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10. Will the Rational Religious Subject Please Stand Up? Muslim Subjects and the Analytics of Religion

Edited by Sherine Hafez and Susan Slyomo Indiana University Press ePub



Sherine Hafez

The Oriental is irrational, depraved (fallen), childlike, “different”; thus the European is rational, virtuous, mature, “normal.” … The Oriental lived in a different but thoroughly organized world of its own, a world with its own national, cultural and epistemological boundaries and principles of internal coherence.

—Edward Said, Orientalism (1979, 40)

Despite the critical impact of Said’s Orientalism (1979) on scholarship dealing with Muslim and Middle Eastern cultures and practices, deeply seated assumptions that revolve around conceptions of difference and rationality still persist today. Whereas Said’s work has urged scholars to think beyond cultures as “watertight compartments whose adherents were at bottom mainly interested in fending off all the others,” (ibid., 348), predominantly Muslim societies and cultures continue to be decontextualized and uprooted from their historical logic. They are framed in terms that Said describes in the above quote, as encapsulated, isolated, and preoccupied with staving off competing ideologies.

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Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF


Texas. Texan. Mentioning either of these words engenders strong reactions regardless of where they might be heard. Throughout the world many people will recall some of our great Texas history from the era of western movies. Many a self-professed civilized urban dweller might stick his nose up in the air and comment about the uncouth rednecks that live here. Surely, some of these same people might make remarks about Texans being gun-toting cowboys. Our neighbors in Louisiana have a much better idea of who we are, but they are likely to sneer at us as a bunch of loud-mouthed braggarts.

Even here at home you can find a wide variety of reactions to a question such as, “What defines a Texan?” I believe the best answers are contained in the Texas Folklore Society’s publications.

But, beware friends—this folklore can be addictive. It may lead you down strange new paths.

Texans are an amazingly diverse group. We have our uncouth rednecks, in the worst sense of the words, as well as our good rednecked hard-working folk. Many of us are armed and ready to protect our realm. No doubt about it, many have embraced the cowboy image, but the real thing is a little harder to find. Do we brag? You bet. The stories of our diverse peoples have been derived from Vietnamese boat people, Mexican peons, healers, oilmen, and more. But for me, the addiction began with the Society’s editor, J.

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1 Spaniards and Native Americans, Prehistory–1521

Manuel G. Gonzales Indiana University Press ePub

Mexican American is a term devoid of meaning before 1848. The number of Mexicans residing in the United States before the Mexican Cession was negligible. Yet it would be a mistake to begin this history with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, for the roots of Mexican American history are buried in the distant past. In order to understand the people and their culture it is necessary to go back at least to the sixteenth century. Like most other Latin Americans, Mexicans are predominantly mestizos; that is, they are products of race mixture. When Spaniards invaded the New World in the 1500s and initiated contact with Amerindians in Mexico, the genesis of the Mexican community in the United States began.

After a period of political and economic stagnation in the fourteenth century, the Renaissance, centered primarily in Italy, witnessed not only a momentous expansion of Europe’s intellectual and artistic horizons but also an enormous widening of its geographical limits. The Age of Exploration represents the first major expansion of the Europeans, who subsequently came to dominate much of the globe, thanks primarily to their superior technological development. Inspired by God, Gold, and Glory, Europeans pushed their frontiers in all directions, with their most meaningful acquisition being the New World. America was named after an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, but in the forefront of the process of discovery and conquest were the Spaniards, the chief beneficiaries of this initial wave of Western imperialistic activity.

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4 Tropical Cowboys

Ch. Didier Gondola Indiana University Press ePub

4   Tropical Cowboys

Je viens!

I am coming!

Buffalo Bill (on a French Wild West show poster)1

IN HER STUDY of the American West in film, Scottish literary historian Jenni Calder (1974: 197) tells us that John Wayne’s father advised him, “Don’t go around looking for trouble. But if you ever get in a fight, make sure you win it.” How this “Western” admonition got translated in Kinshasa’s tropical West—if indeed it did so—into the proverbial “Mama alobaki, soki moninga abeti yo, yo pe obeti ye” (Mother said, if a schoolmate hits you, you must hit them back) provides a point of entry into this chapter on “tropical cowboys.” When a boy in Kinshasa was trounced in the schoolyard and came home mortified, someone in his household was sure to remind him, “Mother said, if a schoolmate hits you, you must hit them back.” Usually, an older relative or the mother herself would then proceed to administer another beating to the pugilist.

