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7. The Lady Mrs. X

Sarah Diane Sasson Indiana University Press ePub


The Lady Mrs. X

During 1884, Helena Blavatsky came under increasing scrutiny from both those who wished to prove the reality of psychic power and skeptics who doubted her claims. By late that summer, she decided that it would be prudent to avoid transmitting letters from the Masters. Yet the Adept Brotherhood was not ready to forego all communication with disciples. In a letter, probably written to Francesca Arundale, Master Morya puzzled over how “Esoteric Teachings” might be conveyed to A. P. Sinnett, who had been the “chosen correspondent.” The obvious channel was Mohini Chatterji, but Morya judged that he had “not reached that stage of physiological development that enables a chela to send and receive letters. His evolution has been more upon the intellectual plane.” Additionally, he predicted that Chatterji would succumb to the “seductive influences” of the Western world, destroying his inspiration and resulting in his failure as a chela. But, said Morya, there was someone else who might take Blavatsky’s place, and “if given such powers,” this person would “conceal it to the last.”1

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2 Breathing Life into Iconic Numbers: Yad Vashem’s Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project and the Constitution of a Posthumous Census of Six Million Holocaust Dead

Edited by Michal KravelTovi and Deborah Indiana University Press ePub

Carol A. Kidron

THE PRESENT ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY examines the memory work constituted by the Yad Vashem’s Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project.1 Since 1955, Yad Vashem has disseminated testimony pages amassing demographic data on the time and place of birth, profession, place, and form of death of Holocaust victims. Testimony pages have been stored in an archive and more recently in an online database that might potentially document all Jewish Holocaust victims. Recently, Yad Vashem has intensified efforts to recover “every person’s name,” calling upon the public not only to submit new testimony pages but to “fill up the database so that we may reach the six million mark.” Aimed not only to compile a more complete commemorative list of names, the project hoped to salvage and represent the absenced and forgotten personal identities of victims.2 Novel information technology facilitates sophisticated cross-referencing, corroboration, and validation of the names and identities in the database. Now at the four million mark and “counting,” it could numerically approach, populate, and “corroborate” (and perhaps “vindicate”) the iconic number of six million.

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9 Muslims on the Horn of Africa

Roman Loimeier Indiana University Press PDF


Muslims on the Horn of Africa

Historical and Thematic Patterns

The Horn of Africa forms one of the smallest regions of Islam in Africa. The arid lowlands of the Horn are characterized by fairly homogeneous ethnic, linguistic, and religious structures dominated by Somaal tribal groups. The history of the Horn has been characterized by competition over scarce resources, as well as tribal feuds.

At the same time, the region has been marked by the absence of a central government until the early twentieth century. As such, the Horn can be seen as a huge bilād al-sība, where tribal self-governance has historically prevailed over processes of state formation.

While Ethiopia was linked with the lands on the Nile and those on the Red Sea, the

Horn of Africa formed links with southern Arabia in the north and the East African coast in the south. Islam in the Horn originated in three regions: the ports of Zaylaʿ and

Berbera in the north; Harär and other centers of Islamic learning in the eastern Ethio˙ pian highlands; and the ports of the Banādir coast, namely Mogadishu, Brawa, Marka, and Kismayu. From at least the thirteenth century, these market places, harbors, and trading places had sizeable settlements of traders and scholars from Hadramawt in

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3. The Cold Order and the Eros of Storytelling: Joseph Roth’s “Exotic Jews” / Andreas Kilcher

Edited by Andreas Kilcher and Gabriella Indiana University Press ePub

Joseph Roth’s “Exotic Jews”


In August 1926 the Austrian writer and star journalist Joseph Roth traveled to Russia for the Frankfurter Zeitung. Roth, himself originally from Brody in the easternmost part of Galicia, close to the Russian border, had been commissioned to write a series of articles, for a Western European readership, on the young Soviet Union, where Stalin was in the process of establishing a centralized system of governance designed to shape economic, social, and cultural life. After Lenin’s death in January 1924 Stalin had emerged victorious from the power struggle with Trotsky, who was excluded from the Politburo in 1926 and, at the 15th Party Congress in late 1927, from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.1

The West, where the rift between “the left” and “the right” started to escalate, had been looking at the new Russia with a mix of curiosity and skepticism. Although the Spartacist uprising in Berlin and the Munich Soviet Republic had failed in 1919, and despite relentless persecution by the German right, German communists on the far left, following Liebknecht and Trotsky, such as Ruth Fischer, Arkadij Maslow, and Werner Scholem, were still counting on a German revolution.2 By means of the Communist International (Comintern), the long arm of Stalin reached Germany. In November 1925, the German Trotskyists lost their influence within the German Communist Party (KPD) before they were altogether banned in 1926. Considering these developments, Roth—who had signed his contributions to the social-democratic newspaper Vorwärts as “red Joseph” and had published his first novel, The Spider’s Web (1923), in the Viennese Arbeiter-Zeitung—sought to appease his features editor Benno Reifenberg even before he embarked on his travels. Roth gave him assurances that he had no intention of merely launching into panegyrics about the revolution and that he would instead be reporting factually; indeed, he would be a critical observer.

