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Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 3 (September 2021) – 21 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Based on Swan Lake, Black Swan portrays an ingenue’s maturation into a woman and follows a fairy-tale plot in which a naïve heroine overcomes enemies and obstacles to achieve success and sexual maturity. Unlike traditional Märchen, this cinematic anti-fairy tale blurs distinctions between good and evil, helper and adversary, and reality vs. fantasy and concludes with an apparent death. Freudian and Jungian interpretations of Doppelgängers—rivals, a controlling mother—will elucidate their key role in the protagonist's development. As in many fairy tales, the film criticizes the values of its era, namely, the capitalist exploitation of individuals and narcissistic aspects of contemporary society with its excessive worship of youth, beauty and celebrity, and its most pernicious results—escape into fantasy and insanity, aggressive rivalry, violence, and self-destruction. View this paper.
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Article
“Kill the Puppies!”: Cringe Comedy and Disability Humor in the Live Performances of Laurence Clark
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030105 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 430
Abstract
Firmly rooted in disability activism, the emergence of disability studies in the 1980s took place at a time that also witnessed several disabled comedians and activists climb the stage both in the US and the UK. Considering these coinciding developments, it seems perhaps [...] Read more.
Firmly rooted in disability activism, the emergence of disability studies in the 1980s took place at a time that also witnessed several disabled comedians and activists climb the stage both in the US and the UK. Considering these coinciding developments, it seems perhaps little surprising that disability studies scholarship has been engaged in the complex relationship between disability and humor from its very beginnings. However, the interplay between cringe (as a cultural phenomenon closely related to comedy) and disability has not received much attention within the field. This paper takes a closer look at the functions that disability fulfils in cringe comedy. Reading Laurence Clark’s comedy live performances against a classic “disability scene” from The Office, I argue that while both shows humiliate the non-disabled for their reactions toward disabled people, the work they are doing differs on several accounts. While The Office does not give its disabled characters much of a voice and thus remains ambiguous in what it is doing, Clark’s performances use cringe humor as a tool to reclaim agency. It is through the act of talking back that Clark’s performances take on a didactic function, encouraging audiences to critically reflect their own reactions to disability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Media and Politics in the Age of Cringe)
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Article
Building Global Indigenous Media Networks: Envisioning Sustainable and Regenerative Futures around Indigenous Peoples’ Meaningful Representation
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030104 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 312
Abstract
Asserting the right to meaningful representation, challenging the epistemological and methodological expansion of global corporate capitalism and its impacts on Indigenous Peoples’ territories and cultures, aligns with the implementation of global treaties and conventions that are part of key international laws regarding issues [...] Read more.
Asserting the right to meaningful representation, challenging the epistemological and methodological expansion of global corporate capitalism and its impacts on Indigenous Peoples’ territories and cultures, aligns with the implementation of global treaties and conventions that are part of key international laws regarding issues of climate change, biodiversity conservation, education, global health, human rights, and sustainable development. Indigenous Peoples have been consistently excluded from nation state visions of modernity and development, which continues to limit their full participation in global sustainable development initiatives and their meaningful representation therein. Increasing the visibility of this struggle is imperative for Indigenous Peoples, particularly around the strategic areas in which the implementation of global sustainable development treaties, policies, and goals continues to affect their rights. This article inquires whether Indigenous Peoples’ emancipatory appropriation of media means from a transnational perspective that breaks their regional enclosure can contribute to decolonize the world. More specifically, it questions how a new Indigenous global media network would contribute to decolonize the relations between Indigenous Peoples and nation states. A wider mapping of Indigeneity that decolonizes sustainable development becomes critical in order to formally document the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reconstruct and restore their epistemic and material relations. This article questions how an Indigenous global media network around new nexus research can benefit Indigenous Peoples, and make visible the incorporation of the recommendations and principles from international law emanated from the self-determined voices of Indigenous leaders, experts, and policy makers to decolonize global sustainable development goals. Full article
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Article
The Early Global Vocation of Rome. Worship, Culture and Beyond
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030103 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 172
Abstract
In all likelihood, Rome was the first global city, holding such primacy for around two thousand years since the time when the Empire built strong integration and interdependence relationships with the whole oecumene. Against the backdrop of long-term beliefs powered by the [...] Read more.
