|Postmodern questioning is not just for the sake of questioning. It
has developed from a growing awareness that things are more complicated
than they at first seem, and that simplistic stories about things have
been used to justify regretable things, and a hope that some doubt and
questioning can make the world safer for all of us.
Postmodern Therapies Tool boxes
click the button to the left to play, in the middle
tostop, and click the button to the right to end sound.
Our International Crisis
Since the last issue of PMTH NEWS there have been many many conversations in the PMTH online community, only a small selection of which can I report here. Our posts can count as high 80 or more posts a day and almost never fall between 25.
A lot of our talks are on issues tightly related to therapy, but not all, and one of the issues that has commanded our attention of late is the global situation resulting from the conflict between the east and the west.
This is not a topic that everyone on PMTH knows much about, certainly not me. So as part of my study for the conversations I read several books. Postmodernism is not only conversation between living people posting notes, I feel, but the conversation that readers have as they study multiple authors talking about the same topic. The idea is that in doing so, one can develop one's own voice.
In the article beneath this one you will find my summary review of these three authors and some of their key works as they talk about Islam and its relationship to the west in our current international crisis. Following that is my commentary. Keep in mind that I am not a scholar in this field of religion and international relations. Still, I think these authors provide me some good shoulders to stand upon as I try to figure out what's going on. There, I will talk with you about what I have come to feel that postmodernism can offer our conflict ridden world.
Doubt, Perplexity and questions about the Limits of Our Knowledge
To your right, you will find three articles reporting on PMTH
As you will see, there is some continuity to this conversation, although we move around a little to related topics. Modernist cultures see therapy as a science with confident answers. The postmodern therapist is more likely to think that science provides answers for therapists, but postmodern therapists are more likely to ponder how the theraipst can operate with unsubstantiated knowledge.
Where I hope to See you
I hope to meet PMTH subscribers and readers atone of two places I plan to be::
1) I will be at a dinner hosted by the East Side Institute for Social Therapy where I will receive an honor. Click here to read more.and receive an invitation from the director of the institute, Lois Holzman. Hurry for this one. The dinner is January 29, 2003.
2) I will present a 3 day seminar in Marberg Germany in early April. Click here to read an article about this seminar by Klaus Deissler The topic will be "Postmodern Practices and Theories."
Jonathan Diamond's Great Book
Click here to read PMTH subscribers Reviews
of Diamond's book.
Karen Armstrong is a popular English writer and media person whose specialty is "religion". Her personal story begins when she was seventeen years old and entered a Roman Catholic convent as a nun. During her life as a nun, Armstrong was sent to study at Oxford and became, as a consequence, a thoughtful writer. When she decided the demands of the church were more than she wanted to give, she departed the convent amicably, became a private citizen and began to write prolifically on religious topics.
Then, one particular experience that gave Armstrong the realization that was to greatly affect her under- standing of Islam. In 1984, she was invited to make a television documentary series on the life of St. Paul. Up until this time, Armstrong explains, her intellectual world had been limited by Christian, and to some extent, Jewish lore, But while she was on location in Jerusalem to make this documentary, she came across Islam in the casual conversation of Jews. She has said that she simply couldn't believe her ears how frequently and easily Jews called Moslems "dirty Arabs." She couldn't believe that a people who had suffered so much from the oppression of racism would not be more sensitive to people from other cultures.
Through her years of subsequent study, Armstrong developed an increasing appreciation of Islam. Today, she writes about it in numerous books in hopes of helping western people appreciate Islam. She believes that Mohammad was a prophet and that his prophecy was divinely inspired. Her views look into to the heart of the Moslem and she offers us advice from her gracious perspective.
The key context of her story starts with the glory days of Islam
(1500-1700) during the Ottoman Empire.
In those days, the great empire wrapped itself around the coast of the
Mediterranean, stretching far south into Egypt, west into Iraq and
reaching north into Hungary. Adding on the lesser Moslem empires the
reaches of Islamdom were even grander. And for the Moslems living
within these extended boundaries, Armstrong tells us "It was a
period of triumph." (p.115) This glorious Islamic culture of the
Ottoman Empire was seen as a natural thing that resulted from the
But, starting in the early 1700s, it became increasingly clear that the
Moslem world was no longer prospering. Armstrong says:
Then, at the end of World War i, when the Ottoman empire was thorougly
crushed, Islamdom was merely the spoils of war to be divided up like so
much pie by the infidel imperialists from the west.
