Gëzim Alpion: From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa
| E Marte, 08.04.2008, 12:26 PM |

Press Release

Announcing the publication of Gëzim Alpion’s

Encounters with Civilizations:

From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa

Calcutta, India, 7 April 2008

ISBN 10: 81-88248-05-3 (pbk); xxii, 262 pp., £9.95, $19.95, €14.95, Rs. 295

A collection of essays, Encounters with Civilizations: from Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa, by Gëzim Alpion, Professor of Sociology and Media Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK, has now been published in Kolkata by Meteor Books. The collection is edited by Gaston Roberge, Professor of Mass Communication and Film Studies, at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

When some speak of ‘clashes of civilizations’, Alpion and Roberge believe that not only can civilizations co-exist peacefully, but they must encounter harmoniously if they are to survive the present globalization trends. The fifteen articles included in this book will serve as essential reading for scholars, students and general readers who are interested in encountering the ‘other’ without prejudice.

Alpion was born in Albania in 1962. He records in this book his encounters with civilizations as a student (at the Universities of Tirana, Cairo and Durham) and as a sociologist and media expert. The essays were written between 1993 and 2007 and some of them have already been published in international peer-reviewed journals and newspapers.

As an Albanian, Alpion could not but take a keen interest in Mother Teresa. He has written widely on Mother Teresa since 2003. His internationally acclaimed book Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity? was published by Routledge in the UK, the USA and Canada at the beginning of 2007. The Indian edition (also in English) has just been published in New Delhi by Routledge India; the Italian edition will be published by Salerno Editrice in Rome on 30 April 2008. Alpion’s Mother Teresa is perhaps the first book written by a scholar, who no doubt admires Mother Teresa but is not a ‘devotee’.

Alpion’s essays on Mother Teresa included in Encounters with Civilizations together with the essay by Roberge, ‘Mother Teresa, Abortion and the Media’, will hopefully encourage other sociologists and media scholars to approach Mother Teresa, her legacy and her relationship with the media without bias.

Canadian-born editor, Gaston Roberge, who has been living in India since 1961, believes that this collection of essays is strikingly relevant to the people of India, the cradle of ancient and rich civilizations. The experiences of the Egyptians recorded in the book will evoke a response in the hearts of many Indian readers, who will also have an opportunity to understand better their own milieu. Essays on the plight of the migrants from the Balkans to the UK, and especially the treatment of the foreign scholars in England, will ring a familiar tone to many an Indian. The book ends with a plea by Alpion to resist social closure.

However critical of certain situations, the essays are always positive and hopeful. The book has already been praised highly by numerous sociologists and media scholars.

‘Globalization has brought an increased awareness of the interconnectedness of cultures, while a historical awareness shows the hubris involved in any presumption of a privileged centre. Dr Gëzim Alpion is the ideal companion in travels across and within cultures. He brings a sensitive humanism and the eye of an acute scholar to address diverse issues of cross-cultural understanding in divided worlds. These essays will be necessary reading.’

John Holmwood, Professor of Sociology, University of Birmingham, UK

‘Academics today are expected to specialize in a subject and not attempt to address big issues so it's refreshing to find Dr Gëzim Alpion bringing an acute intelligence and critical eye to the question of civilization; what it means and how identity is shaped by religion, place, culture and society. His work is augmented by a foreword and two essays from the editor of the anthology, Professor Gaston Roberge, whose own encounters with civilizations bring an added depth to this account of a journey of discovery.’

Brian Shoesmith, Professor of Media Studies and Journalism, University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh/Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia.

Encounters with Civilizations: From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa and Dr Alpion’s other two new books – If Only the Dead Could Listen (Chapel Hill, NC, USA: Globic Press, 2008), and Madre Teresa: Santa o Celebrità? (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2008) – will be launched at a special event in London hosted by the Right Honourable Gentleman, Mr John Grogan, Member of the British Parliament for Selby, at the House of Commons, on Friday 25 April 2008 from 16:00 to 18:00.

