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 [...] Read more.
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 [...] Read more.
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 [...] Read more.
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 [...] Read more.
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 [...] Read more.
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 [...] Read more.
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 [...] Read more.
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, [...] Read more.
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 [...] Read more.
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, [...] Read more.
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 [...] Read more.
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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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction: Analysing Emotion and Theorising Affect
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 70; doi:10.3390/h5030070 -
Abstract
This discussion introduces ideas of emotion and affect for a volume of articles demonstrating the scope of approaches used in their study within the humanities and creative arts. The volume offers multiple perspectives on emotion and affect within 20th-century and 21st-century texts, [...] Read more.
This discussion introduces ideas of emotion and affect for a volume of articles demonstrating the scope of approaches used in their study within the humanities and creative arts. The volume offers multiple perspectives on emotion and affect within 20th-century and 21st-century texts, arts and organisations and their histories. The discussion explains how emotion encompasses the emotions, emotional feeling, sensation and mood and how these can be analysed particularly in relation to literature, art and performance. It briefly summarises concepts of affect theory within recent approaches before introducing the articles. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Posthuman Ethics, Violence, Creaturely Suffering and the (Other) Animal: Schnurre’s Postwar Animal Stories
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 69; doi:10.3390/h5030069 -
Abstract
The othering of whole groups of people in a biopolitical discourse during the Third Reich has caused many to re-assess ethics that is based on specific categories. Adorno and Horkheimer reckoned with both Enlightenment as well as classical “humanist” discourses to question [...] Read more.
The othering of whole groups of people in a biopolitical discourse during the Third Reich has caused many to re-assess ethics that is based on specific categories. Adorno and Horkheimer reckoned with both Enlightenment as well as classical “humanist” discourses to question whether they imply structures that lead to fascism. In the wake of these arguments, classical humanist (or sometimes also called anthropocentric) ethics have also been criticized by philosophers such as Agamben, Derrida, and Wolfe. It is thus time to work on posthuman(ist) ethics that avoids the traps of a narrow human ethics and that is inclusive rather than exclusive. The short stories by postwar German author Wolfdietrich Schnurre, written in the wake of the Holocaust, reckon with a purely human-centered worldview and draw a bleak picture of an anthropocentrically structured and valued world. Under the surface that portrays a speciesist world, Schnurre employs a network of sub-discourses to “cave out” carno-phallogocentric discourses and point towards a different, post-human ethics. This paper examines how anthropocentric discourses of power lead to inhumane violence and how a different approach to the Other, based on empathy and shared vulnerability, might just move us beyond it. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Canines in the Classroom: Boccaccio, Dante, and the Visual Arts
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 68; doi:10.3390/h5030068 -
Abstract
The article has two primary objectives: it presents an analysis of the representation of animals in selected Italian literary works; and it utilizes that analysis as an example of how to incorporate the visual arts in teaching literature in the undergraduate classroom. [...] Read more.
The article has two primary objectives: it presents an analysis of the representation of animals in selected Italian literary works; and it utilizes that analysis as an example of how to incorporate the visual arts in teaching literature in the undergraduate classroom. The literary works discussed include Dante’s Inferno and the myth of Romulus and Remus as preparation for Boccaccio’s Decameron, specifically novelle IX.7 and V.8, with a thematic focus on portrayals of canines. The article argues that the use of artwork from the medieval and Renaissance periods, such as statuary, illustrated manuscripts, images in bestiaries, and works by Botticelli and other well-known artists, can be used to complement and reinforce interpretations of the texts, and are a powerful and effective tool in the learning process. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Walking off the Edge of the World: Sacrifice, Chance, and Dazzling Dissolution in the Book of Job and Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 67; doi:10.3390/h5030067 -
Abstract
This article compares Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (1974) to the book of Job. Both stories feature characters who can be read as innocent victims, but whereas the suffering in Le Guin’s tale benefits [...] Read more.
This article compares Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (1974) to the book of Job. Both stories feature characters who can be read as innocent victims, but whereas the suffering in Le Guin’s tale benefits many, Job is the victim of useless suffering. Exploring this difference, I draw on George Bataille’s theory of sacrifice as useless expenditure, and developed his concept of the “will to chance” in my reading of how each set of characters responds to the complex moral impasses faced. In the end, I read both stories as being about the struggle to create a viable, meaningful life in a world that is unpredictable and structurally unjust. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Of Pomo Academicus, Reconsidered
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 66; doi:10.3390/h5030066 -
Abstract
This article considers the relationship between what would generally be viewed as a postmodern perspective and the rise and multiple use of the prefix “post” by those arguing that we are finally beyond certain oppressive political, cultural and social issues, and dynamics, [...] Read more.
This article considers the relationship between what would generally be viewed as a postmodern perspective and the rise and multiple use of the prefix “post” by those arguing that we are finally beyond certain oppressive political, cultural and social issues, and dynamics, such as the racist and sexist ideologies that have historically permeated and plagued our nation’s institutions, including higher education. Many of those who champion the prefix “post” assert that they offer us a narrative, description and framework of a post-racial and post-feminist era that they want us to acknowledge and embrace. I, however, claim that such a utilization and imposition (as opposed to the more generous sounding “offer”) of the various “posts” that we have been presented with are, more often than not, precisely little more than reactionary moves to reestablish and reaffirm the very type of thinking and structure that we have allegedly moved beyond. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Transcultural Literary Interpretation: Theoretical Reflections with Examples from the Works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 65; doi:10.3390/h5030065 -
Abstract
The present contribution explores the topic of literary interpretation from a transcultural perspective. We employ two dramas by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (Die Juden and Nathan der Weise) and one by Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Iphigenie auf Tauris) as models [...] Read more.
