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Volume 10, September

Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 4 (December 2021) – 8 articles

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Article
Deleuze Becoming-Mary Poppins: Re-Imagining the Concept of Becoming-Woman and Its Potential for Challenging Current Notions of Parenting, Gender and Childhood
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040113 - 20 Oct 2021
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Abstract
In this paper, we consider the major and controversial lexicon of Deleuze’s ‘becoming-woman’ and what an alternative re-working of this concept might look like through the story of Mary Poppins. In playfully exploring the many interesting aspects of Travers’ character, with her classic [...] Read more.
In this paper, we consider the major and controversial lexicon of Deleuze’s ‘becoming-woman’ and what an alternative re-working of this concept might look like through the story of Mary Poppins. In playfully exploring the many interesting aspects of Travers’ character, with her classic tale about the vagaries of parenting, we attempt to highlight how reading Mary Poppins through the Deleuzian lens of ‘becoming-woman’ opens up possibilities, not limitations, in terms of feminist perspectives. In initially resisting the ‘Disneyfication’ of Mary Poppins, Travers offered insights and opportunities which we revisit and consider in terms of how this fictional character can significantly disrupt ideas of gender performativity. We endeavour to accentuate how one of its themes not only dismantles the patriarchy in 1910 but also has significant traction in the twenty- first century. We also put forth the idea of Mary Poppins as an icon of post-humanism, a nomadic war machine, with her robotic caring, magic powers and literal flights of fancy, to argue how she ironically holds the dual position of representing the professionalisation of parenting and the need to move beyond a Dionysian view of children as in need of control and regulation, as well as that of nurturer and emancipator. Indeed, in her many contradictions, we suggest a nomadic Mary Poppins can offer a route into the ideas of Deleuze and his view of children as de-territorialising forces and activators of change. Full article
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Article
Performing the Bounds of Responsibility
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040112 - 15 Oct 2021
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Abstract
This paper investigates border-making dynamics in the two political arenas where my subjectivity is most acutely implicated across time—the Jewish Holocaust (as an intergenerational victim) and the Aboriginal genocide (as an unwitting beneficiary). Albeit that there are many differences between the drivers of [...] Read more.
This paper investigates border-making dynamics in the two political arenas where my subjectivity is most acutely implicated across time—the Jewish Holocaust (as an intergenerational victim) and the Aboriginal genocide (as an unwitting beneficiary). Albeit that there are many differences between the drivers of antisemitism and racism against Indigenous Australians, I investigate both of these racist structures through the lens of border-thinking as theorised by Walter Mignolo as a method of decolonisation (2006). The article has been formatted as an example of discursive border-crossing by juxtaposing theoretical ideas (particularly inspired by Zygmunt Bauman and Deborah Bird Rose) with interjections from my personal journal. I explore my own performative storytelling as a means for me to take responsibility to question power structures, acknowledge injustice, and to enact the potential for ethical dialogue between myself and others. This responsibility gestures to the possibility of border crossing as an ‘act of liberation’ that resides in the acknowledgement of historical injustices and their continued impact on both the beneficiaries and the victims of coloniality in the present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acts of Liberation)
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Article
Get Back: The New Galician Diaspora Goes on Stage
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040111 - 14 Oct 2021
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Abstract
This article analyses Get Back (2016), a play written by Diego Ameixeiras and directed by Jorge Coira. The text will be considered an example of an early Brexit narrative, and it will serve to explore how the new Galician diaspora is represented through [...] Read more.
This article analyses Get Back (2016), a play written by Diego Ameixeiras and directed by Jorge Coira. The text will be considered an example of an early Brexit narrative, and it will serve to explore how the new Galician diaspora is represented through the arts. Issues related to migration, racism, and precariousness bloom naturally from a play that gathers four Galician migrants in London, together with a British-born character, inside one of the carriages of the Tube. Old and new waves of Galician migrants will be juxtaposed through different characters, illustrating the complexity of this recent migratory phenomenon. Several stereotypes will be exposed to increase how Ameixeiras constructs generational and gender gaps existing among Pepe, Luisa, Rafa and Iria, four immigrants who find themselves sharing a carriage on the London Underground sometime during the aftermath of Brexit. Thanks to the multiple dichotomies and arguments that create an ambivalent sense of Galician identity abroad, the play runs very smoothly. The different points of view found in the text will reflect on the subaltern status of the characters, who seem to struggle to find their place in their host country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Gender in Galician Literature)
Review
A Psychological Perspective on Vicarious Embarrassment and Shame in the Context of Cringe Humor
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040110 - 08 Oct 2021
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Abstract
Cringe humor combines the seemingly opposite emotional experiences of amusement and embarrassment due to others’ transgressions of norms. Psychological theories and empirical studies on these emotional reactions in response to others’ transgressions of social norms have mostly focused on embarrassment and shame. Here, [...] Read more.
