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Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) ‘The Dark Wood’ by Lyndell Brown & Charles Green (who work together as one artist) share the rare [...] Read more.
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Nomadic Life on the Steppes: An Ecocinematic Exploration of Tulpan and Cave of the Yellow Dog
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020062
Received: 30 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract
Ecocinema: (1) analyzes the role of visual media in responding to the environmental crisis; (2) has explicit interest in environmental justice; (3) includes a variety of genres and modes of production; (4) informs viewers of issues of ecological importance; (5) promotes ecocentric ways
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Ecocinema: (1) analyzes the role of visual media in responding to the environmental crisis; (2) has explicit interest in environmental justice; (3) includes a variety of genres and modes of production; (4) informs viewers of issues of ecological importance; (5) promotes ecocentric ways of framing the world; and (6) has an activist agenda. Ecocinema examines films produced by/with historically marginalized communities underrepresented in film. Using Ecocinema and Fourth Cinema (Barclay), I examined two fictional films featuring nomadic peoples of the Central Asian Steppes whose culture and ecologically low impact lifestyle are threatened and fragile in the global order. Tulpan, a 2008 Kazakh/Russian production by Kazakh-born Sergei Dvortsevoy, tells the story of Asa, a young Kazakh man, returning to his home in the Steppes to establish himself as a shepherd with his own flock. Tulpan features the long takes and slow pacing needed to “retrain the perception” of viewers. Tulpan’s biocentric focus on landscape and animals is equivalent to the focus on the human, reconsidering the human/non-human relationship. Tulpan shows one young man dreaming of a meaningful life rooted in his cultural traditions, struggling to locate himself within contemporary economic, political and cultural realities in a region underrepresented in world film. The Cave of the Yellow Dog, 2005, by Mongolian filmmaker Byambasuren Davaa, tells the story of a Mongolian nomadic family. Davaa, similar to Dvortsevoy, works in documentary and fictional films, uses professional and non-professional actors, and relies on Western funding to make her films. These two films suggest that non-commercial fictional films are an important vehicle for addressing global environmental concerns as they present stories of marginalized people and help us imagine solutions to global problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature and Environment—The Cradle of Ecocriticism)
Open AccessArticle Carpe Diem: Love, Resistance to Authority, and the Necessity of Choice in Andrew Marvell and Elizabeth Cary
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020061
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 11 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract
The theme of love as resistance to authority is the centerpiece of a two-millennia-long tradition in Western poetry known as carpe diem (a phrase credited to the Latin poet Horace). This essay begins by analyzing one of the most famous later examples of
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The theme of love as resistance to authority is the centerpiece of a two-millennia-long tradition in Western poetry known as carpe diem (a phrase credited to the Latin poet Horace). This essay begins by analyzing one of the most famous later examples of carpe diem in English poetry (Andrew Marvell’s 1681 “To His Coy Mistress”), emphasizing the carpe diem ethos’ potential to illustrate both the consequences and the necessity of individual erotic choice—especially female choice—in defiance of authority. It then uses carpe diem’s anti-authoritarian perspective to understand the contrast between the ambivalence of Mariam—torn between a tepid disobedience and regretful loyalty to her husband Herod—and the wholly defiant choices of Salome in Elizabeth Cary’s earlier drama, The Tragedy of Mariam from 1613. Full article
Open AccessEssay Neither Sensible, Nor Moderate: Revisiting the Antigone
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020060
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 25 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
In this essay, I try to conceptualise meaningful forms of resistance in the present by revisiting Sophocles’ Antigone, one of the most important texts of western literary tradition. I focus on Antigone’s compulsion to act against Creon’s decree, which turns Sophocles’ heroine
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In this essay, I try to conceptualise meaningful forms of resistance in the present by revisiting Sophocles’ Antigone, one of the most important texts of western literary tradition. I focus on Antigone’s compulsion to act against Creon’s decree, which turns Sophocles’ heroine into a metonymical expression of (civil) disobedience, sacrifice, and mourning—to my mind, the constitutive elements of effective resistant subjectivity. In my analysis, Antigone’s resistance is transformed from a deeply private, filial duty, essentially seen as heroic, into a rich, public expression of collectivity and solidarity. To illustrate this, I capilatise on Judith Butler’s designation of Antigone firmly in the political, and then proceed to make use of Bonnie Honig’s recalibration of her disobedience as one which transcends solitary action to express the collective, democratic feeling of a whole polis. I then mobilise a three-pronged theoretical framework. Firstly, I analyse the clash of Antigone with Creon through the prism of Jacques Derrida’s work on law and violence. Secondly, I explore the possibility of a biopolitical framing as developed by Giorgio Agamben since, at its core, the clash in the play is enacted within the parameters of a vitiated habeas corpus: from the moment Antigone confesses her misdeed she is treated by Creon, the sovereign, as a non-human—as an animal or, indeed, a miasma. In the last section of this essay, I mobilise the work of Howard Caygill with a view to analysing what I perceive as three discernible yet concatenated stages (or aspects) in the formation of Antigone’s resistant subjectivity: her full awareness of what it means to disobey (hence to resist), her acceptance of sacrifice, and, finally, her commitment to the political potentialities of mourning. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle An Eco-Critical Analysis of Climate Change and the Unthinkable in Amitav Ghosh’s Fiction and Non-Fiction