And so it was that
Perhaps the most threatening of these extremist groups were the
Wahhabis. Their leader, al-Wahhab, was driven to his extremism,
Armstrong explained, in that he
Wahhism today may pose a danger to the western world, yet, over and
over, Armstrong reminds us: Even Wahhabi extremism is merely a
perversion of the gentle religion of Islam. Armstrong explains:
So, what does Karen Armstrong think the west should do in this
situation? Armstrong advises her western readers:
I believe that reading Armstrong's books can be a useful part of any
scholar's attempts to cultivate such an appreciation of Islam. It
has, at least, been part of such a project for me. It left me with a
picture that a strong and healthy Islam would make space for a plurality
of beliefs -- and the idea that the Moslem could take what it most admired
and incorporate it into Islam, but not other parts, well, that idea is
Another important author talking about Islam in our post 09/11 world is Stephen Schwartz. Some people feel that Schwartz preaches hatred against Muslims. But others point out that Schwartz is a courageous journalist who sacrificed his position on the Voice of America because he insisted in giving the Moslem militants air time. Most interestingly of all, Schwartz is a Jew who has recently converted to Sufi, a particularly gentle form of Islam.
And, whatever one thinks of him, today, Schwartz has emerged as one of the main commentators on the current conflict between the west and the east, one eager to tell his readers not only about the dangerous elements of Islam, but how greatly these dangerous elements contrast with the prevalent forms of Islam.
Read one way, Schwartz simply gives us a more alarming picture of the same story told by so many others, but the alarming slant Schwartz puts on this story is, of course, a difference that makes a difference.
I will quote from Schwartz' major relevant book, aptly named: Two Faces of Islam. One face is the face of Sufism, the benign and gentle form of Islam that Schwartz embraces. The other form Schwartz names is Wahhabism, the form that even Karen Armonstrong describes as aggressive. (Wahhabism is known by the Wahhabis today as Salifism.)
Schwartz, like so many others, starts his story by talking to the
readers about the great Ottoman Empire.
The image of this empire is a source of much pride in the Arab world,
although the history of the Ottoman empire is almost unknown among
westerners. Iif a westerner does read about this empire, it
would make it easier to understand how disgruntled the Moslems are today
with their situation. Schwartz says:
But what happened next was
And so the magnificent Ottoman empire began to fade:
Stephen Schwartz story of Wahhabism is a horrifying tale to the western
reader. For a very long time, Schwartz tells his readers, westerners
were almost completely oblivious to Wahhabism. This was, we hear,
Wahhabism, then, was primarily understood as an internal threat ito
In the early 1800s, when the Ottoman empire was beginning to fail, the
empire battled and suppressed the Wahhabis. (p.81) There were
many books "eloquently expressnig the anger the Wahhabis provoked among
traditional scholars." (p.81) On the other hand:
To protect themselves from collapsing under the control of the
Ottomans, the Wahhabis, according to Schwartz, began a collaboration with
the the House of Saud and, together, they would soon rule Arabia.
And so it was that the Wahabbis, these
Next, was a remarkable gamble the Wahhabis took to collaborate with
both the British and the Americans to destroy what was left of the Ottoman
empire. The Wahhabi dream was to claim all of Islam for its own, all
with the intent of wrapping Islam in complete fundamentalism. Why did the
western world partner with the Wahhabis? Merely because it was World
War I, and Britain needed all the allies it could get. Nevertheless,
Schwartz tells us:
Schwartz adds , dramatically:
After World War I, the Wahhabis power continued to grow. Schwartz says the Wahhabis developed a frightening form of jurisprudence at this time with horrible penalties for those who would stray from religious correctness, particularly amputation. Very soon, the Wahhabis became the officlal religion of Saudi Arabia. Then, when the middle of the century began to value oil, the capitalist west became the handmaiden to Saudi Arabia, and hence to nothing less than the handmaiden to the threatening and vionent culture of Wahhabism.
Schwartz condemns the failure of Karen Armstrong (whom you met above)
to alarm westerners of our situation. Schwartz says,
Schartz notes that Armstrong talks about Wahhabism, but, he also says,
she refers to it in "mild terms.