In all likelihood, Rome was the first global city, holding such primacy for around two thousand years since the time when the Empire built strong integration and interdependence relationships with the whole oecumene. Against the backdrop of long-term beliefs powered by the Papacy, this paper highlights the main features of the global Rome as the very core of Christianity and, after several disruptive events from the Early Renaissance onwards, as a main destination of the Grand Tour. Making use of primary and secondary literature sources as well as of a substantial iconography, the paper investigates the interplay between power strategies and urban morphology—permanence/change—through two main lenses: (i) the ‘inertia’ over time of the radiocentric pattern of the Forma Urbis citywide, according to the old saying all roads lead to Rome; and, (ii) the relentless reuse processes over built-up areas and sense-making dynamics coupling tangible and intangible assets. Accordingly, the Città Antica and the Città Moderna would be intertwined in residents’ and visitors’ everyday experiences until the Age of Enlightenment, when a new sense of history was to require protection measures setting antiquities apart from city life. However, this is another story. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section History in the Humanities)
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Article
Clamo Ergo Sum: Establishing a Fundamental Right to Protest from Christian Theologies of Liberation
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030102 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 175
Abstract
The prevailing particular historical narratives that established the modern rights system greatly affect the participation, tenor, and limits of rights discourse today, too often ignoring or suppressing voices of those suffering or silenced. This essay is a contribution to the subversion of those [...] Read more.
The prevailing particular historical narratives that established the modern rights system greatly affect the participation, tenor, and limits of rights discourse today, too often ignoring or suppressing voices of those suffering or silenced. This essay is a contribution to the subversion of those histories, adverting to inconsistencies, in particular histories of modern rights, the need to amplify the voices of those suffering on the margins of that history, and the dangerous consequences if we fail to do so. By applying Enrique Dussel’s political philosophy and Gustavo Gutiérrez’s theology of liberation significant contributions can be made toward affirming a fundamental right to protest. The right to protest articulates a right co-foundational with the rights to life, liberty, and property, and this right is well grounded in a Christian account of the dignity of the human person. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acts of Liberation)
Article
Prison Theatre and an Embodied Aesthetics of Liberation: Exploring the Potentials and Limits
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030101 - 09 Sep 2021
Viewed by 448
Abstract
Prison theatre practitioners and scholars often describe the sense of imaginative freedom or “escape” that theatre and drama can facilitate for incarcerated actors, in contrast to the strict regimes of the institution. Despite this, the concept of freedom or liberation is rarely interrogated, [...] Read more.
Prison theatre practitioners and scholars often describe the sense of imaginative freedom or “escape” that theatre and drama can facilitate for incarcerated actors, in contrast to the strict regimes of the institution. Despite this, the concept of freedom or liberation is rarely interrogated, being presented instead as a given—a natural by-product of creative practice. Drawing from John Dewey’s (1934) pragmatist aesthetics and the liberatory pedagogies of Bell Hooks (2000) and Paulo Freire (1996), I propose an embodied aesthetics of liberation in prison theatre that adds depth and complexity to claims for freedom through creativity. Reflecting on over twenty years of prison theatre practice and research, I propose that the initial “acts of escape” performed through engaging the imagination are merely the first threshold toward more meaningful forms of freedom. I frame these as the following three intersecting domains: “Acts of unbinding”, which represents the personal liberation afforded by experiences with theatre in prison; “acts of love”, which expresses how the theatre ensemble might represent a “beloved community” (hooks); and “acts of liberation”, which articulates how these experiences of self-and-world creation may ripple out to impact audiences and communities. An aesthetics of liberation in prison theatre can, therefore, be conceived as an embodied movement towards personal and social renewal; an approach that deepens our understanding of its oft-cited humanising potential, and its limits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acts of Liberation)
Article
Rewriting Universes: Post-Brexit Futures in Dave Hutchinson’s Fractured Europe Quartet
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030100 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Recent years have witnessed the emergence of a new strand of British fiction that grapples with the causes and consequences of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union. Building on Kristian Shaw’s pioneering work in this new literary field, this article [...] Read more.