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020059
Received: 26 April 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
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Abstract
In his work of non-fiction The Great Derangement (2016), Amitav Ghosh examines the inability of the present generation to grasp the scale of climate change in the spheres of Literature, History and Politics. The central premise in this work of non-fiction is based
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In his work of non-fiction The Great Derangement (2016), Amitav Ghosh examines the inability of the present generation to grasp the scale of climate change in the spheres of Literature, History and Politics. The central premise in this work of non-fiction is based on the statement that literature will one day be accused of its complicity with the great derangement and of blind acceptance of the climate crisis. This paper will study how Ghosh’s fictional and non-fictional enterprise voices a call for more imaginative and cultural forms of fiction that articulate resistance against materialism that can destroy our planet. We shall see how Ghosh’s fictional enterprise falls within the sphere of postcolonial eco-criticism that considers the phenomenon of “material eco-criticism”. I shall also reveal Ghosh’s environmental advocacy in his works of fiction, The Ibis Trilogy and The Hungry Tide. This paper will analyze how the Ibis Trilogy is not just an exploration of the particularly heinous operation of imperial power leading up to the Opium Wars but is also an eco-critical narrative that articulates resistance against the violence of climate change. A study of The Hungry Tide will also reveal how this hybrid literary text is both a historical account of the Marichjhapi massacre and a plea to preserve the eco-system of our time. I shall thus consider the challenges that climate change poses for the postcolonial writer and the evolving grid of literary forms that shape the narrative imagination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature and Environment—The Cradle of Ecocriticism)
Open AccessArticle Revisiting Japan’s Fictional Gardens: An Ecocritical Reading of Nature Imagery in Contemporary Architectural Essays
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020058
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 5 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 3 June 2018
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Abstract
This paper inspects editorial production in the field of Japanese contemporary architecture, screening the contents of essays written during the last decade (2007–2010) by four selected authors in which a recurring interplay with nature-related subjects is noticeable. This analysis highlights the diversity and
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This paper inspects editorial production in the field of Japanese contemporary architecture, screening the contents of essays written during the last decade (2007–2010) by four selected authors in which a recurring interplay with nature-related subjects is noticeable. This analysis highlights the diversity and intrinsic individual originality of these books by relating their specific approach with the overall work themes of each architect and discussing the existence of a common ground among them. While investigating their philosophical and conceptual standpoints, the paper also attempts to contextualize these discourses both within the larger context of architectural theory—particularly of early postmodern ecological approaches—sustainable construction, and in the milieu of Japan, where an imprinted notion of harmonious coexistence between nature and culture has long been mystified from abroad and from within. By assessing its motives and influence and finally questioning the existence of a paradox amidst the multiple existing forms of paraenvironmental architecture, it is discussed whether these narratives and practices manage to communicate ecoliteracy with their audience. Architecture’s inherent traits as a visual, perceptive, and cognitive discipline to reflect contemporary environmental conflicts and encourage paradigm change are also highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature and Environment—The Cradle of Ecocriticism)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Rethinking the Essence of Human and Other-Than-Human Communication in the Anthropocene Epoch: A Biosemiotic Interpretation of Edgar Morin’s “Complex Thought”
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020057
Received: 28 March 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 2 June 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this essay is to explore the philosophical and linguistic implications of the French philosopher Edgar Morin’s “complex thought.” In stark contrast to standard communicative models which profess that Homo sapiens are the only organisms that are capable of engaging in
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The purpose of this essay is to explore the philosophical and linguistic implications of the French philosopher Edgar Morin’s “complex thought.” In stark contrast to standard communicative models which profess that Homo sapiens are the only organisms that are capable of engaging in semiosis, Morin unequivocally proves that other-than-human communication is laden with significance and purpose. Living on an imperiled planet that is increasingly defined by an anthropogenic, ecological calamity that is spiraling further out of control with each passing day, Morin persuasively argues that we must transcend our myopic, anthropocentric frame of reference and adopt a more ecocentric view of communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature and Environment—The Cradle of Ecocriticism)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle On the Philosophical Determination of Literature
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020056
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 2 June 2018
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Abstract
This paper traces the influence of German Idealism on the conceptions of literature proffered by Bataille and Blanchot, and it aims to show how that influence registers as a proto-ethics. In the demand that freedom be actualized in the world, German Idealism frames
