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Humanities, Volume 11, Issue 3 (June 2022) – 15 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): “Remapping Black Childhood in The Brownies’ Book” examines the preoccupation with geography in the African American children’s magazine, The Brownies’ Book (1920–1921). Drawing in part on conventions established by early Black periodicals, the magazine offered Black children a much wider view of their place in the world—both literally and imaginatively—than that provided by typical US schoolroom atlases and geographies, which tended to have little to say (or show) about countries and continents outside North America and Europe. By aiming to develop in its readers alternative forms of geographic and political consciousness, The Brownies’ Book provocatively recast geography as a radical mode of knowledge available to Black children through cultural as well as cartographic forms, in the process remapping Black childhood itself. View this paper
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13 pages, 269 KiB  
Article
Jane Austen: The Musician as Author
by Gillian Dooley
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030073 - 14 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2040
Abstract
Jane Austen was a practising musician, and my intention in this paper is to investigate the significance of that fact for her writing practice. Beginning with the comparison between Elizabeth and Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, I will consider contemporary attitudes [...] Read more.
Jane Austen was a practising musician, and my intention in this paper is to investigate the significance of that fact for her writing practice. Beginning with the comparison between Elizabeth and Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, I will consider contemporary attitudes to virtuosity and aesthetics in an attempt to understand the implications in Austen’s fiction of the distinction between ‘playing well’ and ‘being listened to with pleasure’. My recently completed project of cataloguing in detail each piece of playable music in the Austen Family Music Books facilitates the study of Austen’s personal musical taste in the context of her extended family and, more broadly, of English musical culture in the late Georgian era. I attempt to bring together Austen the musician with Austen the writer, both in her knowledge of the musical repertoire of the time and the language of music more generally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jane Austen: Work, Life, Legacy)
22 pages, 4154 KiB  
Article
Remapping Black Childhood in The Brownies’ Book
by William Gleason
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030072 - 13 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1725
Abstract
This essay examines the recurring preoccupation with geography in W. E. B. Du Bois’s and Jessie Redmon Fauset’s African American children’s magazine, The Brownies’ Book (1920–1921). Drawing in part on conventions established by early Black periodicals, including an emphasis on the rich global [...] Read more.
This essay examines the recurring preoccupation with geography in W. E. B. Du Bois’s and Jessie Redmon Fauset’s African American children’s magazine, The Brownies’ Book (1920–1921). Drawing in part on conventions established by early Black periodicals, including an emphasis on the rich global presence of non-Western peoples and places, many of the magazine’s features, from its stories and poems to its images and games, offered Black children a much wider view of their place in the world—both literally and imaginatively—than that provided by typical U.S. schoolroom atlases and geographies, which tended to have little to say (or show) about countries and continents outside North America and Europe. By aiming to develop in its readers alternative forms of geographic and political consciousness, The Brownies’ Book provocatively recast geography as a radical mode of knowledge available to Black children through cultural as well as cartographic forms, in the process remapping Black childhood itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue African American Children's Literature)
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11 pages, 270 KiB  
Article
“Merrily to Hell Together”: Threats of Self-Destruction among Golden Age Pirates
by Matthew J. McLaine
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030071 - 9 Jun 2022
Viewed by 2878
Abstract
The threat of death hung over every aspect of pirate life during the Golden Age of piracy. They threatened governors and governments who dared to capture, prosecute, and hang their fellow buccaneers. They threatened their victims for running away, for fighting back, or [...] Read more.
The threat of death hung over every aspect of pirate life during the Golden Age of piracy. They threatened governors and governments who dared to capture, prosecute, and hang their fellow buccaneers. They threatened their victims for running away, for fighting back, or for hiding their money. They even threatened death on each other should any of them suggest leaving off their chosen course or for betraying their company. Even the iconic skull and crossbones “Jolly Roger” pirate flag was a visible, physical symbol of a threat of death: for victims it was a reminder that surrender may mean mercy, but resistance would be fatal; and for the Pirates themselves, a grim reminder that capture or failure could mean their end. Many pirate crews in the Golden Age took this menace of death to the extreme by threatening to blow up their ship to avoid the noose, promising to take prisoners and pirates, captives and captors, and gold and galleon to the bottom of the ocean, going “merrily to Hell together”. Yet despite their boasts and despite embracing the symbols of death, when the time came to make good on their oaths, few of these crews took that final explosive step and fewer still succeeded. This paper examines twenty incidents from the Golden Age of piracy in which pirates or their victims threatened or attempted to blow up their ships and themselves to avoid capture. Witness statements, period newspaper accounts, and trial testimony reveal that the threat was frequent but the attempt was not. In the end it was often prevented by the pirates themselves after a change of heart, despite promising one another that they would “live & dye together”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2)
16 pages, 322 KiB  
Editorial
Medieval Scandinavian Studies—Whence, Whereto, Why
by Jan Alexander van Nahl
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030070 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2423
Abstract
Medieval Scandinavian Studies started emerging as a discipline in the 19th century, at a time when Old Norse literature had become an important source both for the reconstruction of an alleged Germanic worldview, and the substantiation of national political claims. Scholars in the [...] Read more.
