Monotheism: Its Influence on Patriarchy and Misogyny, Allan S. Mohl
Abstract: Monotheism as reflected in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is essentially patriarchal and frequently misogynistic. This paper’s major premise is that patriarchy and gender bias is dominant and these factors have had enormous influence in Western societies.
Paleoanthropologists describe the gender roles of early mankind very clearly. Males were the ones who did the hunting and females stayed with the children and were the food gatherers. Many scientists who have studied the evolution of Homo sapiens, believe that the agricultural revolution was developed by women who concentrated on the growth and development of plants and their utilization. This revolution is assumed to have occurred between ten and twelve thousand years ago, and is considered to be the beginning of human civilization as we know it.
Around the time of the agricultural revolution–another revolution was developing. This was the religious revolution in which temples to the Gods and Goddesses were built and were added to the complexity of developing towns and villages and ultimately, the cities. Now it was clear that to appease the Gods and Goddesses, sacrifices were necessary. This often meant that one’s most precious possessions had to be sacrificed so that the land could be fertilized for food to grow. The sacrifices may have included children who were the most loved within their family units. These ancient peoples believed that the Gods and Goddesses had the power of life and death over them.
Fear of Freedom: The Psychological Origins of Tocqueville’s Views on Religion , Cheryl Cantrell
Abstract: Alexis de Tocqueville, famous for his authorship of , is generally regarded as a passionate defender of liberty. Yet there is a rarely acknowledged authoritarian streak in his writing, an obsessive fear that the free play of individual reason and private judgment in religious matters would undermine society. Its roots lie in a trauma he suffered at age sixteen, when he lost his faith in the dogmatic Catholicism of his childhood and suffered a nervous breakdown. This experience distorted his view of the role of religion in a democracy, leading him to imagine that every individual who did not adhere to a dogmatic faith was on the verge of suffering the same sort of trauma as he had suffered. It skewed his interpretation of history, causing him to ignore the religious intolerance, which had so often stained the record of his native France, including a shameful episode involving one of his very own ancestors. Most disturbingly, it led him perilously close to endorsing the use of coercion to enforce religious conformity. In contrast to his brilliant insights on other subjects, Tocqueville’s assertions concerning religion are unsupported by and often contrary to the evidence, for as this paper seeks to show, they are not reasoned analyses but rather products of his own fear of spiritual and intellectual freedom, stemming from the personal trauma he experienced in his youth.
Steven Spielberg’s Munich, A Film for our Time: A Psychohistorical Perspective, Jacques Szaluta
Abstract: The title of this paper includes “A Film for Our Time” because terrorism or the fear of it is now an accepted fact of our lives, and we all have constant reminders of this threat and danger. For example, almost all who travel by air have to go through lengthy and tedious checks at the airports. Security checks have become a ubiquitous feature of our existence; hence Spielberg has tapped into our existential realities.
As opens, Arab terrorists are shown to stealthily attack and capture as hostages obviously innocent Israeli athletes, while they are sleeping, and soon thereafter murder them. The film portrays this act as a harrowing one, gruesome and horrific in the barbaric way it is carried out. The story takes place during the 1972 Olympics, an international athletic event devoted to fostering peace among nations. The attack is sadistic and poignantly overwhelming. It is a carefully planned terrorist act, which leads to the murder of eleven Israeli athletes. Spielberg draws the audience into the central dilemma of this film: how do you respond to such a deed?
As Munich opens, Arab terrorists are shown to stealthily attack and capture as hostages obviously innocent Israeli athletes, while they are sleeping, and soon thereafter murder them. The film portrays this act as a harrowing one, gruesome and horrific in the barbaric way it is carried out. The story takes place during the 1972 Olympics, an international athletic event devoted to fostering peace among nations. The attack is sadistic and poignantly overwhelming. It is a carefully planned terrorist act, which leads to the murder of eleven Israeli athletes. Spielberg draws the audience into the central dilemma of this film: how do you respond to such a deed?
To begin, this paper looks at the controversy–the pros and cons of Munich. It then touches upon Spielberg as a cinematographer. Finally, it examines the psychohistorical aspects of the film.
The Impact of a Psychohistorian’s Life Experience and Personality on His Career and Scholarship, Paul H. Elovitz
Abstract: Professor Peter Petschauer is an exemplary historian and psychohistorian by virtue of his scholarship on the education of women in 18th century Germany, the evolution of childhood, Catherine the Great of Russia, and much else. His willingness to probe his own life, family history, and his conscious as well as unconscious motivations is commendable for a psychohistorian. Born in Berlin in 1939 as war loomed over Europe, his father was an SS officer whose wife was incapable of good mothering. Nevertheless, Petschauer found good caretakers and mentors for himself as a young child and youth prior to immigrating to America on his own at age 17. In the U.S. he put himself through college and afterwards made major contributions to his university and elsewhere. In two recent books he courageously probed into both his father’s involvement in the SS and the impact of his relationship with the four women he called mother. Currently, he has a very busy retirement as a patron of the arts, poet, and scholar who is writing a novel about an 18th century female painter and mentoring younger colleagues. This essay will follow and analyze Professor W. Petschauer’s life, show the influence of the four women who nurtured him, and discuss the relationship between his early life and his work as an educator, historian, psychohistorian, and human being.
Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft after Salem, Owen Davies, Oxford University Press, 2013. Reviewed by Dan Dervin
Owen Davies opens his compelling account of witchcraft in all its awful manifestations with the aftermath of the 1692 Salem witch trials: “nineteen people executed, one man pressed to death during interrogation, and four others perished in jail,” with many more bereaved and traumatized in a community devastated and ever after identified with these horrors. The shocking trial should have ended this sorry chapter in our colonial history, but the author demonstrates that other alleged practices, accusations, and trials flared up like brush fires across the land for centuries, with casualties far exceeding the original figures.
Innocent Weapons: The Soviet and American Politics of Childhood in the Cold War, Margaret Peacock, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014. Reviewed by Dan Dervin
As history professor Margaret Peacock’s title indicates, images of children were deployed as propaganda pawns in the ideological battle between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. And although the two super powers ostensibly bore divergent messages with the other portrayed as a dangerous threat, Peacock’s thesis is that both also harbored disarming similarities.