Open AccessArticle
Genealogies and Challenges of Transcultural Studies
Humanities 2017, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/h6010004 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
My introductory essay discusses some of transculturalism’s enduring conceptual challenges from the perspective of the history of German cultural and political theory. I am particularly interested in the discursive space between Immanuel Kant’s individualism and Johann Gottfried Herder’s and Moses Mendelssohn’s concepts of
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My introductory essay discusses some of transculturalism’s enduring conceptual challenges from the perspective of the history of German cultural and political theory. I am particularly interested in the discursive space between Immanuel Kant’s individualism and Johann Gottfried Herder’s and Moses Mendelssohn’s concepts of cultural identity. My hope is that such a discussion can enrich some of our current questions, such as: Have culture studies placed too much emphasis on difference, rather than on commonality? Can a renewed interest in the cosmopolitan individual surpass the privileged position of academic or upper-class internationalism? Can concepts of transculturality avoid the pitfalls of homogenizing politics or overstretched individualism? After mentioning a few challenges to current conceptions of transculturalism that may arise in the wake of recent developments in the natural sciences, I end my remarks with a brief example of a possible intersection of literary studies and science. The essay engages three topics: (a) the question of culture; (b) transcultural participation; and (c) transcultural empathy and the sciences. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An Animal-Centered Perspective on Colonial Oppression: Animal Representations and the Narrating Ox in Uwe Timm’s ‘‘Morenga’’ (1978)
Humanities 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/h6010003 -
Abstract
As a result of its topic and its narrative style, Uwe Timm’s novel ‘Morenga’ (1978) marks an important step in the development of postcolonial German literature. The main theme of the book is the bloody suppression of the Herero and the Nama uprisings
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As a result of its topic and its narrative style, Uwe Timm’s novel ‘Morenga’ (1978) marks an important step in the development of postcolonial German literature. The main theme of the book is the bloody suppression of the Herero and the Nama uprisings through the German army in South-West Africa at the beginning of the 20th century. With recourse to historical and fictional documents and by using different narrative perspectives, the text achieves a plurality of voices and thereby destabilizes a one-dimensional view on colonialism. The present article discusses the functions of the nonhuman animals appearing in ‘Morenga’. It is assumed that the animal representations are an essential part of the plot and underscore the criticism of colonial rule in a narrative manner too. The novel contains several descriptions of suffering animals and links them to the harm of the Herero and the Nama in order to point out the ruthlessness of the colonists. Moreover, the book features a story-telling ox, which initiates a reflection process about possible ways of narrating colonial history. The talking ox adds a specific animal-centered perspective on colonial oppression and raises questions about emancipation, self-determination, and the agency of the nonhuman ‘other’ Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Function of HumAnimAllegory
Humanities 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/h6010002 -
Abstract
This article presents a critical reading of the function of the animal-human allegory or the “humanimallegory” in both the animated films Animal Farm and Chicken Run. Based on George Orwell’s novel of the same name, Animal Farm provides an allegorical representation of
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This article presents a critical reading of the function of the animal-human allegory or the “humanimallegory” in both the animated films Animal Farm and Chicken Run. Based on George Orwell’s novel of the same name, Animal Farm provides an allegorical representation of the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism in the Soviet Union by relaying Orwell’s story of a revolution led by a group of farm animals and its aftermath. Animal Farm ultimately reduces its fictional animal characters to simple metaphors for real human subjects, thus serving the most common function of the animal-human allegory in literature as well as film. In contrast, improvising on the many prisoner-of-war films that were produced during the first few decades following World War II, Chicken Run tells the story of a group of chickens who attempt to escape from an egg farm. Chicken Run complicates the function of the animal-human allegory, though, by resisting the allegorical reduction of its fictional animal characters to simple metaphors for real human subjects. By presenting a critical reading of these two different films, this article suggests that the literary concept of allegory itself remains circumscribed within the philosophical tradition of humanism. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Humanities in 2016
Humanities 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/h6010001 -
Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue Introduction “Transcultural Literary Studies: Politics, Theory, and Literary Analysis”
Humanities 2016, 5(4), 86; doi:10.3390/h5040086 -
Open AccessReview
Complexes Tickling the $ubject
