Collective Cruelty: Approaches and Problems

Collective Cruelty: Approaches and Problems

(April to June, Fridays 7:00 to 9:00 am)

 

Moderator: Yogesh Raj, PhD


The seminar will discuss the ways collective cruelty shapes social structure and is reproduced by it. The seminar will use readings by key thinkers to assess the significance of existing approaches to collective cruelty, particularly to the cases where the target is often a disarmed, weak and vulnerable individual. It will explicate the notion of the scapegoat (Rene Girard), the landscape of contentious politics (Charles Tilly) and the ideology of social control (Senechal de la Roche) by testing them against extreme forms of collective violence such as lynching and religious sacrifice. Participants of the seminar will critically engage with dominant theories and methodologies that illuminate why collective cruelty is cruel and collective, where and how it may originate and diffuse, and whether one can describe and analyse the cruel events adequately. They will have an opportunity to assay the readings against the narratives of the Nepali victims of such collective cruelty.

 

Readings for Seminar

 

Week I Mythologies

Reading 1. Girard, Rene. "That Only One Man Should Die." In The Scapegoat, by Rene Girard, 112-124. Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1986.

Reading 2. Bakkar, Hans. " Purusamedha, Manasapurursa and Vastupurursa: The Image of Man in the Sacrifical Context". Journal of Indological Studies 20-21 (2008-2009): 1-23.

Reading 3. Pongratz-Leisten, Beate. "Ritual Killing and Sacrifice in Ancient Near East." In Human Sacrifice in Christian and Jewish Tradition, by Finsterbusch, Karin, Lange, Armin, and K. F. Diethard Romheld (eds), 3-33. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2007.

Reading 4. Frankfurter, David. "Egyptian Religion and the Problem of Category of Sacrifice." In Ancient Mediterrenean Sacrifice, by Jennifer Right Knust and Zsuzsanna Varhelyi (eds), 75-93. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Reading 5. McClymond, Kathryn. "Reevaluating the Role of Killing in Sacrifice." In Beyond Sacred Violence: A Comparative Study of Violence, by Kathryn McClymond, 44-64. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2008.

 

Week II Origins

Reading 6. Saburo, Sugiyama. "Conclusion: The Feathered Serpent Pyramid as Symbol of Sacrifice, Militarism and Rulership". In Human Sacrifice, Militarism, and Rulership, by Sugiyama Saburo, 220-243. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Reading 7. North, Douglass C., Wallice, John Joseph, and Barry R. Weingast. Violence and Social Orders, 51-76. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Reading 8. Obeyesekere, Gananath. "Anthropology and the Man-Eating Myth." In Cannibal Talk, by Gananath Obeyeskere. 1-23. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005.

 

Week III Histories

Reading 9. Tilly, Charles. "Violent Rituals." In The Politics of Collective Violence, by Charles Tilly, 81-101. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Reading 10. Lucero, Lisa J. and Sherry A. Gibbs. "The Creation and Sacrifice of Witches in Classic Maya Society." In New Perspectives on Human Sacrifice and Ritual Body Treatments in Ancient Maya Society, by Vera Tiesler and Andrea Cucina (eds.), 45-73. New York: Springer, 2007.

Reading 11. Obeyesekere, Gananath. "Concerning Violence." In Cannibal Talk, by Gananath Obeyeskere, 57-87. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005.

Reading 12. Ferro, Marc. "Postcolonization and Communialism". In Resentment in History, by Marc Ferro, 100-132. London: Polity, 2010.

Reading 13. Sutherland, D. M. G. Aubagne: An Introduction to the Problem. In Murder in Aubagne: Lynching, Law and Justice during French Revolution, by D. M. G. Sutherland, 1-34, 262-291. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

 

Week IV Mimesis

Reading 14. Girard, Rene. "Stereotypes of Persecution." In The Scapegoat, by Rene Girard, 12-23. Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1986.