ENDS

________________________________________________________

For more information please contact:

§         Professor Gaston Roberge, St. Xavier’s College, 30 Mother Teresa Sarani, Kolkata, 700 016 India; Tel: +91 33 2255 1155; E-mail: gaston.roberge@gmail.com

§         Dr Gëzim Alpion, Department of Sociology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2341; Mobile: +44 (0)787 651 2001; E-mail: g.i.alpion@bham.ac.uk; www.sociology.bham.ac.uk/staff/alpion.shtml

________________________________________________________

Encounters with Civilizations:

From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa

Contents

Acknowledgments                                                                                                        x

Foreword by Gaston Roberge                                                                                      xiii

Part One: Albania                                                                                                      1

1. An interview with the ghost of Muhammad Ali, former ruler of Egypt              3

2. Kosova – a corner of Europe still waiting for peace                                       11

Part Two: Egypt                                                                                                         17

3. Foreigner complex                                                                                                    19

i. When in Rome                                                                                              19

ii. Back to the army                                                                                         21

iii. Enslaved by the slaves                                                                                22

iv. Complete apathy                                                                                        24

v. Cultural invasion                                                                                        26

vi. Cracked but not broken                                                                             27

vii. Becoming foreign to become Egyptian                                                      30

viii. The making of Egypt’s politicians                                                            32

ix. Egypt for the Egyptians                                                                             34

4. Egyptian coffee shops                                                                                               38

i. The ancient drinking-places                                                                         38

ii. The advent of coffee                                                                                    40

iii. The Alexandrian bursa                                                                               41

iv. The Cairo club                                                                                            44

v. The rural gharza                                                                                         46

5. The Bride of Hapi – female sacrifice and cosmic order                                              50

i. The genesis of the rite                                                                                  50

ii. The drowning                                                                                              54

iii. The revival                                                                                                  55

6. A parade of porters                                                                                                  59

i. The Nubian doorman                                                                                   59

ii. The peasant bowab                                                                                     61

iii. The simsars in their prime                                                                          63

iv. Today’s bowab                                                                                           65

Part Three: United Kingdom                                                                         69

7. If Only the Dead Could Listen (a tragedy) – Scene Four                                         71

Synopsis (Scenes 1, 2 and 3)                                                                            72

Scene 4                                                                                                            73

Synopsis (Scene 5)                                                                                           85

 8. Images of Albania and Albanians in English literature – from Edith Durham’s High Albania to J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter                       86

9. Western media and the European ‘other’ – images of Albania in the British press                                                                        97

i. Introduction                                                                                                 97

ii. Expanding the Orient                                                                                  97

iii. Racial prejudice towards the Balkans                                                        101

iv. Identity crisis                                                                                              104

v. The exotic archive                                                                                       106

vi. The Death of the Journalist                                                                        115

vii. The price of biased journalism                                                                  117

viii. The media and double standards                                                  123

Part Four: India                                                                                                          127

10. Oh! not Calcutta!                                                                                                    129

11. Media and celebrity culture – subjectivist, structuralist and  post-structuralist approaches to Mother Teresa’s celebrity status                              131

12. A review of Hiromi J. Kudo’s book Mother Teresa: A Saint from Skopje 153

13. A note on Gëzim Alpion’s book Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity?

By Gaston Roberge                                                                                                157

14. Mother Teresa, abortion and the media

 By Gaston Roberge                                                                                                159

Introduction: In praise of Mother Teresa                                                             159

Part One: Mother Teresa’s thought about abortion                                            160

Part Two: How Mother Teresa talked about abortion                                         166

a. A prophetic approach                                                                                  166

b. The Nobel Prize for Peace: acceptance speech and

Nobel lecture                                                                                         168

Part Three: How the media reported Mother Teresa’s statements about abortion                                                                                  170

a. The Nobel Prize for Peace                                                                           171

b. A feature film on Mother Teresa                                                                 173

Conclusion: The logic behind Mother Teresa’s concern about abortion             175

Envoi: ‘No’ to social closure                                                                                           179

 15. Brain down the drain: an exposé of social closure in Western academia                          181

i. Introduction                                                                                                 181

ii. The modern workhouse                                                                               181

iii. Brain drain: a new chapter of an old story                                                185

iv. Dictatorship and intellectual exodus                                                          188

v. Between myth and reality                                                                            190

vi. An Italian and Japanese affair                                                                   197

vii. The long journey home                                                                              198

viii. Defining the ‘ethnic’                                                                                 199

Notes                                                                                                                           204

Select bibliography                                                                                                       227

Index                                                                                                                            242



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