Regnar Kristensen

This chapter argues that the brutal treatment of corpses transgresses the spheres of national security politics and the simple spread of terror. Corpses are instead seen as a social force that enchants politics and socialises religion. The chapter focuses on the possible social and cosmological complications of the violations of Arturo Beltrán Leyva's corpse in the Mexican drug war. It suggests that, as a result of Beltrán Leyva's violent death, his corpse is likely to be suspected in Mexico's violent underground economy of confining a restless terrorising force capable of attacking people. Two days after Beltrán Leyva's funeral, the marine who had been shot during the campaign was buried in the presence of both family and military personnel in his home state of Tabasco. The chapter concludes that a violent death in popular Catholicism may prevent the soul from leaving the dead body for purgatory.

in Governing the dead
Open Access (free)
Simon Mabon

Religion is fundamentally concerned with the regulation of life, yet contemporary ideas about the role of faith in political life are deeply contested. Across faiths, sects and ideologies, different visions of the role of religion have resulted in political contestation with regional repercussions. Understanding these issues requires consideration of competing claims to authority and legitimacy, along with an exploration of the role of Islam within the political realm. Amidst a region increasingly characterised by sectarian divisions, it is imperative to consider the spatial aspects of the relationship between religion and politics and to explore how sect-based identities can be mobilised for (geo)political purposes. The chapter also considers the way in which similar issues emerge in Judaism, exploring the relationship between the state of Israel and settler groups.

in Houses built on sand
Open Access (free)
Pollution, contamination and the neglected dead in post-war Saigon
Christophe Robert

Pollution in the dead zone seeps in and becomes unbearably real and anxiety producing when its source is identified as 'death itself '. Georges Bataille reflected on the fear of violation and contamination resulting from encounters with corpses and humans' efforts to institute rituals to domesticate the pollution from encounters with dead bodies. The city government wants to remove graves and raze the cemeteries because they are a chaotic mess, symbols of disorder, pollution and contamination. The municipal government of Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City has tried without much conviction or success to close down the textile and plastics factories that dump waste directly into the marshes around Binh Hung Hoa cemeteries. The government has also tried to regulate illegal dumping of trash and close down illegal garbage dumps that sprouted in the marshes.

in Governing the dead
John Donne, George Chapman and the senses of night in the 1590s
Susan Wiseman

This chapter investigates the place of the senses in understandings of light, dark and shadow in the post-Reformation period, using the evidence of the writings of two contrasting poets, John Donne and George Chapman. It discusses Donne's will, where he disposes of his personal time keeping technology. The specificity of Donne's use of light, dark and shadow can be seen more clearly in comparison with Chapman's 'The Shadow of Night'. In 'A Nocturnall Upon St. Lucie's Day', the senses are interwoven with alchemical language and an elaboration, even multiplication, of the absence of light, the world of dark. The 'Hymnus in Noctem' explores night in terms of the senses, but also derives substantial sections from Natale Comes's allegorical fables. The Skeptick circulating in the 1590s is an indication of vernacular debate on the role of the senses, and sensory experience, in producing knowledge.

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Maintaining trust
Heidi Mertes

This chapter discusses ways in which the scientific community can maintain or build trust with regard to the contentious area of embryo research. A first prerequisite is transparency about what type of research embryos are being used for, especially in relation to embryo/gamete donors. For at least four types of research/procedures – stem cell research, genome editing, extensive embryo culturing and transfer of embryos to other research facilities – extra caution is required, and explicit consent should be sought.

in The freedom of scientific research
Staging visual clues and early modern aspiration
Jackie Watson

This chapter explores conflicting philosophical and early scientific attitudes to visual clues, before examining the moral judgements of seeing in late Elizabethan drama. Examples from late Elizabethan plays show appearance as a practical means of fulfilling courtly aspiration, but also suggest the moral concern surrounding such ambitions. These issues were of personal interest to the ambitious, playgoing young gentlemen of the Inns of Court. Suggesting the irony of such a debate in a medium which itself relies so much upon appearance and deception, the chapter considers the ways in which writers for the 'new technology' of the playhouse were engaged in guiding their audiences both in how to see, and how to interpret the validity of the visual. It concludes with information on Thomas, Lord Cromwell, which stages the existence of evil men unpunished in the world, 'for that they are not reputed evil'.

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
William Guthrie’s General History
Ben Dew

The middle years of the eighteenth century saw a shift in the historiography of commerce as Enlightenment-era historians became increasingly preoccupied with tracing processes of long-term economic change. As a result, individual incidents in England’s economic past came to be conceived not just as evidence of monarchical prudence or virtue, but rather as sections in a narrative of national commercial development. Chapter 8 addresses the contribution to this approach made by William Guthrie in his General History of England (1744–51). The first part of the discussion explores the Tacitean and Harringtonian approaches to history that Guthrie employed when working as a political journalist in the 1740s. Part two looks at how these ideas shaped his historical writing.

in Commerce, finance and statecraft
David Hume’s History of England
Ben Dew

This chapter is concerned with the relationship between David Hume’s writing on political economy and his History of England (1754–61). Underpinning his analysis in these works, it is argued, was an attempt to give England's commercial and financial interests – interests which were in Hume's estimation of vital importance to government – a proper intellectual foundation. In performing this task, Hume developed a damning critique of the economic statecraft tradition; indeed, it was, in part, the misunderstandings of economic affairs committed by previous generations of historians that he sought to warn his readers against and correct. The chapter opens by looking at how these ideas shaped his essays of the 1740s and 1750s, before moving on to look in detail at the History.

in Commerce, finance and statecraft
Open Access (free)
The growth and measurement of British public education since the early nineteenth century
David Vincent

This chapter explores the significance of counting communication skills in one of the earliest societies to achieve mass literacy. Much of the debate around the achievement of the Millennium Development and World Education Forum Goals in education revolves around the issue of quantitative analysis. The construction of the opposition between ignorance and knowledge was fundamental to the meanings embedded in the literacy tables. If it embodied a liberal faith in the capacity of communication to promote rational behaviour it also constituted a sweeping dismissal of the entire structure of learning in the communities of the labouring poor. Patrick Colquhoun, one of the earliest advocates of public education, explained the need for intervention: 'In Great Britain and Ireland at least 1,750,000 of the population of the country, at an age to be instructed, grow up to an adult state without any instruction at all, in the grossest ignorance'.

in History, historians and development policy
Paul Warde

This chapter revisits the nature of early economic growth, with two case studies of natural resource use from the early modern era. The first case is the Netherlands, which some would argue to have been 'the first modern economy'. In the case of England, reassessment of historic growth rates has played down or eliminated the special character of the Industrial Revolution, making the very process of development appear to be more incremental in character and less closely related to the employment of particular technologies or energy sources. The early modern period saw a dramatic relocation of industry, above all energy-intense industry towards coalmining districts. The three centuries after 1600 saw a huge redistribution of the national population towards the coal counties and London, which had become a coal-based city from an early date through imports from the northeast that occupied a very considerable proportion of the nation's merchant marine.

in History, historians and development policy