of european mining and more importantly, the importation of riches from the americas and the far east. However, all these expeditions required much more capital than individual fuedal landowners, or even states had, so people began to invest together, creating several financial markets throughout europe, and creating great wealth for the financiers--a class of people that was quickly growing to become influential.

3. Meanwhile, Martin Luther starts criticizing the church because of its abuses of power, especially its use of interest. In fact, he starts criticizing all economic ideas and proposes that ppl should go back to a pre-medieval feudal system because true faith in god cannot be shown thru an institution, only thru hard labor on the land. He is the first sign of the movement separating church from state, tho he does not have a realistic economic plan

4. In the mid to late 1500s, John Calvin, swiss, also wants the church to stop telling ppl how to live. However, he is a merchant/capitalist and thinks that interest and trade SHOULD be used, tho strictly regulated. In Geneva, a main financial city, a group of his followers start living like that, working diligently at creating profits, but showing strict limits on economic actions (like high interest).

5. In england, during this time, they break away from the Roman Church, but continue to want the English church to regulate laws. At first, they outlaw interest and forbid capitalists from bying up land. But as the mercantile class gets larger and starts offering the state more money to buy the land (which increases the states' profits and then the owners turn around sell it for more), that class starts to gain clout in politics and the state starts paying less attention to its church's criticisms of interest. They start citing the idea of "natural law", that man is born with certain rights to do whatever he wants--hardly ethics. by the end of the 1500s, the church is stripped of its judicial power and laws are inacted giving the mercantiel class free reign

6. Protestantism grows in popularity in england--basically it's Calvinism with no restrictions on economic activities. It's members are primarily capitalist class ppl so they believe that god has chosen them (because of their good standing in society) and that they should do their best to make use of the world. They don't believe that the Church or State should regulate them--they desire freedom of religion and democracy. They believe poverty is a result of laziness. The reason they get away with this elitist theology is because the Church (and therefore its theologians) has been so pushed aside that there is no developed Theology to sufficiently criticize them.

7. And, since then, religion has faded more and capitalism is all that has remained.

8. But there is a new wave of Christianity that is providing ethics to our debauched world

After God by Mark C. Taylor

After God by Mark C. Taylor

This book has several aims, but its biggest one is to offer new values for our complex, relativistic world. Personally, I think he fails in this regard. However, most of this book is extremely successful at offering other arguments.

The most valid and important argument he offers is that secularism, as we know it, is in fact a very religious notion. He traces the heritage of secularism to Protestant values and follows it through all the important philosophers up to Derrida. Here is a brief outline.

1. Luther actually inherited the idea of an individualistic Christianity from studying the 14th ce theologian William of Ockham who used Platonian logic to argue this idea. Actually, individualism, Taylor argues, can be traced back through the very beginnings of Christianity and even to pre-Christian Babylonian religions. It is Ockham, tho, who puts together a cohesive individualistic theology.

2. Calvin took Luther's individualism and combined it with ideas of capitalism. Luther, who came from poverty, was essentially a fundamentalist who believed it was wrong to make money off of others. But Calvin was a well-educated middle-class businessman who believed that if one takes Luther's idea--that we must have a personal relationship with God and we can't earn God's grace, we can just be good Christians in preparation for death-- to the extreme, then god is everything, we are nothing. That being the case, then what ever we do that is productive and efficient (capitalistic ideals) is therefore Godly.

3. The great enlightenment and modern thinkers usually came from a Protestant background. Newton wrote more about religion than he did about science. Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche all came from religious backgrounds and actually based their "secularist" philosophies and Protestant ideas that God is transcendent and has therefore given humans the capacity to rationalize. Rationalism is therefore justified by religion.

4. The influential Scottish economists were Presbyterian (Calvinists). In fact, Adam Smith did not invent the concept of the "invisible hand." It was actually Calvin himself who first used that idea in reference to God's support of worldly success by rational (christian) actors. Capitalism, as we know it, then, is actually a very Protestant idea.

5. Mass communication has been intentionally fostered by Protestants who use it to spread the word. Beginning with Luther's million copy distribution of the "95 theses," protestants have utilized and encouraged the development of communications technology. Today's global communication system has been countenanced by Protestant ideas of capitalism and communications.

6. The US founding fathers were often deists. Which is a more extreme form of Protestant individualism. They were, however, also shaped by french enlightenment thinkers who, because France did not go through the religious revolutions like England and Germany, were more anti-religious than the other thinkers. The influence of these thinkers helped give the US the idea of the separation of church and state, because the US Lutherans and Calvinists did not originally want that separation.