Americans, Schwartz tells us, have been frightened by many
things, including the communism and more moderate forms of Islams.
But, continues, westerners of all stripes should be most worried about
Schwartz, as you can see, tells a pretty scary tale. It scared me. However, part of being postmodern is remembering every narrative is only a partial story. Recently, the same point was made by PMTH Nick Drury, Jerry Shaffer and Judy Weintraub (go to the top of the column to the right to see what they said). These PMTH conversationalists explained that no historical account everything. The postmodern who wants to be educated by what she reads, will simply have to read the works of more than one author.
And so, let me take you to my reading notes of the third author, Akbar
Ahmed, an author who is explicitly postmodern.
Like the other authors I have talked about in this issue of PMTH NEWS, Akbar Ahmed is a very readable writer. In addition, he is also a distinguished scholar. For example, his book, Islam Today was rated among the best nonfiction of the year by the Los Angeles Times. It is noteworthy for us, too, that he thinks of himself as postmodern (see his book Postmodernism and Islam that I quote quite a lot from below.) You should also know that Ahmed is a Sufi Moslem, that is, a moderate Moslem whose beliefs tend to be more intelligible to westerners are more traditional Moslems.
Ahmed's postmodern impulse was made clear in an interview. In that interview, Ahmed explained the importance of western and eastern scholars talking together. This, he believed, is our most hopeful path to resolve our current conflict.
."But," said the interviewer, "is the west in the mood to talk?
Isn't war inevitable?: Ahmed answered:
But how can talk be the answer if nothing will prevent war?
Well, perhaps it isn't completely inevitable, Ahmed backtracked. What
can still prevent war is that the scholars can talk and then they can put
pressure on the others. But even here, he explained, there is room
for cyncism because in Moslrm countries scholars are being silenced:
Well, then, what can be done?
Moslems, Ahmed explains, can start putting their own house
togeteher so that Moslem scholars can speak and let their views
known: He tells us that Moslems putting their own house in order
Moslem violence, Ahmed tells us, is just not the answer.
But how can westerners talk with a silenced group of scholars?
Why should the west even try to engage with those silenced voices?
One author referring to Ahmed puts it this way:
The challenge now, then, is clear up our mutual misunderstandings through talk.
What are these misunderstandings?
Ahmed says that since the fall of the Moslem glory (the Ottoman Empire), the west has seen Islam as aggressive (Postmodernism and Islam, , p.96) They think Moslems don't laugh (p.199) or of them being moralistic stick in the muds.
And the Moslem Easterners, what misunderstandings do they have of the west?
Moslems see westerners through the eyes of television consumerism
and think of the west in terms of
What about the theory held by some westerners that the Moslem world has
simply been oppressed by the west?. Much as Marx explained
capitalism oppresses labor until the oppressed finally rise up to fight
off their oppresors? Ahmed says:
So, the problem, according to Ahmed, is mostly a clash of mis- understandings. We must learn to talk together if we are to rise out of the clash of war. And, we must talk in a postmodern way.
What way is the postmodern way to talk? PMTH subscriber Carlos
Sanchez made a comment that might give us a clue. Sanchez
I think so, too. A postmodern conversation between the east and
the west, therefore, would require not violence, but patience Ahmed
seems to agree. He says:
And, while Osama bin Laden talked to the west with the fire of
weaponized jets, Ahmed suggests Islamic scholars concentrate on
And who are the scholars who are able to talk with the impatient and
violent westerners? Iff all the mid-easterns are silenced?
Ahmed says that they are the western Islamic scholars:
Oh, if only such sensitive Moslems could gather with equally sensitive
wetserners and talk together to deconstruct and then dissolve our clash of
"misunderstandings." Ahmed summarizes his postmodern vision
Now, isn't that a captivating dream? Who says that postmodernism
has nothing to offer world politics?
There is a a certain theme that I detect in the writing of Armstrong, Schwartz and Ahmed. It goes like this:
Most of Islam is exceptionally gentle, more gentle than the west. This is so in spite of the fact that Moslems, even the most moderate, feel a longing for their own culture to regain some of its glory and beauty. Nevertheless, gentle Moslems are not inclined to try achieve supremacy through violence or through hook or crook. Rather, they believe that living right will encourage Allah to give them a happier lot in life, and they are willing to try to study and discern the better path to follow to achieve that happier life.
