While the direction of ‘impact statements’ is all about what the public is getting for its money, it says nothing about the bigger issues of impact that offend or contest common sense and sensibility and in which universities have always, in the past, taken a leading role. Dr Alison Jasper argues this point with regard to two icons of feminist religious and philosophical scholarship, Simone de Beauvoir and Mary Daly.
"Take me to your leader," are the first words of any colonising power. No wonder Occupy is so frustrating to those who would negotiate it into some sort of containable or controllable shape, says Giles Fraser, writing before the eviction of the anti-corporate greed and economic injustice encampment from outside St Paul's cathedral on 28 February 2012. The protesters removed from the steps of St Paul's could have helped the cathedral find a compelling new narrative, he has said.
Richard Dawkins' oft-publicised arguments about beliefs rest on classificatory dividing lines between ‘religion’ and ‘science’, ‘faith’ and ‘secular’ reason. In his passionate rebuttal, Dr Timothy Fitzgerald suggests that, contrary to popular perception, the armies of generalities so deployed have little meaningful content, but instead serve to legitimate rhetorical positions behind which lie the framework of liberal capitalist ideology derived from colonialism.
In viewing the first anniversary of the 25 January 2011 Revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and set forth many changes that would have simply been unthinkable twelve months ago in Egypt, we should bear in mind that the deep socio-economic and technological structures of civilisations play out over long periods of time, says Dr Harry Hagopian. Here he offers a perspective on the development and prospects of those recent events in Egypt, and responses to them.
Iran, Israel and the US are equally responsible for bringing the Middle East to the brink of war, a decade after the disastrous assault on Iraq’s presumed 'weapons of mass destruction', says Ghassan Michel Rubeiz. Does Iran have a latent objective in raising the Strait closure now? Should Israel, or the US, launch an air strike on Iran preemptively, Iran may want the world to think about the consequences of such a closure on the world economy.
the most appropriate usage of the term ‘religious conversion’ seems to be – at best – as a descriptor of certain historical attempts to pursue a particular strategy of Christianisation, says Dr Michael Marten. In this form it is best put behind us, but it raises important questions about the contested nature of Christianity and its mission(s).
Everywhere we look see and hear the phrase “The Sick and Disabled”. It is as if somehow 'these people' are a separate commodity - other than us, says Karen McAndrew. A breed apart. Seeing ‘them’ like this is what allows politicians and journalists to discuss ‘their’ future in terms of statistics. Talking of ‘them’ in these terms makes it easier for people to dissociate and thereby give consent for actions which will have an adverse effect. The arguments over the deeply flawed Welfare Reform Bill are a clear example of this. The Spartacus campaign is a key part of the much-needed reversal.
How will the popular uprisings in the Arab world affect the future of states and regimes in the region? All possible outcomes are shadowed by the fate of the contending ideologies and movements - nationalism and socialism, secularism and Islamism, dynasticism and liberal constitutionalism - that have dominated the Arab political landscape in recent decades, says Sami Zubaida. His overview of their rise and fall both illuminates a complex history and indicates the scale of the challenge facing democratic reformers today.
Foreign intervention in Syria would drive the country into a full- fledged civil war, give the regime the excuse to continue the crackdown on dissent, alienate the undecided, and invite destructive groups to fuel turmoil, argues Middle East commentator Ghassan Michel Rubeiz. In joining the uprising, defecting soldiers should not use their arms against the national army. To win a battle of wills a country could be lost.
Palestine remains politically inert despite the artificial fireworks of a UN application for statehood or membership of UNESCO, observes Dr Harry Hagopian. So why is Palestine faced with such a thunderous crime of silence? After all, over the past year, we have been witnessing popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa region. Where is the disconnect here?