"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nationalism in Greece and Beyond

I have long been fascinated by the role of nationalism in shaping, and often (but not always) in perverting Christianity, especially in the East. It has, of course, become a rather commonplace lament in the East for more than a century that too much of Orthodoxy is too bound up with ethnophyletism. Though that problem in places is perhaps not as pronounced as it once was, it does still continue to bedevil the Christian East in more ways than one. A recent book looks at the politics of nationalism in an Hellenic context:  Rachel Tsang and Eric Taylor Woods, eds.,The Cultural Politics of Nationalism and Nation-Building: Ritual and Performance in the Forging of Nations (Routledge, 2013), 216pp.

About this book we are told:

Rituals and performances are a key theme in the study of nations and nationalism. With the aim of stimulating further research in this area, this book explores, debates and evaluates the role of rituals and performances in the emergence, persistence and transformation of nations, nationalisms and national identity.
The chapters comprising this book investigate a diverse array of contemporary and historical phenomena relating to the symbolic life of nations, from the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan to the Louvre in France, written by an interdisciplinary cast of world-renowned and up-and-coming scholars. Each of the contributors has been encouraged to think about how his or her particular approach and methods relates to the others. This has given rise to several recurring debates and themes running through the book over how researchers ought to approach rituals and performances and how they might best be studied.
The Cultural Politics of Nationalism and Nation-Building will appeal to students and scholars of ethnicity and nationalism, sociology, political science, anthropology, cultural studies, performance studies, art history and architecture.
The publisher also helpfully provides a table of contents:

1. Ritual and performance in the study of nations and nationalism Eric Taylor Woods and Rachel Tsang PART I: APPROACHES 2. The rites of nations: elites, masses and the re-enactment of the ‘national past’ Anthony D. Smith 3. National holiday commemorations: the view from below John E. Fox 4. Time-bubbles of nationalism: dynamics of solidarity ritual in lived time Randall Collins 5. Competition as ritual and the legitimation of the liberal nation-state Jonathan Hearn PART II: APPLICATIONS 6. Ritual in the early Louvre Museum Carol Duncan 7. Inventing or reviving the Greek ideal? Forging the regeneration of the French nation in the art of Paul Cézanne after the Franco-Prussian War Athena S. Leoussi 8. The nation’s shrine": conflict and commemoration at Yasukuni, modern Japan’s shrine to the war dead John Breen 9. Collective Action and National Identity: The Rally to Restore Sanity Rachel D. Hutchins 10. Britons in Maoriland: narratives of identity during the 1901 Royal visit to New Zealand Christopher McDonald

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