Humanities 2016, 5(4), 85; doi:10.3390/h5040085 -
Abstract
This article continues my earlier work of reading Jung with Lacan. This article will develop Zizek’s work on Lacan’s concept of objet petit a by relating it to a phenomenological interpretation of Jung. I use a number of different examples, including Zizek’s interpretation
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This article continues my earlier work of reading Jung with Lacan. This article will develop Zizek’s work on Lacan’s concept of objet petit a by relating it to a phenomenological interpretation of Jung. I use a number of different examples, including Zizek’s interpretation of Francis Bacon, Edvard Munch, Hans Holbein and Johann Gottlieb Fichte, to describe the objet petit a and its relationship to a phenomenological interpretation of complexes. By integrating other Lacanian concepts, such as subject, drive, fantasy, jouissance, gaze, desire, and ego as well as the imaginary, symbolic and Real, this work also highlights how Hegel and Heidegger can elucidate the relationship between objet petit a and complexes. Jung’s transcendent function and the Rosarium Philosophorum also elucidate the relationship between Jung and Lacan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Narrating Animal Trauma in Bulgakov and Tolstoy
Humanities 2016, 5(4), 84; doi:10.3390/h5040084 -
Abstract
Following the recent “animal turn” in literary studies, which has inspired scholars to revisit traditional human-centered interpretations of texts narrated by animals, this article focuses on the convergence of animal studies and trauma theory. It offers new animal-centered close readings of Tolstoy’s Strider
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Following the recent “animal turn” in literary studies, which has inspired scholars to revisit traditional human-centered interpretations of texts narrated by animals, this article focuses on the convergence of animal studies and trauma theory. It offers new animal-centered close readings of Tolstoy’s Strider and Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog, paying attention to animal pain rather than seeing it, and the text as a whole, as an allegory of human society. Like many other authors of literary fiction featuring animal narrators, Tolstoy and Bulgakov employ a kind of empathic ventriloquism to narrate animal pain, an important project which, however, given the status of both the animal and trauma outside human language, and thus susceptible to being distorted by it, produces inauthentic discourse (animal-like, rather than animal narration); therefore, these authors get closest to animal pain, not through sophisticated narration, but through the use of ellipses and onomatopoeia. Ultimately, any narratological difficulty with animal focalization is minor compared to the ethical imperative of anti-speciesist animal-standpoint criticism, and the goal is to reconceive the status of animals in literature so as to change their ontological place in the world, urging that this critical work and animal rights advocacy be continued in the classroom. Full article
Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Ana Pais. “Re-Affecting the Stage: Affective Resonance as the Function of the Audience.” Humanities 5 (2016): 79
Humanities 2016, 5(4), 83; doi:10.3390/h5040083 -
Abstract The author wishes to make the following correction to the paper published in Humanities [1].[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Animal Autobiography; Or, Narration beyond the Human
Humanities 2016, 5(4), 82; doi:10.3390/h5040082 -
Abstract
In engaging with acts of self-narration that cross species lines, creators of animal autobiographies also broach questions about genre, truth status, and the structure as well as the politics of narrative representation. To address these questions, the present article draws not just on
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In engaging with acts of self-narration that cross species lines, creators of animal autobiographies also broach questions about genre, truth status, and the structure as well as the politics of narrative representation. To address these questions, the present article draws not just on scholarship on (animal) autobiography but also on ideas from the fields of linguistic semantics, politeness theory, and discourse analysis, including the “framing and footing” approach that focuses on talk emerging in contexts of face-to-face interaction and that derives most directly from the work of Erving Goffman. On the basis of this research, and using case studies that range from animal riddles to Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals (2014), a collection of life stories posthumously narrated by a variety of nonhuman tellers, I profile autobiographical acts that reach beyond the human as ways of speaking for or in behalf of animal others. Some animal autobiographies correlate with acts of telling for which humans themselves remain the principals as well as authors; their animal animators remain relegated to the role of commenting on human institutions, values, practices, and artifacts. Other examples, however, can be read as co-authored acts of narrating in behalf of equally hybrid (or “humanimal”) principals. These experiments with narration beyond the human afford solidarity-building projections of other creatures’ ways of being-in-the-world—projections that enable a reassessment, in turn, of forms of human being. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Post What? Disarticulating Post-Discourses in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child
Humanities 2016, 5(4), 80; doi:10.3390/h5040080 -
Abstract
