Special Issue "Interfaith, Intercultural, International"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Claire Smith
Website
Guest Editor
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, Australia
Interests: Cultural heritage; Indigenous archaeology; Aboriginal art
Prof. Dr. Amanda Kearney

Guest Editor
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, Australia
Interests: cultural heritage; globalization; Indigenous anthropology and archaeology; interculturalism; cultural wounding and healing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the major challenges of our generation is to promote cross-cultural understandings at a time that the world is experiencing unprecedented change. Globalisation is simultaneously a threat and a promise. It promises the opportunity to achieve greater understandings between different peoples at the same time that it continues to increase inequities of wealth, power, and access to knowledge, both within and between countries. Globalisation encourages connections where previously there may have been only distance. That this challenges human life is certain, as witnessed by the tensions, enduring conflicts and assertions of increasingly bounded identities emerging in the contemporary world. What these times of change necessitate is a move away from logics of separation, and the exploration of life in a space of relational and interwoven experience. Cross-cultural understandings rely upon the realisation of distinct but intersecting futures whereby cultures, religions, and identities are not unknown to one another, instead they are apprehended by one another as deeply relational encounters of human life, expressed in myriad forms.

The interdisciplinary papers in this issue of Religions traverse boundaries relating to faith, culture, life forms and/or nations. This collection draws together current and sometimes ground-breaking scholarship regarding the barriers to, and facilitators of, enhanced understandings. Each article focuses on the challenges between faiths, between cultures, forms of life and/or between nations. Religion itself is conceived as one of a wide range of social practices, given practical, devotional, instrumentalist and educational expression. In some cases, religion can be a key to critical insights and a guide for actions and behaviour. In others, it is more peripheral, diffused across a range of imperceptible habits. Each of the contributions to this special issue will strive to break down social, cultural, ecological and economic divides, especially as they relate to fundamental human rights and responsibilities. The case studies highlighted in this issue are testament to a new approach to contemporary scholarship, one that places human responsiveness and rights at the core of academic theory and practice.

Prof. Dr. Claire Smith
Prof. Dr. Amanda Kearney
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • interfaith
  • intercultural
  • international
  • globalisation
  • human rights and responsibility
  • cosmopolitan

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Intercultural and Religious Sensitivity among Young Indonesian Interfaith Groups
Religions 2020, 11(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010026 - 02 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Increasing tension and conflict in interfaith relations throughout the world has encouraged interfaith dialogue introduced by various well-known figures and world organizations to facilitate intercultural and interreligious understanding and tolerance. Interreligious dialogue now involves more youth participation, as they are more likely to [...] Read more.
Increasing tension and conflict in interfaith relations throughout the world has encouraged interfaith dialogue introduced by various well-known figures and world organizations to facilitate intercultural and interreligious understanding and tolerance. Interreligious dialogue now involves more youth participation, as they are more likely to guarantee the sustainability of civic values, intercultural relations, and social advocacy. This article analyzes the sensitivity of young interfaith activists in two civil organizations in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Psychometric measures using the Intercultural and Religious Sensitivity Scale Questionnaire (IRSSQ) were analyzed to test three research questions: (1) Are there differences in intercultural and religious sensitivity between Muslim and Christian activists? (2) Are there differences in intercultural and religious sensitivity between female and male students? (3) Are there differences in sensitivity between the two organizations? The results suggest that inherent multiculturalism in Indonesian culture provides a strong foundation for interfaith activists in responding to cultural and religious differences. The results of this study theoretically confirm previous studies to promote intercultural education and interfaith encounters to overcome the threat of ethnocentrism. This study also encourages the strengthening of comprehension, competence and communication in intercultural sensitivity in young interfaith activists in Indonesia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Open AccessArticle
Crisis and Belonging: Protest Voices and Empathic Solidarity in Post-Economic Collapse Iceland
Religions 2020, 11(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010022 - 01 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article explores the politics of belonging in Iceland in the context of an ethico-political project focused around increased transparency following the country’s 2008 banking collapse. By employing literature on autochthony (i.e., a return to, and interpretation of, “the local”), it examines the [...] Read more.