That the admonition switched from the paternal figure (John Wayne’s father) to the Congolese mother (who, as seen in chapter 3, had been utterly neglected in the redemptive schemes of colonial administrators and missionaries) provides yet another twist to this seeming détournement. How can we tell with certainty that Mama alobaki originated, even remotely, in Western lore and its Hollywood lure? Might it not instead be linked to the “traditional” ethos, which “evolving” men and évolués in 1950s Kinshasa eschewed, leaving women (who were considered sous-évoluées, or “underdeveloped”) to become its most ardent guardians? Or perhaps the idea belongs to Kinshasa’s postwar culture itself and thus to a time when waves of new ethnic migrants were pouring into the urban crucible and had to sort each other out, compete for scarce resources, and find ways to navigate the changing urbanscape?

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Medium 9781574412383

“Iron Butt Saddlesore”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF


Three-thirty A.M. comes early to a city boy working nine to five.

That was the meet-time to join a group of motorcyclists trying for a Saddlesore 2000. The ride was to start at 4:00 A.M. on the Summer Solstice 2003 and cover over 2,000 miles in less than fortyeight hours. This entry-level jaunt for joining the Iron Butt

Association had been organized by Beverly Ruffin of the Houston

BMW club, and I figured if I was ever going to do anything official on a motorcycle, it would be because somebody else had set it up.

I left the house around 3:00 A.M., just as my kids were coming in for the night. I said I was glad they were home safely and they wished me luck on the ride. I knew they’d be sleeping the next eight or ten hours, and they knew I’d be out pounding wind somewhere in West Texas when they woke up. It was an odd moment for all of us.

The meeting place was a filling station on I-10 at mile marker

761. I rolled in shortly after 3:30, the last one to arrive. Six others were there, having already gassed up and gotten receipts. After a round of murmured hellos at my arrival, each went back to quietly poking around his or her bike. Three-thirty was too early for chatter. The other bikes included a thirty-year-old BMW slash-5, a twin cruiser with ape-hanger handlebars, a couple of older-model

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Three. Resistance and Slavery

Jr.Howard McGary Indiana University Press ePub


Historians have documented rebellions and revolts by blacks who were held as slaves.1 There were violent confrontations between blacks and whites as slaves fought to break their bondage. These occurrences were rare, however, and this fact has led some scholars to question the extent and nature of slave resistance. My aim in this chapter is not to list or examine clear-cut cases of resistance by blacks held as slaves, but to argue that there were more subtle forms of resistance that are often overlooked by historians and other scholars interested in the issue of resistance to slavery. Historians who have endorsed what I have labeled subtle forms of resistance count such things as sabotage, disruption, obstruction, noncooperation, ignorance, illness, and the destruction of farm animals and tools as acts of resistance.2 Other historians, like George Fredrickson, Christopher Lasch, and Lawrence Levine, have claimed that such acts should not qualify as acts of resistance.3 For them, resistance is an act that requires planned action involving some actual or potential violence. I disagree, but before we can appreciate the subtle forms of defiance as genuine acts of resistance, we must be clear about what we mean by the concept “resistance.”

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Medium 9781574414820

Chapter 9. The Prohibition Era

Mitchel P. Roth and Tom Kennedy University of North Texas Press ePub



Once Prohibition was legislated into reality with the passage of the 18th Amendment, it dawned on most observers, particularly in law enforcement, that it was virtually unenforceable. Although Prohibition would later be regarded as an unmitigated disaster for providing the opportunity for organized crime to thrive, it was not actually the total disaster that was popularly depicted. Nationwide, the Prohibition era saw a huge decline of public drunkenness; deaths and diseases from alcohol, such as cirrhosis of the liver, declined as well.

Alcohol prohibition had been an issue in Texas since the time of Sam Houston. Prohibitionists were active at state constitutional conventions and elections throughout much of the nineteenth century, with unsuccessful amendments attempted in 1887, 1908 and 1910. Baptists and Methodists were at the forefront of the temperance movement in 1900 and had also helped pass the Sunday saloon closing law in 1866. However, it was virtually impossible to enforce Prohibition along the Gulf Coast, as Galveston became a sanctuary for smugglers. Although anti-vice campaigns had shut down vice sections in Austin, Dallas and Houston in the 1910s, Galveston remained a “sin city” that flaunted its reputation as the “Free State of Galveston” for years.

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3 Turning Away from Fear

Born, Paul Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living in better conditions.


I WANT TO TELL YOU the story of a community, my community, because it was shaped by fear—and for good reason—but found a way to use that fear to help others, experiencing great joy in the process. I hope that this story will give us the strength to challenge our fears in these times, as well as ideas for how to overcome our fear of those we perceive to be the problem.

I grew up afraid. Not every day. The truth was much deeper than any particular experience or threat. Fear had embedded itself deep in my soul. I breathed fear, and fear shaped who I became. This type of irrational fear is shared by so many around the world in a time characterized by displacement, whether voluntary or involuntary. That is why it is so difficult to keep fear from defining community.

