Religious violence in Asia


This 2012 video is called ROHINGYA in Arakan, Burma. Al Jazeera Investigates – The Hidden Genocide.

From the International Institute for Asian Studies in the Netherlands:

Religious violence in South(East) Asia: domestic and transnational drivers of intolerance against Muslim minorities

Date & time
15 June 2015, 09:15 – 17:00 hrs

Venue
VU University Amsterdam, Metropolitan Building room Z-009
Buitenveldertselaan 3, Amsterdam

The seminar
The majority Buddhist and Hindu societies of South(East) Asia are not traditionally associated with conflict and intolerance. Yet recent years have seen a surge in international reports of religious tensions and violence by Buddhist and Hindu majorities towards Muslim minorities in the region. India’s political leadership since 2014 has long been associated with repressive practices and episodes of violence against Muslim minorities. In Sri Lanka, Muslims have been an often forgotten minority during the conflict, and a rise in hostilities against them has been reported since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

The government of Myanmar has long repressed the Rohingya minority, but in recent years this hostility has spread to the larger population, with Buddhist monks playing a seemingly significant role in inciting hate speech and violence against Muslims and their perceived supporters. In Southern Thailand, long-standing grievances of the Muslim population have largely remained unaddressed by the central government. In all these cases, religious diversity has been perceived as a source of nationalism and conflict, but also as a starting point for peacebuilding efforts.

While much attention is being paid to transnational networks of radical Islam, anti-Muslim sentiments in the religious and political sphere are also acquiring a transnational character, and international media increasingly report on supposed cross-border alliances between religious extremists from various sides. This seminar will analyse these developments by comparing regional dynamics and local circumstances, and look beyond the simplistic notion of religions that cannot co-exist. Historical patterns and newly emerging trends will be discussed in order to contextualize the rise in hostility towards Muslim minorities in the South(East) Asian region in recent years. What has been the role of governmental and non-governmental forces such as religious leaders and the media in this process? To what extent are these sentiments created by cross-border networking, and how are they linked to specific political transitions or domestic policy imperatives?

Download the programme and abstracts

Attendance is free of charge, lunch and drinks included.

The speakers
Prof. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Iselin Frydenlund, PRIO/University of Oslo
Dr. Matthew Walton, University of Oxford
Dr. Khin Mar Mar Kyi, University of Oxford
Dr. Alexander Horstmann, University of Copenhagen
Dr. Ward Berenschot, KITLV Leiden

Registration
If you would like to attend the seminar, please register via the form on our website by 10 June.

Contact
For enquiries about the seminar, contact Ms Martina van den Haak, m.c.van.den.haak@iias.nl

Inuit of northern Greenland and global warming


This video says about itself:

Living with the Inugguit

In 2010, Dr Stephen Leonard embarked on a year-long trip to live with the Inugguit of north-west Greenland, the northernmost settled people on Earth. His aim was to record the language, stories and songs of these communities. The traditional life of the community and its future is potentially threatened by a number of factors, one of which is climate change. Dr Leonard lived as a member of those communities, travelled on hunts, and recorded and filmed as he went. Here he talks about some of his experiences and reflects on a year spent in the midst of a fading culture.

By Gwyn Griffiths in Britain:

Book review: The Polar North

Monday 17th November 2014

A new book on the Inugguit people, who are struggling to survive in the face of environmental catastrophe, is a warning to us all, says GWYN GRIFFITHS

The Polar North
by Stephen Pax Leonard
(Francis Boutle Publishers, £20)

THE POLAR North is a remarkable story of tiny Inugguit communities with a culture and a language spoken by less than 1,000 people struggling to survive in the hostile environment of west Greenland and in a world that is changing culturally and environmentally.

The book’s two main concerns are the effects of global warming and globalisation on a precarious way of life and it is no small feat of endurance that Stephen Pax Leonard was able to survive the harsh environment and be accepted by a close-knit, often claustrophobic, society for a whole year during his research.

The immediacy of the writing makes for a gripping narrative and although Leonard at times hints at depression in the dark period of the year as well as discomfort during that of 24-hour daylight, he does not dwell on it. What he has produced is a scrupulously honest but hugely sympathetic view of these communities.

The book has stark warnings, primarily of climate change. Since the early 1990s it has not been possible to travel by dog sledge to Canada because the Smith Sound is now partly open all year round.

In January 2011, the sun rose two days earlier than normal over Ilulissat and the best explanation for this is a shocking one. The ice cap is melting, lowering the horizon.

As the sea ice, fundamental to the Inugguit way of life, contracts so does the culture. The transmission of stories, through which vital survival information was transferred, is dying out and the young people of north-west Greenland have only a fraction of the knowledge of the old hunters.

Empty minds become glued to Danish children’s television and violent video games. Alcohol abuse and suicide are major social problems.