Medieval Scandinavian Studies started emerging as a discipline in the 19th century, at a time when Old Norse literature had become an important source both for the reconstruction of an alleged Germanic worldview, and the substantiation of national political claims. Scholars in the early 20th century consolidated this view, and thereby even coined public ideas of a Germanic past that became influential in the reception of the Middle Ages in general. To the present day, the popular fascination with these Middle Ages thus is strongly informed by Old Norse sources, and a wealth of recent adaptations seem to perpetuate this view. However, the same sources, as well as earlier scholarship, are used by extremist groups to substantiate populist and racist claims. Scholars in Medieval Scandinavian Studies find themselves at the intersection of these conflicting and yet connected spheres of appropriation. Their task to take a stance in this situation is all the more challenging as the international field struggles with cutbacks of budgets, study programs, and institutes. The present special issue seeks to bring together current opinions on this ambivalent state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Scandinavian Studies Today: Whence, Whereto, Why)
32 pages, 6819 KiB  
Article
Rereading The Wife’s Lament with Dido of Carthage: The Husband and the Herheard
by Marijane Osborn
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030069 - 30 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3047
Abstract
The Old English poem in The Exeter Book titled The Wife’s Lament is about longing and loneliness; the woman speaking in the poem longs for her absent husband who has sent her to live in a “cave under an oak tree”. The husband’s [...] Read more.
The Old English poem in The Exeter Book titled The Wife’s Lament is about longing and loneliness; the woman speaking in the poem longs for her absent husband who has sent her to live in a “cave under an oak tree”. The husband’s attitude toward his wife is a major point of controversy among commentators on the poem: has he sent her there as a punishment or for her protection? This essay argues that he loves her and seeks to protect her in his absence. The argument supporting this view addresses the following three topics: the reason he must leave and his brooding silence preceding that departure, the culture of warrior oaths, and the nature of the “cave” where the speaker is located. The first two discussions assess and reframe previous scholarship, while the discussion of the speaker’s location introduces a new area of research, the archaeology of early medieval rock-cut buildings. Finding that the poet might imagine the Wife inhabiting such a constructed building invites us to think about her, her husband, the poem, and even the Exeter Book itself within a new and interesting real-world context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old English Poetry and Its Legacy)
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31 pages, 916 KiB  
Article
Self-Insert Fanfiction as Digital Technology of the Self
by Effie Sapuridis and Maria K. Alberto
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030068 - 30 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 6305
Abstract
Self-insert fanfiction is a long-established but still controversial mode of writing, even within the already marginalized genre of fanfiction. Moreover, many of the specific terms and practices used to describe this kind of writing have not been formally explored or theorized. We maintain [...] Read more.
Self-insert fanfiction is a long-established but still controversial mode of writing, even within the already marginalized genre of fanfiction. Moreover, many of the specific terms and practices used to describe this kind of writing have not been formally explored or theorized. We maintain that self-insert fanfiction can be understood as a digital technology of the self, building upon Foucauldian roots and extending into digital platforms and their affordances. We begin by making connections to the precedents established by “Mary Sue” characters, then continue by tracing the shifts from those conversations to more explicitly self-insert subgenres of the present day. Then, drawing on a survey of self-insert fanfiction conducted across four platforms (Ao3, FF.net, Tumblr, and Wattpad), we explore how such works can be discovered, read, and engaged with, and we offer specific observations about self-insert subgenres, as drawn from a selection of these works. Ultimately, we maintain, self-insert fanfiction expands the possibilities offered by other digital technologies of the self (avatars, blogging, etc.) by attempting to create a self that can be open to any reader who encounters it, although this expansion is not without its own limitations and drawbacks. We conclude by offering potential directions for further work in this area that fall beyond the scope of this initial exploration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Past, Present and Future of Fan-Fiction)
18 pages, 715 KiB  
Article
Reframing Monetization: Compensatory Practices and Generating a Hybrid Economy in Fanbinding Commissions
by Kimberly Kennedy and Shira Buchsbaum
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030067 - 25 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2668
Abstract
Monetization of fan-made crafts and texts remains a contentious issue in fandom. The existing literature documents fans’ rejections of explicitly for-profit, authorized spaces for fanfiction publication, such as Kindle Worlds and FanLib, but tenuous acceptance of crafts and practitioners who demonstrate adherence to [...] Read more.
