Sarah Bachelard’s Resurrection and Moral Imagination reviewed in The Tablet by Philip McCosker

Resurrection and the Moral ImaginationSarah Bachelard’s book Resurrection and Moral Imagination was recently reviewed in The Tablet by Philip McCosker. An edited extract of the review appears below, or you can read the full review online on The Tablet’s website.

It is staggering how little good recent theo­logical writing on the Resurrection there is. You might expect that the pivotal element of the Christian Gospel would have been the focus of theologians’ attention for centuries; you would be disappointed…

Very rarely has the Resurrection been treated as theologically revealing in its own right. There are some notable exceptions: Rowan Williams, James Alison, Anthony Kelly CSsR, and most recently, Brian Robinette’s brilliant Grammars of Resurrection.

But now we have Australian philosopher-­theologian Sarah Bachelard’s excellent Resurrection and Moral Imagination which boldly and astutely builds on all these theologians to forge an ethical vision from that most Christian of doctrines. It will be of interest to ­anyone concerned with the question of how to live in our world, whether religious or secular.

Bachelard’s game-changing vision is quite different from that of her fellow Anglican moral theologian Oliver O’Donovan’s earlier Resurrection and Moral Order. For O’Donovan, ethics must be founded on the Resurrection because it vindicates the created order and its morality; for Bachelard, the Resurrection gives a new world from which to act, and that world can be perceived even without explicit religious belonging…

…Bachelard has interesting and nourishing things to say about desire, sacrifice, secularisation, the need for the Church and theology to  attend to the messiness of real life. Her prose is refreshing and crystal clear, deceptively simple, open, conciliatory, non-fluffy and imaginative. Her focus on practice is astute and the engagement with the secular timely. This book is a major contribution to theological ethics and deserves sustained engagement.

About the Author:  Reverend Dr Sarah Bachelard is an Anglican priest and theologian based in Canberra, Australia. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, with special interests in philosophy, ethics and spirituality, and is the author of Experiencing God in a Time of Crisis (Convivium, 2012). She is the leader and founder of Benedictus Contemplative Church, an ecumenical worshipping community with a practice of silent meditation at its heart, and is a member of the World Community for Christian Meditation.

Other reviews:

‘Far more than a discrete proposition, the resurrection of Jesus entails an imaginative world to be inhabited and cultivated-a world that would transform our moral stances by reframing the horizons and desires that shape and often distort our views of transcendence, self and neighbor, and death. Sarah Bachelard’s Resurrection and Moral Imagination powerfully evokes such a world, yet does so by showing how the distinctive features of Christian imagination open up to and are deepened by sustained conversation across philosophical and theological boundaries. While skillfully conducting this conversation, Bachelard’s own keen insights provide the reader with a rich sense of the Christian’s resurrection ethic as a wisdom ethic.’    Brian Robinette, Boston College, USA

‘More than any other book I have read, Resurrection and Moral Imagination brings the kind of moral philosophy first developed in the English-speaking world by Iris Murdoch, into critical dialogue with theology. In prose of enviable simplicity, with sensitivity, depth and sometimes startling originality, Bachelard explores the ways each needs the other.’   Raimond Gaita, University of Melbourne, Australia

‘Innovative, lucid and sensitive, this is a genuinely fresh look at what is distinctive about the Christian moral vision, worked out in conversation with a variety of sympathetic but more secular voices, including Rai Gaita and Iris Murdoch. Sarah Bachelard is a really significant new voice in theological ethics.’   Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK

Full information about Resurrection and Moral Imagination is on our website

Call for Papers: Playthings in Early Modernity: Party Games, Word Games, Mind Games (edited collection)

Posted by Erika Gaffney, Publishing Manager

Contributions are sought for an interdisciplinary collection of essays to be edited by Allison Levy and published by Ashgate Publishing in the new book series, Cultures of Play, 1300-1700 (series editor Bret Rothstein). Dedicated to early modern playfulness, this series serves two purposes. First, it recounts the history of wit, humor, and games, from jokes and sermons, for instance, to backgammon and blind man’s buff. Second, in addressing its topic – ludic culture – broadly, Cultures of Play also provides a forum for reconceptualizing the play elements of early modern economic, political, religious, and social life.