The passing of a language and culture of fewer than 1,000 speakers may be irrelevant to many but if the polar Inugguit are the canary in our cultural coal mine, then such a loss may have more relevance than we realise.

There is never any opposition to biodiversity but language activists, linguists and anthropologists are constantly being asked to defend linguistic and cultural diversity.

Fifty per cent of the world’s languages will not exist by the end of this century and we are on the road to the fastest rate of linguistic and cultural destruction in history, driven by the forces of globalisation and consumerism.

The book examines with fascinating detail the links between language and the environment, along with the subtleties and nuance of Inugguit communication.

An excellent introduction to the subject and, in providing a wider context of concern, an essential read.

British government spied on historians Hobsbawm and Hill


This video from Britain says about itself:

2 October 2012

Historian Prof Eric Hobsbawm is interviewed by Simon Schama about his work and his extraordinary life. With archive clips from Eric’s previous TV and radio appearances.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

MI5 spied on Hobsbawm

Saturday 25th October 2014

MI5 spent years keeping Marxist historians Eric Hobsbawm and Christopher Hill under surveillance, according to newly released government documents.

Files released by the National Archives at Kew in west London yesterday reveal that MI5 closely monitored both academics for years, opening their mail, tapping their phones and scrutinising their contacts.

The files on Hobsbawm show how he fell foul of the authorities during his time as a sergeant in the Army Education Corps during the second world war, when his tendency to leave left-wing literature lying around saw him marked out as a “bad influence.

“We know that Hobsbawm has been continually in touch with prominent communists and with party headquarters and there is no doubt that he is a keen and very active party member,” one report from 1942 noted.

Rare medieval bookmark discovery in Leiden, the Netherlands


This video is called Rare medieval bookmark.

About this video, from Leiden university in the Netherlands:

Rare medieval bookmark found in Leiden University Library

A rare medieval bookmark emerged in Leiden University Library. Book historian Erik Kwakkel found the disk in an archive of manuscript descriptions called the Bibliotheca Neerlandica Manuscripta. It was likely put their [sic; there] in the early twentieth century by Willem de Vreese, who made the descriptions. The presence of the bookmark was not known to the library. Only thirty-five bookmarks of this type have been identified worldwide.

The bookmark concerns a disk with the numbers 1-4 written on it. Originally, it would have been fitted in a sleeve, which could be pulled up and down along a cord. The reader would turn the disk to indicate in what text column certain information was found, after which he pulled the sleeve to the relevant line. Page, column and line were thus marked. The specimen in Leiden is incomplete, as only the disk itself survived. However, this manuscript in Harvard’s Houghton Library illustrates how the bookmark works.

Although it is hard to determine the precise date of the bookmark, it was likely made in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. It appears to have been popular in learned books and it reflects how scholars from the thirteenth century began to use their books. No longer were the objects merely used to read from cover to cover, but an interest emerged to read particular sections. To facilitate such use, various aids became widely used, including the index, running titles, and detailed chapter titles. The rotating bookmark can be understood as yet another means to quickly and efficiently find your way to a particular passage. The thumbprints on the Leiden specimen suggests it was frequently used.

The bookmark has been moved to the manuscript collection and has been given the shelfmark BPL 3327. The find was first reported on Erik Kwakkel’s blog medievalbooks.nl and in De Volkskrant of 2 October, 2014.

Last Modified: 02-10-2014.

British feminist sociologist Ann Oakley interviewed


This video, recorded in Scotland, says about itself:

Prof. Ann Oakley – The Invention of Gender: Social Facts and Imagined Worlds

Professor Ann Oakley, distinguished sociologist, feminist and writer, delivers the annual Chrystal Macmillan lecture.

Prof Oakley is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the Institute of Education, University of London. In 2011 the British Sociological Association gave her one of their first Lifetime Achievement Awards for her extraordinary contribution to the history of the development of sociology in Britain.

Recorded on Thursday 29 November 2012 at the University of Edinburgh’s George Square lecture theatre.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

The changing role of the ‘housewife’

Tuesday 5th August 2014

Forty years on from the publication of her landmark book Housewife, ANN OAKLEY talks to the Morning Star [about] modern feminism and gender roles today

THIS year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Ann Oakley’s Housewife.

Based on Oakley’s PhD research, the pioneering feminist book looks at the role of the housewife in modern industrialised society.

“The study of domestic labour was not taken seriously at all — it wasn’t understood to be a topic, in fact,” Oakley tells me as we sit in her office at the Institute for Education in London where she is professor of sociology and social policy.

During her research, Oakley, now 70, interviewed 40 women living in suburban London. She found they tended to be dissatisfied because of the monotony, fragmentation and social isolation inherent in the role of housewife.

Therefore, as “housework is directly opposed to the possibility of human self-actualisation,” she concluded with a call to abolish the housewife role.

