The Podcast for Social Research, Ep. 26: Mandatory Separation: Palestine, Religion, and Mass Politics
In the 26th episode of the Podcast for Social Research, Suzanne Schneider, Antonio Alessandrini, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary take the publication of Suzanne’s book Mandatory Separation: Religion, Education, and Mass Politics in Palestine as an opportunity to discuss the relationship between religion, education, and modern mass politics. In Mandate Palestine, the British colonial government, which saw religion as necessarily apolitical, supported religious education for both Palestinians and Jews as an antidote to radicalism and nationalism. In doing so, they inadvertently provided leaders of both groups a tool for developing nationalist identities, and thus helped set the terms for contemporary Middle Eastern conflict. Why was religion a boon for nationalist identity formation? Is religion a source of stability and continuity, or is it historically an agent for radical change? What makes a concept, proposition, or practice religious, and why does it matter? Indeed, are religion and politics, even in the modern period, neatly and easily separable?