A popular educational website raises questions for Timothy Fitzgerald about the theoretical and methodological problems in isolating and defining a domain of politics or political science in the first place.
There have always been prophets of doom, says Dr Andrew Hass. History is punctuated by exclamatory voices crying, in one form or other, that catastrophe is imminent or the end is nigh. Sometimes they are seen as 'crying wolf'. In relation to the current global financial crisis, the issue of capitalism as religion, who and what we hope for, the ethical probings of counter-wisdom, and the insights of Walter Benjamin and others come together potently in their interrogation of who we are and where we are going.
Missionaries in Palestine during the period from the First World War until the Israeli declaration of the state and the connected Palestinian Nakba of 1948 were determined, they continually argued, to stay out of the controversy and not take sides, Dr Michael Marten reminds us. But what do concepts of 'neutrality', 'fairness' and 'respect' mean in the midst of conflict, in complex lesions of history and in its writing? Tidiness may be convenient but damaging to both truthfulness and the search for justice.
Negation has ascended into the imagination of our culture and society not necessarily as something to be scorned or regretted, but as something with which to be, in some cultural, philosophical, or even religious form, reconciled, says Dr Andrew Hass. But before we can understand how this figure might work its way into and through our present world, we need first to ask, whence 'zero'? For its history is by no means one we might expect.
The question for us today is how, in the many Os we might draw, and in the many circles we form on a daily basis, we negotiate our way across the empty spaces and the deep chasms they inevitably bring into our view, says Dr Andrew Hass. Yet Giotto’s legacy is not all lost: he at least tells us that something, even if that something is a “nothing”, remains there for our creation.
Very frequently, discourse about religion - which, with the changes in perception taking place in the world over the past decade has come back onto the global and political agenda with great force - remains stuck in a series of un-enlightening polarities.