“The communists are coming!” For my community, this was a statement based on experience, not a vague anxiety. This fear was seldom expressed verbally, but it deeply affected the way my family and community lived their daily lives.

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I. The Revolution and New Regime, 1917—1927

James Von Geldern Indiana University Press ePub



Look! I stand among workbenches, hammers, furnaces, forges, and among a hundred comrades,

Overhead hammered iron space.

On either side—beams and girders.

They rise to a height of seventy feet.

They arch right and left.

Joined by cross-beams in the cupolas, with giant shoulders they support the whole iron structure.

They thrust upward, they are bold, they are strong.

They demand yet greater strength.

I look at them and grow straight.

Fresh iron blood pours into my veins.

I have grown taller.

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Medium 9781574410815

6: Jesus Out of Africa

Rod Davis University of North Texas Press ePub



By now it was late spring in New Orleans. Evenings had become thick and sluggish, precursors to the long, hot summer of Southern fame. Sticky shirts and frizzy hair were the couture of circumstance. The city was a huge, inescapable greenhouse. And I was ready to move on. At the weekend I would tell my friends goodbye, take down my altar, pack my things, load up my car. I would drive off into a world without directions, without maps, without guides, and perhaps without welcome. It seemed like a good idea to go to church.

St. Lazarus offered traditional services on Sunday, but the best sessions were on Friday nights. By 7:30 P.M. I was sitting in a middle pew with a Gideon’s Bible in my lap feeling like I’d wasted time in the shower. The triplex sanctuary was air-conditioned, but the Iberville-side door had to be propped open against the sweltering night because Gary had lit too much incense and the room was choking with smoke. The cool drifted out with the sweet, thick vapors.

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Medium 9780253010599

3 Migration and War

Mark Ellis Indiana University Press ePub

After three years as a Phelps-Stokes researcher, Woofter applied for graduate study at Columbia University, where the sociologists and statisticians in the Department of Social Science rivaled those at the University of Chicago. He knew that Thomas Jesse Jones’s career as a social scientist began with a PhD from Columbia, but his financial circumstances and the University of Georgia’s lack of accreditation for admission to advanced work hampered him. Relying on personal connections and favors, he secured a one-year fellowship at the American University in Washington, D.C., with references supplied by Jones and U.S. commissioner of education Philander P. Claxton, who sat on the university’s fellowships board. His $500 award for 1916–17 let him register for a probationary year in the graduate program at Columbia as a “Fellow of the American University,” before enrolling properly as a PhD student with an intended dissertation on “Negro Farm Life in Georgia.”1

Woofter’s work at Columbia was supervised by the eminent sociologist Franklin H. Giddings, who, like his colleagues in psychology, anthropology, and economics, favored rigorous statistical analysis and use of the Burroughs adding and listing machine. Giddings believed social behavior and adaptation derived from the “evolution of a consciousness of kind” that individuals shared with members of their own group; he also held that most social conflicts and inequalities stemmed from innate differences between groups and that those tensions were logical expressions of collective identity and preference.2 “Consciousness of kind,” he contended, led people to “manifest a dominant antipathy” toward “variations” from their type: “Fundamental identities or similarities of nature and purpose, of instinct and habit, of mental and moral qualities, of capacities and abilities, are recognized as factors in the struggle for existence. To the extent that safety and prosperity depend upon group cohesion and cooperation, they are seen to depend upon such conformity to type as may suffice to ensure the cohesion and to fulfill the cooperation.”3 The rationale that the New England–born Giddings provided for degrees of segregation of American racial and ethnic groups struck Woofter as persuasive and reassuring. Woofter detached himself from many aspects of orthodox southern thought, including the ideal of total racial separation, but he remained wedded throughout his life to the conviction that the races should not mix at the most intimate levels and that harmony was best preserved by Americans spending their social lives in homogenous company. Giddings’s elaboration of “consciousness of kind” appeared to rest on scientific investigation and reasoning, rather than the prejudice and bitterness that made Woofter uncomfortable in the South. As Giddings put it, “consciousness of kind” meant “that pleasurable state of mind which includes organic sympathy, the perception of resemblance, conscious or reflective sympathy, affection, and the desire for recognition.” Woofter could see that both black and white Americans might derive satisfaction and comfort from a separateness maintained for positive reasons and not imposed out of antipathy and suspicion. According to historian George M. Fredrickson, Giddings and the “pioneers of the new discipline of sociology” were reacting against unmodified social Darwinist concepts of competition; instead, “the new sociologists posited a social order based on co-operation, compromise, and cohesion,” while stressing basic differences between the cooperating groups.4 The interracial cooperation movement drew heavily on this point of view.