7. Because of those influences in the US, there has always been a history of Christian fundamentalism here. Revivalist traditions were live and kicking throughout the 19th ce up til the scopes trial in the 1920's, then re-emerged during what they saw was the increasing decadence of the US in the 1950s. That decade congress was persuaded to add "In God We Trust" to coins and added "Under God" to the pledge of alliegance. The 60's rebellion era proved to be more grist for the fundamentalist mill and they began to mobilize. By the 1980s, Reagan was securing Christian Right votes by preaching fundamentalist ideas in his politics, and passing them on to his VP Bush. the Christian right also continues the Protestant legacy of encouraging imperialistic capitalism and the vilification of all non-Christians.

8. It is interesting to note that a major actor of the Fundamentalists involved in politics during the 1980s was Tim LeHaye who is currently the #2 most purchased author (the "left behind" series), only behind JK Rowlings, the author of Harry Potter.

the agrarian problem in the sixteenth century by R. H. Tawney

the agrarian problem in the sixteenth century by R. H. Tawney

This is the first book written by R. H. Tawney, the Author who wrote the Book "Religion and the rise of capitalism" that I discussed in post #7. Tawney's works focused mainly on England in the 16th ce and this book was his foundation for later ones. This book aims to expose a very important factor which contributed to the departure from medieval society to the entrance into a modern, capitalistic, individualistic world. This book is very detailed and tedious, but tawney also offers chapters which give overviews of the events so you can see the major impact these things had on 16th ce England and thusly the rest of the world.

The English agrarian revolution was not the only factor that contributed to the incredible economic and social readjustments that took place in 16th ce england, but it was very important.

The main reason for this "revolution," according to tawney and others, was the growth of the wool industry which had been emerging as Englands' top export since its rise in the 14th century.

at the time, as was most of europe, england was deeply entrenched in a feudal system in which feudal rulers fought for territory. Land to these rulers was simply a place where their peasants (who served as soldiers) could survive thru subsistence farming and paying taxes to the lord. Little "profit" was gained from land other than its benefit of keeping peasants working and producing taxes--usually in the form of food and soldiering. It was a harsh life, but most people were very equal (b/c most were peseants) and things simply did not change. Families stayed working on the same land under the same ruling family for centuries, as long as the ruling family wasn't vanquished or farming problems arose.

in the middle ages, trading centers were fairly insignificant. But the increase of trade of wool during the 16th (prolly brot on by newly discovered trade routes and increased wealth gained from the pillaging of the americas) meant that the traders, the capitalists, began to gain power--financial power.

concurrently, Henry the VII had seized control of the English crown thru battle in 1486. In order to maintian his position, tho, he had to ensure other lords wouldn't be able to seize it from him. He outlawed armies and divested many lords of their political powers. Also, he established laws that supported the wool industry as he knew that most lords did not have their hands in that area, so they lost financial power.

Capitalists were able then to have enough money to buy up land once used for farming and turn it into pastures for sheep grazing (a method called enclosing). They began evicting peasants who then emigrated to the cities where they would become employed by cloth manufacturers in the bourgeoning industries.

The woolen industry became so profitable, tho, that the influx of money made english currency depreciate. Lords had to start enclosing and participating in the wool industry just to keep income up. This resulted in more peasants being sent to the cities and greater stratification of income, more reliance on money as the source of power (as opposed to military strength), and therefore the rise of capitalism and its financiers, speculators and money markets.

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber

(This is pretty much a "must-read." not b/c every idea in it is important and perfect--cuz some are faaar from perfect--but it is a seminal work in Western scholarship)