Reading 15. Praeg, Leonhard, "Introduction." In The Geometry of Violence, by Leonhard Praeg, 1-23. StellenBosch: Sun Press, 2007.

Reading 16. Strenski, Ivan, "Public Discourse and Theory of Sacrifice", In Theology and the First Theory of Sacrifice, by Ivan Strensky, 1-31. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2003.

Reading 17. Sterckx, Roel, ‘The Economics of Sacrifice." In Food, Sacrifice, and Sagehood in Early China, by Roel Sterckx, 122-166. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

 

Week V Social History

Reading 18. Tilly, Charles. "Violence as Politics." In The Politics of Collective Violence, by Charles Tilly, 26-54. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Reading 19. Tilly, Charles. "Trends, Variations, and Explanations." In The Politics of Collective Violence, by Charles Tilly, 55-80. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Reading 20. Snyder, David and Charles Tilly. Hardship and Collective Violence in France, 1830-1960. American Sociological Review 37, no. 5 (1972): 520-532.

Reading 21. Deutscher, Irwin. "The Politics of Collective Violence by Charles Tilly." Canadian Journal of Sociology XXX, no. 2 (2005): 236-240.

Reading 22. Blom, Amelie and Nicolas Jaoul. "Introduction. The Moral and Affectual Dimension of Collective Action." South Asia South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal II, (2008): 1-22.

Reading 23. Varhelyi, Zsuzsanna, "Political Murder and Sacrifice: From Roman Republic to Empire." In Ancient Mediterrenean Sacrifice, by Jennifer Right Knust and Zsuzsanna Varhelyi (eds), 125-141. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

 

Week VI Sociology

Reading 24. De la Roche, Roberta Senechal. "Collective Violence as Social Control." Sociological Forum, 1996: 97-128.

Reading 25. De la Roche, Roberta Senechal. "Why is Collective Violence Collective." Sociological Forum, 2001: 126-144.

Reading 26. Black, Donald. Moral Time. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Reading 27. Sciulli, David. "Response to Senechal - Courage and Care in Blackian Social Theory - A Word in Praise of Senechal de la Roche." Sociological Forum XI, no. 1 (1996): 129-134.

Reading 28. Hansen, Thomas Blom. "The Political Theology of Violence in Contemporary India." South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal II (2008): 1-12.

 

Week VII Methodology

Reading 29. Tilly, Charles. "Event Catalogs as Theories." Sociological Theory XX, no. 2 (2003): 248-254.

Reading 30. Myers, Daniel J. "The Diffusion of Collective Violence: Infectiousness, Susceptibility and the Mass Media Networks." American Journal of Sociology 106, no. 1 (2000): 173-208.

Reading 31. Rummel, Rudolph J. "Is Collective Violence Correlated with Social Pluralism." Journal of Peace Research 34, no. 2 (1997): 163-175.

Reading 32. Yogesh Raj, Lynching in South Asian History: Methodological Critique of Contentious Politics, A paper presented in the International Conference on Ruptures and Repairs in South Asian History, January 16-17, 2013. Kathmandu, Nepal.

 

Week VIII Narratology

Reading 33. Martin, Andrew W., McPhail, Clark, and John D. McCarthy, “Why Target Matters: Toward a More Inclusive Model of Collective Violence”, American Sociological Review 74(5) (Oct. 2009), 821-841.  

Reading 34. McGovern, James R. Anatomy of a Lynching: the Killing of Claude Neal. Baton Rouge, LA: Lousiana State University Press, 1982.

Reading 35. Waldrep, Christopher. The Many Faces of Judge Lynch: Extralegal Violence and Punishment in America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Reading 36. Raj, Yogesh. History as Mindscapes. Kathmandu: Martin Chautari, 2010. Pp. 159-169.

Reading 37. Ms. of a novel. To Be Provided.

Reading 38. Transcript of a victim’s narrative. To Be Provided.