Monetization of fan-made crafts and texts remains a contentious issue in fandom. The existing literature documents fans’ rejections of explicitly for-profit, authorized spaces for fanfiction publication, such as Kindle Worlds and FanLib, but tenuous acceptance of crafts and practitioners who demonstrate adherence to gift culture principles. Fanbinding—the practice of binding fanworks into codex form—brings to the fore concerns of author permission, intellectual copyright, and compensation for artistic labor prevalent in arguments regarding fanfiction monetization. Our research draws from survey data collected from thirty-one fanbinders and examines how they justify their decision-making on taking commissions through perceptions of acceptable fannish behavior and definitions of gift culture. We found that binders who do take commissions overall reject an explicitly for-profit enterprise and instead reinvest funds back into their craft, strengthening binders and commissioners’ ability alike to contribute to the fandom gift economy. Here, binders offer a concentrated model for how to navigate competing concerns about fannish self-preservation, gift economy, and sustaining a costly craft, offering insights into how practitioners of other fancrafts might similarly navigate a third-space hybrid economy to justify compensation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Past, Present and Future of Fan-Fiction)
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17 pages, 384 KiB  
Review
Communicating Health: Depictions of Depression, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Autism without Intellectual Disability in British and U.S. Coming-of-Age TV Series
by Marta Lopera-Mármol, Manel Jiménez-Morales and Mònika Jiménez-Morales
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030066 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5987
Abstract
This article aims to foster a better theoretical understanding of the narrative representation of mental and neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically depression, antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), and autism (ASD), without intellectual disability on British and U.S. coming-of-age and dramedy television series. A research pilot showed [...] Read more.
This article aims to foster a better theoretical understanding of the narrative representation of mental and neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically depression, antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), and autism (ASD), without intellectual disability on British and U.S. coming-of-age and dramedy television series. A research pilot showed that very little research has been performed on TV series and mental disorders, which confirms the need for this particular study. To do so, the authors explore, through a systemized literature review, the depiction of medical aspects found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which correspond to symptoms, diagnosis, medication, and treatment within the narrative. The theoretical results seem to indicate that there has been an improvement regarding the framing of mental and neurodevelopmental disorders, but there are still copious misrepresentations and a lack of depictions of the economic realities of the healthcare system. Only a few exceptions show non-normative Western aspects, such as physical traits and gender intersectionality. In conclusion, more profound and analytical knowledge of narrative elements will provide creators with a better capacity to recognize and counter stigmatizing portrayals of these disorders to have a more positive social impact and contribute to edutainment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Film, Television, and Media Studies in the Humanities)
13 pages, 2789 KiB  
Article
Reading Serial Killer Fanfiction: What’s Fannish about It?
by Judith Fathallah
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030065 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 6053
Abstract
We have come to a point where the field of fan studies must acknowledge darker, more pathologized and potentially more sinister forms of fandom than we have heretofore. Serial killer fandom is, simultaneously, one of the most visible and least-academically discussed form of [...] Read more.
We have come to a point where the field of fan studies must acknowledge darker, more pathologized and potentially more sinister forms of fandom than we have heretofore. Serial killer fandom is, simultaneously, one of the most visible and least-academically discussed form of fandom, despite a general recognition that certain serial killers are, undeniably, celebrities. Serial killer fanfic is relatively rare, but it certainly exists. In this article, I build on some of the work I have already done on Real Person Fiction, specifically importing the lenses of metalepsis and multimodality as well as the self-conscious intersection between fiction and reality, to look at an example of serial killer fanfic on three platforms—Ao3, Tumblr and Wattpad. The article asks what we can learn from applying a fan studies approach to this phenomenon. Is there anything uniquely problematic about serial killer fanfiction, or is it the same process as what so many already do as a mainstream cultural practice, hypothesizing and imagining the ‘backstage’ of famous serial killers, as we do with all other celebrities? I compare the 2019 film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile which focuses on Bundy’s private relationship with his long-time girlfriend, his circus-like televised murder trial and his eventual death sentence, with a selection of Ted Bundy fanfiction. Of course, the film does not call itself fanfiction (though several critics have considered it to glorify its subject). I will argue that the distinction between ‘serial killer fanfiction’ and authorized, industrialized and popular forms of serial killer media, actually, has very little to do with the content of the text, and is based on a complex network of assumptions regarding its author, context and modes of production and reception. If this is so, the questions we should ask of serial killer fanfic are, in fact, much broader questions regarding our cultural fascination with serial killer media, challenging the pathologization of a specific, feminine-coded and extremely stigmatized fannish practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Past, Present and Future of Fan-Fiction)
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14 pages, 324 KiB  
Article
The Sleep of Neoliberal Reason: Denialism, Conspiracies and Storytelling on Crises through Ventajas de viajar en tren
by Natalia Castro Picón
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030064 - 23 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2095
Abstract
Do fictional figurations and their formal characteristics determine our relationship with the world? In a historical moment in which several crises overlap (economic, environmental, health), what cultural imaginaries circulate and with what consequences? One of the effects of this multilevel crisis, resulting from [...] Read more.