Recent years have witnessed the emergence of a new strand of British fiction that grapples with the causes and consequences of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union. Building on Kristian Shaw’s pioneering work in this new literary field, this article shifts the focus from literary fiction to science fiction. It analyzes Dave Hutchinson’s Fractured Europe quartet—comprised of Europe in Autumn (pub. 2014), Europe at Midnight (pub. 2015), Europe in Winter (pub. 2016) and Europe at Dawn (pub. 2018)—as a case study in British science fiction’s response to the recent nationalistic turn in the UK. This article draws on a bespoke interview with Hutchinson and frames its discussion within a range of theories and studies, especially the European hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer. It argues that the Fractured Europe quartet deploys science fiction topoi to interrogate and criticize the recent rise of English nationalism. It further contends that the Fractured Europe books respond to this nationalistic turn by setting forth an estranged vision of Europe and offering alternative modalities of European identity through the mediation of photography and the redemptive possibilities of cooking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Post-Utopia in Speculative Fiction: The End of the Future?)
Article
Two Shades of Cringe: Problems in Attributing Painful Laughter
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030099 - 28 Aug 2021
Viewed by 294
Abstract
This article aims to approach the phenomenon of cringe in four steps: First, from a sociological perspective, the distinction between shame and embarrassment is discussed and a working definition is developed that conceives of this difference as situational rather than essential. In a [...] Read more.
This article aims to approach the phenomenon of cringe in four steps: First, from a sociological perspective, the distinction between shame and embarrassment is discussed and a working definition is developed that conceives of this difference as situational rather than essential. In a second step, this distinction will be used to examine more closely how the actors’ self-representation is decomposed in the reality format Wife Swap and what role cringe—understood as “Fremdscham” or “vicarious embarrassment”—plays in this. Third, an explanation for the attractiveness of these formats is offered that draws on the concept of “flexible normalism” and further specifies the latent functions of these formats sociologically. Finally, with a look at current cringe comedy, it is elaborated that the use of cringe as made in Wife Swap is a very restricted and truncated variety of this phenomenon. Cringe in a comprehensive sense, meanwhile, turns out to be a reflexive resource based on an unresolved ambiguity of multiple and often intersecting attributions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Media and Politics in the Age of Cringe)
Article
“More and More Fond of Reading”: Everything You Wanted to Know about Transgender Studies but Were Afraid to Ask Clara Reeve
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030098 - 26 Aug 2021
Viewed by 330
Abstract
Clara Reeve’s (1729–1807) Gothic novel The Old English Baron is a node for contemplating two discursive exclusions. The novel, due to its own ambiguous status as a gendered “body”, has proven a difficult text for discourse on the Female Gothic to recognise. Subjected [...] Read more.
Clara Reeve’s (1729–1807) Gothic novel The Old English Baron is a node for contemplating two discursive exclusions. The novel, due to its own ambiguous status as a gendered “body”, has proven a difficult text for discourse on the Female Gothic to recognise. Subjected to a temperamental dialectic of reclamation and disavowal, The Old English Baron can be made to speak to the (often) subordinate position of Transgender Studies within the field of Queer Studies, another relationship predicated on the partial exclusion of undesirable elements. I treat the unlikely transness of Reeve’s body of text as an invitation to attempt a trans reading of the bodies within the text. Parallel to this, I develop an attachment genealogy of Queer and Transgender Studies that reconsiders essentialism―the kind both practiced by Female Gothic studies and also central to the logic of Reeve’s plot―as a fantasy that helps us distinguish where a trans reading can depart from a queer one, suggesting that the latter is methodologically limited by its own bad feelings towards the former. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queer Culture and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Studies)
Editorial
The Literary Response to the Holocaust and the Transformation of the Reader into a Messenger
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030097 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 441
Abstract
“The greatest mitzvah,” Lily Lerner remembers what her mother taught her, “is to accompany a dead person to burial” (Lerner 1980, p. 35) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Literary Response to the Holocaust)
Editorial
Transdisciplinarity—A Bold Way into the Academic Future, from a European Medievalist Perspective and or the Rediscovery of Philology?