The present contribution explores the topic of literary interpretation from a transcultural perspective. We employ two dramas by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (Die Juden and Nathan der Weise) and one by Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Iphigenie auf Tauris) as models for the investigation of intercultural and transcultural readings of literary texts. We first consider the epistemologies of Johann Martin Chladenius and Johann Gottfried Herder in order to distinguish between intercultural and transcultural studies. As a field of inquiry, transcultural literary studies does not employ one particular approach or advocate one specific method since it seeks to create new knowledge by opening up literary texts. For the first time, the article differentiates clearly between intercultural and transcultural studies and offers a clearer definition of transcultural spheres or spaces than has been advanced before. The critique of Karl-Josef Kuschel’s reading of Lessing’s Nathan der Weise opens up the literary-dramatic text to new possibilities. The field does not focus on what cultures do with human beings but with what different human beings do with culture. In sum, the transcultural dimensions of literary texts foster transcultural mentalities. They also have the potential to identify shared experiences and to develop common understandings while respecting the authenticity of difference. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Ethical Universals in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies: A Posthumanist Critique of Universal Human Rights
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 64; doi:10.3390/h5030064 -
Abstract
The debate on universality in current human rights scholarship has been overly limited. Commonly, the idea is either dismissed as Eurocentric or it is compared to a global political consensus. I evoke certain alternate and underexplored views on the topic from literary [...] Read more.
The debate on universality in current human rights scholarship has been overly limited. Commonly, the idea is either dismissed as Eurocentric or it is compared to a global political consensus. I evoke certain alternate and underexplored views on the topic from literary and culture studies. Scholars like Kwame Appiah, Patrick Hogan and Seyla Benhabib have articulated principles that include patterns of non-coercive ethical thinking emergent across diverse cultures, particularly the way minority cultures ethically respond to oppression. I argue that human rights practices may be fruitfully guided by the way minority cultures around the world evoke ethical universals to challenge violations. To develop this, I consider Amitav Ghosh’s novel Sea of Poppies that treats the issue of colonialism in South Asia during the 19th century. Ghosh foreshadows the arrival of human rights in two ways. He shows that a conception human rights has origins in Western colonialism, precisely in the colonial idea of civilizing mission. But more importantly, he demonstrates that ethical universals allow colonized characters in the novel to form cross-cultural solidarities that subvert colonialism through conceptions of universal human rights. This understanding of universality is largely missing in current human rights scholarship, with consequences that extend well beyond Ghosh’s novel. Full article
Open AccessArticle
“After Ever After”: Social Commentary through a Satiric Disney Parody for the Digital Age
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 63; doi:10.3390/h5030063 -
Abstract
“If you’ve ever wondered why Disney tales all end in lies,” then ask YouTube artist Paint—aka Jon Cozart. He has created a video for YouTube.com that re-imagines what happened after four of Disney’s leading ladies’ “dreams came true.” Continuing a tradition that [...] Read more.
“If you’ve ever wondered why Disney tales all end in lies,” then ask YouTube artist Paint—aka Jon Cozart. He has created a video for YouTube.com that re-imagines what happened after four of Disney’s leading ladies’ “dreams came true.” Continuing a tradition that is as old as the tales he sings about, the artist combines characters and melodies that have become culturally ubiquitous since the media domination of the Disney Corporation with an interpretation of the material that tries to make sense of the world in which it exists. Continuing the criticisms of post-modernism and feminist theory, Cozart challenges the “happily ever afters” that have become the stock endings for the genre. Through comedic satire he creates parodied storylines that bring four animated princesses out of their Disney realms and into the real world where they must deal with environmental destruction, racism, and colonialism, among other issues. The use of a video-sharing site such as Youtube.com not only allows for the expanded distribution of fan-created material, but it also directly addresses a wider audience than traditional oral story tellers could possibly reach: the Internet. This case study looks at the ways in which the global recognition of Disney culture allows for the creation of social commentary through familiar and beloved characters, while an increasingly digitally-connected world impacts the capabilities and understanding of both the creator and the viewers of the material. While far from being a new phenomenon, the reinterpretation of fairy tales takes on content and a form that reflects the increasingly globalized and digitized world in Cozart’s Disney parody. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Cartographies of the Voice: Storying the Land as Survivance in Native American Oral Traditions
Humanities 2016, 5(3), 62; doi:10.3390/h5030062 -
Abstract
This article examines how Native places are made, named, and reconstructed after colonization through storytelling. Storying the land is a process whereby the land is invested with the moral and spiritual perspectives specific to Native American communities. As seen in the oral [...] Read more.
This article examines how Native places are made, named, and reconstructed after colonization through storytelling. Storying the land is a process whereby the land is invested with the moral and spiritual perspectives specific to Native American communities. As seen in the oral traditions and written literature of Native American storytellers and authors, the voices of indigenous people retrace and remap cartographies for the land after colonization through storytelling. This article shows that the Americas were storied by Native American communities long before colonial contact beginning in the fifteenth century and demonstrates how the land continues to be storied in the present as a method of decolonization and cultural survivance. The article examines manifestations of the oral tradition in multiple forms, including poetry, interviews, fiction, photography, and film, to demonstrate that the land itself, through storytelling, becomes a repository of the oral tradition. The article investigates oral narratives from precontact and postcolonial time periods and across numerous nations and geographical regions in the Americas, including stories from the Mayan Popol Vuh; Algonkian; Western Apache; Hopi; Haudenosaunee/Iroquois; and Laguna Pueblo stories; and the contemporary poetry and fiction of Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek Nation) and Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo). Full article