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Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 4 (December 2021) – 24 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): “Cringe and Sympathy: The Comedy of Mental Illness in Flowers” brings together findings from humor studies—especially work on cringe comedy—and disability studies. The Channel 4 series, which aired in two seasons in 2016 and 2018, respectively, unites two recent developments in comedy: it relies frequently on elements of cringe and it addresses issues of mental health and neurodiversity. The series employs cringe to question societal norms of the “proper person” in connection to mental illness, but also broadens the genre of cringe so that, at times, it becomes a cringe tragedy rather than a cringe comedy, thus taking seriously the pain of mental illness. Additionally, Flowers self-reflexively employs elements of narrativity to draw attention to the cultural constructedness and storyfication of mental illness throughout history. View this paper.
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Article
Local Testimony and the (Un)Silencing of Sexual Violence in Lithuania under German Occupation during WWII
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040129 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1808
Abstract
The memory of sexual violence in Eastern Europe under German occupation during WWII has long been silenced by the opacity of local events to outside observers, a conspiracy of silence on the issue of collaboration, and conventions on how the Holocaust should be [...] Read more.
The memory of sexual violence in Eastern Europe under German occupation during WWII has long been silenced by the opacity of local events to outside observers, a conspiracy of silence on the issue of collaboration, and conventions on how the Holocaust should be represented. Since the collapse of the USSR, the opening of archives has stimulated the production of a large and growing literature on the nature and causes of communal violence, but with relatively limited attention to sexual violence as an aspect of genocide. Based on a qualitative analysis of select audio-visual testimonies collected from non-Jewish Lithuanians since the 1990s, this paper demonstrates that local knowledge of sexual violence has persisted for decades in the post-genocidal space. However, these testimonies have been overshadowed by politicized narratives of national martyrology, and neglected by local and international researchers alike, despite their importance to the process of historical reckoning. Full article
Article
Small Revelations, … Maybe Not Even with an Apocalyptic Tone
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040128 - 16 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1127
Abstract
This article tries to be funny in a very serious way, following Virginia Woolf’s call in Three Guineas that, in the face of man-made disasters, we may have to make fools of ourselves in relation to common sense. Apocalypses, such as the Anthropocene, [...] Read more.
This article tries to be funny in a very serious way, following Virginia Woolf’s call in Three Guineas that, in the face of man-made disasters, we may have to make fools of ourselves in relation to common sense. Apocalypses, such as the Anthropocene, climate change, and mass extinction require—like the Second World War that Woolf refused to simplify—a tentative search for knowledge, not controlling and predictable methods in the search for a solution. The article is based on how Jacques Derrida’s discussion with Immanuel Kant regarding how truth should sound before the apocalypse over the years has increasingly come to describe contemporary doxa, within which there is only room for mystagogues, who inaugurate followers in the “real truth” behind “fake news”, or scientisticists, who believe that facts and truth are the same thing. When Derrida shows how these two positions depend on each other, sharing the modern belief that knowledge is associated with development, boundaries and control, he also shows how this narrows knowledge down to the predictable, and, thus, makes it complicit with the mistaken efforts of control responsible for today’s challenges. Against this background, the article analyzes works by the artist, Eva Löfdahl, and links them with questions concerning connections between truth, knowledge, art, and science. Full article
Article
Must the Apocalypse Disappoint? Philosophers in the Midst of Climate Change and Before
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040127 - 13 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Is self-preservation the only question humanity faces when confronted with self-induced annihilation? Must humanity not also ask whether there are different ways of extinguishing itself? Whether an extinction that a few impose on the many should not be distinguished from an extinction that [...] Read more.
Is self-preservation the only question humanity faces when confronted with self-induced annihilation? Must humanity not also ask whether there are different ways of extinguishing itself? Whether an extinction that a few impose on the many should not be distinguished from an extinction that results from a collective decision? Is there a self-extinction of humanity that can testify to its unity and autonomy rather than to its dividedness? Full article
Article
“In the First Place, We Don’t Like to Be Called ‘Refugees’”: Dilemmas of Representation and Transversal Politics in the Participatory Art Project 100% FOREIGN?
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040126 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1663
Abstract
100% FOREIGN? (100% FREMMED?) is an art project consisting of 250 life stories of individuals who were granted asylum in Denmark between 1956 and 2019. Thus, it can be said to form a collective portrait that inserts citizens of refugee backgrounds [...] Read more.