Within this framework, PLAYTHINGS IN EARLY MODERNITY: PARTY GAMES, WORD GAMES, MIND GAMES emphasizes the rules of the game(s) as well as the breaking of those rules: playmates and game changers, teammates and tricksters, matchmakers and deal breakers, gamblers and grifters, scripts and ventriloquism, charades and masquerades, game pieces and pawns. Thus, a ‘plaything’ is understood as both an object and a person, and play, in early modern Europe (1300-1700), is treated not merely as a pastime, a leisurely pursuit, but also as a pivotal part of daily life, a strategic psychosocial endeavor: Why do we play games – with and upon each other as well as ourselves? Who are the winners, and who are the losers? Desirable essays will also consider the spaces of play: from the stage to the street, from the pulpit to the piazza, from the bedroom to the brothel: What happens when players go ‘out of bounds,’ or when games go ‘too far’? We seek new and innovative scholarship at the nexus of material culture/the study of objects, performance studies, and game theory. We welcome proposals from a wide range of disciplines, including gender studies, childhood studies, history, languages and literature, theater history, religious studies, the history and philosophy of science, philosophy, psychology, and the history of art and visual culture.

PLAYTHINGS IN EARLY MODERNITY: PARTY GAMES, WORD GAMES, MIND GAMES will be an illustrated volume, with individual contributors responsible for any permission and/or art acquisition fees. Final essays, of approximately 8,000 words (incl. notes), and all accompanying b&w illustrations/permissions will be due no later than January 15, 2015. For consideration, please send an abstract (max. 500 words), a preliminary list of illustrations (if applicable), and a CV to Allison Levy (allisonlevy2@gmail.com or playthingsvolume@gmail.com) by September 15, 2014. Notifications will be emailed by the end of September.

Ireland’s 1916 Rising shortlisted for the Geographical Society of Ireland’s Book of the Year award 2014

Posted by Fiona Dunford, Marketing Executive

Irelands 1916 RisingCongratulations to Mark McCarthy, whose book Ireland’s 1916 Rising, was short-listed for the 2014 book of the year award from the Geographical Society of Ireland.

The Judges’ comments:

‘immaculately researched and a lively engagement with the key critical debates surrounding issues of memory, commemoration and historical legacies surrounding the revolutionary period in modern Irish history ‘  Nessa Cronin, Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway

‘In this definitive work on the topic, Mark McCarthy traces the political, ideational, identity and iconographic impacts of the Easter 1916 Rising in Ireland… This is required reading for scholars in the field and beyond’   Pádraig Carmody, Dept of Geography, Trinity College Dublin

Mark McCarthy’s book explores why, how and in what ways the memory of Ireland’s 1916 Rising has persisted over the decades? It breaks new ground by offering a wide-ranging exploration of the making and remembrance of the story of 1916 in modern times, which is not only of historical concern, but of contemporary political and cultural importance.

More about Ireland’s 1916 Rising

Beryl Graham talks at Tate Modern, at the ‘Cultural Value and the Digital’ conference

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

Beryl Graham, author of New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art gave a talk at the Tate Modern earlier this week, taking part in the conference Cultural value and the digital: practice, policy and theory, the culmination of a research project and series of eight public workshops, to explore how conceptions of cultural value are currently operating and could be examined in relationship to digital media and museums.

This research project focused on Tate’s digital practices and policies as well as the practices of other UK and European Museums that shape contemporary production of culture; a context which is transformed or challenged by current digital technologies and network culture.