Well, most Moslems are, at least as they are described by the scholars. All three authors agreed that there is a fundamentalist group of that call themselves Moslems and that the rest of the Islamic world refers to as the "Wahhabis." It is the Wahhabis that have gotten the attention of the west and have engaged it in a game fo war. What the West seems to miss is that much of the Moslem world is their friend and would welcome to assist in non-violent ways (especially) to protect the world from the aggressions of the militant Wahhibs.
Schwartz seems to think that the most important thing for the west to do is to appreciate the danger of the Wahhabis and to not confuse it with the security the west could have with the presence of a free and properous Islam that was not dominated by Wahhabism.
Armstrong, would like the west to approach this conflict by more awareness and information, by studying the work of scholars who write about the Islam from a point of view more informed by history and current day situation.
Ahmed, on the other hand, in his postmodernism, would like to see the scholars themselves learn from each other through conversation, either wi the western Islamic scholars or, if possible the currently silenced scholars of the mid-east.
To me, all these suggestions fit together. It is time that the west learns about the factions and divisiveness in the mid-east and stops simplifying the situation by assuming all Moslems (or all foreigners with dark skin!) are dangerous to western people.
And it is time that we read and listen to the people in the west who
have first hand experience with the Islamic culture and that we find ways
for these scholars to enter into the western understanding of what is
happening, in our tragic clash of cultural misunderstandings.
I believe the United States could host such conversations and award the
authors (such as these three) who can write readably about them with
attention and appreciation. New paths can emerge out of difficult
problems if thoughtful and informed people put their heads together.
At present, it sometimes seems to me, that the Western world is hiding its
head in the sand and hoping that the President and his colleagues know
what they're doing. How much better it would be if we could
talk more among ourselves until the paths became clearer.
A recent conversation on PMTH had us talking about the way langauge always biases history. Words are just not precise enough to picture things in realistic detail. Moreover, every history tells only part of the story. The whole story would take longer to tell than to live through.
This conversation started when Michael
Coffey said he was struck by
And so Coffey, and some of the people who agreed with him, began to say that every story, every history, is a "fiction."
What did they mean by that? Our postmodern therapist but ex
analytic philosopher, Jerry
Shaffer, pondered the notion of "fiction" in this context.
Shaffer seemed to think that calling all narratives a "fiction" was going
overboard. He explained his point by saying:
Then, Shafer asked us:
That was a good question. Postmoderns often talk as though everything is a fiction, that nothing could be calld "true". What about men landing on the moon? Did the postmoderns on PMTH want to call that a "fiction"?
Very quickly, postmodern therapists began to speak up. For
So, Hicks was using the word "fiction" in a special sense. He was using "fiction" to mean that the account is "not the whole exhaustive truth" In the case of the moon landing, perhaps, we knew nothing about how the astronaut had a headache when he 'landed on the moon' We didn't get the whole story.
But is something a "fiction" just because it doesn't tell every
thing? Maybe so. At least, Val Lewis
made an interseting convincing case when she reminded us that we
have a precedent for calling stories "fiction" even
though the accounts contain elements of truth. She explained:
Good point. If you think about it, almost every story contains some elements of truth The novelist may tell us, for example, that summer is hot in Texas. That's true. But, regardless, such a novel would still be considered "fiction." Fictions can contain some "truth". So, why not call all accounts fiction?
Hmmm. But do we want to discard the distinction between truth and falsity altogether? Wouldn't you like to save the distinction so you can learn from someone that it is just a fiction (a joke) that someone robbed your car? No one could convince you it didn't really happen, if everything was equally "ficiton.'
What to do?
Judy Weintraub suggested that we might avoid confusion if we used phrase "creative rendering" rather than "fiction." I liked that term. It would be much less confusing, I thought, than calling everything a "fiction."
But then Priscilla Hill reminded me that we would still not be able to contrast truth and fiction because even when we do speak of "truths" these "truths" are often not verifiable. I thought for a minute. Take a statement like "Everybody likes chocolate." I might say that, and I might believe it is true, but how could I claim that to be "truth" rather than fiction? How many of "my truths" are verified and solidly detemrined. Maybe I should call them "fiction."