100% FOREIGN? (100% FREMMED?) is an art project consisting of 250 life stories of individuals who were granted asylum in Denmark between 1956 and 2019. Thus, it can be said to form a collective portrait that inserts citizens of refugee backgrounds into the narrative of the nation, thereby expanding the idea of national identity and culture. 100% FOREIGN? allows us to think of participatory art as a privileged site for the exploration of intersubjective relations and the question of how to “represent” citizens with refugee experience as well as the history and practice of asylum. The conflicting aims and perceptions involved in such representations are many, as suggested by the opening sentence of Hannah Arendt’s 1943 essay “We, Refugees”: “In the first place, we don’t like to be called ‘refugees’”. Using 100% FOREIGN? as an analytical reference point, this article discusses some of the ethical and political implications of representing former refugees. It briefly considers recent Danish immigration and asylum policies to situate the project in its regional European context and argues that, similarly to its neighbouring countries, Denmark can be described as a “postmigrant society” (Foroutan). To frame 100% FOREIGN? theoretically, this article draws on Arendt’s essay, Trinh T. Minh-ha’s concept of speaking nearby, as well as the feminist concept of transversal politics (Meskimmon, Yuval-Davis). It is hoped that this approach will lead to a deeper understanding of what participatory art can bring to the ethical politics of representing refugee experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice II: Refugees and Representation)
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Article
Unschooling and Indigenous Education
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040125 - 06 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2198
Abstract
This article draws from autoethnography and historical analysis to examine how racialized people pursue educational justice, consent, inclusion, and enjoyment through non-hegemonic learning. A historical analysis of U.S. colonial education systems imposed upon Diné and Philippine peoples grounds a comparative study on two [...] Read more.
This article draws from autoethnography and historical analysis to examine how racialized people pursue educational justice, consent, inclusion, and enjoyment through non-hegemonic learning. A historical analysis of U.S. colonial education systems imposed upon Diné and Philippine peoples grounds a comparative study on two forms of anti-colonial pedagogy: Indigenous education and critical unschooling. These two lines of inquiry underpin autoethnographic analyses of our own experiences in non-hegemonic learning to offer direct insights into the process of experiential, and decolonial growth intimated in relational learning environments. Indigenous education and critical unschooling literature both affirm the notion that all learners are always already educators and students, regardless of their age, ability, or status. This notion reorients the processes and aspirations of education toward an understanding that everyone holds valuable knowledge and is inherently sovereign. These relational values link together to form systems of circular knowledge exchange that honour the gifts of all learners and create learning environments where every contribution is framed as vital to the whole of the community. This study shows that because these principles resonate in multiple sites of colonial contact across Philippine and Diné knowledge systems, through Indigenous education and critical unschooling, and in our own lived experiences, it is important to examine these resonant frequencies together as a syncretic whole and to consider how they can inform further subversions of hegemonic educational frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acts of Liberation)
Article
An Unseen Eighth Rune: Runic Legacy and Multiliteral Performativity in Cynewulf’s The Fates of the Apostles
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040124 - 03 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1544
Abstract
The four Old English poems containing the runic Cyn(e)wulf ‘signature’ have continuously provoked debate as to the characters’ intratextual function and proper interpretation. While the prevailing view is that they are predominantly logogrammatic instantiations of traditional runic names, a case has nevertheless also [...] Read more.
The four Old English poems containing the runic Cyn(e)wulf ‘signature’ have continuously provoked debate as to the characters’ intratextual function and proper interpretation. While the prevailing view is that they are predominantly logogrammatic instantiations of traditional runic names, a case has nevertheless also been made for alternative words indicated by initialisms. Referencing both of these lines of reasoning in conjunction with a semiotic literary methodological stance, this article evaluates a single Cynewulf poem (The Fates of the Apostles) and its particular inclusion of runes amongst the bookhand alphabet characters. The assessment demonstrates the poem’s multiliteral destabilization of associative boundaries between different scripts, as well as between perceived boundaries of orality and legibility. In doing so, it identifies in the text an unseen ‘eighth rune’ that is semiotically operative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old English Poetry and Its Legacy)
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Editorial
Introduction to Painful Laughter: Media and Politics in the Age of Cringe
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040123 - 30 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1608
Abstract
This introduction to the Special Issue on cringe humour briefly traces the starting point of the contemporary cringe boom, and it looks into the roots of awkwardness as a cultural phenomenon in the 1960s. Moreover, the introduction argues for the cathartic potential of [...] Read more.
