Diaspora might be a problem for political progressives for the very reason that it is so alluring. Diaspora promises both freedom and connection: freedom from national borders or the essentialisms of race and language, connection between people who affirm shared memory and heritage.
But heritage is never really free.
Mamdani’s latest book defends the promise of decolonization against the ongoing nationalist violence of modernity. Rafael Vizcaíno sits with the renowned Ugandan intellectual to discuss postcolonial and decolonial scholarship, the reform-revolution debate, anti-racism, and the example of South Africa.
If efforts for an autocephalous church serve the (neo)imperial agendas of “New Rome,” local nationalisms and local “national” churches will be blessed. If they don’t, local nationalisms and their cravings for autocephaly will be condemned in the name of (neo)imperial “universalism.”
Paul’s statements concerning the peoples in his Areopagus speech in Athens have historically been used as justification for racism and Apartheid. There are, however, other ways to understand his claims.
In May 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to the riverside holy city of Varanasi to worship mother goddess Ganges in gratitude for his victory in the national elections. This grand self-promotional gesture by a prominent Hindu nationalist politician illustrates how religion and politics remain enmeshed in India. Even though the democratic constitution of the nation-state has been modeled on western varieties of secularism, everyday politics is infused with religious iconographies.
Issue 15.6 of the journal Political Theology is a special issue on William T. Cavanaugh’s The Myth of Religious Violence. Dr. James Murphy served as guest editor of the issue. Below he introduces the symposium.
The appearance of William Cavanaugh’s important new book offers a strikingly new take on the familiar debate about religion and violence. According to Cavanaugh, it has become a very widespread article of faith that there is something especially dangerous about religion.
After half a dozen years of economic decline and political hardship EU measured its demos in the elections to the European Parliament. The result was just about expected, though probably not at all what the ”Europeans” — whoever they are these days — were eager to see. Given a choice between a commitment towards the globalization of world politics and going home, going home, by and large, won.
This is a book about India and China. It is about the ways in which these nation-forms, and the nationalist understandings of religion that have thereby developed, have been transformed by Western imperial modernity.