In the midst of the proliferation of post-discourses, this essay investigates how Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child (2015) offers a timely exploration of the hurting Black female body that calls into question, if not outright refutes, whether Americans have entered a post-racial,
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In the midst of the proliferation of post-discourses, this essay investigates how Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child (2015) offers a timely exploration of the hurting Black female body that calls into question, if not outright refutes, whether Americans have entered a post-racial, post-Black, and post-feminist era. This essay opens with a critical context section that situates God Help the Child within and against post-discourses, before examining how resemblances with Morrison’s prior works like Beloved (1987) and The Bluest Eye (1970) confirm that the legacy of slavery still dictates the way Black female bodies are seen and treated in twenty-first-century America. Ultimately, what this study intends is to speak the unspeakable: race still matters despite the silencing effects of post-discourses. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
The Fairy Tale and Its Uses in Contemporary New Media and Popular Culture Introduction
Humanities 2016, 5(4), 81; doi:10.3390/h5040081 -
Abstract
Ever since the beginning of the 21st century, the fairy tale has not only become a staple of the small and silver screen around the globe, it has also migrated into new media, overwhelming audiences with imaginative and spectacular retellings along the way.
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Ever since the beginning of the 21st century, the fairy tale has not only become a staple of the small and silver screen around the globe, it has also migrated into new media, overwhelming audiences with imaginative and spectacular retellings along the way. Indeed, modern fairy-tale adaptations pervading contemporary popular culture drastically subvert, shatter, and alter the public’s understanding of the classic fairy tale. Because of the phenomenally increasing proliferation of fairy-tale transformations in today’s “old” and “new” media, we must reflect upon the significance of the fairy tale for society and its social uses in a nuanced fashion. How, why, and for whom have fairy-tale narratives, characters, and motifs metamorphosed in recent decades? What significant intermedial and intertextual relationships exist nowadays in connection with the fairy tale? This special issue features 11 illuminating articles of 13 scholars in the fields of folklore and fairy-tale studies tackling these and other relevant questions. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Re-Affecting the Stage: Affective Resonance as the Function of the Audience
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 79; doi:10.3390/h5030079 -
Abstract
This article uses an affect theory framework to show how the audience has the power to intensify the circulation of affect in the theatrical encounter, and to impact on the unique felt quality of the performance. Assessment is made of the vital function
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This article uses an affect theory framework to show how the audience has the power to intensify the circulation of affect in the theatrical encounter, and to impact on the unique felt quality of the performance. Assessment is made of the vital function of affect to performance through the images, sensations and expressions that performers use to describe audience engagement. Intermittently, from 2010 to 2012, the author embarked on practice-led research to find out how performers describe the experience of being on stage with regard to their engagement with an audience. Conversations were recorded with more than 50 performers (mainly actors and dancers) from the USA and Brazil, as well as Portugal and other European countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle
“Turtles All the Way Down”: Mind, Emotion and Nothing
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 78; doi:10.3390/h5030078 -
Abstract
This is an article in three movements. Each takes as its object a public phenomenon of emotion: first, the representation of human emotions as homunculi in a recent children’s movie; second, the performance of the Australian cricket captain at a press conference concerning
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This is an article in three movements. Each takes as its object a public phenomenon of emotion: first, the representation of human emotions as homunculi in a recent children’s movie; second, the performance of the Australian cricket captain at a press conference concerning the death, on the field, of a team-mate; and, finally, the mass contagion of public grief in response to that death. Using these three episodes, the article develops an understanding of Martin Heidegger’s thought in relation to, first, the “enframing” of human being within technology, in which the nothing from which being is brought into presence is concealed; second, the mood of anxiety in and through which Dasein—Heidegger’s term for the kind of being we “are”—asserts itself into that nothing; and, finally, the potential for post-aesthetic art to move beyond the logics of representation and subjectification, and in so doing, to reveal what Heidegger understands as the struggle between earth and world. The former refers to the “background” against and through which any particular “world” exists with the latter referring to a particular web of significances in which Dasein lives, and allowing truth to spring forth. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Porous Skins and Tactile Bodies: Juxtaposition of the Affective and Sentimental Ideas of the Subject