This introduction to the Special Issue on cringe humour briefly traces the starting point of the contemporary cringe boom, and it looks into the roots of awkwardness as a cultural phenomenon in the 1960s. Moreover, the introduction argues for the cathartic potential of cringe humour in the context of sociopolitical issues, and briefly presents the subsequent articles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Media and Politics in the Age of Cringe)
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Article
Transatlantic Lifelines: Anne Bradstreet’s “Elegie upon That Honorable and Renowned Knight, Sir Philip Sidney
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040122 - 30 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1437
Abstract
The legacy of Sir Philip Sidney, the distinguished Elizabethan courtier-poet, was the subject of numerous claims to memorialization. On 17 October 1586 Sidney died in battle at Arnhem in the United Netherlands. Less than a week later, his corpse was transported to Flushing, [...] Read more.
The legacy of Sir Philip Sidney, the distinguished Elizabethan courtier-poet, was the subject of numerous claims to memorialization. On 17 October 1586 Sidney died in battle at Arnhem in the United Netherlands. Less than a week later, his corpse was transported to Flushing, of which Sidney had been Governor, and in the following year Sidney’s body was “interr’d in stately Pauls”, as recorded by Anne Dudley Bradstreet—the first known poet of the British North American colonies. While Bradstreet is omitted from most early modern and contemporary literary accounts of Sidney’s legacy, this article demonstrates that Bradstreet’s commemoration of Sidney from across the Atlantic presents new insights into his afterlife and the female poet’s formulations of early modern nationhood. Bradstreet’s first formal poem, “An Elegie upon that Honorable and renowned Knight, Sir Philip Sidney” (comp. 1637–8), was a tribute to Sidney as well as to her own Anglo-American literary heritage and England’s rolls. Bradstreet exhibits her complex relationship to Sidney along the same lines that she reconceives her English identity. A comparison of the two published seventeenth-century editions of Bradstreet’s elegiac poem (1650, 1678) shows how she translates descent and lineage from kinship (and kingship) into poetic creation. In the process, Bradstreet takes her place not only as a “semi-Sidney”, as Josuah Sylvester characterized Sidney’s descendants, but also as a Sidneian Muse—in America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nationalism in Early Modern Literature)
Article
Cringe and Sympathy: The Comedy of Mental Illness in Flowers
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040121 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1802
Abstract
This article on brings together findings from humor studies, especially work on cringe comedy, and disability studies. It analyzes how Flowers uses elements of cringe to question societal norms of the “proper person” in connection to mental illness, but also how Flowers broadens [...] Read more.
This article on brings together findings from humor studies, especially work on cringe comedy, and disability studies. It analyzes how Flowers uses elements of cringe to question societal norms of the “proper person” in connection to mental illness, but also how Flowers broadens the genre of cringe so that, at times, it becomes a cringe tragedy rather than a cringe comedy, thus taking seriously the pain of mental illness. As a third point, this analysis focuses on the way in which Flowers self-reflexively employs elements of narrativity to draw attention to the cultural constructedness and storyfication of mental illness throughout history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Media and Politics in the Age of Cringe)
Article
Fictional Narratives as a Laboratory for the Social Cognition of Behavioral Change: My Ajussi
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040120 - 15 Nov 2021
Viewed by 2189
Abstract
Fictional narratives cannot be considered as mere escapist entertainment, and have a significant social cognition potential. Their study is also important in understanding the mechanisms of behavioral change, as many fictions focus on processes of personal transformation of the main characters. Romantic fictions [...] Read more.