New Collecting_Graham PPC_new collectingBeryl Graham’s book New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art sets out to explore the many new challenges faced by curators and collectors of new media art

‘This is essential reading for artists, curators, art historians, students and anyone else interested in creating, commissioning, collecting, exhibiting and documenting new media art. The authors provide an excellent overview of the challenges involved in dealing with 21st-century artworks that are “not easy to collect”.’   Douglas Dodds, Victoria and Albert Museum, UK

‘New forms of art production necessitate new ways of thinking about exhibiting and collecting. This book fills a gap in the field by directly addressing the challenge for curators and audiences alike in exploring ways that do not simply replicate old models but redefine possibilities of what is collected, how, and for whom.’   Joasia Krysa, Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark

Beryl Graham is Professor of New Media Art, at the University of Sunderland, UK and co-founder and editor of CRUMB, the resource for curators of new media art. She curated the international exhibition Serious Games for the Laing and Barbican art galleries, and has also worked with The Exploratorium, San Francisco, and San Francisco Camerawork.  Beryl Graham has presented papers at conferences including Decoding the Digital (Victoria and Albert Museum).

Helen Chatterjee and the Museums on Prescription research project

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

Museums Health and WellbeingDr Helen Chatterjee, author of Museums, Health and Well-Being, was interviewed on the BBC news for a feature on loneliness yesterday talking about ‘Museums on Prescription’ a three year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Helen Chatterjee is leading a team of researchers to explore the value and role of museums in social prescribing.

Social prescribing links patients in primary care with local sources of support within the community which can improve their health and wellbeing. ‘Museums on Prescription’ is the first of its kind internationally and will research the development and efficacy of a novel referral scheme.

The project will connect socially isolated, vulnerable and lonely older people, referred through the NHS, Local Authority Adult Social Care services and charities, to partner museums in Central London and Kent.

The research project is a collaboration between over 15 organisations including The British Museum, Sir John Soanes Museum, UCL Museums & Collections, Camden Council, and Kent and Medway NHS Partnership Trust.

Other organisations involved include Age UK Camden, Arts Council England (ACE), the New Economics Foundation (Nef Consulting) and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).

The scheme will complement existing social prescription services including ‘arts on prescription’ and ‘books on prescription’ and will work in partnership with organisations such as the RSPH, ACE and local branches of Age UK to roll out ‘museums on prescription’ nationwide.

Since 2006, researchers at UCL have been pioneering research into the role of museums in health and wellbeing. A series of research projects, funded by the AHRC and amounting to over £1million, have helped to establish UCL as the leading centre for research in this area.

Professor Paul M. Camic, Professor of Psychology & Public Health and Research Director, Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, is the project’s Co-Investigator and Dr Linda Thomson, UCL, is the Lead Postdoctoral Research Associate for the project. Dr Theo Stickley, Associate Professor of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham, is the project’s External Advisor.

Links

Helen Chatterjee awarded AHRC Grant

New AHRC grant will fund ‘Museums on Prescription’ research

BBC News link

Nigel Bertram wins prestigious AIA award for Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure

Posted by Fiona Dunford, Marketing Executive

Furniture Structure InfrastructureAshgate is pleased to announce that Nigel Bertram, author of Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure has received the Bates Smart Award for Architecture in the Media, awarded by the Australian Institute of Architects. The Bates Smart Award for Architecture in the Media is Australia’s most prestigious media award for journalists, editors, producers and others reporting on architecture and design.

Extract from the awarding body’s citation

‘Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure’ presents architectural research through practice in an engaging and deliberate manner at an accessible level that is rarely achieved…the work within this book engages with a ‘fine grain’ context and responds to the city as it is rather than a view  of what it might be . In doing so, ‘Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure’ clearly demonstrates design research as an integral underpinning to architectural practice and careful observation, analysis and the application of accumulated knowledge as key drivers for compelling design ideas.   Bates Smart

Nigel Bertram is a Director of NMBW Architecture Studio, Melbourne and Practice Professor of Architecture in the Faculty of Art Design & Architecture at Monash University, Australia.