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030096 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 368
Abstract
This essay examines the challenges and opportunities provided by transdisciplinarity from the point of view of medieval literature. This approach is situated within the universal framework of General Education or Liberal Arts, which in turn derives its essential inspiration from medieval and ancient [...] Read more.
This essay examines the challenges and opportunities provided by transdisciplinarity from the point of view of medieval literature. This approach is situated within the universal framework of General Education or Liberal Arts, which in turn derives its essential inspiration from medieval and ancient learning. On the one hand, the various recent efforts to work transdisciplinarily are outlined and discussed; on the other, a selection of medieval narratives and one modern German novel plus one eighteenth-century ode are examined to illustrate how a transdisciplinary approach could work productively in order to innovate the principles of the modern university or all academic learning, putting the necessary tools of twenty-first century epistemology into the hands of the new generation. The specific angle pursued here consists of drawing from the world of medieval philosophy and literature as a new launching pad for future endeavors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
Article
Literature as a Pedagogical Tool in Medical Education: The Silent Patient Case
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030095 - 08 Aug 2021
Viewed by 370
Abstract
The arts have seen increasing use in medical education over the last 4 decades. Literature in particular is now frequently used as an educational tool in different medical humanities programmes. This paper analyses Alex Michaelides’ novel The Silent Patient with the goal of [...] Read more.
The arts have seen increasing use in medical education over the last 4 decades. Literature in particular is now frequently used as an educational tool in different medical humanities programmes. This paper analyses Alex Michaelides’ novel The Silent Patient with the goal of examining the professional issues presented in this psychological thriller and how the novel’s themes can be used to prompt discussion among medical students about professionalism and ethics in psychiatric settings. Following Strauss and Corbin’s qualitative procedure for conventional content analysis, this study employs content analysis of the literary text. The process of analysis began with open coding in which codes were assigned to all relevant sentences and paragraphs addressing professionalism in working with silent patients in psychiatry. These codes were then analysed to identify five major themes: multidisciplinary teamwork; therapy for the therapist; patient-centred care for silent patients; communication with silent patients; professional challenges in working with silent patients. The paper concludes that The Silent Patient novel represents important issues related to ethics and professionalism in working with silent patients in psychiatric settings. The novel can be used as a creative tool to guide discussion surrounding these issues. The paper argues that although the impact of its use is short-term, literature can make a significant contribution by provoking thought and discussion about professional and ethical aspects of practising medicine and caring for patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Literature in the Humanities)
Article
“Ach for It”: Anthony Leigh, Autonomy, and Queer Pleasures in the Restoration Playhouse
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030094 - 04 Aug 2021
Viewed by 265
Abstract
Anthony Leigh (d. 1692) built his career as a Restoration comedic actor by playing a combination of queer, lascivious, old, and/or disabled men to audiences’ great delight. In this essay, I key in on two plays that frame Leigh’s career: Thomas Durfey’s The [...] Read more.