Fictional narratives cannot be considered as mere escapist entertainment, and have a significant social cognition potential. Their study is also important in understanding the mechanisms of behavioral change, as many fictions focus on processes of personal transformation of the main characters. Romantic fictions are of special interest in this regard, as the formation of a new couple entails negotiation and mutual adaptation between partners, with possible transformation of personal attitudes, value orientations, and behaviors: ‘marrying’ a new idea or cause is, tellingly, the strongest possible metaphorical statement of adoption. Korean TV series (K-dramas) are a particularly interesting source of case studies in this regard due to the specific characteristics of their production system. We analyze a K-drama, My Ajussi, where the lead characters go through a complex process of personal change, through the lens of the so-called Tie-Up Theory, which has proven useful in the analysis and interpretation of fictional representations of human mating processes, and show how the context provided by the potential formation of the couple between the two main characters provides us with valuable insights about human behavioral change and for policy design strategies to tackle societal challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
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Article
Race and Racism in Historical Fiction: The Case of Jurji Zaydan’s Novels
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040119 - 10 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1413
Abstract
This paper analyzes the conceptualization of ideas of race in three historical novels in the fictional work of Jurji Zaydan (1861–1914), a Syrian Christian intellectual who wrote on the Golden Ages of Islamic History through serialized, popular works of historical fiction. In the [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the conceptualization of ideas of race in three historical novels in the fictional work of Jurji Zaydan (1861–1914), a Syrian Christian intellectual who wrote on the Golden Ages of Islamic History through serialized, popular works of historical fiction. In the novels analyzed, Fath al-Andalus (Conquest of Andalusia), Abbasa Ukht al-Rashid (The Caliph’s Sister), and al-Amin wa al-Ma’mun (The Caliph’s Heirs), Zaydan depicts hierarchies of race that are delineated by certain features and categories, especially within the Abbasid among household slaves, and also centers the conflict within the novels around issues of differences in race and lineage. Zaydān shows the importance of rifts in Islamic history stemming from categorizations and distinctions between Arab and non-Arab, or Arab and Persian, or mawāli. The novels also reflect the self-conceptualization of Egyptians in relation to their perceptions of the Sudanese, at a time of the rise of Arab nationalism, in late 19th and early 20th centuries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race and Racism in Arabic Literature)
Article
Literature, Ontology, and Implex in Merleau-Ponty: Writing and Finding the Concrete Limit of Phenomena
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040118 - 10 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1381
Abstract
This paper examines the ambiguous relationship between the literary uses of language in Merleau-Ponty’s own work and his ontology. It is argued that Merleau-Ponty’s critique of phenomenology—that is, his critique of an already critical philosophy—leads him to say that the limits of phenomena [...] Read more.
This paper examines the ambiguous relationship between the literary uses of language in Merleau-Ponty’s own work and his ontology. It is argued that Merleau-Ponty’s critique of phenomenology—that is, his critique of an already critical philosophy—leads him to say that the limits of phenomena are inside the entire structure of the phenomena. They are, in other words, promiscuous or dehiscent and therefore are not limits that can themselves be given. Merleau-Ponty would say that such limits are silent or mute within meaning. This will have repercussions for the very method of phenomenology. It can no longer be a descriptive method, concerned with the givenness of the phenomena, but needs to be matrixed with an expressive method that shows up the impossibility of such a return. This expressive method has to do with what he calls the “implex”—the very bodily limit of the inside and the outside that cannot be thought as one or the other, or even their synthesis. In other words, Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology invites us towards a concrete bodily limit that is, at the same time, a limit to philosophy. In effect, one cannot think of Merleau-Ponty’s ontology of the flesh apart from language, because this ontology, its very concrete crystallization, requires expression and not just description. Full article
Article
Sapiens Dominabitur Astris: A Diachronic Survey of a Ubiquitous Astrological Phrase
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040117 - 02 Nov 2021
Viewed by 7848
Abstract
From the late thirteenth through late seventeenth centuries, a single three-word Latin phrase—sapiens dominabitur astris, or “the wise man will be master of the stars”—proliferated in astrological, theological, philosophical, and literary texts. It became a convenient marker denoting orthodox positions on [...] Read more.
