Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Transferential Memory Spaces in Gisela Heidenreich’s Das endlose Jahr. Humanities 2018, 7, 26
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 38; doi:10.3390/h7020038 (registering DOI) -
Open AccessFeature PaperEssay
Revisioning Australia’s War Art: Four Painters as Citizens of the ‘Global South’
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 37; doi:10.3390/h7020037 -
Abstract
This essay discusses the recent artistic depictions of contemporary war by four artist-academics based in Australia. The families of all four have served in some of the twentieth century’s major conflicts and, more recently, each has been commissioned in Australia or the UK
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This essay discusses the recent artistic depictions of contemporary war by four artist-academics based in Australia. The families of all four have served in some of the twentieth century’s major conflicts and, more recently, each has been commissioned in Australia or the UK to serve as war artists. Collaboratively and individually they produce artwork (placed in national collections) and then, as academics, have come to reflect deeply on the heritage of conflict and war by interrogating contemporary art’s representations of war, conflict and terror. This essay reflects on their collaborations and suggests how Australia’s war-aware, even war-like heritage, might now be re-interpreted not simply as a struggle to safeguard our shores, but as part of a complex, deeply connected global discourse where painters must re-cast themselves as citizens of the ‘global South’. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Learning from Past Displacements?1 The History of Migrations between Historical Specificity, Presentism and Fractured Continuities
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 36; doi:10.3390/h7020036 -
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Folklore in China: Past, Present, and Challenges
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 35; doi:10.3390/h7020035 -
Abstract
This article first outlines the long history of folklore collection in China, and then describes the disciplinary development in the 20th century. In Section 3, it presents the current situation in terms of disciplinary infrastructure, development, contribution, and challenge, with a focus
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This article first outlines the long history of folklore collection in China, and then describes the disciplinary development in the 20th century. In Section 3, it presents the current situation in terms of disciplinary infrastructure, development, contribution, and challenge, with a focus on the recent practice of safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. These accounts are largely based on the views of the Chinese folklorists. In the final section, this article discusses the issues of cultural continuity, integration, and self-healing mechanisms in Chinese culture by putting Chinese folkloristics in a historical and world perspective. This paper suggests that, to understand Chinese folklore and culture, one must be aware of the most basic differences between Chinese fundamental beliefs and values and those of the West, and that Chinese folklore and folkloristics present new challenges to the current paradigms put forward in the post-colonial, post-modern, and imperial ideologies. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Politics of Photobooks: From Brecht’s War Primer (1955) to Broomberg & Chanarin’s War Primer 2 (2011)
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 34; doi:10.3390/h7020034 -
Abstract
This essay intervenes in debates about the depiction of conflict since 1945, by comparing two highly significant photographic ‘hacks’: Brecht’s War Primer (Kriegsfibel) 1955; and Broomberg & Chanarin’s War Primer 2, 2011. Kriegsfibel is a collection of images, snipped from
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This essay intervenes in debates about the depiction of conflict since 1945, by comparing two highly significant photographic ‘hacks’: Brecht’s War Primer (Kriegsfibel) 1955; and Broomberg & Chanarin’s War Primer 2, 2011. Kriegsfibel is a collection of images, snipped from wartime newspapers and magazines, which Brecht selected and situated alongside the four-line verses that he used to comment upon and re-caption his pictures. These acerbic ‘photo–epigrams’ captured Brecht’s view, firstly, that photography had become a ‘terrible weapon against truth’ and secondly, that by repositioning the individual image, its political instrumentality might be restored. When, more than half a century later, Broomberg & Chanarin decide to re-work Kriegsfibel to produce War Primer 2, they effectively crash into and redouble the Brechtian hack; updating and further complicating Brecht’s insights; re-animating his original concerns with photography as a form of collective historical elucidation and mounting, literally on top of his pictures of wartime conflict, images from the ‘war on terror’. This essay argues that the re-doubling of War Primer performs multiple critical tasks. It explores the Kriegsfibel as a dynamic confrontation with images of war and stages the enduring need to interrogate and actively re-function images of conflict from WW2 to the present day. It re-examines debates about images as weapons of war in themselves, and finally, it situates the Kriegsfibel assemblage in relation to contemporary understandings of ‘post-truth’. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Gleaning and Dreaming on Car Park Beach
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 33; doi:10.3390/h7020033 -
Abstract
This article explores beachcombing and gleaning as practices that combine mobility with daydreaming and which allow us to experience our environment with the perception of ‘tactile nearness’ (Benjamin). Through eco-poetics shaped by ‘inconceivable analogies and connections’ (Benjamin), the author re-imagines a neglected space
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This article explores beachcombing and gleaning as practices that combine mobility with daydreaming and which allow us to experience our environment with the perception of ‘tactile nearness’ (Benjamin). Through eco-poetics shaped by ‘inconceivable analogies and connections’ (Benjamin), the author re-imagines a neglected space used as a short-cut on the way to work—the Liverpool Adelphi car park in Liverpool—as “Car Park Beach”. Inspired by the situationists’ slogan ‘Sous les pavés, la plage’, the author argues that Car Park Beach opens up imaginative possibilities for a different form of ecological encounter with our own precarity, one ushered in by a ‘close-up’ awareness of how waste transforms our world. Car Park Beach is a site that the author associates with the drift-like, distracted movements of both people and matter, and this article therefore attempts to deploy an equivalent method of analysis. Drawing on her own practice of gleaning photos and objects on the way to work, the author places a vocabulary of flotsam and jetsam at the axis of her discussion. Allusive, often layered, connections are followed between a diverse range of sources including beachcombing guides, literary memoirs, documentary films, eco-criticism, and auto-ethnography. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Silk Route from Land to Sea
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 32; doi:10.3390/h7020032 -
Abstract
The Silk Route reached its historic and economic apogee under the Mongol Empire (1207–1368), as a direct result of the policies of Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan) and his successors. Because the land network proved inefficient for the amount of goods needing transport from
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The Silk Route reached its historic and economic apogee under the Mongol Empire (1207–1368), as a direct result of the policies of Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan) and his successors. Because the land network proved inefficient for the amount of goods needing transport from one part of the empire to another, the Mongols expanded the Silk Route to ocean shipping and thus created the first Maritime Silk Route. The sea traffic initially expanded the land routes but soon strangled them. With the expansion of the Maritime Silk Route through the fourteenth century, the land connections reverted to local networks and lost their global importance. Full article
Open AccessArticle
‘Licking the Chops of Memory’: Plotting the Social Sins of Jekyll and Hyde
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 31; doi:10.3390/h7020031 -
Abstract
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is hierarchical in its very title—alphabetically Hyde precedes Jekyll, but Jekyll’s superior education and culture are associated with social status whereas Hyde’s ‘Mr.’ is a courtesy title often hedged in with demonic or animalistic terms. But despite the
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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is hierarchical in its very title—alphabetically Hyde precedes Jekyll, but Jekyll’s superior education and culture are associated with social status whereas Hyde’s ‘Mr.’ is a courtesy title often hedged in with demonic or animalistic terms. But despite the division insisted on in the title, Jekyll’s wilful complicity in the fate that overtakes him is suggested in a series of clues, ranging from his symbolic association with vivisection to the ostentatious exclusion of a female voice (typically the source of spiritual guidance or inspiration in Victorian fiction). As Hyde engages in an ascending scale of brutal acts, beginning with the assault of a child, the middle-class male peer group attempts to exculpate or protect Jekyll from association with this rebarbative and criminal figure. But following the murder of Sir Danvers Carew, the climactic discovery of Hyde’s body provides the final evidence against Jekyll himself—in rejecting the possibility of religious salvation, he has deliberately chosen the evil that his final statement presents as the ‘assault’ of an ungovernable temptation. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
African Oral Literature and the Humanities: Challenges and Prospects
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 30; doi:10.3390/h7020030 -
Abstract
This paper examines the origin, evolution and emergence of folklore (oral literature) as an academic discipline in Africa and its place in the humanities. It draws attention to the richness of indigenous knowledge contained in oral literature and demonstrates how the ethical and
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This paper examines the origin, evolution and emergence of folklore (oral literature) as an academic discipline in Africa and its place in the humanities. It draws attention to the richness of indigenous knowledge contained in oral literature and demonstrates how the ethical and moral gap in the existing educational system can be filled by the moral precepts embedded in oral literature. The paper argues that African oral literature has not received the attention it deserves among other disciplines of the humanities in institutions of higher learning in Africa. It concludes that any discussion on African literature will be incomplete, and indeed irrelevant, if it does not equally give adequate attention to the oral literature of the African people. As a result, a new curriculum and pedagogy must be designed to give pride of place to folklore and oral literature as the best repository of our cultural norms and values especially in African tertiary institutions. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An Ethical Ideal? Louise Rosenblatt and Democracy—A Personalist Reconsideration
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 29; doi:10.3390/h7020029 -
Abstract
Louise Rosenblatt’s theory of literary experience was a landmark in twentieth-century contributions to aesthetics, pedagogy, and literary theory. Her work is consistently studied, although critical re-evaluations have waned in the past ten years or so. This essay turns to Rosenblatt’s political commitment to
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Louise Rosenblatt’s theory of literary experience was a landmark in twentieth-century contributions to aesthetics, pedagogy, and literary theory. Her work is consistently studied, although critical re-evaluations have waned in the past ten years or so. This essay turns to Rosenblatt’s political commitment to democracy and argues that in her writing, her politics are in conflict with her more personalist sympathies concerning the value of the human being. I draw on the philosophy of personalism to show how Rosenblatt’s writing on imagination offers a more congenial framework for thinking about building harmonious human relations. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Humanistic Value of Proverbs in Sociopolitical Discourse
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 28; doi:10.3390/h7010028 -
Abstract
Proverbs as strategic signs for recurrent situations have long played a significant communicative role in political rhetoric. Folk proverbs as well as Bible proverbs appear as expressions of wisdom and common sense, adding authority and didacticism to the multifaceted aspects of sociopolitical discourse.
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Proverbs as strategic signs for recurrent situations have long played a significant communicative role in political rhetoric. Folk proverbs as well as Bible proverbs appear as expressions of wisdom and common sense, adding authority and didacticism to the multifaceted aspects of sociopolitical discourse. Some proverbs like the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12) or “It takes a village to raise a child” can function as traditional leitmotifs while other well-known proverbs might be changed into anti-proverbs to express innovative insights. The moralistic, evaluative, and argumentative employment of proverbs can be seen in the letters, speeches and writings by Lord Chesterfield, Abigail Adams, and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century. Fredrick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Elisabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony stand out in their use of proverbs for civil and women’s rights during the nineteenth century. This effective preoccupation with proverbs for sociopolitical improvements can also be observed in the impressive oratory of Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Bernie Sanders in the modern age. The ubiquitous proverbs underscore various political messages and add metaphorical as well as folkloric expressiveness to the worldview that social reformers and politicians wish to communicate. As commonly held beliefs the proverbs clearly bring humanistic values to political communications as they argue for an improved world order. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Reconsidering the Image of the Blue Bra: Photography, Conflict, and Cultural Memory in the 2011–2013 Egyptian Uprising
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 27; doi:10.3390/h7010027 -
Abstract
The role of photography and social media have been seen as pivotal to the Egyptian political uprisings of 2011 where icons of the revolution circulated widely, helped galvanize protesters, and documented key events against the backdrop of a rapidly shifting discourse of photojournalism.
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The role of photography and social media have been seen as pivotal to the Egyptian political uprisings of 2011 where icons of the revolution circulated widely, helped galvanize protesters, and documented key events against the backdrop of a rapidly shifting discourse of photojournalism. By examining the citizen-produced image of the ‘girl with the blue’ in its capacity to reflect the spatial-temporal dynamics of the revolution, to mediate complex social issues of gender and political visibility, and to contribute to the development of cultural memory role through contemporary street art, this essay uncovers the significance of an icon in the digital age. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transferential Memory Spaces in Gisela Heidenreich’s Das endlose Jahr
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 26; doi:10.3390/h7010026 -
Abstract
What does it mean to be German after Hitler and National Socialism? Gisela Heidenreich’s memoir Das endlose Jahr: Die langsame Entdeckung der eigenen Biographie—ein Lebensborn Schicksal (The Endless Year: The Slow Discovery of My Own Biography—A Lebensborn Destiny, 2002), highlights the dependence on
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What does it mean to be German after Hitler and National Socialism? Gisela Heidenreich’s memoir Das endlose Jahr: Die langsame Entdeckung der eigenen Biographie—ein Lebensborn Schicksal (The Endless Year: The Slow Discovery of My Own Biography—A Lebensborn Destiny, 2002), highlights the dependence on physical markers and monuments in understanding one’s place in history. Heidenreich discovers her origin as a Lebensborn child through family secrets, but it is not until she traverses the landscape of her past that she truly begins to understand her place within history. I argue that, along with family photographs and narratives, places play an integral role in the identity process through the metaphor of the palimpsest. In Heidenreich’s memoir, the German notion of Heimat reveals itself as a process, rather than a static and immovable space. Das endlose Jahr addresses the interplay between memory, places, and space through Heidenreich’s complex relationship with her mother, and her ambivalent sense of belonging through the palimpsest markers that remain. At its core, Das endlose Jahr is a memoir about the search for Heimat in all the wrong places. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Self without Character: Melville’s The Confidence-Man and Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 25; doi:10.3390/h7010025 -
Abstract
This essay explores the gap between character, that is, the habitual persona or mask that can be consistently recognized and represented, and the underlying self. If the self is conflated with the persona, the latter rings hollow. If the self emerges in the
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This essay explores the gap between character, that is, the habitual persona or mask that can be consistently recognized and represented, and the underlying self. If the self is conflated with the persona, the latter rings hollow. If the self emerges in the gap between itself and its persona, it is no longer hollow but rather empty in the positive Mahāyāna Buddha Dharma sense of śūnyatā (lack of a self-same self or identity). This essay disambiguates the hollowness of character from the emptiness of the self through a study of Melville’s The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (1857) and Murakami’s contemporary classic, Kafka on the Shore (2002). Bringing Murakami into proximity with Melville not only highlights the originality of both but also affords a co-illuminating confrontation that brings Buddhist and Shinto insights to bear upon the problem of the self. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Can the Fetus Speak?: Revolutionary Wombs, Body Politics, and Feminist Philosophy
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 24; doi:10.3390/h7010024 -
Abstract
Ariel Dorfman’s La última canción de Manuel Sendero (The Last Song of Manuel Sendero) and Carlos Fuentes’s Cristóbal Nonato (Christopher Unborn) explore conception, gestation, and birth as points of origin for humanity and citizenship alike by giving voice to
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Ariel Dorfman’s La última canción de Manuel Sendero (The Last Song of Manuel Sendero) and Carlos Fuentes’s Cristóbal Nonato (Christopher Unborn) explore conception, gestation, and birth as points of origin for humanity and citizenship alike by giving voice to life/lives that cannot speak for itself/themselves. Dorfman and Fuentes employ metafictional techniques and postmodern aesthetics, interrogate history in order to express their political commitments to rights, resistance, and revolution, and link textual production and human reproduction in order to posit national futures. Reading these works through a feminist lens, I weigh the poetic and philosophical implications of telling a story from the point of view of gametic, embryonic, or fetal, but decidedly male, narrators against the symbolic exclusion and silencing of mothers that bear them. When rendered a biopolitical frontier in symbolic or actual terms, the pregnant body poses particular philosophical quandaries that require further investigation. As such, this essay weaves together discourses on poetics, philosophy, and politics in order to uncover the perplexity that the pregnant mother, as figure for the nation, induces. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperEditorial
Further Reading
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 23; doi:10.3390/h7010023 -
Abstract
It is clear that the contributions in this volume are not only insightful, but also wide-ranging, reaching into popular culture and across different media forms and practices.[...] Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
What Lies in the Gutter of a Traumatic Past: Infancia clandestina [Clandestine Childhood], Animated Comics, and the Representation of Violence
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 22; doi:10.3390/h7010022 -
Abstract
This essay focuses on the animated comics in the representation of violence in Benjamín Ávila’s Infancia clandestina [Clandestine Childhood] (2011), a cinematic narrative of the seventies in Argentina. Drawing from animation and comic studies and adopting a formalist approach, the following
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This essay focuses on the animated comics in the representation of violence in Benjamín Ávila’s Infancia clandestina [Clandestine Childhood] (2011), a cinematic narrative of the seventies in Argentina. Drawing from animation and comic studies and adopting a formalist approach, the following analysis proposes ways in which the remediation of comics in the film underscores traumatic aspects of state terror and revolutionary violence and the problematic intergenerational transmission of memory of the 1970s–1980s militancy. Specifically, I comment on how the switch from photographic film to the animated frames draws attention to the blank space between the frames and thereby hints at the traumatic in what is left out, repressed, or silenced. While the gaps resist the forward motion of closure, paradoxically they allow for the suture of the frames/fragments in a postmemorial narrative, although not without a trace of the traumatic. Finally, extending the concept of the gutter as a liminal space, I analyze the connection between the animated scenes representing violence and the testimonial and documentary elements placed in the closing titles, a connection that asserts the autobiographical component of the film and enacts the conflictive character of intergenerational memory. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Reading Derrida in Tehran: Between an Open Door and an Empty Sofreh
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 21; doi:10.3390/h7010021 -
Abstract
We can only begin to grasp hospitality as we enact it and yet, in the moment of enactment, hospitality eludes us. In this paper I look at the enactment of hospitality in the relationship between Iranian citizen-hosts and Afghan refugee-guests in the Islamic
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We can only begin to grasp hospitality as we enact it and yet, in the moment of enactment, hospitality eludes us. In this paper I look at the enactment of hospitality in the relationship between Iranian citizen-hosts and Afghan refugee-guests in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in order to reflect more broadly on questions of Derridean hospitality. Moving between the theoretical and the ethnographic, I forcefully bring to bear on a situation of protracted refugee displacement, a notion of hospitality that has, to a large extent, remained abstract and unanchored. The scalar shifts between the domestic and the national (so integral to Derrida’s theorising of the hospitable), are here reproduced in an examination of Iranian hospitality that simultaneously considers the juridical framework of asylum in the Islamic Republic and the domestic or homely expression of welcome, that occurs in the ushering of the guest over the threshold and the sharing of food around the sofreh. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
‘You think your writing belongs to you?’: Intertextuality in Contemporary Jewish Post-Holocaust Literature
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 20; doi:10.3390/h7010020 -
Abstract
This article examines a sub-category of recent Jewish post-Holocaust fiction that engages with the absent memory of the persecution its authors did not personally witness through the medium of intertextuality, but with intertextual recourse not to testimonial writing but to literature only unwittingly
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This article examines a sub-category of recent Jewish post-Holocaust fiction that engages with the absent memory of the persecution its authors did not personally witness through the medium of intertextuality, but with intertextual recourse not to testimonial writing but to literature only unwittingly or retrospectively shadowed by the Holocaust. It will be proposed that this practice of intertextuality constitutes a response to the post-Holocaust Jewish author’s ‘anxiety of influence’ that, in the wake of the first generation’s experience of atrocity, their own life story and literature will always appear derivative. With reference to works by four such post-Holocaust authors, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes (2010), Maxim Biller’s Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz (2013), Helen Maryles Shankman’s In the Land of Armadillos (2016), and Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love (2005) and Forest Dark (2017), all of which engage intertextually with Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz, it will be suggested that these authors are looking to return to a Kristevan practice of intertextuality after the predominantly citational recourse to antecedent material that has often characterized post-Holocaust literature. In the process, they also succeed in troubling recently popular conceptualizations of ‘postmemory’ literature as the ‘belated’ and ‘evacuated’ recipient of encrypted traumatic content inherited from the first generation that it must now seek either to preserve or to work through vicariously. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Children and Trauma: Unexpected Resistance and Justice in Film and Drawings
Humanities 2018, 7(1), 19; doi:10.3390/h7010019 -
Abstract
This transnational study examines representations of and by children—whether literal wounds, psychological ones, or wounds transmitted through drawings—that manifest their capacity for unexpected resistance and justice. It considers the Mexican-American director Guillermo del Toro’s use of hauntings and wounds to explore violence during
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This transnational study examines representations of and by children—whether literal wounds, psychological ones, or wounds transmitted through drawings—that manifest their capacity for unexpected resistance and justice. It considers the Mexican-American director Guillermo del Toro’s use of hauntings and wounds to explore violence during the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War in the film El espinazo del diablo [The Devil’s Backbone] (2001) and its intersections on strategic and theoretical levels with the traumatic in archival children’s drawings produced during the 1976–1983 Argentine military dictatorship. The drawings illustrate the violence perpetrated against the child artists’ families and were produced in exile for the human rights organization COSOFAM. Utilizing diverse theories from film and trauma studies, among others, this article analyzes key scenes in El espinazo exhibiting commonalities with representations of traumatic violence in the children’s drawings, revealing that, in fiction and in fact, a strategic “showing” of the traumatic wound is designed to remind others of the imperative to intervene in situations of extreme violence, to appeal to/for justice, and to effectively testify from the inside. Full article