Humanities2016, 5(1), 15; doi:10.3390/h5010015 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Every place has a story. Hotels, however, have thousands of stories that are multilayered, interwoven, and imbricated. Their puzzled fictions resemble films in that they both overlap unrelated tales, phenomena, and characters within a short temporal fragment. Mysteries, secrets, love, cabal, fraud, hate, cheating, shows, fun, prostitution, gambling, falls, and so on—all of these conditions and emotions pertain to hotels, as well as films. Working under this framework, then, this paper aims to approach hotels as a temporal experience which goes beyond space for the purpose of both analyzing hotel deaths as a symbolic case of urban living and in order to interpret films as a type of testimony regarding social change. Beyond all of the bright surfaces, hotels represent and reproduce insincerity, insusceptibility, omission, coldness, and distance. Hotels represent gaps, desolateness, devastation, homelessness, and timelessness.
Humanities2016, 5(1), 14; doi:10.3390/h5010014 - published 5 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The health of Indigenous girls in Canada is often framed and addressed through health programs and interventions that are based on Western values systems that serve to further colonize girls’ health and their bodies. One of the risks of the recent attention paid to Indigenous girls’ health needs broadly and to trauma more specifically, is the danger of contributing to the “shock and awe” campaign against Indigenous girls who have experienced violence, and of creating further stigma and marginalization for girls. A focus on trauma as an individual health problem prevents and obscures a more critical, historically-situated focus on social problems under a (neo)colonial state that contribute to violence. There is a need for programs that provide safer spaces for girls that address their intersecting and emergent health needs and do not further the discourse and construction of Indigenous girls as at-risk. The author will present her work with Indigenous girls in an Indigenous girls group that resists medical and individual definitions of trauma, and instead utilizes an Indigenous intersectional framework that assists girls in understanding and locating their coping as responses to larger structural and systemic forces including racism, poverty, sexism, colonialism and a culture of violence enacted through state policy and practices.
Humanities2016, 5(1), 13; doi:10.3390/h5010013 - published 5 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Based on his experiences during a journey through mainland Southeast Asia in 1923, Somerset Maugham wrote a book of colonial travel entitled The Gentleman in the Parlour. As the work of one of the most popular writers of the twentieth century, Maugham’s travelogue both expressed and helped to shape contemporary thinking about Southeast Asia and Western imperialism. Focusing especially on his representations of Burma and Cambodia, an analysis is presented of Maugham’s book in the light of postcolonial scholarship, especially the theoretical insights developed under the inspiration of Edward Said’s Orientalism. Despite its pretensions to be apolitical, Maugham’s travel book is shown to be a repository of Western colonial ideas and attitudes, integrally involved in the circulation of the prevailing European discourse of high imperialism. As such, it is a valuable resource for historians and other scholars who wish to understand the way that discourse worked at the level of popular literature.
Humanities2016, 5(1), 11; doi:10.3390/h5010011 - published 4 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This essay surveys the state of the humanities at this critical time. What will be the role of the humanities at the end of this century and beyond? I discuss the “crisis of the humanities” by examining the current challenges of globalization, economic shifts, and extensive budget cuts. I also discuss the social and political divisions that contribute to a crisis within the humanities. Since the culture wars that began in the 1960’s, the content, scope, and focus of the humanities have changed dramatically, and this has impacted how the humanities are perceived and valued by the general public. The second half of the essay makes the case for the vital importance of the humanities. I argue that the fate of the humanities is inseparable from the future of human beings. I highlight the current problems of war, environmental degradation, and mass surveillance that must be managed before they overwhelm and derail the potential for dramatic progress. Following recent scholarship and research trends, I explain how technological advancements will lead to the most significant evolutionary changes to the human being in aeons. Through technologies such as bionics, transgenesis, robotics, genetic engineering, and artificial intelligence, Homo sapiens might be enabled to transcend its former limits and usher in an era of transhumanism. The relevant question is: What do we want to be? I argue that enhancement technologies will make their beneficiaries more robotic and less human, and explain why we must treasure the advantages of our distinctly human capacities and resist the prospect of empowering ourselves to become automatons. My underlying thesis is that developing an understanding of the most insightful ideas and cultivating an appreciation for the greatest creative works that humankind has produced will be crucial for maintaining our humanity. The humanities thus make a unique and indispensable contribution to defining what and who we want our descendants to be.
Humanities2016, 5(1), 12; doi:10.3390/h5010012 - published 3 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The dramatic expansion of Taiwan universities/colleges from about 100 to 160 from the late 1980s has encountered problems due to social and global changes. What should Taiwan universities move toward and how? This research relies on secondary data to explore the issues Taiwan universities currently face—a low birth rate and global competition. The decreasing number of incoming students will result in a lower registration rate and less tuition revenue, which will make some universities struggle to survive. Hence, government policies, proposed by the Ministry of Education, have been implemented to assist Taiwan universities to adjust to external changes. The Innovative Transformation Policy, adopted in 2015, consists of strategies for university–industry cooperation, university mergers, university closures, and a re-shaping of the university paradigm. This policy has begun to be implemented and its initial outcome will be continually evaluated. In accordance with the Innovative Transformation Policy, this study encourages Taiwan universities to improve governance, set prominent unique characteristics of development, and enhance global competitiveness.
Humanities2016, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/h5010010 - published 22 January 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This personal essay describes what influenced my development as a creative writer, in my childhood and adolescence. It delineates the effect on my imagination of family story-telling and of images—paintings and prints. I grew up in Italy, where I spent the first thirty years of my life.