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7. Hardcore Christian Gamers: How Religion Shapes Evangelical Play · Shanny Luft

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Shanny Luft

ON THE WEBSITE HARDCORE CHRISTIAN GAMER (HCG), EVANgelicals share their faith as they deliberate over their favorite video games.1 Their religiosity is overt. Members engage in online Bible study, post prayer requests, and share spiritual testimonies with one another. For example, in a discussion forum designated for sharing spiritual testimony, someone wrote of contemplating suicide before finding spiritual and community support in a church. Someone else shared witnessing a church member’s broken leg healed through prayer, and yet another described his spiritual struggle upon learning his brother was gay. Alongside these sincere and personal testimonies of faith, members of HCG converse about their favorite video games, including action games like Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft, 2007–), role-playing games like Elder Scrolls (Bethesda Softworks, 1994), and first-person military shooters like Halo (Bungie, 2001–2010; 343 Industries, 2011–) and Call of Duty (Activision, 2003–). What many, although not all, of the games discussed on these forums have in common is their overt depictions of violence. In Assassin’s Creed II, for example, the player controls an assassin slaughtering his way through sixteenth-century Italy, dispatching enemies by thrusting swords into their backs, plunging knives through heads, burying axes in skulls, slitting throats, and jamming spears into the spines of his adversaries.

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Medium 9781523093984

38. How Servant Leadership Has Shaped Our Church Culture

Blanchard, Ken; Broadwell, Renee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


I first met Miles McPherson when he was in the early stages of building Rock Church. I admired his vision, values, and incredible energy to make a difference in the world. If we had more servant leadership churches like the Rock, the world would be a better place. I love you, Miles, and I’m proud of what you are doing in the world. —KB

WHEN I WAS asked to write about how the culture at Rock Church—the church I pastor—has been shaped by servant leadership, I decided to ask a few people on our staff what they saw:

•   Everett told me that when one of our pastors is on call and a pastoral need arises, they excuse themselves from business meetings to pray and minister with the hurting person.

•   Carissa said her supervisor refuses to identify as such, instead labeling her as a teammate. He even calls himself Huckleberry—you know, like Tom Sawyer’s sidekick—a reminder to his team that he’s here to serve his team.

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Medium 9780253015846

8 Condition: Normal

Samuli Schielke Indiana University Press ePub


One of the formidable problems of aspiring to a better life is that the world is structured in a way that allows one’s aspirations to be realized, if at all, at the price of severe compromises. This creates discontent, more so when those compromises are oppressive and morally troubling. But what can one do? As people from the village have pursued education and work and have sought to gain a degree of what they see as a life in human dignity in the face of an oppressive system, they have resorted to subversive diversion at times, and to direct defiance at other times, with different consequences. One consequence was the longevity of the Mubarak regime. Another was the January 25 revolution, a dramatic and exceptional moment when everything seemed possible. But was there really a revolution? If there was one, what did it accomplish? And what, in a historical perspective, is the normal condition, and what is exceptional?

January 25, 2011, certainly felt exceptional. On the evening of that day I wrote the following note in my research diary:

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Medium 9781576751114

8 Role As an Expression of Soul

Peppers, Cheryl Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


Something we were withholding made us weak, Until we found it was ourselves.


