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Interrogating civilisational analysis in a global age

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.

Jürgen Habermas and the European left
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

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 collective memory 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

in Antisemitism and the left
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Ontologies of connection, reconstruction of memory
Jeremy C.A. Smith

connection and engagement. 144 144 Debating civilisations Myth is particularly important. Oceania’s cosmology is a storehouse of collective memory, 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

in Debating civilisations
Perspectives on civilisation in Latin America
Jeremy C.A. Smith

phenomenological condition of solitude might be a kind of cultural endowment of the Conquest, religion via liberation theology could hermeneutically construct another collective memory, 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

in Debating civilisations
Jeremy C.A. Smith

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 collective memory 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

in Debating civilisations
Imaginaries, power, connected worlds
Jeremy C.A. Smith

, 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 collective memory) 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

in Debating civilisations