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber

background: If u don't know, Max Weber is one of the most imporant scholars of the late 19th/early 20th ce. He is considered one of the founding fathers of sociology and his writings on economic history have also been looked at as incredibly imporant. He had a vast array of knowledge and was one of the "grand" theorists of the 19th ce (like Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Freud). The original edition of this book was published as 2 essays in 1904/05 in German. This particular edition was revised by Weber and published the year of his death in 1920. It has been translated by Talcott Parsons, another founder of sociology. There is a foreward by Parsons, as well as one by R. H. Tawney, whose book "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism" (see my post for it) was primarily based off Weber's book here. Finally, there is an introduction written by Weber in 1919 which is very illuminating as to his and contemporary scholars' mindstate--he believed that the modern West was far superior to an other civilization EVER, in every realm: art, science, politics, economics, etc. He also end his intro with a dubious assertion that he believes that "hereditary" differences btwn ppls can account for the differences in advancement--what he calls "anthropolgy"--but he admits he can't prove it. Not only is it proof of his (and thusly Occidental scholarship's) racist bias, it obviously taints (in our eyes) the rest of his work. BUT the impact of this work cannot be ignored: in the early 1900s and especially now. While in as late as the 1960's western intellectuals were predicting the disappearance of religion altogether in the increasingly
secular world, the new revivals of religious participation (fundamentalism, "3rd world" christianity, Islamic revivals) has forced scholars to re-evaluate Christianity's role in "secularization"--see Mark Taylor post #14--scholars are using Weber's ideas again.

The premise is simple. There are questions that we all should ask: Why are all the leaders of business Protestant? What changed europeans (in their ethics) from being content with peasantry to making everything revolve around profit (ie, time is money, money makes the world go round, etc.)? Why did capitalism, which has been around as long as civiliztion, finally become the norm?

Weber, who is incredibly well-versed in european history and modern era (1400 and up) theologies, demonstrates that the "spirit" of economics, that of maximizing the efficiency of every little thing, and valuing money over all, and the ruthless, cold mentality that it takes to get it--these are all vestiges of Protestant, especially Calvinistic ideas and asceticism.

here are some points:
1) the idea of a "calling", that God has given you a specific task in this world.

The word as we know it simply did not appear in christian writing before the protestants. It was, however, in the works of a german mystic who had a great deal of influence on Luther. So when Luther translated the Bible, he used the word in a place that it had never been used before. This meant that the Bible now "justified" the idea. Prior to that, ppl believed that work was a painful burden and true religious piety came in motionless prayer--like monks--not in labor. Luther, however, saw the Catholic system as corrupt b/c it meant that avg peasants could not achieve real piety and the selling of indulgences to gain partial absolution was an exploitation of that beleif (as well as diproportionately benefitting the wealthy). He believed, and supported it with a reinterpretation of the Bible, that ppl were given their lot in life and that lot was ordained by god and therefore holy (as god made the world the way He wanted it to be). God has chosen those who will be saved and u couldn't gain salvation through work (or the buying of indulgences). but ppl needed to work hard to demonstrate their belief in the holiness of god. Luther, tho, b/c of his peasant roots, believed that all ppl should work on the land and like most ppl before him, thot capitalism was barely not sinful.

2) This emphasis, that hard work is its own reward, was then picked up by the Calvinists. The Calvinists, however, believed more in predestination than Lutherans. Like lutherans, they believed, that god has already chosen the ppl who will be saved and nothing could help one gain salvation. But as a practical issue, it was difficult to determine exactly who was saved and who wasn't. There was a sort of "invisible church" b/c u couldn't really determine difference btwn the saved and damned by their actions. And the lack of confidence in salvation showed imperfect faith. Calvinists, who were bourgeoise business ppl and capitalists, saw how this fit perfectly into their lifestyles anyways. They took this doctrine of "calling" and applied it to their economic class. They were very ascetic ppl and thot indulging in luxiries, idle time and greed were sins, so they thot that the traditional lifestyle of peasantry (which included a 5 to 6 hour workday and many hours at the bar) was sinful. They believed that one must work hard all day. So in their world, that meant making profit day in and day out. This theology was exemplified by the Puritans (who were very calvinist). Other protestants believed in the same strict moral behaviors, but because of other socioeconomic differences, they were simply not as praising of capitalism as the highest virtue. (remember new england was started by puritans. and Ben Franklin, who had so much influence on the philosophy of young america, was a calvinist)

3) At the same time, the price revolution (due to the growing world trading market and the precious metals stolen from the americas) gave the capitalists unprecedented power. But unlike ancient times when capitalists had power and the state simply ended up taking them over b/c they capitalists got lazy with being caught up in ostentation and other depravities of the wealthy. The Protestant capitalists, hwoever, with their strict moral code, were protected from this (at least in teh early stages) and they gained unprecendented power.

4) Ultimately tho, the idea of capitalism became so pervasive and freedom of religion was allowed (to quash dissidents) that the religious background of capitralism and the economic spirit fell into the background and ppl have simply forgotten whence it came.