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This paper traces the influence of German Idealism on the conceptions of literature proffered by Bataille and Blanchot, and it aims to show how that influence registers as a proto-ethics. In the demand that freedom be actualized in the world, German Idealism frames the determination of literature as one-sided, subjective, and abstract. Literary expression is never adequate to what it represents. Precisely because it has no direct bearing on the world of action, however, literature is free to pursue that which the world of action excludes: the density and obscurity of existence itself. In this pursuit, literature recasts the philosophical aspiration of self-knowledge in terms of a fidelity to existence and life in excess of individuality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters Between Philosophy and Literature II)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Approaching Impersonal Life with Clarice Lispector
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020055
Received: 9 March 2018 / Revised: 25 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
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Abstract
Clarice Lispector’s concern with writing life beyond the limits of identity and representation leads her to posit the univocity of being in a series of surprising corporeal and linguistic gestures to reveal a fundamental shift in time. I explore the convergence between this
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Clarice Lispector’s concern with writing life beyond the limits of identity and representation leads her to posit the univocity of being in a series of surprising corporeal and linguistic gestures to reveal a fundamental shift in time. I explore the convergence between this project in Lispector and both major and minor terms in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (from “encounter” and “immanence” to “savage” and “birth”), shedding light on some fundamental aspects of the latter’s transcendental empiricism. Furthermore, focusing especially on the 1973 fiction Água Viva, I show that Lispector’s work insists on impersonal life’s relational condition, which extends to the creation of an original reader-writer relationship, through a mode of receptivity beyond meaning in which feminine and natal approaches are crucial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters Between Philosophy and Literature II)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle On Waxworks Considered as One of the Hyperreal Arts: Exhibiting Jack the Ripper and His Victims
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020054
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 20 May 2018 / Accepted: 24 May 2018 / Published: 30 May 2018
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Abstract
The article discusses one of the tropes present in the representations of the Whitechapel killer: the waxworks of either the killer or his victims. These images were shaped by contemporary attitudes: from sensationalism in 1888, through the developing myth and business of ‘Jack
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The article discusses one of the tropes present in the representations of the Whitechapel killer: the waxworks of either the killer or his victims. These images were shaped by contemporary attitudes: from sensationalism in 1888, through the developing myth and business of ‘Jack the Ripper,’ to the beginnings of attention being paid to his victims. Examined are tableaus created from 1888 to current times, both physical and fictional twenty- and twenty-first-century texts encompassing various media, all of which may be located within the Baudrillardian realm of simulation. What they demonstrate is that the mythical killer keeps overshadowing his victims, who in this part of the Ripper mythos remain to a certain extent as dehumanised and voiceless as when they were actually killed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Victorian Art of Murder)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Sharing Histories: Teaching and Learning from Displaced Youth in Greece
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020053
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper reflects upon my experiences teaching and learning from displaced youth in Greece over a period of eight months in 2017. Following a brief examination of the current challenges in accessing formal education, I examine non-formal education initiatives, summarizing my work with
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This paper reflects upon my experiences teaching and learning from displaced youth in Greece over a period of eight months in 2017. Following a brief examination of the current challenges in accessing formal education, I examine non-formal education initiatives, summarizing my work with two NGOs in Athens and Chios where I taught lessons in English on ancient Greek art, archaeology, history, and literature. In offering these lessons, my hope was to do more than simply improve students’ language skills or deposit information: I wanted to examine the past to reflect upon the present, exploring themes of migration, forced displacement, and human belonging. Moreover, I wanted to engage students in meaningful connection, to the past and to the present, to one and to others, as a means of building community in and beyond the classroom, at a time when many were feeling alienated and isolated. This paper, therefore, outlines the transformational, liberating learning that took place, citing ancient evidence of displacement and unpacking modern responses by those currently displaced. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exorcising a Demon?: Why History Needs to Engage with the Whitechapel Murders and Dispel the Myth of ‘Jack the Ripper’
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020052
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
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Abstract
This article reflects on the current paucity of academic research into the Whitechapel Murders of 1888. Notably it suggests that there has been a tendency for historians of crime in particular to ignore the case and it argues that this has created an
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This article reflects on the current paucity of academic research into the Whitechapel Murders of 1888. Notably it suggests that there has been a tendency for historians of crime in particular to ignore the case and it argues that this has created an unwanted vacuum that has been filled (and exploited) by amateur history and the entertainment industry. This has consequences for how the public view both the murders and the killer, and the entire late Victorian period. The cultural phenomenon of ‘Jack the Ripper’ has been allowed to emerge as a result of this lack of academic engagement and this fuels an industry that continues to portray the murderer, the murdered and the area in which these killings occurred in a manner that does a terrible and ongoing disservice to the women that were so brutally killed. Moreover, the ‘celebration’ of the unknown killer has provided a role model for subsequent misogynist serial murderers and abusers. This article argues that it is time for historians of crime address this situation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Victorian Art of Murder)
