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January 23, 2022
ARTS & LEISURE

On modernism and terrorism with Oxford historian Roger Griffin

The public conference series “Cultura bate criza” (CuBaCri) will be resumed this autumn at the Central University Library (BCU). Thus, tonight, starting 6.30pm, the “Carol I” Central University Library’s Grand Hall hosts the ninth CuBaCri conference. The guest of tonight’s conference is Professor Roger Griffin from the Oxford Brookes University, a modern history specialist whose highly original works on Fascism have been translated into several languages. The title of his forthcoming monograph is “The Metapolitics of Terrorism. From the Sicarii to the New Knight Templars” (Palgrave, 2012).

Does modernity consist merely in transcending chronic underdevelopment – as it was in our case – or does it imply, as well, the loss of identity-bound traditions, loneliness, moral and social decadence? Both seem to be valid, hence the violent reactions proposed as alternatives to it – Nazism and communism or terrorism. However, the latter is not restricted to violent killings, in Griffin’s view. It derives from the failure of several, local or ethnically different, groups to adapt to Western modernity and from their desire to destroy the present corrupt world to set up a pure and just world in its stead. The historian retraces the drama of these “orphans of God” not only in history, but also in works of fiction, from Dostoevsky, Conrad, Malraux and Camus to Pakistani-born writer Sunjee Sahota, a British citizen. There is, therefore, a “metapolitics” of terrorism, but the attempt to “bring heaven on earth” at any cost has inevitable “diabolical” effects, according to Griffin.

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