“COMMIT SOCIOLOGY!”

During his tenure in office as the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper repeatedly suggested that sociology does not explain violence or crime. When an alleged plot against a VIA Rail train was discovered in 2013 Harper stated awkwardly that we should not “commit sociology.” He insisted that we should instead focus on personal responsibility. When an inquiry into the disproportionately high number of deaths among indigenous women in Canada was demanded, after the death of Tina Fontaine in 2014, Harper said that such deaths were not “sociological phenomenon.” As Jakeet Singh pointed out shortly thereafter in an article for the Toronto Star, we should link these rather strange statements about sociology to the Conservative government’s abolition of an important social-statistical tool in 2010, the long-form census. Continue reading ““COMMIT SOCIOLOGY!””

NEOLIBERAL JESUS: READING JAMES CROSSLEY

Is all history political? In at least one sense, yes. If we take this statement to mean that all history-writing is political, then it is so because historians write from a particular perspective and so their arguments, however critical and objective, still belie a political orientation of some kind. Some scholars think objectivity is possible, others do not, and much depends on how we understand the historian’s methodological process. To me there is no “ideology free” approach to the past, but there is a distinctive set of practices and a community which constitutes critical history, and which distinguishes it from things like communal memory. But I think both critical history and communal memory are political, in a broad Aristotelian sense. When I approach the topic of atheism in early modern Europe, I’ve done so governed by the norms and practices of critical history, but I still do so in ways shaped by an ideological framework that is itself informed by my personal history, by my beliefs, and by my own social, cultural, and political context. Continue reading “NEOLIBERAL JESUS: READING JAMES CROSSLEY”