Published in November 2013 Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure  is one of the books in Ashgate’s new series Design Research in Architecture which encourages the exploration of innovative and cutting edge ideas of particular relevance to architects and urban designers.

Controversies in Innocence Cases in America: Editor’s Review

This is a guest post from Sarah Lucy Cooper, Senior Lecturer in Law at Birmingham City University Law School, UK, and Fellow, Arizona Justice Project. It was originally published on the Human Rights and Public Law Blog.

Sarah Cooper presenting 1In 2010 I joined the Arizona Justice Project – a non-profit organization that represents Arizona inmates with significant claims of innocence and ‘manifest injustice’ — as an Adjunct Fellow. The Justice Project is the fifth oldest member of the Innocence Network, which brings together over 60 such projects worldwide.

As a Fellow, I started to engage with the many and varied controversies of innocence work at a time when the American Innocence Movement had found its stride, with around 1000 exonerations to its name. These controversies ranged from the impact of restricted resources and antipathetic attitudes towards reform, to the difficulties of investigating common causes of wrong convictions such as false confessions, eyewitness misidentification and flawed forensic evidence, and the challenges of navigating complex and stringent post-conviction relief rules.

In the heat of the Justice Project trenches, further exploration often led to more questions than answers. Luckily, however, in 2011 Ashgate Publishing Ltd commissioned the Centre for American Legal Studies at Birmingham City University to produce an edited collection series — Controversies in American Constitutional Law — and presented me with the opportunity to provide some answers.

Controversies in Innocence Cases in AmericaMy collection is titled Controversies in Innocence Cases in America and the final line up of contributors includes some of America’s finest ‘innocence’ scholars and lawyers. This includes frontline members of the Innocence Network Keith Findley and Jacqueline McMurtrie, and scholars at the forefront of innocence associated research, namely Jules Epstein, Richard A. Leo, Deborah Davies, Lissa Griffin, Marvin Zalman, Nancy Marion, Michael J. Williams, Carrie Leonetti and Francine Banner, as well as scholars working live innocence cases daily, namely D. Michael Risinger and Lesley C. Risinger at Seton Hall’s Last Resort Exoneration Project and Carrie Sperling the Co-Director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project.

With this diversity of perspective and experience, the collection naturally formed into anthology that provides a 360 degree view of controversies associated with the American Innocence Movement. Moreover, to underscore the practical significant of the collection, the Arizona Justice Project provides a foreword intertwining the collection’s themes with its real-life experiences.

The collection is presented in four sections. Below I discuss some of the highlights across the collection.

PART I: THE RISE OF THE INNOCENCE MOVEMENT IN AMERICA

Part I charts the rise of the American Innocence Movement from the unique perspectives of Keith Findley, the President of the Innocence Network, and Jacqueline McMurtrie, the Director of the Innocence Project Northwest and founding member of the Innocence Network.

Findley considers the Innocence Movement as the “new revolution” in American criminal justice, whereas McMurtrie approaches the journey of the Innocence Network “from beginning to branding,” considering notions of collaborative governance and future research about developing an Innocence Network brand. As such, these accounts of the development of this crucial era of American criminal justice are unrivalled.

PART II: HOW ARE INNOCENT PEOPLE CONVICTED? COMMON CAUSES OF WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS

Part II explores some of the most common causes of wrongful convictions in America, providing a clear insight on how innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit. In chapter 3, Jules Epstein considers the “conundrum” of eyewitness misidentification, the most common cause of wrongful convictions in America with research showing around 75% of the DNA exonerations are attributable to such errors. More information about this pervasive issue can be found here.