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Medium 9780253015846

2 An Hour for Your Heart and an Hour for Your Lord

Samuli Schielke Indiana University Press ePub


One of the most important and powerful of hopes is the hope invested in the possibility of living a morally sound, good, and God-fearing life. While the moral aims that people strive for may appear clear, and even grand, the actual pursuit of those aims is far from straightforward. The same young men who think that hashish is the best way to escape boredom and who resort to shortcuts in order to kill time and make money also believe in revivalist Islam’s promises of a meaningful life now and paradise in the hereafter, and they strive to act as respected and successful members of their family and society. As we look at the actual ways in which ideological grand schemes are made use of in everyday life, ambivalence is essential and often necessary. These uses may evoke a comprehensive discipline, whereas what they actually accomplish is something at once more complex and simple: an instantaneous sense of direction in a confusing and dull reality.

It is common knowledge that religious, moral, and other ideals are never fully realized in everyday life. A frequent explanation for this is the tension between moral ideals, on the one hand, and desire, interests, and power, on the other hand. In other words, people are either weak (from a more sympathetic perspective) or hypocritical (from a less sympathetic perspective). A more sophisticated version of this would point out that people are subjected to regimes of power that may contradict the ideals of moral personhood they hold, thereby leaving them suspended in between different moral traditions. In any version, this explanation is based on the assumption that people have a consistent idea on their own about what is good and right. This, however, is seldom the case in practice.

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Medium 9780253015990

7 The Creation of a Senegalese Shiʿi Islam

Mara A. Leichtman Indiana University Press ePub

I think if you understand your history as always a history of movement, migration, conquest, translation, if you don’t have some originary conception of your own culture as really, always the same—throbbing away there unchanged since the tribal past—you could become a cosmopolitan at home. . . . But this is a different kind of cosmopolitanism from the one which is available to those who’ve travelled to live permanently in different places, out of choice or as a matter of expanding one’s experience.

—Stuart Hall, in conversation with Pnina Werbner

CONVERTS LIKE ʿUMAR were introduced to religious books through personal relations to Lebanese and Iranian Islamic leaders and religious communities both inside and outside Senegal. This was key in locating Shiʿi Islam in Senegal at precisely a time when more and more Senegalese were becoming literate in Arabic. Senegalese were able to imagine themselves as part of a global Shiʿi community, and publications received from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon (sometimes via Europe) helped them feel closer to those who shared their newfound religion, despite cultural differences and geographic distance. Islam—and the Arabic language—enabled Senegalese to interact with other Shiʿa and become part of a global cosmopolitan religious tradition.

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Medium 9781574415322

Jerry B. Lincecum - “Jury Selection the Old-Fashioned Way”

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF


OLD-FASHIONED WAY by Jerry B. Lincecum

Anyone who has reported for jury service and made it to the voir dire phase may have wondered how attorneys decide whether to strike or accept potential jurors. With the literal meaning “to speak the truth,” the French phrase voir dire denotes the preliminary examination the court may make of potential jurors to determine competence or bias. Trial lawyers know that jury selection is an art, and today in publicized or important trials, highly trained consultants in jury selection are hired by opposing counsels. These modern day specialists are trained in social psychology, and they make a careful study of every person on the list of potential jurors. The purpose is to ascertain, as far as possible, how the lives of a potential juror might influence that person’s decision in a given case.

However, social psychology as a specific field of knowledge applicable to jury selection has been codified for only a few decades. How did “old school” Texas country lawyers handle jury selection back in the pre-WWII and mid-20th century era? This essay will address that question in two ways: (1) by making a case study of several thousand 3 ϫ 5 cards belonging to a Sherman,

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4 Options for Deep Community

Born, Paul Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We must reinvent a future free of blinders
so that we can choose from real options.


THE THREAT OF CHAOS, experienced in the depredations of history and anticipated in a world intent on environmental genocide; the deep sense of aloneness in the midst of community; the creation of community by various groups on the basis of fear—these are the challenges we face when we attempt to find community.

But surely we are like children who refuse to eat their meal because all they want is dessert. Surely it is laughable for us to long for community in the midst of such plenty. Many of us are surrounded on every side by loving family members and friends, a peaceful and law-abiding society, a faith community.

I think that it is not immature for us to feel this way. The irony of globalization is that what it giveth—a sense that we are part of a wonderfully diverse macro community—it taketh away: the reality of being part of a vibrant local, micro community. As mentioned at the close of the previous chapter, it seems that in our hyped-up, sped-up, technology-driven world, the onus is on us, as individuals, together, to define community, to choose community, to make community. The reality of our time is that community is situational. It changes at different stages of our lives. I might be very active in a spiritual community and have a tremendous sense of belonging, but then, after some time, that changes. In what admittedly may be a coping system, I feel a sense of comfort in knowing that I do not need to hold on to one community or even to consider one community my primary community. Many experiences of community are possible, and I can engage in many at the same time.

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