Martyrdom and Terrorism: Pre-Modern to Contemporary Perspectives

Oxford University Press
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In recent years, terrorism has become closely associated with martyrdom in the minds of many terrorists and in the view of nations around the world. In Islam, martyrdom is mostly conceived as "bearing witness" to faith and God. Martyrdom is also central to the Christian tradition, not only in the form of Christ's Passion or saints faced with persecution and death, but in the duty to lead a good and charitable life. In both religions, the association of religious martyrdom with political terror has a long and difficult history. The essays of this volume illuminate this history--following, for example, Christian martyrdom from its origins in the Roman world, to the experience of the deaths of "terrorist" leaders of the French Revolution, to parallels in the contemporary world--and explore historical parallels among Islamic, Christian, and secular traditions. Featuring essays from eminent scholars in a wide range of disciplines, Martyrdom and Terrorism provides a timely comparative history of the practices and discourses of terrorism and martyrdom from antiquity to the twenty-first century.
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About the author

Dominic Janes is Reader in Cultural History and Visual Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. In addition to a spell as a lecturer at Lancaster University, he has been a research fellow at London and Cambridge universities. His latest book project is Queer Martyrdom from John Henry Newman to Derek Jarman. Alex Houen is Senior University Lecturer in Modern Literature in the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Pembroke College. He is author of Terrorism and Modern Literature, as well as various articles and book chapters on literature and political violence.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
May 1, 2014
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780199376513
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christian Rituals & Practice / General
Religion / Christianity / History
Religion / Comparative Religion
Religion / Islam / History
Religion / Islam / Rituals & Practice
Religion / Philosophy
Social Science / Sociology of Religion
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This multidisciplinary edited volume explores how the spread of the 'War on Terror' has entwined matters of state sovereignty and states of war into mutually affecting relations.

Pre-emptive attacks on terrorist groups in ‘rogue’ states, ‘outsourcing’ of state militancy and the mutable state of armed conflict required to wage a ‘hybrid war’ have increasingly been issues for the War on Terror. Moreover, such measures have seen the spread of this war to countries such as Israel, Russia, Ethiopia, and Uganda, all of whom have justified their own attacks in other nation-states as a war of ‘self-defence’ against terrorism.

States of War since 9/11

offers a timely, innovative analysis of how the War on Terror has taken on different modes of militancy and militarisation in spreading to different nation-states and regions. Featuring a multidisciplinary line-up of eminent contributors, the book ranges in reference from the early stages of the war up to France’s 2013 intervention in Mali. Part One examines the various modes of war and militarisation that have been employed in particular nation-states, including Afghanistan, Russia and Chechnya, and Israel and Palestine. Part Two examines how the war’s innovations have more generally involved ‘just war theory’, biopolitics and sovereignty, networked battlespace, new military urbanism, citizenship, homeland security and surveillance. Overall, this book offers a fresh insight into how states have attempted to secure their own bounds by extending the boundaries of war itself.

This book will be of much interest to students of critical terrorism studies, foreign policy and IR in general.

“I do not say you are it, but you look it, and you pose at it, which is just as bad,” Lord Queensbury challenged Oscar Wilde in the courtroom—which erupted in laughter—accusing Wilde of posing as a sodomite. What was so terrible about posing as a sodomite, and why was Queensbury’s horror greeted with such amusement? In Oscar Wilde Prefigured, Dominic Janes suggests that what divided the two sides in this case was not so much the question of whether Wilde was or was not a sodomite, but whether or not it mattered that people could appear to be sodomites. For many, intimations of sodomy were simply a part of the amusing spectacle of sophisticated life.

Oscar Wilde Prefigured is a study of the prehistory of this “queer moment” in 1895. Janes explores the complex ways in which men who desired sex with men in Britain had expressed such interests through clothing, style, and deportment since the mid-eighteenth century. He supplements the well-established narrative of the inscription of sodomitical acts into a homosexual label and identity at the end of the nineteenth century by teasing out the means by which same-sex desires could be signaled through visual display in Georgian and Victorian Britain. Wilde, it turns out, is not the starting point for public queer figuration. He is the pivot by which Georgian figures and twentieth-century camp stereotypes meet. Drawing on the mutually reinforcing phenomena of dandyism and caricature of alleged effeminates, Janes examines a wide range of images drawn from theater, fashion, and the popular press to reveal new dimensions of identity politics, gender performance, and queer culture.
A fascinating, accessible introduction to Islam from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer

FINALIST FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD 

In No god but God, internationally acclaimed scholar Reza Aslan explains Islam—the origins and evolution of the faith—in all its beauty and complexity. This updated edition addresses the events of the past decade, analyzing how they have influenced Islam’s position in modern culture. Aslan explores what the popular demonstrations pushing for democracy in the Middle East mean for the future of Islam in the region, how the Internet and social media have affected Islam’s evolution, and how the war on terror has altered the geopolitical balance of power in the Middle East. He also provides an update on the contemporary Muslim women’s movement, a discussion of the controversy over veiling in Europe, an in-depth history of Jihadism, and a look at how Muslims living in North America and Europe are changing the face of Islam. Timely and persuasive, No god but God is an elegantly written account that explains this magnificent yet misunderstood faith.

Praise for No god but God
 
“Grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined . . . a literate, accessible introduction to Islam.”—The New York Times
 
“[Reza] Aslan offers an invaluable introduction to the forces that have shaped Islam [in this] eloquent, erudite paean to Islam in all of its complicated glory.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
“Wise and passionate . . . an incisive, scholarly primer in Muslim history and an engaging personal exploration.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Acutely perceptive . . . For many troubled Muslims, this book will feel like a revelation, an opening up of knowledge too long buried.”—The Independent (U.K.)
 
“Thoroughly engaging and excellently written . . . While [Aslan] might claim to be a mere scholar of the Islamic Reformation, he is also one of its most articulate advocates.”—The Oregonian
Is terrorism's violence essentially symbolic? Does it impact on culture primarily through the media? What kinds of performative effect do the various discourses surrounding terrorism have? Such questions have not only become increasingly important in terrorism studies, they have also been concerns for many literary writers. This book is the first extensive study of modern literature's engagement with terrorism. Ranging from the 1880s to the 1980s, the terrorism examined is as diverse as the literary writings on it: chapters include discussions of Joseph Conrad's novels on Anarchism and Russian Nihilism; Wyndham Lewis's avant-garde responses to Syndicalism and the militant Suffragettes; Ezra Pound's poetic entanglement with Segregationist violence; Walter Abish's fictions about West German urban guerrillas; and Seamus Heaney's and Ciaran Carson's poems on the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland. In each instance, Alex Houen explores how the literary writer figures clashes or collusions between terrorist violence and discursive performativity. What is revealed is that writing on terrorism has frequently involved refiguring the force of literature itself. In terrorism studies the cultural impact of terrorism has often been accounted for with rigid, structural theories of its discursive roots. But what about the performative effects of violence on discourse? Addressing the issue of this mutual contagion, Terrorism and Modern Literature shows that the mediation and effects of terrorism have been historically variable. Referring to a variety of sources in addition to the literature—newspaper and journal articles, legislation, letters, manifestos—the book shows how terrorism and the literature on it have been embroiled in wider cultural fields. The result is not just a timely intervention in debates about terrorism's performativity. Drawing on literary/critical theory and philosophy, it is also a major contribution to debates about the historical and political dimensions of modernist and postmodernist literary practices.
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