Open AccessArticle The Old Wounded: Destructive Plasticity and Intergenerational Trauma
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020051
Received: 1 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
This article addresses a significant gap in trauma theory and philosophy; namely, it develops a partial theory of the subject of intergenerational trauma. This is accomplished through a close examination of Catherine Malabou’s theory of the subject of trauma, as well as by
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This article addresses a significant gap in trauma theory and philosophy; namely, it develops a partial theory of the subject of intergenerational trauma. This is accomplished through a close examination of Catherine Malabou’s theory of the subject of trauma, as well as by contact with the research in epigenetics of Rachel Yehuda, and the research on intergenerational trauma among First Nations people in Canada conducted by Amy Bombay and colleagues. It presents original work that is responsive to recent advances in a variety of fields, including philosophy, psychology, social science, and biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rape and Trauma)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Folklore and the Internet: The Challenge of an Ephemeral Landscape1
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020050
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Through the lens of memetic folk humor, this essay examines the slippery, ephemeral nature of hybridized forms of contemporary digital folklore. In doing so, it is argued that scholars should not be distracted by the breakneck speed in which expressive materials proliferate and
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Through the lens of memetic folk humor, this essay examines the slippery, ephemeral nature of hybridized forms of contemporary digital folklore. In doing so, it is argued that scholars should not be distracted by the breakneck speed in which expressive materials proliferate and then dissipate but should instead focus on the overarching ways that popular culture and current news events infiltrate digital folk culture in the formation of individuals' cultural inventories. The process of transmission and variation that shapes the resulting hybridized folklore requires greater scrutiny and contextualization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Challenge of Folklore to the Humanities)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Riddle: Form and Performance
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020049
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 18 May 2018
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Abstract
The article concentrates on the true or the ordinary riddle, which is the best-known of the old riddles. True riddles consist of two parts, one functioning as a question, the other as an answer. In riddling the answerer or riddlee tries to find
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The article concentrates on the true or the ordinary riddle, which is the best-known of the old riddles. True riddles consist of two parts, one functioning as a question, the other as an answer. In riddling the answerer or riddlee tries to find an acceptable answer to the question. Sometimes riddlees are deliberately misled because the “right” answer is completely unexpected. Riddles are “texts” only in archives and publications; in the field, they are always oral lore closely tied to their performing context. Study of social and cultural contexts is a new part of riddle research. Field researchers’ studies and findings are important. The article includes riddle definitions and analysis of subjects, metaphors and formulae of riddles as well as the functions of riddling. New challenges are the driving force behind research. I attempt to find something new in my material. New for me has been discovering the humour in riddles. Reading dozens and even hundreds of riddle variants begins to give me some idea of the fun and humour inherent in riddles. There are still questions in riddle materials waiting to be asked; it is always possible to discover something new. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Challenge of Folklore to the Humanities)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Loss of Autonomy in Abused Persons: Psychological, Moral, and Legal Dimensions
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020048
Received: 3 March 2018 / Revised: 28 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper tries to resolve a tension in popular conceptions of intimate partner violence (IPV). On the one hand, we correctly assume that all abused persons are not the same: they have irreducibly plural personalities. On the other hand, we correctly assume that
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This paper tries to resolve a tension in popular conceptions of intimate partner violence (IPV). On the one hand, we correctly assume that all abused persons are not the same: they have irreducibly plural personalities. On the other hand, we correctly assume that abused persons suffer from a loss of autonomy. The puzzle is: if abused persons share deficits in autonomy, why does it not follow that they share a set of personality traits? I argue that the psychological states implicated in autonomy-impairment in abused persons are situation-sensitive responses to salient eliciting conditions, not personality traits. This view has substantive moral and legal implications, as it implies that abusers are responsible for inflicting severe moral harms on victim-survivors, and they may also be liable for unlawful abduction and rape, in case the abused person lives with or has sexual contact with the abuser. This is because the conditions of abuse undermine the victim-survivor’s ability to autonomously consent to cohabitation and sexual contact with the abuser. I argue that the best way of protecting people from autonomy-undermining abuse is public education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rape and Trauma)
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