Contemporary civilisational analysis has emerged in the post-Cold War period as a forming but already controversial field of scholarship. This book focuses on the scholarship produced in this field since the 1970s. It begins with anthropological axioms posited by Ibn Khaldun, Simon Bolivar and George Pachymeres. Three conceptual images of civilisations are prominent in the field. First, civilisations are conceived as socio-cultural units, entities or blocs in an 'integrationist' image. They emerge out of long-term uneven historical processes. Finally, in a 'relational' image civilisations are believed to gain definition and institute developmental patterns through inter-societal and inter-cultural encounters. The book traces the history of semantic developments of the notions of 'civilisation' and 'civilisations' coextensive with the expansion of Europe's empires and consubstantial with colonialism. Early modernities are more important in the long formation of capitalism. Outlining the conceptual framework of inter-civilisational engagement, the book analytically plots the ties instituted by human imaginaries across four dimensions of inter-civilisational engagement. It also interrogates the relationship between oceans, seas and civilisations. Oceanian civilisation exhibits patterns of deep engagement and connection. Though damaged, Pacific cultures have invoked their own counter-imaginary in closer proximity to past islander experiences. Collective memory provides resources for coping with critical issues. The book also explores Latin American and Japanese experiences that shed light on the engagement of civilisations, applying the model of inter-civilisational engagement to modern perspectives in culture and the arts, politics, theology and political economy.
only as an event in Jewish history and
stigmatises other groups of people – be they Muslims, Arabs, Europeans or
the left – as wholly antisemitic. 45 Finally, it disparages the motives of those who raise concerns about
antisemitism, on the grounds that ‘they’ abuse collectivememory and
the charge of antisemitism for clandestine ends – for instance, to discredit
critics of Israel or pathologise victims of Israeli power. The mark of this
distorted form of
Ontologies of connection, reconstruction of memory
Jeremy C.A. Smith
connection and engagement.
Myth is particularly important. Oceania’s cosmology is a storehouse of collectivememory, condensing in its creation stories deeper relations with seas
and islands and between peoples (Hau’ofa, 2008). Stories and myths incarnate
Oceanian historicity –the sense of how weighty the past is. Islander historicity
might have much to offer revisionist historiography (Borofsky, 2000), but my
interest is in memory’s broader relationship with the Oceanian imaginary. How
does the imaginary sustain travel, relationships
phenomenological condition of solitude might be a kind of cultural endowment of
the Conquest, religion via liberation theology could hermeneutically construct
another collectivememory, connecting the living in protest at the violent and
disordered past. In this respect, liberation theology should be seen as a modernist movement relating past and present (Lowy, 1996).
Liberationists expanded the repertoire of Christianity by stimulating questions
of ethics in base Christian communities. Constant reinterpretation of scripture
against the backdrop of present-day conditions put
as a result of the epistemological breakthroughs made. In other words, particular
transformative ideologies were instituted along with the means of continuity of
knowledge, new forms of collectivememory and identity. Knowledge could be
written down, reproduced, passed on and passed down, its contents critiqued
and its categories and second-order questions subjected to debate. In all, knowledge could be consciously transformed.
Eisenstadt renewed interest in questions of the Axial Age. His original contribution was to assemble specialists from history, sociology
, Japan’s massacres in Nanking in 1937 and the scorched-earth purge of peasants that ensued
and the blood-letting and expulsion of Palestinians (al-Nakbah in the Palestinian
collectivememory) that precipitated the formation of modern Israel are a sample. Whether slower expulsion or sudden relocation or massacre, the refusal to
accommodate ethnic and racial others redefines dispositions to the histories and
ontologies of other civilisations.
Civilisational fragmentation and collapse is much celebrated in Gibbon-esque
histories. Some cases involved the use of