Cringe humor combines the seemingly opposite emotional experiences of amusement and embarrassment due to others’ transgressions of norms. Psychological theories and empirical studies on these emotional reactions in response to others’ transgressions of social norms have mostly focused on embarrassment and shame. Here, we build on this literature, aiming to present a novel perspective on cringe humor. To do so, we introduce the psychological literature on embarrassment and shame, as well as the processes involved that allow humans to also experience these emotions on behalf of others, and draw theoretical links to cringe comedy. We then systematically disentangle contexts in which audiences experience vicarious embarrassment, and structure our argument based on the ongoing processes and consequences of the observed transgressions of norms based on the constituting dimensions of awareness and intentionality of the normative transgression by the social target. We describe how the behavioral expressions of the target along with the social distance and the current motivations of the audience shape the emotional experience and negotiation of social norms, specifically in response to intentional normative transgressions. While this perspective makes it evident that cringe humor is closely linked to the debate around social normative standards between the actor/actress and the audience, we conclude that the different manifestations and specific situational characteristics have fundamentally different consequences for the affirmation or renegotiation of social normative standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Media and Politics in the Age of Cringe)
Article
Salvaging Utopia: Lessons for (and from) the Left in Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017), The Deep (2019), and Sorrowland (2021)
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040109 - 08 Oct 2021
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Abstract
In response to this special issue’s question of whether mainstream science fiction has become stuck in presentism and apocalypticism, this article examines how utopia is expressed and salvaged in the work of Rivers Solomon. Using three of Solomon’s novels and the theoretical lenses [...] Read more.
In response to this special issue’s question of whether mainstream science fiction has become stuck in presentism and apocalypticism, this article examines how utopia is expressed and salvaged in the work of Rivers Solomon. Using three of Solomon’s novels and the theoretical lenses of black utopia studies and salvage-Marxism, I suggest that scholars and activists should approach this question from a different perspective. While Solomon’s novels may seem dystopian from the perspective of liberalism or whiteness, they can also clearly be placed within the long, if marginalized, history of leftist and black utopian thought. Likewise, where the ‘traditional’ utopia (a concept I interrogate) is often imagined as grounded in hope and futurity, black utopia and salvage-Marxism reject these concepts as counterproductive to the actual work of social justice and utopia-building. Despite their presentism and apocalypticism, then, I argue Solomon’s novels are very much utopian: they simply locate their utopian desire in radical kinship and salvage, rather than universalism or futurity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Post-Utopia in Speculative Fiction: The End of the Future?)
Article
Queer Feelings: Love and Loss in the Letters of Horace Walpole
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040108 - 30 Sep 2021
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Abstract
This essay looks at the letters of Horace Walpole through the lens of the contemporary performance theory of José Muñoz in order to suggest the ways in which Walpole’s feelings in the past reach us with a hope for the future. By looking [...] Read more.
This essay looks at the letters of Horace Walpole through the lens of the contemporary performance theory of José Muñoz in order to suggest the ways in which Walpole’s feelings in the past reach us with a hope for the future. By looking at touchstones in Horace Walpole’s life, I look for a model of queer relationality that is centuries ahead of its time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queer Culture and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Studies)
Article
Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Interplanetary Emissary Klaatu Are Not Anti-Atomic: A Reassessment of the Filmic Evidence
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040107 - 24 Sep 2021
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Abstract
Inspired by a 1940s short story by Harry Bates, scripted by Edmund H. North, and directed by Robert Wise, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) is a science fiction cult classic. Of all its diverse interpretations, a commonly adopted reading influenced by [...] Read more.
Inspired by a 1940s short story by Harry Bates, scripted by Edmund H. North, and directed by Robert Wise, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) is a science fiction cult classic. Of all its diverse interpretations, a commonly adopted reading influenced by the dawning of the Atomic Age parades it as an anti-nuclear exemplar starring alien emissary Klaatu visiting Earth with his robot companion Gort to (supposedly) suppress humanity’s atomic progress. However, upon a close forensic inspection of the film and commentator comments, this anti-atomic claim is resoundingly rejected. Utilizing humanist film criticism as the guiding analytical lens (i.e., looking inside not outside the frame), plus a selective review of the critical literature, it was demonstrated that: (a) there is a dearth of atomic iconography and dialogue, (b) there is no mention of banning atomic energy or weapons, (c) Earth’s atomics are nascent and not serious threats to the Federation, and (d) Klaatu is not anti-atomic but proudly pro-atomic. Overall, this SF film is strongly pro-nuclear in intention, word, and deed, which was frequently misinterpreted due to faulty film criticism, invented facts, and jumping to conclusions, and thus in need of academic correction. Further research into alien first-contact scenarios, robotic artificial intelligence, and the moral make-up of the SF universe is warranted and long overdue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Film, Television, and Media Studies in the Humanities)
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Article
Metaphysics, Universal Irony, and Richard Rorty’s “We Ironists”
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040106 - 23 Sep 2021
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Abstract
Richard Rorty speaks of “we ironists” who use irony as the primary tool in their scholarly work and life. We cannot approach irony in terms of truth, simply because, due to its ironies, the context no longer is metaphysical. This is Rorty’s challenge [...] Read more.
Richard Rorty speaks of “we ironists” who use irony as the primary tool in their scholarly work and life. We cannot approach irony in terms of truth, simply because, due to its ironies, the context no longer is metaphysical. This is Rorty’s challenge. Rorty’s promise focuses on top English Departments: they are hegemonic, they rule over the humanities, philosophy, and some social sciences using their superior method of ironizing dialectic. I refer to Hegel, Gerald Doherty’s “pornographic” writings, and Gore Vidal’s non-academic critique of academic literary criticism. My conclusion is that extensive use of irony is costly; an ironist must regulate her relevant ideas and speech acts—Hegel makes this clear. Irony is essentially confusing and contestable. Why would we want to use irony in a way that trumps metaphysics? Metaphysics, as defined by Rorty, is a problematic field, but irony can hardly replace it. At the same time, I admit that universal irony is possible, that is, everything can be seen in ironic light, or ironized. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate and criticize Rorty’s idea of irony by using his own methodology, that is, ironic redescription. We can see the shallowness of his approach to irony by contextualizing it. This also dictates the style of the essay. Full article
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