From the late thirteenth through late seventeenth centuries, a single three-word Latin phrase—sapiens dominabitur astris, or “the wise man will be master of the stars”—proliferated in astrological, theological, philosophical, and literary texts. It became a convenient marker denoting orthodox positions on free will and defining the boundaries of the scientifically and morally legitimate practice of astrology. By combining the methodology of a diachronic historical survey with a microhistorical focus on evolving phraseology, this study argues that closely examining the use of this phrase reveals how debates about the meanings of wisdom, free will, determinism, and the interpretation of stellar influence on human events changed radically across four centuries of Western European cultural and intellectual history. The first half of this article charts the scholastic response to theological criticisms of astrology and the reconciliation of Aristotelian-Ptolemaic cosmology with Catholic theology, paying special attention to its implications for astrology as viewed through scholarly uses of the phrase. The second half of the article shows how the phrase developed a multitude of idiosyncratic meanings in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, fracturing its late medieval scholastic unity, as new forms of philosophical, socio-political, religious, and scientific critiques upended astrological beliefs and practices. Ultimately, this paper argues that examining the theory and praxis of astrology through the changing phraseological meanings of “sapiens dominabitur astris” allows historians and cultural anthropologists to better discern the dialectical (as opposed to binary) relationships between free will and determinism in the West. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section History in the Humanities)
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Article
Specters of Mob in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040116 - 01 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1298
Abstract
This article situates David Cronenberg’s film Eastern Promises in the context of post-Cold-War European narratives. It argues that the secret dealings of the Russian mob in London are presented in the film as the uncanny and spectral return of forms of government and [...] Read more.
This article situates David Cronenberg’s film Eastern Promises in the context of post-Cold-War European narratives. It argues that the secret dealings of the Russian mob in London are presented in the film as the uncanny and spectral return of forms of government and business that run counter to the rationale conventionally associated with democratic capitalism and at the same time reveal much about its inherent logic. Cronenberg’s film connects private traumata with the violent reality of globalization, staging one as the ghostly realization of the other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Film, Television, and Media Studies in the Humanities)
Article
“Horsin’ Around”? #MeToo, the Sadcom, and BoJack Horseman
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040115 - 29 Oct 2021
Viewed by 2742
Abstract
The animated series BoJack Horseman has garnered much critical acclaim for its mix of tragic and comic portrayals of its eponymous protagonist, washed-up actor and cynic BoJack, and his friends in the anthropomorphic Hollywoo setting. The term “sadcom” has been applied to BoJack [...] Read more.
The animated series BoJack Horseman has garnered much critical acclaim for its mix of tragic and comic portrayals of its eponymous protagonist, washed-up actor and cynic BoJack, and his friends in the anthropomorphic Hollywoo setting. The term “sadcom” has been applied to BoJack and other series that operate on similar premises—an interesting response to larger critical investigations of the intersections of tragic and comic modes of humor that find expression, for example, in the awkward and in cringe. This article investigates how this mixture comes to bear in season 5 of the series from 2018, which deals with several topics related to the #MeToo movement. Through several formal elements as well as plotlines that lay bare superficial performances and complicitness in a sexist system, the season supports notions of authenticity and solidarity that lie the heart of sadcoms, which invites closer inspection not just of BoJack Horseman but the genre as a whole. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Media and Politics in the Age of Cringe)
Article
The Cringe and the Sneer: Structures of Feeling in Veep
Humanities 2021, 10(4), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10040114 - 26 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1786
Abstract
This article approaches cringe comedy through the lens of its affectivity, of the somatic experiences through which it puts its audiences’ bodies, and it uses this as a point of departure to think about the genre’s cultural work. Based on the observation that [...] Read more.
This article approaches cringe comedy through the lens of its affectivity, of the somatic experiences through which it puts its audiences’ bodies, and it uses this as a point of departure to think about the genre’s cultural work. Based on the observation that no cringe comedy makes its viewers cringe for the whole duration of its storytelling, the article suggests that cringe comedies thrive on destabilizing and ambiguating the affective valence of their performances of embarrassment, constantly recalibrating or muddying the distance between viewer and characters. They are marked by tipping points at which schadenfreude and other types of humor tip into cringe, and reversely, at which cringe tips into something else. The article focuses on one of these other affective responses, which it proposes to describe as the sneer. It uses the HBO-series Veep as a case study to explore how cringe and sneer aesthetics are interlaced in an exemplary comedy, and how they fuel this particular comedy’s satiric work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Media and Politics in the Age of Cringe)
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
Viewed by 2440
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
Viewed by 1485
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
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1455
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
Viewed by 3537
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
Viewed by 2252
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
Viewed by 1395
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
Viewed by 1670
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
Viewed by 1065
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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