This article explores the politics of belonging in Iceland in the context of an ethico-political project focused around increased transparency following the country’s 2008 banking collapse. By employing literature on autochthony (i.e., a return to, and interpretation of, “the local”), it examines the tensions that are reignited within and between nation-states during economic crisis. Through ethnography with ordinary Icelanders and the members of two protest movements, this research shows how Icelanders are cultivating a public voice to navigate the political constraints of crisis and reshaping Icelanders’ international identity from below in the wake of the collapse. To this end, the article accounts for the role of populist politics in re-embedding Iceland into the European social imaginary as an economically responsible and egalitarian nation. It then turns to highlight the push for meaningful democratic reform through collaborative, legislative exchange between the government and the people that resulted in a new—if not actually implemented—constitution. By exploring protest culture in Iceland, the article highlights the importance of public witnessing and empathic solidarity in building intercultural relations in an era of globalized finance and politics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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Open AccessArticle
Indonesia’s Orphanage Trade: Islamic Philanthropy’s Good Intentions, Some Not So Good Outcomes
Religions 2020, 11(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010001 - 18 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In 2011, Indonesia commenced an orphanage deinstitutionalization strategy known as the paradigm change in child protection. The strategy responded to human rights protocols emphasizing institutional care of children as a last resort. Orphanage based social workers were trained by the Ministry of Social [...] Read more.
In 2011, Indonesia commenced an orphanage deinstitutionalization strategy known as the paradigm change in child protection. The strategy responded to human rights protocols emphasizing institutional care of children as a last resort. Orphanage based social workers were trained by the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) to implement the paradigm change, increase parenting capacity and strengthen local supports to enable children’s reunification with their families. The paradigm change intended to reduce children coming into institutional care; however, we found a persistent growth of non-orphaned children being recruited to orphanages since 2011 and more orphanages being built to accommodate them. Islamic philanthropic activities were identified as supporting and contributing growth to the orphanage trade. Despite the paradigm change, social workers were financially incentivization to recruit children to orphanages. There were no similar incentives to deinstitutionalize them. This paper uses selective quotes from the larger study, of social workers interviewed, to assist with theorizing the high potential of Islamic philanthropy in supporting Indonesia’s growing orphan trade. We propose that philanthropy, including where there are good faith and good intentions, may be contributing to some not so good outcomes, including trafficking and modern-day slavery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Open AccessArticle
Religion and Sex as Factors of Individual Differences of Reification in an Intercultural-Community-Based Society
Religions 2019, 10(11), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110621 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The objective of this study was to analyze individual differences of reification in an intercultural-community-based society while considering the variables of religion and sex in a sample of 1120 Spanish individuals: 810 women (72.5%) and 310 men (27.5%). Of these, 66.10% were Christian [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to analyze individual differences of reification in an intercultural-community-based society while considering the variables of religion and sex in a sample of 1120 Spanish individuals: 810 women (72.5%) and 310 men (27.5%). Of these, 66.10% were Christian and 25% were Muslim, with reported ages ranging between 17 and 26 years old (mean age 19.84 years old). Once the quality parameters of the instrument (reification in community-based intercultural questionnaire) were determined, we confirmed the reliability and through confirmatory factor analysis using structural equation modeling methodology, data collection was initiated. The general results indicate that 87.50% of the respondents had been whistled at while walking along the street on at least one occasion. The ANOVA results indicate significant differences in sex and religion; women in the sample suffered greater feelings of reification in an intercultural-community-based society than men, with Muslim women specifically reporting the strongest results. The results demonstrate that women suffer more reification issues in their daily lives, with this sometimes due to their partners. Addressing this barrier to achieving equality between men and women is obligatory, so public and private institutions still have considerable work to do to achieve this goal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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Open AccessArticle
Gods, Gurus, Prophets and the Poor: Exploring Informal, Interfaith Exchanges among Working Class Female Workers in an Indian City
Religions 2019, 10(9), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090531 - 17 Sep 2019
Abstract
This article revolves around the narratives of Sabita (Muslim), Radha (Hindu) and Sharleen (Christian), migrant women in their mid-forties, who have been working as maids, cooks and cleaners in middle-class housing colonies in Kolkata, a city in eastern India. Informal understandings of gendered [...] Read more.