THE NEATLY CARVED-OUT roles of the modern era have disappeared. Traditional hierarchical relationships are confounded by matrix, team-based, and even virtual organization designs. Gone are the cut-and-dry performance reviews, clearly written job descriptions, and even private office space. Mergers, spin-offs, and frequent restructuring mean constantly shifting positions and roles. Reporting relationships are less direct, often remote, and performance management systems are increasingly complex. Job descriptions can’t capture all of what we do, ongoing responsibilities compete with project-based initiatives, and process changes require constant adaptation to the work itself. Not only are we confused about our own roles, but the shifting roles of our colleagues leave us unsure of where to go for support and collaboration. It’s no wonder that, in the attempt to hold on to our sanity, we learn to withhold parts of ourselves. And then that weakens us, because we are split, and parts of ourselves are not present.138

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6. “The Visible Unity of Spirit”

Stephen Gottschalk Indiana University Press ePub

When Eddy left boston and withdrew from active involvement in the day-to-day affairs of the movement, it was not because she did not care about the future of Christian Science but because she needed to care for herself. She may have resigned herself temporarily to the possibility of not remaining on earth for long. But so strong were her motherly instincts that she could not resign herself to seeing the movement founder and perhaps eventually fail. Her whole history since 1866 showed that the inner dynamic of her sense of mission demanded something more.

Exhausted as she was after her intense labors in Boston, she was not about to see Christian Science perish and that mission go unfulfilled. It was to forestall this eventuality that she threw herself into a major revision of Science and Health in the conviction that this was the most she could do to ensure the continuity of Christian Science. But as events proved, there was a great deal more that needed to be done. And perhaps to her own surprise, she survived to do it.

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11 Muslims on the Cape: Community and Dispute

Roman Loimeier Indiana University Press PDF


Muslims on the Cape

Community and Dispute

Historical Themes and Patterns

In the academic discussion of the history of Muslim societies in Africa, Muslim communities in South Africa are often ignored. They are usually seen as being not old and not African enough. Such a perspective omits the fact that Muslims have formed an integral part of society on the Cape since the mid-seventeenth century and came to be a decisive social force in Cape Town in the nineteenth century. In contrast to other regions of Africa, Cape Muslim history was always intrinsically linked with the colonial history of the Cape. From the very beginnings of the community in the 1660s, the community of Cape Muslims had to come to terms with religious, political, legal, and social structures dictated by a Christian majority population, the Afrikaaner settlers, organized by the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) and the Nederduitse

Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK). Despite the restrictions imposed by the VOC and the

NGK, the Cape Muslim community developed into a growing and thriving community in the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century, when the restrictions imposed by

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Medium 9780253008022

6. From the Historical Jesus to a New Jewish Christology: Rethinking Jesus in Contemporary American Judaism

Shaul Magid Indiana University Press ePub

It is monstrous to talk of Jesus Christ and to practice Judaism.

—Ignatius of Antioch, Magnesians 10:3

Jesus, ils entendent de tirer chex eux, ils ne veulent pas venire chez lui. Jews mean to draw Jesus to themselves, they do not want to come to him.

—Joseph Bonsirven, Les Juifs et Jesus

Contemporary Jews in America do not seem very interested in Jesus. Few rabbis today sermonize about Jesus from the pulpit and there are few courses about Jesus (or Christianity) in formal or informal Jewish education. Contemporary scholar of the New Testament Amy-Jill Levine correctly notes in passing, “If on the popular level we Jews are willing not only to acknowledge but also to take pride in the Jewishness of such generally non-observant Jews as Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, the Marxes (Karl and Groucho although Karl was baptized as a child), and Jerry Seinfeld, why not acknowledge the quite observant Jesus?…I have heard rabbis in Reform and Conservative synagogues cite Homer (both the Greek poet and Bart's father), Plato, the Buddha, Muhammad, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Llama, and even Madonna (the Kabbalah-besotted singer, not the mother of Jesus). At least Jesus is Jewish with regard to family, practice, and belief.”1

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Medium 9780253009524

Conclusion: Possibilities of a World Become Female

Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger Indiana University Press ePub


This ethnographic study of the goddess Gangamma and those who live her traditions has raised several questions that are woven throughout the book. First, what is the gendered nature of the gramadevata goddess who is characterized as ugra, as “too much to bear”? How does understanding this ugra goddess who wears a tali and has children, but no husband, reconfigure our analytic understandings of Hindu goddesses? How do her ritual and kinship relationships with the god on the hill, Sri Venkateshvara, cause us to reimagine analytic distinctions often made between gramadevatas and Sanskritic puranic traditions, as if they were hermeneutically sealed worlds? Second, what are the possibilities of gender created through Gangamma’s narratives and celebration of her week-long jatara, during which ultimate reality is imagined (for at least this week) as female, and males become women (or their masculinity is transformed) to be in her presence? Third, what is the experience of individuals who are in close relationship with this ugra goddess; what kinds of resources do Gangamma traditions offer them, and how are these shifting under pressures of increasingly dominant middle-class aesthetics and morality and the introduction of Sanskritic rituals and Brahman male priests at her Tatayyagunta temple? And finally, is the goddess herself changing with recent ritual, aesthetic, and personnel changes in her Tirupati temples? We get answers (or sometimes only cues) to these questions through analyses of a rich repertoire of Gangamma traditions in relationship one to the other: jatara, rituals, myths and legends, and the personal narratives and experiences of those who worship or “bear” the goddess.