Anthony Leigh (d. 1692) built his career as a Restoration comedic actor by playing a combination of queer, lascivious, old, and/or disabled men to audiences’ great delight. In this essay, I key in on two plays that frame Leigh’s career: Thomas Durfey’s The Fond Husband (1677) and Thomas Southerne’s Sir Anthony Love (1690). In The Fond Husband, a younger Leigh plays a “superannuated,” almost blind and almost deaf Old Fumble who, in the first act, kisses a man because he cannot navigate the heterosexual erotic economy of the play (as over-determined by able-bodiedness). Over a decade later, in Sir Anthony Love, Leigh plays an aging, queer Abbé who is so earnestly erotically invested in Love’s masculinity (unaware that Love is a woman in drag) that he attempts to seduce Love with dancing. I bring the beginning and end of Leigh’s stage life together to argue that Leigh’s body, performing queerly, asks audiences to confront the limits of pleasure in sustaining fantasies of the abled, autonomous heterosexual self. Using these two Restoration comedies that bookend Leigh’s career, I trace pleasures and queer structures of feeling experienced in the Restoration playhouse. While Durfey and Southerne’s plays-as-texts seek to discipline unruly, disabled queer bodies by making Fumble and the Abbé the punchline, Leigh’s performances open up alternative opportunities for queer pleasure. Pleasure becomes queer in its ability to undo orderings and fantasies based on autonomy (that nasty little myth). In his Apology, Colley Cibber reveals the ways that Leigh’s queerly performing body engages the bodies of audience members. In reflecting on the reading versus spectating experience, Cibber remarks, “The easy Reader might, perhaps, have been pleas’d with the Author without discomposing a Feature; but the Spectator must have heartily held his sides, or the Actor would have heartily made them ache for it” (89). Spectatorship is not a passive role, but rather a carnal interplay with the actor, and this interplay has immediate, bodily implications. Audiences laugh. They ache. They touch. Whereas the reader of a play in private can maintain composure, audiences in the theatre are contrarily discomposed, non-autonomous, and holding onto their sides. Leigh’s ability as a comedian energizes the text and produces pleasure on an immediate, corporeal level for audiences. And that pleasure is generated through stage business built on touching, feeling, and seducing male-presenting characters. Spectatorship may, in fact, be a queer experience as Leigh’s queerly performing body exposes the limits of autonomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queer Culture and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Studies)
Article
But There Is Magic, Too: Confronting Adolescents’ Realities in Francesca Lia Block’s Fairy-Tale Rewritings
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030093 - 29 Jul 2021
Viewed by 581
Abstract
Many rewritings of fairy tales use this genre to address the darkest, most violent, most unjust, and most painful aspects of human experiences, as well as to provide hope that it is possible to overcome or at least come to terms with such [...] Read more.
Many rewritings of fairy tales use this genre to address the darkest, most violent, most unjust, and most painful aspects of human experiences, as well as to provide hope that it is possible to overcome or at least come to terms with such experiences. Francesca Lia Block’s The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold (pub. 2000) is an example of such a use of fairy-tale material. Block’s stories transform traditional fairy tales to narrate the painful realities adolescents can be faced with in modern-day American society. In doing so, Block’s stories draw attention to the violence, both literal and ideological, inherent in well-known versions of fairy tales, as well as to the difficulty of confronting painful realities. Yet, as they depict young heroines (not) facing all kinds of ordeals, the stories also use the figure of the helper to restore hope to the protagonists and lead them to a new, often re-enchanted, life. Employing fairy-tale elements to both address suffering and provide hope, The Rose and the Beast thus offers complex and liminal narratives, or ‘anti-tales’, which deeply resonate with their intended adolescent audience’s in-between stage of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Confronting the Real in Fairy Tales)
Article
From Oroonoko Tobacco to Blackamoor Snuffboxes: Race, Gender and the Consumption of Snuff in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030092 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 404
Abstract
This essay investigates the circulation of the trope of the Black body in visual and textual representations of tobacco consumption, both smoked and taken as snuff. I look at the ways in which tobacco advertising depicting the type of snuff for sale or [...] Read more.
This essay investigates the circulation of the trope of the Black body in visual and textual representations of tobacco consumption, both smoked and taken as snuff. I look at the ways in which tobacco advertising depicting the type of snuff for sale or representing enslaved Africans working on plantations articulated notions of race and coloniality. I then show that snuffboxes can be seen as material counterparts in the dissemination of racist ideology in the eighteenth century. The gender-defining practice of taking snuff is studied in relation to colonial politics using a selection of texts and a material corpus of rare extant “Blackamoor” snuffboxes (depicting the black body and face) that have not yet received scholarly attention. I argue that through female agency, the use of Blackamoor snuffboxes normalised slavery by integrating it in the cultural rituals of British sociability through a process of material aestheticisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Race and the Material Culture)
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Article
Ancient Wandering and Permanent Temporariness
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030091 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 480
Abstract
To move towards an understanding of displacement from within, and the forms of its overcoming, the following chapter brings into dialogue the ancient experience of wandering and the 21st century condition of permanent temporariness. It explores whether these are the same or different [...] Read more.
