Open Access (free)
Joris Vandendriessche and Tine Van Osselaer

, when the speed of secularisation increased, Belgium was a profoundly Catholic country. For most Belgians, the experience of illness and medical care was closely connected to their (Catholic) faith. For many doctors and caregivers as well, religion occupied an important position in the way they conducted their professional lives. Recent historical analyses have gradually come to acknowledge this relation

in Medical histories of Belgium
James Baldwin’s Pragmatist Politics in The Fire Next Time
Courtney D Ferriter

In The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin argues that the American dream is far from being a reality in part because there is much Americans do not wish to know about themselves. Given the current political climate in the United States, this idea seems just as timely as it did in the 1960s. Baldwin’s politics and thinking about race and religion are informed by an optimistic belief in the human capacity to love and change for the better, in contrast with Ta-Nehisi Coates, the heir apparent to Baldwin’s legacy. Considering current events, it seems particularly useful to turn back to The Fire Next Time. Not only does Baldwin provide a foundation for understanding racism in the United States, but more importantly, he provides some much-needed hope and guidance for the future. Baldwin discusses democracy as an act that must be realized, in part by coming to a greater understanding of race and religion as performative acts that have political consequences for all Americans. In this article, I examine the influence of pragmatism on Baldwin’s understanding of race and religion. By encouraging readers to acknowledge race and religion as political constructs, Baldwin highlights the inseparability of theory and practice that is a hallmark of both pragmatism and the realization of a democratic society. Furthermore, I argue that Baldwin’s politics provide a more useful framework than Coates’s for this particular historical moment because of Baldwin’s emphasis on change and evolving democracy.

James Baldwin Review
The myths of modernity
Author: S.J. Barnett

This book offers a critical survey of religious change and its causes in eighteenth-century Europe, and constitutes a challenge to the accepted views in traditional Enlightenment studies. Focusing on Enlightenment Italy, France and England, it illustrates how the canonical view of eighteenth-century religious change has in reality been constructed upon scant evidence and assumption, in particular the idea that the thought of the enlightened led to modernity. For, despite a lack of evidence, one of the fundamental assumptions of Enlightenment studies has been the assertion that there was a vibrant Deist movement which formed the “intellectual solvent” of the eighteenth century. The central claim of this book is that the immense ideological appeal of the traditional birth-of-modernity myth has meant that the actual lack of Deists has been glossed over, and a quite misleading historical view has become entrenched.

Fern Elsdon-Baker

15 Re-examining ‘creationist’ monsters in the uncharted waters of social studies of science and religion Fern Elsdon-Baker The subject of a clash between scientific and religious world views is often repeated as a very real ‘fact’ in scholarly, policy and public discourse – with creationists being painted as the ultimate unenlightened monsters that threaten scientific, and by extension societal, progress. There is, so we are told, a real and inevitable clash between world views – one that within extreme iterations can only be negotiated by an outright rejection

in Science and the politics of openness
S.J. Barnett

Historians, religion and the historical record 2 Historians, religion and the historical record The origins of Enlightenment anticlericalism The politico-religious convulsions across Europe from the Reformation until the eighteenth century were numerous and bloody. The resulting religious divisions were enshrined in confessional states, but, as with the cases of Protestant England and Catholic France, religious minorities remained persecuted and disabled. It would have been truly miraculous if many Christians had not wearied of the constant conflict between

in The Enlightenment and religion
James Baldwin, the Religious Right, and the Moral Minority
Joseph Vogel

In the 1980s, James Baldwin recognized that a major transformation had occurred in the socio-political functions of religion. His critique adapted accordingly, focusing on the ways in which religion—particularly white evangelical Christianity—had morphed into a movement deeply enmeshed with mass media, conservativepolitics, and late capitalism. Religion in the Reagan era was leveraged, sold, and consumed in ways never before seen, from charismatic televangelists, to Christian-themed amusement parks, to mega-churches. The new movement was often characterized as the “religious right” or the “Moral Majority” and was central to both Reagan’s political coalition as well as the broader culture wars. For Baldwin, this development had wide-ranging ramifications for society and the individual. This article draws on Baldwin’s final major essay, “To Crush the Serpent” (1987), to examine the author’s evolving thoughts on religion, salvation, and transgression in the context of the Reagan era.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
The Enduring Rage of Baldwin and the Education of a White Southern Baptist Queer
Jon-Marc McDonald

Delivered in Paris at the 2016 International James Baldwin Conference just two weeks before the killing of 49 individuals at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida on 26 June 2016, “Relatively Conscious” explores, through the eyes of an LGBT American and the words of James Baldwin, how separate and unequal life remains for so many within the United States. Written in the tradition of memoir, it recounts how, just as Paris saved Baldwin from himself, the writer’s life was transformedupon the discovery of Baldwin.

James Baldwin Review
Katrina Navickas

The Peterloo Massacre was more than just a Manchester event. The attendees, on whom Manchester industry depended, came from a large spread of the wider textile regions. The large demonstrations that followed in the autumn of 1819, protesting against the actions of the authorities, were pan-regional and national. The reaction to Peterloo established the massacre as firmly part of the radical canon of martyrdom in the story of popular protest for democracy. This article argues for the significance of Peterloo in fostering a sense of regional and northern identities in England. Demonstrators expressed an alternative patriotism to the anti-radical loyalism as defined by the authorities and other opponents of mass collective action.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Open Access (free)
Biography of a Radical Newspaper
Robert Poole

The newly digitised Manchester Observer (1818–22) was England’s leading radical newspaper at the time of the Peterloo meeting of August 1819, in which it played a central role. For a time it enjoyed the highest circulation of any provincial newspaper, holding a position comparable to that of the Chartist Northern Star twenty years later and pioneering dual publication in Manchester and London. Its columns provide insights into Manchester’s notoriously secretive local government and policing and into the labour and radical movements of its turbulent times. Rich materials in the Home Office papers in the National Archives reveal much about the relationship between radicals in London and in the provinces, and show how local magistrates conspired with government to hound the radical press in the north as prosecutions in London ran into trouble. This article also sheds new light on the founding of the Manchester Guardian, which endured as the Observer’s successor more by avoiding its disasters than by following its example. Despite the imprisonment of four of its main editors and proprietors the Manchester Observer battled on for five years before sinking in calmer water for lack of news.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order
Stephen Hopgood

71 countries registering a reduction in political rights and civil liberties ( Freedom House, 2018 ). All of which puts the viability of global liberal institutions increasingly in doubt. This idea of a protected place where, regardless of one’s identity (ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality, but also whether or not one is a dissident), one’s basic rights are secure is constitutively liberal. As fewer and fewer governments, and more and more people, view the existence of such a sanctuary within society as fanciful, illegitimate and

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs