Humanities2015, 4(3), 283-303; doi:10.3390/h4030283 - published 21 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: There has been little academic research published on the work of Tim Robinson despite an illustrious career, first as an artist of the London avant-garde, then as a map-maker in the west of Ireland, and finally as an author of place. In part, this dearth is due to the difficulty of approaching these three diverse strands collectively. However, recent developments in the field of deep mapping encourage us to look back at the continuity of Robinson’s achievements in full and offer a suitable framework for doing so. Socially engaged with living communities and a depth of historical knowledge about place, but at the same time keen to contribute artistically to the ongoing contemporary culture of place, the parameters of deep mapping are broad enough to encompass the range of Robinson’s whole practice and suggest unique ways to illuminate his very unusual career. But Robinson’s achievements also encourage a reflection on the historical context of deep mapping itself, as well as on the nature of its spatial practice (especially where space comes to connote a medium to be worked rather than an area/volume). With this in mind the following article both explores Robinson’s work through deep mapping and deep mapping through the work of this unusual artist.
Humanities2015, 4(3), 266-282; doi:10.3390/h4030266 - published 13 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article explores the idea of a university with a specific focus in the Malaysian context. We begin the article guided by these questions—“What is a university?” and “What are universities for?”—in examining the historical and conceptual development of universities. This is followed by asking a more specific question—“What are Malaysian universities for?”—in which we discussed the overarching roles of public and private universities in this developing country. Having examined the roles of public and private universities, and taken into context the complexity and challenges surrounding these important societal institutions, we discuss two “experimental” initiatives in Malaysia: the APEX University (Accelerated Program for Excellence) focusing on sustainability and the “humanversity”. On the one hand, these initiatives are intended to prepare and transform Malaysian universities to address not only the needs of society today, but critically, of tomorrow. On the other hand, they have implications and contributions to frame our thinking about the future ideas of a university not only in Malaysia, but regionally and globally.
Humanities2015, 4(2), 250-265; doi:10.3390/h4020250 - published 23 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Decolonizing trauma theory has been a major project in postcolonial literary scholarship ever since its first sustained engagements with trauma theory. Since then, trauma theory and postcolonial literary studies have been uneasy bedfellows, and the time has now come to take stock of what remains in postcolonial trauma studies from the original formulations of trauma theory, and see which further steps must be envisaged in order to reach the ideal of a truly decolonized trauma theory today. To this end, this article presents a detailed overview of the short history and the present situation of the trajectory of decolonizing trauma theory for postcolonial studies, clarifying the various re-routings that have so far taken place, and delineating the present state of the project, as well as the need for further developments towards an increased expansion and inclusiveness of the theory. I argue that openness to non-Western belief systems and their rituals and ceremonies in the engagement with trauma is needed in order to achieve the remaining major objectives of the long-standing project of decolonizing trauma theory.
Humanities2015, 4(2), 236-249; doi:10.3390/h4020236 - published 3 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article explores the relationship between percipient and the narrative purpose in Poe’s “Mesmeric Revelation”, arguing ultimately that the various questions raised by this relationship have a great deal in common with altered-state theories of hypnosis. It challenges predictable interpretations of this short story in an effort to open up a new avenue for exploring not only the art of fiction, but, by logical extension, all other branches of creative activity as well. Primary emphasis is given to the nature of the percipient's reduced peripheral awareness as (s)he appreciates a work of art, in this case, “Mesmeric Revelation”, and how, according to Poe’s “The Philosophy of Composition”, the cultivation of this focused attention lies at the heart of the most effective artistic products.
Humanities2015, 4(2), 224-235; doi:10.3390/h4020224 - published 2 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: One of my research projects examines pictorial symbols and epitaphs on gravestones in Norway and Sweden. The focus has been on the 1990s and the 2000s. The choice of this period is motivated by the fact that new national burial laws were adopted in both countries in the early 1990s. These laws provided the next of kin with the possibility of choosing memorial symbols and inscriptions more freely than had previously been the case. To judge from the data under study, individual symbols have gained popularity, especially in Sweden, while Norway has been more faithful to earlier traditions of a collective character; moreover, secular motifs are more manifest on the gravestones in Sweden than in Norway. Another research project analyses memorial websites on the Internet related to persons who have died in recent years. The all-inclusive issue in these studies concerns mourners’ expressions of their emotions and beliefs regarding the deceased person’s afterlife, that is, beliefs in after-death existence. Belief in the deceased being somewhere in heaven is common. Belief in angels is also a popular concept in memorial websites. Moreover, in Sweden, this includes deceased pets as well. The previously strictly observed distinction between humans and pets has become indiscernible in Sweden. Norwegian practice, however, remains critical towards this type of “humanlike characterization”. In Norway, memorial websites for the deceased are generally associated with more traditional Christian concepts than are similar sites in Sweden. By contrast, in Sweden, one observes a kind of diffuse religiosity reminiscent of New Age ways of thinking, according to which the individual plays the central role, and glorification of afterlife existence prevails. Secularization, that is, a decline in the influence of traditional forms of religious experience, is conspicuously more prominent in Sweden. Within the project on memorial websites, I have performed a special study of memorials of persons who have committed suicide. In Norway, differences between suicide and deaths by other causes are conceived in an entirely different manner than on memorial websites in Sweden. There, the contrast between suicide and other forms of death has been increasingly wiped out. Norway has preserved earlier mortuary traditions to a greater extent, and no notions of a bright afterlife, or of angels, are to be found in connection with suicides.
Humanities2015, 4(2), 212-223; doi:10.3390/h4020212 - published 22 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article portrays four historically evolved ideas of a university, as they have developed in the South African context, namely the British liberal-humanistic education idea, the Afrikaner idea of an ethnically-oriented developmental university, the idea of an African university, and the idea of a university proclaimed by neo-liberal economics. The global significance of this contest, as it plays out itself on South African soil, is noted.