This article revolves around the narratives of Sabita (Muslim), Radha (Hindu) and Sharleen (Christian), migrant women in their mid-forties, who have been working as maids, cooks and cleaners in middle-class housing colonies in Kolkata, a city in eastern India. Informal understandings of gendered oppressions across religious traditions often dominate the conversations of the three working-class women. Like many labourers from slums and lower-class neighbourhoods, they meet and debate religious concerns in informal ‘resting places’ (under a tree, on a park bench, at a tea stall, on a train, at a corner of a railway platform). These anonymous spaces are usually devoid of religious symbols, as well as any moral surveillance of women’s colloquial abuse of male dominance in society. I show how the anecdotes of struggle, culled across multiple religious practices, intersect with the shared existential realities of these urban workers. They temporarily empower female members of the informal workforce in the city, to create loosely defined gendered solidarities in the face of patriarchal authority, and reflect on daily discrimination against economically marginalised migrant women. I argue that these fleeting urban rituals underline the more vital role of (what I describe as) poor people’s ‘casual philosophies’, in enhancing empathy and dialogue between communities that are characterised by political tensions in India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Open AccessArticle
Cults, Crosses, and Crescents: Religion and Healing from Colonial Violence in Tanzania
Religions 2019, 10(9), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090519 - 08 Sep 2019
Abstract
More often than not, Africans employed local religion and the seemingly antagonistic faith of Christianity and Islam, to respond to colonial exploitation, cruelty, and violence. Southern Tanzanians’ reaction during the Majimaji resistance presents a case in point where the application of local religion, [...] Read more.
More often than not, Africans employed local religion and the seemingly antagonistic faith of Christianity and Islam, to respond to colonial exploitation, cruelty, and violence. Southern Tanzanians’ reaction during the Majimaji resistance presents a case in point where the application of local religion, Christianity, and Islam for both individual and community spiritual solace were vivid. Kinjekitile Ngwale—the prominent war ritualist—prophesied that a concoction (Maji) would turn the German’s bullets to water, which in turn would be the defeat of the colonial government. Equally, Christian and Islamic doctrines were used to motivate the resistance. How religion is used in the post-colonial context as a cure for maladies of early 20th-century colonialism and how local religion can inspire political change is the focus of this paper. The paper suggests that religion, as propagated by the Majimaji people for the restoration of social justice to the descendant’s communities, is a form of cultural heritage playing a social role of remedying colonial violence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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Open AccessArticle
“Whoever Harms a Dhimmī I Shall Be His Foe on the Day of Judgment”: An Investigation into an Authentic Prophetic Tradition and Its Origins from the Covenants
Religions 2019, 10(9), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090516 - 05 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The ḥadīth, “whoever harms a dhimmī I shall be his foe on the Day of Judgment’, can be found as an end clause to covenants which the Prophet Muḥammad issued to Christian, Jewish, and Magian communities. As it is highly unlikely for different [...] Read more.
The ḥadīth, “whoever harms a dhimmī I shall be his foe on the Day of Judgment’, can be found as an end clause to covenants which the Prophet Muḥammad issued to Christian, Jewish, and Magian communities. As it is highly unlikely for different non-Muslim communities to have forged this Prophetic statement at the end of their respective documents, this paper argues that this utterance is authentic and can be confidently traced back to the Prophet. This paper examines the occurrence of this statement as a ḥadīth in the Islamic literature and notes how it was dismissed by scholars of tradition who only accepted one of its variants. The paper then compares the rights granted to non-Muslims in the covenants to those conveyed in a number of ḥadīths and notes the discrepancies between early Islam’s official documents and the legal injunctions found in Muslim tradition. It argues that the ḥadīths on the rights of non-Muslims oftentimes reflect legal maxims of scholars living in the ‘Abbasīd era and that these were back-projected to the Prophet and his Companions using fictitious isnāds. Finally, this paper concludes by recommending the incorporation of the Prophet’s official decrees, which includes the covenants, within the fabric of Islamic law. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Open AccessArticle
Past as Prophecy: Indigenous Diplomacies beyond Liberal Settler Regimes of Recognition, as Told in Shell
Religions 2019, 10(9), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090510 - 02 Sep 2019
Abstract
According to a prophecy told in a small, Muskogee-identified community in the US South, the seeds of Indigenous ways of knowing and relating to more-than-human kin will once again flourish in the ruins of colonial orders. Even settlers will be forced to turn [...] Read more.
