Inquiries into Past and Present

Inquiries into Past and Present

Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. XVII
IWM, Vienna 2005 [Published on the Web]

Edited by: Deanna Gard, Izabella Main, Martyn Oliver and James Wood

Contributions by: Muriel Blaive, Jakub Franek, Izabella Main, Berthold Molden, Maria Katharina Moser, Heidi Niederkofler, Martyn Oliver, and Keping Wu


The essays gathered here, though disparate in topic and methodology, present a surprisingly unified theme. During our stay at the IWM during the first half of 2004, the Institute occupied itself with questions about the European Union, particularly in terms of the EU’s relationship to the world and the EU’s own complex internal identity politics. …
Read more

The Czechs and their Communism, Past and Present

One must first know one’s past well to be able to reflect on it or adjust to it. Not only is today’s Czech Republic lacking the means to get to know its own past well, there is no political or social consensus for it to even start doing so. In fact, a political scientist has …
Read more

Political Conditions of Philosophy According to Arendt

  In The Human Condition, which is probably her most frequently commented upon book,[1] Hannah Arendt rejects the traditional subordination of praxis to theory. Such a step amounts to – and Arendt is quite explicit about it – radical criticism of the whole tradition of Western political thought. With what Arendt wants to replace the …
Read more

Memory and History in the Cityscapes in Poland:
The Search for Meaning

In the 1980s many monuments became important sites for contesting the communist regime in Poland. While national monuments became sites of illegal gatherings, communist monuments were overtly criticized and sometimes devastated or vandalized. The opposition demanded permission to build monuments commemorating the “forgotten” heroes and victims of communist repression, and these new monuments inspired hope …
Read more

Remember the past… But how and why?
Guatemala’s Post War Debates over Narrative Authority as a Case of Renegotiating Historical Responsibility and Political Rights

A phrase heard at countless public discussions in Guatemala and that appears in introductions to political manifestos or popular scientific papers goes like this: ”What has happened may not be forgotten so that it will never happen again!” With “what has happened” the speaker or author addresses the Civil War (or Internal Armed Conflict, as it is often called in Guatemala) that has taken 200,000 lives and made over one million people homeless during the thirty-six years it lasted....
Read more

Representations of Suffering.
Confronting Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and Rituals of Self-Flagellation and Crucifixion in the Philippines

The passion of Jesus Christ seems to have fascinated people throughout the centuries. It has been re-enacted in various ways. One thinks of the countless passion-plays or the passion by famous composers like Bach. In the 20th century, the cinema became the main venue for re-enactments of the passion. Just to mention a few classics: …
Read more

The “Women’s Movement”: Raising Questions about Meaning and Terminology [1]

  What does the “women’s movement” mean? What can be defined as a “women’s movement? Which connotations accompany the term “women’s movement”? Questions like these are crucial in dealing with the phenomena called women’s movements. In my dissertation project I was confronted with issues of denominating and categorizing women’s organizations within political parties in Austria,[2] …
Read more

Europe and Islam: A History of Projection

As it stands, the preamble to the proposed EU constitution states that Europe draws “inspiration from the cultural, religious, and humanist inheritance of Europe.” This phrasing has drawn complaints from the predominantly Catholic countries of the expanded EU who wonder why there is not a more specific reference to the Christian heritage of Europe. For …
Read more

Performing Charisma:
Construction of Religious Experience in the Catholic Charismatic Ritual of Prayer and Worship

A religion is a system of symbols, which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic. Geertz, “Religion as a Cultural System” Introduction This …
Read more