These are not idle observations for therapists to ponder. In my experience as a therapist, clients are often concerned with discovering the "truth" and tehrapists are, too. Did someone molest a child? It would not be enough to maintain that we did not have the whole story, even that the the partial story was creatively rendered, or even that we couldn't verify the truth of it. Still, we might want to distinguish truth and fiction in our minds and continue to look for evidence.
But, when we look closer, the truth is very often hard to tell. So, my question is, is it good for us to try to maintain awareness of the shakiness of our "knowledge"?
I'll come back to that topic in the third article in this series,
returning to our postmodern predicament. First, let me show you what
we talked about next.
Sometime in late December. I, (Lois
Shawver), posted a note to PMTH that went something like this:
Dabby responded saying::
So, for Dabby, the guru status of the author and professor has faded. In its place is a human being with limits who cannot see things from a God's eye view.
I liked the way Dabby put it. Perhaps, gradually, the public is becoming disillusioned with the idea that there are people, authors and teachers, who have a greater than life wisdom to impart to us.
Treptow also offered his postmodern reflections Treptow said:
What I like about treptow's comments is that it seems to suggest that a living idea are subject to change in the hands of the generation to come. Each generation builds off of the contributions from the past. Derrida says as much himself (see the first chapter of Of Grammatology).
Weintraub responded to my question, too. She said
I see the comments of these three PMTH people as giving us different sides to the same postmodern story. No longer does it feel that someone else has the final answers. We are becoming increasingly convinced that we can no longer rely on the wisdom of authority to tell us about things.
So, the question is, if we don't have authorities to tell us what the
truth is, what are we, as therapists to do?
The postmodern no longer believes in grand theories and narratives, no longer believes that histories tell us all that happened, and she notices that the closer she looks the more elements of fiction are included in every tale.
The question becomes how to live with this uncertainty and doubt. Should we learn not to look behind the surface that convinces us? Or shall we disorient ourselves by looking so closely that we see fiction everywhere?
But look. Don't we all know that all accounts have a little fiction and a little truth? Jumbled altogether in a way that is sometimes difficult to differentiate?
If so, how is it we have gotten in this fix of thinking in binaries? Imagining we have the whole truth? Or that an account is only fiction, and not some complex weave of something in between?
While I was pondering these matters, I somehow became strangely aware of something happening, occasionally, in some of my conversations. Sometimes, I found myself forgetting and denying my doubt. Whatever I am doing when that happens, it seemed to me that this kind of thinking of mine goes a long way towards explaining "thinking in binaries," that is, thinking that there is no gray, or should be no gray, no doubt, no areas of ambiguity in any account.
I called this process of mine "polarization." By that, I meant that something I had some doubt about I became less and less aware of my dubt as we talked. I convinced myself that I had the whole truth. And the more I became convinced that the other person was overly confident about their truth, the more convinced I became of mine - at least until later when my energy about the question at hand began to die down.
So, instead of looking only for truths and fictions I thought I would make a concerted effort to remember my doubts and perplexities and to include those in whatever I had to say. I explained this idea to PMTH, and told them that I would be trying to perplexify my speech more, to reflect the doubts and questions I actually had.
Voices began to support my project. First, I mused aloud one day
Spears responded sayihg:
Yes, that's what I was doing.
That's good. That sounds much like my statement of perplexity although I had been thinking more of doing this just with myself on PMTH. But why not do it with clients, too? Engage them in their perplexity?
Hoffman continued in another note talknig about Cecchin. She
So, maybe this was a good idea, perplexifying my speech more, polarizing less. Can I do this as an author? I'm doing it now, but is it acceptable to readers??
Absolutely, I decided, at least it is acceptable to postmodern readers. Both Wittgenstein and Merleau- Ponty write with a nod to their perplexity. I always liked that about them. If they can do it, so can I.
So, I have found a provisional answer to my postmodern predicament of having such shakey knowledge. I will take pride in being aware of my perplexity. I will try to notice it, and I will find a way to reveal it. After all, so did Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty.
Is the langauge that I created to talk about it good enough? Do others want to call this "perplexity"? Of course, the answer was "yes" and "no."
Samuels thought we might loosen the term "perplexity" and talk about
the same or similar things with terms like:
However, And, Samatha Sands
found something valuable in the term "perplexity. She said::
I suddenly like all of these concepts, and I am reminded of Sheila McNamee and Ken Gergen suggesting we learn to talk with two minds, showing our doubt to each other -- Saying, "I am of two minds about this or that." This is rather like Riet suggested.