According to a prophecy told in a small, Muskogee-identified community in the US South, the seeds of Indigenous ways of knowing and relating to more-than-human kin will once again flourish in the ruins of colonial orders. Even settlers will be forced to turn to Indigenous knowledges because “they have destroyed everything else”. Following this visionary history-future, this article asks how Indigenous diplomacies and temporalities animate resurgent possibilities for making life within the fractures (and apocalyptic ruins) of settler states. This demands a rethinking of the global and the international from the perspective of deep Indigenous histories. I draw on research visiting ancestral landscapes with community members, discussing a trip to an ancient shell mound and a contemporary cemetery in which shells are laid atop grave plots. These stories evoke a long-term history of shifting and multivalient shell use across religious and temporal differences. They speak to practices of acknowledgement that exceed liberal settler regimes of state recognition and extend from much older diplomatic practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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Open AccessArticle
Drawing Spirits in the Sand: Performative Storytelling in the Digital Age
Religions 2019, 10(9), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090492 - 21 Aug 2019
Abstract
For First Nations people living in the central desert of Australia, the performance of oral storytelling drawing in the sand drives new agency in the cultural metamorphosis of communication practices accelerated by the proliferation of portable digital devices. Drawing on the ground sustains [...] Read more.
For First Nations people living in the central desert of Australia, the performance of oral storytelling drawing in the sand drives new agency in the cultural metamorphosis of communication practices accelerated by the proliferation of portable digital devices. Drawing on the ground sustains the proxemic and kinesthetic aspects of performative storytelling as a sign gesture system. When rendering this drawing supra-language, the people negotiate and ride the ontological divide symbolized by traditional elders in First Nations communities and digital engineers who program and code. In particular, storytelling’s chronemic encounter offsets the estrangement of the recorded event and maintains every participants’ ability to shape identity and navigate space-time relationships. Drawing storytelling demonstrates a concomitant capacity to mediate changes in tradition and spiritual systems. While the digital portals of the global arena remain open and luring, the force enabled by the chiasmic entwinement of speech, gesture and sand continues to map the frontier of First Nations identity formation and reformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Open AccessArticle
Decolonizing the Intercultural: A Call for Decolonizing Consciousness in Settler-Colonial Australia
Religions 2019, 10(8), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080469 - 06 Aug 2019
Abstract
Throughout this article I make a case for decolonizing consciousness as a reflexive orientation that reforms the ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous life-worlds are navigated and mutually apprehended in a settler colonial context. I consider how through decolonizing dominant habits of thought [...] Read more.
Throughout this article I make a case for decolonizing consciousness as a reflexive orientation that reforms the ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous life-worlds are navigated and mutually apprehended in a settler colonial context. I consider how through decolonizing dominant habits of thought and action an intercultural dialogue responsive of diverse and mutually informing realities may be cultivated. This article aims to first introduce the key characteristics of ‘decolonizing consciousness’, this being reflexivity, deep listening, and border thinking. Using the Darling River in New South Wales, Australia, as a backdrop, I consider how place and environment are agents and facilitators of a contested intercultural dialogue where Indigenous and non-Indigenous ontologies, epistemologies, and axiologies often come to head. Drawing on fieldwork conducted with Aboriginal residents in far western New South Wales, as well as literature on decolonizing theory and Indigenous knowledge systems from different socio-cultural contexts, I argue that intercultural dialogue begins with reflexive contemplation of how one’s lived experiences is embedded in the realities of others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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Open AccessArticle
‘Childness’: An Alternative Approach to the Archaeology of Childhood through Cemetery Studies
Religions 2019, 10(8), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080451 - 25 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Notions of childhood in colonial Australia were informed by a variety of social contexts that varied across time and space and were given material expression in the memorialization of children’s burials. Using data drawn from two studies of nineteenth-century cemeteries in rural South [...] Read more.
