Vol. 7 No. 5
April/May 2005

Special Issue

Re-Placing Cultures
A dialogue among disciplines

On transculture
Mikhail Epstein

I think the boogieman of AIDS has more resonance in the United States than it might have in a community in Africa, where people are accommodating to it.
Deborah McFarland, Associate Professor of International Health

Increasingly, our law is so tied up with the religiosity of this society that it’s not just repositioning law, it’s
repositioning the role of religion in American culture.

Martha L.A. Fineman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law

Re-placing National Culture
Globalization and collective identity in the Netherlands
Frank Lechner, Associate Professor of Sociology

Digital Nationalism
Re-placing place in the Indian diaspora
Deepika Bahri, Associate Professor of English

Further reading

God’s Chosen Tongues
Hebrew and Arabic in the Qur’an
Devin J. Stewart, Associate Professor of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies

Further reading


Return to Contents


The Superpowers of the Middle East
The gross domestic product of all the Arab states combined—all 300 million people—is less than that of Spain, which has 40 million people. It should not be surprising, then, that the Arabs have less of a say in what happens in the Middle East in comparison to wealthier and stronger states, like Israel, Turkey, and Iran. The United States gave the impression when it occupied Iraq that it was at the height of its regional power. That image has dissipated, and the U.S. looks less omnipotent today than it did a year or so ago. But that could not be said of Iran, Turkey, or Israel. The difference between these three regional players and the U.S. is that they are not going anywhere. The United States will one day leave Iraq; Turkey and Iran, the neighbors of Iraq, are not going anywhere. They will have a greater say in how Iraq turns out than all the Arab states combined, and they will have a greater say than the United States. They are regional superpowers.

—Asher Susser, Senior Research Fellow, Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, from his talk “Headings for the Arab World and Israel: Continuity and Change in the Twenty-First Century,” co-sponsored by the Middle East Research Program, Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning, Institute for Jewish Studies, Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, Office of International Affairs, and Department of Political Science, on February 14, 2005

Russian Jews in Germany

[In the past fifteen years, an estimated 180,000 to 200,000 Russian Jews have emigrated to Germany. The Jewish population of Germany before 1991 had been about 30,000.] For a few visionary community leaders, the chances offered by the prospect of Russian Jewish immigration [after the dissolution of the Soviet Union] were clear. It would give the small German-Jewish community a chance for greater numbers to achieve a permanence that no one had dared to dream was possible. An argument often employed by Holocaust survivors was that the reestablishment of a large Jewish community in Germany would be ultimate victory over Hitler. Even with these widespread attitudes in the Jewish world about Jewish life in Germany, it may seem odd that tens of thousands of Jews in Russia were now lining up to move to Germany. Their calculations, however, were on somewhat different levels. Many of them were not directly affected by the Holocaust, and they shared Russian pride at its victory over the Nazis. They identified less with the victims than with the victors.

—Deidre Berger, Managing Director of the American Jewish Committee Berlin Office, and formerly a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, speaking on “The Future of Jewish Life in Germany,” sponsored by the Halle Distinguished Fellow Program, February 8, 2005