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Religious Stereotypes

B042
Session Chair: N.N. | Friday, August 28, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Bilal Rana

The Islamic bomb: Nuclear orientalism as a CDA methodology

A study of the cultural industry can help us to understand the discourse practices towards, nuclear weapon technology. The potential of Time magazine articles to reach a global and American domestic readership makes it an influential player. Nuclear Orientalism can provide an appropriate framework for this research. A critical discourse analysis will be used to unpack the discursive practices; embedded in the text of Time magazine articles. Time magazine articles regarding Pakistan’s and Indian Nuclear weapons programs will be critically analyzed to trace down the nuclear orientalism. A dichotomy of the discourse will further help us to have a comparison of the coverage of India and Pakistan. This study will also provide a frame work for the critical discourse analysis in the light of nuclear orientalism. Neo-Marxist critical media theory, relation of discourse with Power and Van Dijk’s concept of Ideological square will be used to investigate the ideological structures.

Jun Fujii

Discourses about "exclusive monotheism"

After the September 11 attacks, in the regions under the strong influence of Asian religions such as Shinto and Hinduism, we often find a popular argument “monotheism is exclusive, so civilizations with tolerant polytheism will be more required.” I think that the notion, “monotheism” has been formed in the modern religious studies, and that such a notion is led to the above mentioned argument. The concept “monotheism” has played a role with a sense of superiority to the other religions of the non-European world. Actually it has been pointed out that Judaism, Islam and Christianity, which are called monotheism, have also polytheistic elements. For example, Christianity has believes in the Virgin Mary and saints. And the percentage of Christian believers, who believe strictly in only one God, is low. I want to demonstrate the notion of monotheism, not by conventional view, but by academic analysis.

Fredrik Jahnke

The construction of sharia in the European parliament and Muslim identity in Europe

The EU has several ongoing programs to increase plurality and diversity within the Union and to fight e.g. racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. This presentation is based on a study of how sharia is constructed in the plenary debates in the European Parliament (2000-2011), and how that might affect Muslim identity processes in Europe. I will argue that it would be profitable to change the focus and instead of asking questions like ‘how Muslims can be included in the European society’, concentrate on what a self-chosen and mouldable Muslim identity could (or are allowed to) contain. The European Parliament is a political and democratic institution and has as such an overarching responsibility to promote unity and diversity. However, my study shows that sharia is constructed as something e.g. archaic, threatening, inhuman and misogynistic. Obviously, this makes it harder to use sharia as “raw material” in a Muslim identity process in Europe.

Marika Rauhala

Prava religio: Constructing Religious Prejudice through Literary Representations in pre-Christian Antiquity

Even though Greco-Roman religion was receptive to external influences, the basic openness of polytheism was not synonymous with tolerance, and pious respect for all deities did not automatically involve their worshippers. For the elite the preservation of ancestral religion and the control over divine communication were a major part of their self-perception as well as foundations for their elevated social status. Hence, religious prejudices could be mobilized to buttress the elite’s authority against rivalling claims. Various images of otherness, loss of self-control, and political machinations played a central role in the construction of religious bias in pre-Christian antiquity. Representations evoking social disapproval could be associated with any unwanted religious activity, and they justified the elite’s bid for religious control as well as guided the audience’s interpretations of acceptable religion. Through example cases, I will discuss the nature and uses of religious prejudice in ancient sources.

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