Notions of childhood in colonial Australia were informed by a variety of social contexts that varied across time and space and were given material expression in the memorialization of children’s burials. Using data drawn from two studies of nineteenth-century cemeteries in rural South Australia, in this paper, we suggest an alternative way to understand children archaeologically that avoids the trap of essentialism: the notion of ‘childness’. Childness is defined as the multiple conceptions of being, and being labeled, a child. The concept of being a child may be instantiated in different ways according to particular social, cultural, chronological, and religious contexts; childness is the measure of this variation. In Western historical settings, the most likely causes for such variation are the social processes of class and status via the closely associated ideologies of gentility and respectability and their attendant expectations around labor, as well as the shifts they represent in the social ideology of the family. Exploring childness, rather than children, provides an alternative way to approach the histories of contemporary Western understandings of childhood, including when particular types of childhood began and ended, and according to what criteria in different contexts, as well as how boundaries between child and adult were continually being established and re-negotiated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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Open AccessArticle
The Long Road to an Andean Catholic Clergy: From Solórzano to Pèlach I Feliú
Religions 2019, 10(4), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040284 - 23 Apr 2019
Abstract
The development of a native clergy in the Andes has long been called for but only recently achieved. Drawing from archival and ethnographic data, this article sets out how intercultural prejudice and discrimination have served to prevent the ordination of native Andeans. In [...] Read more.
The development of a native clergy in the Andes has long been called for but only recently achieved. Drawing from archival and ethnographic data, this article sets out how intercultural prejudice and discrimination have served to prevent the ordination of native Andeans. In the early colonial period, doubts about the authenticity of Andean conversion to Catholicism were rooted in mainstream Spanish skepticism of and disdain for Andean culture; in the modern day, these same prejudices continue, meaning it is only within the last fifty years that a native clergy has developed in the southern Andes, in the Peruvian diocese of Abancay, as the result of the concerted efforts of its second bishop. Today, Abancay boasts its first generation of native clergy, made up entirely of men who were born and raised in the diocese in which they now serve, and which promises a new, more empathetic institutional relationship between what it has historically meant to be Andean and what it has meant to be Catholic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Open AccessArticle
Interculturalism and Responsive Reflexivity in a Settler Colonial Context
Religions 2019, 10(3), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030199 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article explores interculturalism in Australia, a nation marked by the impact of coloniality and deep colonising. Fostering interculturalism—as a form of empathic understanding and being in good relations with difference—across Indigenous and non-Indigenous lived experiences has proven difficult in Australia. This paper [...] Read more.
This article explores interculturalism in Australia, a nation marked by the impact of coloniality and deep colonising. Fostering interculturalism—as a form of empathic understanding and being in good relations with difference—across Indigenous and non-Indigenous lived experiences has proven difficult in Australia. This paper offers a scoping of existing discourse on interculturalism, asking firstly, ‘what is interculturalism’, that is, what is beyond the rhetoric and policy speak? The second commitment is to examine the pressures that stymy the articulation of interculturalism as a broad-based project, and lastly the article strives to highlight possibilities for interculturalism through consideration of empathic understandings of sustainable futures and land security in Australia. Legislative land rights and land activism arranged around solidarity movements for sustainable futures are taken up as the two sites of analysis. In the first instance, a case is made for legislative land rights as a form of coloniality that maintains the centrality of state power, and in the second, land activism, as expressed in the campaigns of Seed, Australia’s first Indigenous youth-led climate network and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, are identified as sites for plurality and as staging grounds for intercultural praxis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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