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Appendix B. Research Your Shtetl! / H. Aleksandrov, Translated by Jordan Finkin

Edited by Andreas Kilcher and Gabriella Indiana University Press ePub

Research Your Shtetl!


H. Aleksandrov, Forsht ayer shtetl! (Minsk: Institut far vaysruslendisher kultur, Yidisher sektor, Sotsyal-ekonomishe komisye—Byuro far kantkentenish, 1928)

The literary critic and historian Hillel Aleksandrov (1890–1967) was active in the Jewish section of the Institute for Belarusian Culture. Produced at about the same time as YIVO’s What Is Jewish Ethnography?, Aleksandrov’s pamphlet offers a distinctly Marxist take on the practice of Jewish ethnography.1 Instead of the YIVO folkloric and philological focus, Aleksandrov’s text is concerned with social forces and the evolving socioeconomic relationships in the communities being studied, taking the shtetl as the primary research object.

(1)Every socioeconomic investigation in the area of local folklore must observe two factors: first, it must be timely; that is, connected to certain problems in the surrounding reality as far as they appear in everyday life. Second, it must at the same time offer well worked-through material that can be used for further scientific investigations that will bear a more general, nonspecialized local character. Both factors are suitable for the dual goal of current local folklore: the goal of production on the one hand, and scientific research on the other.

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2. “A Clairvoyant of the First Water”

Sarah Diane Sasson Indiana University Press ePub


“A Clairvoyant of the First Water”

Nineteenth-century Americans from all walks of life believed in signs, premonitions, dreams, waking visions, and messages received orally or “impressed on the mind,” which were interpreted as evidence of a spiritual reality that existed alongside the physical world. They sought proof of immortality, not in scripture, nor theology, nor the reassurance of the clergy, but in communications from those who had “passed to the other side.” In 1848, mysterious rappings were reported at the Hydesville, New York home of Margaret and Catherine (Kate) Fox. Soon, messages from the spirit world swept over the country, producing an industry of mediums, trance lecturers, and writers who supported themselves as professional spiritualists. Mainstream clergy denounced spiritualism, but many liberal congregations included members who followed unconventional religious paths. In Brooklyn, spiritualism was so widespread that the Daily Eagle regularly reported on it, albeit with bemused condescension.

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7 The Miraculous Birth of the Given: Reflections on Hannah Arendt and Franz Rosenzweig

Edited by Randi Rashkover and Martin Kav Indiana University Press ePub

In his Political Theology Carl Schmitt famously claimed that all significant political concepts are reinhabitations of theological concepts and that the power of the sovereign to declare a state of exception (that is, to interrupt and suspend the order of formal legality) was like a “miracle” as “the power of real life breaks through the crust of a mechanism that has become torpid by repetition.”1 Schmitt’s recourse to the metaphor of the miracle was intended to capture the interruptive force of the sovereign decision, its introduction of a radical break in existing patterns of life. To this end, he repeatedly emphasized the gap separating the sovereign’s constituent power from the subsequently constituted and institutionalized powers of the juridical state, and he located the dignity of the political sphere precisely in the irreducibility of the former to the latter. In her own explicitly post-theological theorizing of the political, Hannah Arendt follows Schmitt in appealing to the language of miracles. And Schmitt’s emphasis on the unexpected and interruptive force of the “miraculous” instituting deed is also characteristic of many of Hannah Arendt’s best known invocations of the term. Thus, in “What Is Freedom?” she claims that “every act, seen from the perspective not of the agent but of the process in whose framework it occurs and whose automatism it interrupts, is a ‘miracle’—that is, something which could not be expected.”2 Or again, in The Human Condition, when distinguishing action from the related activities of labor and work, she notes that “just as, from the standpoint of nature, the rectilinear movement of man’s lifespan between birth and death looks like a peculiar deviation from the common natural rule of cyclical movement, thus action, seen from the viewpoint of the automatic processes which seem to determine the course of the world, looks like a miracle.”3 These passages suggest that what is miraculous in action is its interruptive force, its power to introduce a break in the “automatic processes” of everyday life,4 and they appear to support the impression of a strong affinity between the Schmittian and Arendtian conceptions of miracle.

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