BISHOPS, BOOZERS, BRETHREN & BURKAS: A Cartoon History of Religion in New Zealand
Mike Grimshaw’s Bishops,Boozers, Brethren & Burkas, published by the NZ Cartoon Archive, was launched by Sir Lloyd Geering at the National Library on 21 June 2019.
Bishops, Boozers, Brethren & Burkas uses cartoons from 1860s to the present day to discuss the way religion in New Zealand has been represented by our cartoonists. There is no general history of religion in New Zealand so this book is a unique contribution in providing not only a cartoon history of religion in this country but also a history via cartoons.
From the 1860s, settlers viewed issues of religion and politics as problematic, but in the main, religion remained part of the fabric of society. However, religion was more of a concern for our cartoonists as New Zealand became an increasingly secular nation from the 1970s onwards. This not only reflects the generation of cartoonists whose work was published from the 1970s but also a shift in New Zealand society more generally. Overall, when religion was less of a contested identity and influence, cartoonists tended to leave religion – and the church alone. However, as the country became, very quickly, a secular society from the 1970s onwards, religion was a target of cartoonists. Religion and the religious were increasingly presented as representing religious and social attitudes and beliefs regarded as out of step with a modern society.
Mike Grimshaw (PhD Otago) is Associate Professor in Sociology at University of Canterbury, New Zealand. A founding series editor for Radical Theologies and Philosophies (Palgrave Macmillan) and founding co-editor of Continental Thought & Theory, he toils at the intersections of radical theology, continental thought and cultural and social theory.
He also has a focus on New Zealand religious and intellectual history; recently publishing a book of interviews with the New Zealand radical religious thinker Sir Lloyd Geering (Geering Interviews, Polebridge, USA, 2018) and edited the letters of the noted New Zealand philosopher Arthur Prior (Arthur Prior, ‘a young progressive’, Canterbury University Press, 2018).