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 77; doi:10.3390/h5030077 -
Abstract
This article brings together two ideas that authors in theoretical humanities tend to consider in isolation—of affect and of sentiment—and investigates what conceptions or imaginaries of the subject these ideas have historically relied on and reproduced. When viewed from the lens of the
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This article brings together two ideas that authors in theoretical humanities tend to consider in isolation—of affect and of sentiment—and investigates what conceptions or imaginaries of the subject these ideas have historically relied on and reproduced. When viewed from the lens of the theory of subjectivation, the contemporary notions of affect and the modern sentiment tradition not only reveal significant conceptual, epistemic and ideational overlaps, but they are both kinds of critique of the liberal individualistic subject. Engaging the methodology of juxtaposition, I bring together the affective porous subject (drawing on the work of Teresa Brennan) with the modern sentiment idea of the sensible body, focusing in particular on the 17th- and 18th-century neurological discourses of sensibility in the work of Albrecht von Haller, Georg Ernst Stahl and others. I argue that the modern sentiment tradition forms part of the genealogy of affect in that its ideas of sensibility and sympathy foreground one of the tenets of affective subjectivity: namely, that the subject emerges through (rather than predates) ecological exposure, membranous permeability and nervous responsiveness. In this sense, both the sentimental and affective notions of the subject operate as forms of critique of the idea of Cartesian self and of the disavowal of relational and/or dialogical subject in Western philosophy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Australian Modernists in London: William Dobell’s The Dead Landlord and Patrick White’s The Ham Funeral
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 76; doi:10.3390/h5030076 -
Abstract
When Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973, it was primarily for his novels. Less well recognised is the significance of White’s dramatic literature and his involvement in the theatre. This article offers a new analysis of White’s first
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When Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973, it was primarily for his novels. Less well recognised is the significance of White’s dramatic literature and his involvement in the theatre. This article offers a new analysis of White’s first notable breakthrough into theatre and drama, The Ham Funeral, which he wrote in postwar London and which was produced in Adelaide in 1961. This article argues that a modernist idiom of 20th-century Australian drama can be found in this play that laid the groundwork for a poetics of language, image and theatricality. The play’s aesthetic modernism is found primarily in the blend of expressionist and surrealist elements, the poetic language, the alienated creative subject and the representation of sexuality and the unconscious. White’s thematics also become political, concerned with power, masculinity and gendered assumptions about rationality and emotion, poetry and the body. Having lived in London during the interwar years, White was also part of the networks that included Australian-born artists, and he was exposed to influences from visual arts as well as theatre. Of these, the artist William Dobell was central to the genesis of The Ham Funeral, as was the Polish-born modernist artist S. Ostoja-Kotkowski, who was critical to the design of the brooding expressionist set that set the standard for subsequent stage realisations of the play. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Scripting Memory and Emotions: Female Characters in Iraqi Theatre about War
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 75; doi:10.3390/h5030075 -
Abstract
This article focuses on the emotional lives of, and interactions between, female characters in two plays about Iraqi wars: The Hymn of the Rocking Chair (1987) by Farouk Mohammed and A Feminine Solo (2013) by Mithal Ghazi. These plays show life in Iraq
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This article focuses on the emotional lives of, and interactions between, female characters in two plays about Iraqi wars: The Hymn of the Rocking Chair (1987) by Farouk Mohammed and A Feminine Solo (2013) by Mithal Ghazi. These plays show life in Iraq in times of war. The article argues that it is significant that Iraqi women are depicted in drama and theatre, during those times of war when extreme emotional suffering and trauma prevail, in the role of storytellers. In addition, societies at war present a methodological problem for research in that playscripts might not survive intact. This reveals another type of emotional loss through war—one that involves culture itself. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Unmade City: Subjectivity, Buffalo and the Sad Fate of Studio Arena Theatre
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 74; doi:10.3390/h5030074 -
Abstract
This article is a reflection on the disjointed and submerged cultural consciousness of the city of Buffalo, New York. It outlines the concept of subjectivity as put forward by the philosopher Alain Badiou, and maps it onto the history of Studio Arena, Buffalo’s