“I was being deliberately provocative,” she explains about the book’s final chapter which also called for the abolition of the traditional family and the abolition of traditional gender roles.

Four decades later, what’s changed?

“I think the whole notion of women being housewives has changed,” she replies.

“If you asked women now to talk about themselves as housewives they wouldn’t know what you were talking about really.”

But while she concedes men do more housework today, she explains it’s still not equal.

“I don’t think there is any study in the world which shows it’s equal.”

Sure enough, in the newly published 2014 Global Trends survey, 70 per cent of British women said they are mostly responsible for cooking, food shopping and household cleaning.

These findings are supported by research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2013) and the Institute for Public Policy Research (2012), both of which show British women still do the lion’s share of domestic labour.

“Most of the change that has happened since the ’70s has been, in my view, fairly superficial,” Oakley says.

“The change in behaviour is probably less than the professed attitude — what people say is more egalitarian than what they do.”

In particular, Oakley’s 1970s research was interested in the inequality of responsibility.

“In so far as men did housework it was construed by the men and women as him helping her with the housework — not the other way round.

“In terms of the issue of responsibility, what happened in the 1970s is still happening now.”

When men do pitch in, studies show they generally end up doing the tasks that are arguably more enjoyable and leisurely — gardening and DIY, for example.

Oakley agrees. “In the area of childcare, it’s still the case that men are more likely to be doing the more enjoyable side of childcare, rather than changing the dirty nappies.”

So why does this grossly unfair status quo continue?

“Patriarchy is the simple explanation,” Oakley argues.

“Men are a privileged group and there is no reason they should give up their privilege unless they are forced to do so.” This is where feminism comes in. “Most of the change in men’s behaviour, I suspect, has come about because the women they are involved with have put pressure on them to change. Men haven’t, en masse, decided that housework is a good thing to do.”

Oakley sees increasing men’s involvement in housework and childcare as an important step in addressing the social problem of masculinity — a topic she explored in a 2011 Guardian article co-written with fellow feminist academic Cynthia Cockburn.

Quoting government statistics, they noted: “Men were perpetrators in 91 per cent of all violent incidents in England and Wales … 81 per cent for domestic violence, 86 per cent for assault, 94 per cent for wounding, 96 per cent for mugging, 98 per cent for robbery.”

In addition, Ministry of Justice figures show men to be responsible for 98 per cent of sexual offences, 92 per cent of drug offences and 89 per cent of criminal damage.

“The evidence is that being involved in basic care work, being involved in very close relationships with dependent people including children, is something that brings out qualities which are traditionally associated with being a woman — caring, altruism and all that,” Oakley says.

“That happens with men too, but they have to first of all be willing to put themselves in the position so those changes can occur.”

According to 2011 research by Churchill Home Insurers, one in seven of the population pay for outside hired help to do housework. Oakley doesn’t buy this as a solution to the problem.

“That’s not a solution because very often the people who are hired are women and they are underpaid, their job conditions and security are not good,” she says.

“And usually it is the woman in the household who is responsible for looking after the hired help. So you’ve simply passed the oppression on in some sense.”

Oakley’s politics and research interests were energised by the second-wave feminism of the early 1970s.

Forty years later, many commentators argue we are currently in the midst of fourth-wave feminism, with groups and campaigns such as UK Feminista, Everyday Sexism and No More Page 3 evidence of renewed feminist activism.

“I don’t know enough about it really,” Oakley admits when I ask her about the resurgent movement.

However, she feels that some of the media discussions around contemporary feminism she is aware of have little in common with the women’s liberation movement of the ’70s.

She points to the current focus on the representation of women in positions of power. “We were not arguing for women’s share of the top jobs. We were talking about basic issues, we were arguing on the level of basic reproductive rights and access to childcare — state-provided childcare. It was all about doing something about the domestic oppression and not about undoing the privilege at the top.”

Rather than getting a bigger portion of the pie, she argues, “it was about changing the pie. We wanted a different kind of pie.”

She is philosophical when I suggest that her work, and the work of many other feminists from her generation, is rarely cited in the popular feminist polemics being published today.

“Time moves on — it’s one of the sad things that so much has to be rediscovered time and again,” she says.

In fact she says she found one book that referred to her as dead — “The late Ann Oakley.”

“I’m not late in the sense I’m dead and also I’m quite a punctual person,” she quips.

Having read Housewife and Oakley’s stupendously good Gender and Planet Earth — a book that moves from men and meat-eating to critiquing post-modernism — I can safely say contemporary feminism is missing a lot by ignoring Oakley’s groundbreaking work.

As the recent surveys mentioned above show, housework continues to be a source of inequality between men and women.

Housewife could therefore be the key text in the revival of feminist concern over housework that must take place if women are to gain any semblance of equality in the future.