In Chapter 4, Deborah Davis, Richard A. Leo and Michael J. Williams, examine the issue of false confession, with a particular concentration on interrogation-induced false confessions. They conclude a “real overhaul” of core interrogation techniques is required to resolve this problem. The cases of John Watkins and Eddie Joe Lloyd showcase the need for this research. See: http://www.innocenceproject.org/understand/False-Confessions.php.

In Chapter 5, Lissa Griffin tackles the issue of the suppression of exculpatory evidence by prosecutors. Griffin explores the Brady doctrine from its conception in the United States Supreme Court to notions of formalised reform. She concludes that Brady has not provided “meaningful” protection for innocents.

Finally, in a bespoke, Chapter 6, Carrie Leonetti considers the largely untouched issue of America’s contribution to wrongful convictions abroad via foreign aid programmes that provide far more extensive resources for prosecution bodies than defense. Leonetti concludes that America needs to “foster a domestic conversation” about the end goal of American rule of law programs, boldly stating “blindly doing more of the same will not work.”

PART III: REALITY BITES: PROBLEMS WITH INVESTIGATING, PROVING AND DEFINING INNOCENCE

In their foreword, leaders of the Arizona Justice Project state this section of the collection “largely reflects the debates and challenges we engage in daily.” They note familiarity with the “innocence lawyer” role discussed by D. Michael Risinger and Lesley C. Risinger in Chapter 7.

The Risingers argue the emerging role of ‘innocence lawyer’ is different from the traditional criminal defense role, and warrants different ethical considerations. They say this role involves signalling a “well-warranted belief in actual innocence, or at least the gross unsafety of the verdict in regard to actual guilt.” They conclude that this role should be supported by any “mature legal system calling itself a system of individual justice.”

In Chapter 8, Carrie Sperling – by highlighting the myriad of complex and stringent post-conviction procedures faced by a hypothetical innocent inmate – cleverly narrates the difficulties that result when finality and innocence collide. The Arizona Justice Project label the problems faced by the hypothetical inmate as “all too familiar.”

Finally, in Chapter 9, Francine Banner critically examines the contemporary post-conviction innocence standard in light of the rise of DNA evidence; a crucial discussion in any anthology dedicated to innocence issues. To date, 316 people have been exonerated by post-conviction DNA evidence in America and access to DNA testing has been labelled a priority issue by the Innocence Network’s most famous member, The Innocence Project. The Innocence Project’s recommendations about access to DNA statutes can be found here.

PART IV: INNOCENCE REFORM

The final section of the collection looks at how the Innocence Movement has encouraged reform across the American criminal justice system. In Chapter 11 I focus on the concept and development of innocence commissions across America since the new millennium. The chapter highlights how these bodies face tensions with traditional facets of the criminal justice system, framing issues, complex group dynamics and a lack of legitimacy and resources, which has, generally, prevented them from successfully integrating into the criminal justice system, as mechanisms for reducing the likelihood of wrongful convictions.

In Chapter 10, Marvin Zalman and Nancy Marian take a wider, more eclectic approach to reform, exploring the policy work of the Innocence Movement in light existing policy making theories. They suggest innocence reform can be explained by borrowing elements from various existing theories, but no single theory. They conclude by encouraging scholars to engage in further research.

The collection has been described as a “provocative, insightful and valuable resource” by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld, the widely recognised God-fathers of the Innocence Movement. Similarly, Professor Daniel Medwed has described the collection as a “thoughtful and wide-ranging treatment of the topic and a major addition to the academic literature.” Larry Hammond, former President of the American Judicature Society, hails the “Hall of Fame” of contributors and describes the collection as a “roadmap” that might help “us more unerringly to convict the guilty and to free the innocent.”

Admittedly, the collection is not exhaustive, but it would be impossible to – no pun intended — ‘do justice’ to such a vast, complex and ever-evolving area of discourse in a single collection. To that end, it has been a privilege to bring together a discussion of some of the most important issues in the world of innocence from the perspectives of people who engage with it in the most meaningful ways.

More information about Controversies in Innocence Cases in America