Finally, Val Lewis
made an intriguing comment she added when she was talking about
militant Islamics: Lewis said:
I don't know if owning my doubt and perplexifying my speech will be a
profitable adventure, but so far it has worked very well for me. I
don't think I'm overdoing it. I'll probably hear about it if I
do. I even like talking with perplexity in my speech. I even
have hopes, that it will increase my creativity. After all:
I want to announce to the readers of PMTH NEWS a 3-day seminar with Dr. Lois Shawver in Marburg, Germany in the spring of 2003. The seminar will be presented in the context of the educational program in systemic therapy of ¨•viisa¨Ā (¨•viisa¨Ā is the German name for ¨•association of international institutes for systemic forms of collaboration¨Ā. ¨•viisa¨Ā is part of MICS = Marburg Institute for Collaborative Studies (see: http://www.mics.de/) and part of the German Association of Systemic Therapy (SG)).
The title of the seminar will be:
Lois Shawver is one of the most prolific and acknowledged colleagues on the topic in the USA and in the international community; as the editor of PMTH NEWS and author of many relevant publications she will present her central concepts and guidelines for future-oriented practices of consulting.
The 3-day seminar will take place in Marburg, Germany, from April 3 to 5, 2003. Marburg is a picturesque and small city with a university from 16th century. One of its most famous ¨•sons¨Ā was Hans-Georg Gadamer, who died last year. Have a look at the Marburg web-site and get a feeling about how it may be in spring: http://www.marburg.de/
For a limited number of colleagues from abroad we have reserved the
possibility of participation. If you are interested mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the new director of the East Side Institute, I (Lois Holzman), am pleased to share the news that our friend Lois Shawver is to be honored by us for her importantąĄand uniqueąĄwork. The honor will be given at at our second annual Psych Out Awards benefit. (To read more about Psych Out, click here)
All readers of PMTH NEWS, as well as PMTH subscribers, are invited to come and meet Lois Shawver and learn about the East Side Institute.
The gala event will take place at the TriBeCa Rooftop in NYC on Wednesday, January 29, 2003.
In addition to Lois Shawver, the other honorees are: Olga Acosta, Ph.D. (a nationally recognized advocate for the creation of positive and effective mental health programs for children.) Debra Pearl, C.S.W., (the director of the Long Island Center for Social Therapy and an inspired builder of the social therapeutic movement for 25 years.) Gloria Strickland, M.Ed., (a distinguished educator and founding director of the New Jersey All Stars. ) Two social therapy clients are also being honoredąĄEmily Formanand Tim Neiman.
Contributions are tax-deductible, as is a portion of the ticket
To purchase tickets or make a contribution, contact Mary Fridley,
If you would like to receive announcements for each issue of PMTH NEWS,
click here and forward your
PMTH is a closed community for professional therapists, as well as
scholars,professors and graduate students with specialities related to
therapy. We keep our list reserved this way in order to have a special
place for people who are concerned with doing good therapy to discuss
their personal issues about therapy in some depth. We go to other lists to
discuss things with people who don't fit this profile. If you want to
invite one of us to a list you're on, there is a way to do that. Or, if
you fit the profile for membership to PMTH, you can consider joining us.
Whichever you want, you can write me, by clicking
This will send a post to me, Lois
Shawver. Tell me of your interest. If you are looking to join us, also
give me a little information about yourself that tells me how you fit the
profile for joining the PMTH online community. And, in either case, .tell
me that you got the idea to write by reading PMTH NEWS.
Would you like to tell someone about PMTH NEWS? Just fill out the form below and click on the "send" button. The invitation that goes out will include a special link that your friend can click on to arrive at this site.
Howver, look at what Ken and Mary Gergen have to say about the joys of growing old.
In addition, yhowever, I want to give a special place, too, to Janus head, where Brent Dean Robbins is the editor. You will see Brent's essay on Merleau-Ponty above. Robbins is a new voice on PMTH, and I believe he has much to offer not only PMTH, but the postmodern community. Also, his journal complements the New therapist. Where the New Therapist is up-close-and personal, Janus Head is is deep and scholarly, taking you into the rich discussions that revolve around postmodern ideas. If you are serious about familiarizing yourself with postmodernism, this is a hot journal to read.