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This article is a reflection on the disjointed and submerged cultural consciousness of the city of Buffalo, New York. It outlines the concept of subjectivity as put forward by the philosopher Alain Badiou, and maps it onto the history of Studio Arena, Buffalo’s main theatre company. Studio Arena Theatre (1927–2008) was one of the oldest and best known regional theatres in the USA. Its closure is a story fraught with conflict, misunderstanding and loss. That there has been no replacement theatre of comparable size and mandate says something about Buffalo’s diminished civic imaginary. While the link between the Theatre and the City is hard to formularise, it is a historically important relationship, going back to the time of Aristotle when theatre functioned as an informing resource for the lives of citizens. Those interested in urban renewal in Buffalo and other rust-belt US cities can profit not only from an understanding of Studio Arena Theatre’s history, but from a consideration of the kind of emotional engagement that this regional theatre represented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Surveillance and Social Memory: Remembering Princess Diana with CCTV
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 73; doi:10.3390/h5030073 -
Abstract
Since the 1990s, surveillance camera images have experienced a function creep from their juridical uses into journalism and entertainment. In these contexts, the images have also become memory media. This article, for the first time, analyses CCTV images, meaning closed circuit surveillance camera
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Since the 1990s, surveillance camera images have experienced a function creep from their juridical uses into journalism and entertainment. In these contexts, the images have also become memory media. This article, for the first time, analyses CCTV images, meaning closed circuit surveillance camera images, as memory media and discusses the implications of our use of artefacts of control within a frame of mediated constructions of social memory. The article undertakes this work by analyzing remediations of the CCTV images of Diana Spencer and Dodi Al-Fayed in the Ritz Hotel in Paris on 30 August 1997 in television news and a documentary from 2007 and 2011, respectively. It is shown how social memory of Diana’s death is a contested site, in which the images play a specific role. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Learning to Act: Tony Sheldon’s Emotional Training in Australian Theatre
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 72; doi:10.3390/h5030072 -
Abstract
This case study of Tony Sheldon considers how an actor develops versatility in emotional delivery and the capacity to work in all theatre genres. Sheldon is one of Australia’s best known and most successful stage actors. He has appeared in Shakespearean drama, cabaret,
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This case study of Tony Sheldon considers how an actor develops versatility in emotional delivery and the capacity to work in all theatre genres. Sheldon is one of Australia’s best known and most successful stage actors. He has appeared in Shakespearean drama, cabaret, musical theatre and contemporary plays written by Australian, British and American playwrights. He is one of a sizeable group of Australian actors of his generation to have learned to act ‘on the job’ with directors and other actors rather than undertaking formal qualifications in an institution or studio. This article examines Sheldon’s experience of learning to act, drawing on a life interview with the actor. It considers the opportunities and the difficulties Sheldon experienced in his early career in relation to boundary blurring and self-belief, trauma, directorial rehearsal styles, typecasting, comic acting in partnership and managing one’s character in long seasons. The article explores some of the problems that the actor has overcome, the importance of specific directors in his development, and the dynamics of informal training in the context of an overall ecology of theatre over half a century. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Vulnerable Life: Zombies, Global Biopolitics, and the Reproduction of Structural Violence
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 71; doi:10.3390/h5030071 -
Abstract
This essay offers an intervention in biopolitical theory—using the term “vulnerable life” to recalibrate discussions of how life is valued and violence is justified in the contemporary bioinsecurity regime. It reads the discursive structures that dehumanize and pathologize figures in U.S. zombie narratives
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This essay offers an intervention in biopolitical theory—using the term “vulnerable life” to recalibrate discussions of how life is valued and violence is justified in the contemporary bioinsecurity regime. It reads the discursive structures that dehumanize and pathologize figures in U.S. zombie narratives against the discursive structures present in contemporary legal narratives and media reports on the killing of black Americans. Through this unsettling paralleling of structures, the essay suggests how the current ubiquity of zombies and the profusion of racial tension in the U.S. are related. In the process, the essay emphasizes the highly racialized nature of the zombie itself—which has never been the empty signifier it is often read as—and drives home just how dangerous the proliferation of postracial and posthuman discourses can be if they serve to elide historical limitations about the highly political determinations of just who is quite human. Full article
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