Friday, 1 April 2016

Friday Memes and 'Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror' by Bruce Holsinger

Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on TerrorToday I'm sharing a book with you that is not necessarily fun but incredibly interesting and mandatory reading for university. I also got to use my lecturer's copy which wasn't terrifying at all... every time I held a drink I was scared I'd spill it all over his books. And academic books are so ridiculously expensive I would've cried if I'd ruined it. Anyways, let me introduce you to Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror by Bruce Holsinger.
President Bush was roundly criticized for likening America’s antiterrorism measures to a “crusade” in 2001. Far from just a gaffe, however, such medievalism has become a dominant paradigm for comprehending the identity and motivations of America’s perceived enemy in the war on terror. Yet as Bruce Holsinger argues here, this cloying post-9/11 rhetoric has served to obscure the more intricate ideological machinations ofneomedievalism, the global idiom of the non-state actor: non-governmental organizations, transnational corporate militias, and terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda.
'Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror' addresses the role of neomedievalism in contemporary politics. While international-relations theorists promote neomedievalism as a model for understanding emergent modes of global sovereignty, neoconservatives exploit its conceptual slipperiness for their own tactical ends. Holsinger concludes with a careful parsing of the Bush administration’s torture memos, which enlist neomedievalism’s model of feudal sovereignty on behalf of the abrogation of human rights. 
Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Gillion over at Rose City Reader and Freda at Freda's Voice respectively.

'On September 14, 2001, Thomas Friedman devoted his column in The NY Times to what he termed the "civil war within Islam", an epochal struggle pitting the modernizing advocates of progressive democratization across the Near and Middle East against the reactionary forces of Islamist fundamentalism. As Friedman described it, this civil war symbolized a larger reordering of world alliances equal in its impact tot he momentous geopolitical upheavals of the twentieth century. "Just as World Wars I and II produced new orders and divisions, " Friedman wrote, "so too might this war." One such division stretches across a chasm not of place, belief, or population, however, but of time.' p.3
I absolutely love that I get to apply some of my medieval knowledge and see how it's used in the world andI totally agree with Holsinger throughout this book. Post 9/11 the idea of the Middle Ages and of "medieval" was used to cast one side of the conflict as ancient and hence in need of destruction and the other as extremely modern and hence "good". This led not only to a complete misinterpretation of the Middle Ages but also to an increasingly widening gap of understanding between West and East.

Quote from Hedley Bull's The Anarchical State: A Study of Order in World Politics'It is ... conceivable that sovereign states might disappear and be replaced not by a world government but by a modern and secular equivalent of the kind of universal political organisation that existed in Western Christendom in the Middle Ages. In that system no ruler or state was sovereign in the sense of being supreme over a given territory and a given segment of the Christian population;' quoted on p.56
 I definitely think I want to pick up Bull's book. Being bi-national, the idea of a state has never had much importance to me because I don't belong to a single one anyway. As a mainland European I also think I probably have quite a different view on the benefits that less emphasis on nation states might have. I'm aware however that it is a scary concept for many because of national pride and the fear of the loss of national identity.

I get that Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea but are you intrigued by its ideas? Do you think you'd be interested to find out more about it? I might consider putting up a discussion of some of its points and ideas, if people would be interested :)


  1. This is not my cup of tea at all. I do hope you enjoy it though.
    I added you to the Linky. Happy weekend!

  2. It would be terrifying to be reading the lecturer's copy, I would be a basketcase. I'm not sure this something I'd read but I'm glad your enjoying it.

  3. I'm glad you are excited about the information and your class AND I'm glad I don't have to go to school anymore so I have to read books like that. So sad that we even have to discuss terrorism...I wish we didn't have such a divided world. My TTT

  4. It sounds like a fascinating read. Good luck using the lecturer's copy! :)

    Check out my Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings).

  5. So this sounds really interesting and I would love to see your notes on it! I'm too broke to be buying expensive academic texts for laughs, and somehow I doubt I can find it at the Stockholm library....

  6. It's just too early in the morning!But it does sound interesting.
    sherry @ fundinmental Friday Memes

  7. Not something I'd probably read but glad you liked it. I'd be afraid to spill something on it too:)

    My Friday 56

  8. Oh, goodness! I'm so glad I'm out of school and don't have to read that sort of book anymore. I'm glad you are finding it interesting and informative. I am featuring Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle this week. Happy reading!

  9. You lost me, but I love how passionate you are about it! Here's my Friday Book Avenue

  10. Interesting and so relevant!

  11. I majored in history in college and I do agree with both the beginning statement and the 56...that said...I'm not sure I'm up for a discussion on the topic right now to be honest because of what's going on with our political situation right now and the upcoming fall elections which have taken over the news already - sigh- hope you enjoy the book though. Here's my Friday meme