So, I hope you acquaint yourself with both. Both stand on our postmodern frontier
The September/October 2002 edition of New Therapist has just been published, selected articles and contents of which can be found on our web site at http://www.newtherapist.com
Entitled The Big Ideas Edition, it covers some applications and thoughts about therapy which attempt to cast our focus well beyond the one-on-one approaches which have dominated for the past century.
From Arnold and Amy Mindell's Worldwork ideas, through the thought provoking ideas of Allan Wade on how we acknowledge our clients' resistance to violence, to a look at the ambitious Antidote project to enhance emotional literacy on a community-wide level, this is a rare collection of the bigger ideas emerging from the therapy world.
As always, this edition is available for order online at the back
issues order page, as are copies of all of the previous 20 editions of the
Or, if you'd like to subscribe to the magazine for a year from $46 (incl. postage), visit our subscriptions page by clicking here.
Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology and the Arts
What is a ą®Janus headą∆ and why would anyone want to name a journal after it?
Stone-carved reliefs of the face of Janus were often placed above doorways of old Roman homes, such as the one at Villa Madama at the foot of Monte Mario just outside Rome. Placed at the threshold, the image of the god conveys both a welcome and a demarcation of boundary. The visage of Janus is double, each face poised in opposite directions, a pliable symbol extending itself to spatial, temporal, political, and personal planes. The phrase ą®Janus-facedą∆ as it comes down to us means ą®two-facedą∆ or ą®deceitful,ą∆ but the original signification of the two-faced god meant vigilance and new beginnings, as we think of in the first month of the year, January. To quote from Bergen Evans' dictionary of Mythology, ą®It was a peculiarity of this god that the doors of his temple were kept open in time of war and closed in time of universal peace. They were rarely closed.ą∆
From its inception in 1998, Janus Head, as an interdisciplinary journal, has aimed to be that opened door at the threshold of a newly charged dialogue among the disciplines. Disciplines themselves are human demarcations, boundaries built across the phenomenal field, both opening up and closing off the thought of one disciplinary domain or another. The interdisciplinary space, then, is one that seeks to give rise to other, provocative modes of revealing, to freshen the blood of the disciplines by interjecting and crossing different bodies of thought, to give credence to various manifestations of truth in human knowledge and experience. This journal is dedicated to the exploration of ideas and images as they unfold through both analytical and poetic modes of language. Visual art has its say in this space as well, for the immediacy and visceral amplitude of the image is the aesthetic reminder of the power of silence between words, the dense nexus of meaning that resides in the imagination before language.
Janus Head has published essays ranging a broad scope of topics, from Heraclitean philosophy to Kantian ethics, from Melville to Rene Char, from Heideggarean ontology to Derridean language studies, to name just a few. Poetry, the avant-garde as well as the quietly lyrical, takes an honored place in the journal, because it is in poetry, as one of our editors wrote in an early editorial, that Being and language fuse. Past contributors to Janus Head include Alphonso Lingis, Robert Romanyshyn, Claudia K. Grinnell, Margo Kren, Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido, Robert Gibbons, Ouyang Yu, R. Flowers Rivera, Jamie O'Halloran, Ernesto Grassi, Peter Caws, Frits Staal, Antoine Vergote, Evans Lansing Smith, Louise Sundararajan, Michael Sipiora, and Frank Edler.
Janus Head is published biannually, on-line and in print. The journal publishes essays, poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, art, and reviews. Annual volumes usually include one themed issue and one ą®openą∆ issue, which considers submissions on any number of topics. Online readership has grown to a number of 10,000 unique visitors a month. In addition to presenting the current issue in full, the website offers access to the archives of past issues, as well as an extensive resource page featuring over 300 links to other journals, a listing of conferences and events, and reviews of books and films.
We encourage readers to view the current issue featuring the proceedings from the 2001 George Washington University Human Sciences Conference, Knowing Subjects: Human Lives, Human Worlds. Lewis Gordon, Jonathan Moreno, David Goldberg, and Virginia Held are among the writers contributing to this special issue.
Forthcoming in the fall is an issue centered on Magical Realism, featuring poetry by Virgil Suarez, Robert Gibbons, Todd Sanders, among others; and essays by Lois Parkinson Zamora, Wendy B. Faris, and Michael Wood.
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