To move towards an understanding of displacement from within, and the forms of its overcoming, the following chapter brings into dialogue the ancient experience of wandering and the 21st century condition of permanent temporariness. It explores whether these are the same or different phenomena, and whether the latter is a uniquely modern experience. In particular, it is interested in the turning points that lead to the defiance of the condition and its regime. It traces modes of existence that subvert the liminal state and allow for possibilities of living beyond the present moment through returns and futures that are part of everyday practices, even if they are splintered. Such actions, it is argued, allow for the repositioning of the self in relation to the world, and thus the exposition of cracks within the status quo. The investigation confronts experiences that appear to be uniquely those of the present day—such as non-arrival and forced immobility. In its exploration it engages current responses to de-placement by those who have experience of the condition first hand. It is a dialogue between the work of such creators as the architects Petti and Hilal, the poets Qasmiyeh and Husseini, and the community builders of Dandara, with ancient discourses of the outcast that are found in Euripides’ Medea, the experience of Xenophon and such philosophers as Diogenes the Cynic. In so doing, it seeks to expose the way seemingly exceptional forms of politics and existence, instead, reveal themselves as society’s ‘systemic edge’. Full article
Editorial
Introduction—Special Issue “Dystopian Scenarios in Contemporary Australian Narrative”
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030090 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 312
Abstract
The main aim of this Special Issue is to expose how a variety of contemporary Australian dystopias delve into a number of worrying global issues, thus making it clear that our contemporary world is already corroborating and bearing witness to a number of [...] Read more.
The main aim of this Special Issue is to expose how a variety of contemporary Australian dystopias delve into a number of worrying global issues, thus making it clear that our contemporary world is already corroborating and bearing witness to a number of futuristic nightmares [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dystopian Scenarios in Contemporary Australian Narrative)
Article
Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book: Indigenous-Australian Swansong or Songline?
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030089 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 381
Abstract
The Swan Book (pub. 2013) by the Indigenous-Australian author Alexis Wright is an eco-dystopian epic about the Indigenous people’s tough struggle to regain the environmental balance of the Australian continent and recover their former habitat. The book envisions a dire future in which [...] Read more.
The Swan Book (pub. 2013) by the Indigenous-Australian author Alexis Wright is an eco-dystopian epic about the Indigenous people’s tough struggle to regain the environmental balance of the Australian continent and recover their former habitat. The book envisions a dire future in which all Australian flora and fauna—humans included—are under threat, suffering, displaced, and dying out as the result of Western colonization and its exploitative treatment of natural resources. The Swan Book goes beyond the geographical and epistemological scope of Wright’s previous two novels, Plains of Promise (pub. 1997) and Carpentaria (pub. 2006) to imagine what the Australian continent at large will look like under the ongoing pressure of the Western, exploitative production mode in a foreseeable future. The occupation of Aboriginal land in Australia’s Northern Territory since 2007 has allowed the federal government to intervene dramatically in what they term the dysfunctional remote Aboriginal communities; these are afflicted by transgenerational trauma, endemic domestic violence, alcoholism, and child sexual and substance abuse—in themselves the results of the marginal status of Indigeneity in Australian society—and continued control over valuable resources. This essay will discuss how Wright’s dystopian novel exemplifies an Indigenous turn to speculative fiction as a more successful way to address the trials and tribulations of Indigenous Australia and project a better future—an enabling songline rather than a disabling swansong. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dystopian Scenarios in Contemporary Australian Narrative)
Article
On Noble and Inherited Virtues: Discussions of the Semitic Race in the Levant and Egypt, 1876–1918
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030088 - 12 Jul 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
This article examines new notions about race, ethnicity and language current in modern movements of Arabic literary and cultural revival. I argue that the Arab print market before World War I adopted the racial category of the Semite as highly relevant to Arab [...] Read more.
This article examines new notions about race, ethnicity and language current in modern movements of Arabic literary and cultural revival. I argue that the Arab print market before World War I adopted the racial category of the Semite as highly relevant to Arab ethnicity and language, but the philological and literary significations of the term subverted the negative constructions affiliated with the Semitic races in Western race theories. Combining elements from the study of linguistics, religion, and political philosophy, Arabic journals, books, and works of historical fiction, created a Semitic and Arab universe, populated by grand historical figures and mesmerizing literary and cultural artifacts. Such publications advanced the notion that the Arab races belonged to Semitic cultures and civilizations whose achievements should be a source of pride and rejuvenation. These printed products also conveyed the idea that the Arabic language and Arab ethnicity can create ecumenical and pluralistic conversations. Motivated by the desire to find a rational explanation to phenomena they identified with cultural and literary decline, Arab authors also hoped to reconstruct the modes with which their Semitic and Arab ancestors dealt with questions relating to community and civilization. By publishing scientific articles on philology, literature, and linguistics, the print media illustrated that Arabic itself was a language capable of expressing complex scientific concepts and arguments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race and Racism in Arabic Literature)
Correction
Correction: Kocher (2021). Squaring the Triangle: Queer Futures in Centlivre’s The Wonder. Humanities 10: 53
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030087 - 08 Jul 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following correction to the paper published in Humanities (Kocher 2021) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queer Culture and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Studies)
Article
Aronofsky’s Black Swan as a Postmodern Fairy Tale: Mirroring a Narcissistic Society
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030086 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 648
Abstract
Based on the plot of Swan Lake, Black Swan depicts an ingenue’s metamorphosis into a woman and a prima ballerina that contains a fairy-tale plot in which a naïve heroine overcomes enemies and obstacles in order to achieve success and sexual maturity. Unlike [...] Read more.
Based on the plot of Swan Lake, Black Swan depicts an ingenue’s metamorphosis into a woman and a prima ballerina that contains a fairy-tale plot in which a naïve heroine overcomes enemies and obstacles in order to achieve success and sexual maturity. Unlike a traditional fairy tale, this cinematic tale concludes with death and the clear distinctions between good and evil, helper and adversary and reality vs. fantasy are fluid. As in many fairy tales, the film criticizes the values of its era, namely, the narcissistic aspects of contemporary society with its excessive worship of youth, beauty and celebrity, and its most pernicious results—escape into fantasy and insanity, aggressive rivalry, violence, and self-destruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Confronting the Real in Fairy Tales)
Article
Witnessing and Waiting in Walt Whitman’s Democratic Arts of Attention
Humanities 2021, 10(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10030085 - 25 Jun 2021
Viewed by 362
Abstract
What is often overstated by democratic theorists enthralled by the poetic vision of Walt Whitman is the extent to which he excised the self in order to exalt a world where the sensed and the sensing collapse into reversibility. Throughout “Song of Myself,” [...] Read more.
What is often overstated by democratic theorists enthralled by the poetic vision of Walt Whitman is the extent to which he excised the self in order to exalt a world where the sensed and the sensing collapse into reversibility. Throughout “Song of Myself,” I argue, Whitman experiments with an arts of attention—which he describes as “witnessing and waiting”—that adapts the self to the surplus vitality immanent to perceptual and sensual experience. I contrast this with democratic theories of “relational surrender” that stress self-sacrifice as the precondition for democratic sovereignty. In particular, I contrast Whitman’s poetics of touch with Elaine Scarry’s theory of beauty, which favors what she calls “opiated adjacency,” a vivid pleasure experienced in self-loss. By contrast, Whitman discloses a vision of democracy that emphasizes “cleaving things asunder,” a sense of intensified awareness that forms in spaces of proximity that are also spaces of separation. Full article
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