Do fictional figurations and their formal characteristics determine our relationship with the world? In a historical moment in which several crises overlap (economic, environmental, health), what cultural imaginaries circulate and with what consequences? One of the effects of this multilevel crisis, resulting from unrestrained neoliberalism, has been the rise of conspiracy theories of all kinds. The narrative of these conspiracies converges in many ways with the discursive structure of storytelling and fiction. Such narratives seem to serve as a model to interpret the present, overflowing the realm of representation. This article will explore commonalities between narrativity and conspiracy theories. In doing so, it will analyze Ventajas de viajar en tren, a novel by Antonio Orejudo and subsequent film adaptation Aritz Moreno. The story consists of a formal exploration of creating writing from a plot that addresses issues, such as conspiracy and mental health. I propose to invert this scheme to analyze how conspiracy theory operates as an act of discursive creation and what effects it has on our experience of the present and our relationship with the present and future in social, political and cultural terms. Full article
12 pages, 310 KiB  
Article
Decolonizing Brazil through Science Fiction: Bacurau and Brazilian Empowerment
by Lidia Zuin
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030063 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 2496
Abstract
The objective of this article is to present an overview of the changes in Brazilian science fiction throughout the past decades, which culminated in the international and national success of the film Bacurau and the emergence of the new subgenres amazofuturismo and sertãopunk [...] Read more.
The objective of this article is to present an overview of the changes in Brazilian science fiction throughout the past decades, which culminated in the international and national success of the film Bacurau and the emergence of the new subgenres amazofuturismo and sertãopunk in continuation of Causo’s tupinipunk. These subgenres are bringing to the plate topics such as nationalism, decolonization, racism, social justice, and globalization, while using pop formulas and, thus, engaging an audience that is finding in those titles an opportunity to address the current political scenario. This paper suggests that Bacurau, amazofuturismo, and sertãopunk are new manifestations that are paving the way for contemporary Brazilian artists, who are seeking to overcome what Rodrigues’ called “the mongrel complex”, by updating certain proposals already made by tupinipunk in the 1990s. As the country celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Modern Art Week, this article proposes that contemporary Brazilian science fiction is echoing contemporary humanities agenda topics, such as decoloniality and politics of recognition, in response to the past four years of Jair Bolsonaro’s government. Full article
13 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
The Virtual as Affirmative Praxis: A Neo-Materialist Approach
by Rosi Braidotti
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030062 - 17 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2632
Abstract
This chapter addresses the resonances between the concept of the virtual and a material philosophy of life, based on heterogeneity, hybridity, and becoming. It outlines the basic tenet of this materialist philosophy and explores its implications, in relation to the notions of difference [...] Read more.
This chapter addresses the resonances between the concept of the virtual and a material philosophy of life, based on heterogeneity, hybridity, and becoming. It outlines the basic tenet of this materialist philosophy and explores its implications, in relation to the notions of difference and becoming. It, also, highlights the importance of an ethics of affirmation, which may balance the creative potential of critical thought with a dose of negative criticism and the oppositional consciousness that such a stance, necessarily, entails. Situating this project in the context of cognitive capitalism, it discusses the question of how to resist the injustice, violence, and exclusions of the times, our times, the better to resist them and engage with them in an affirmative manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Posthumanism, Virtuality, and the Arts)
18 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
Authoritarian Politics and Conspiracy Fictions: The Case of QAnon
by Helen Young and Geoff M. Boucher
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030061 - 16 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3197
Abstract
The hypothesis of this article is that, for its adherents, QAnon is truthful, rather than true; that is, it captures their perception of the way things typically happen, rather than picturing what really has happened—and it does this in a way that seems [...] Read more.
The hypothesis of this article is that, for its adherents, QAnon is truthful, rather than true; that is, it captures their perception of the way things typically happen, rather than picturing what really has happened—and it does this in a way that seems more vivid and complete than actual experience. Why that is the case can be explained in terms of the peculiar nature of fictional representations, combined with the capacity of imaginary worlds, to symbolize real-world concerns in ways that resonate with prejudices and preconceptions but escape direct censure. After reviewing the literature on the conspiracy movement, we argue for QAnon as a conspiracy story, rather than a conspiracy theory, and interpret that story as “structured like a fantasy”, giving imaginative expression to a set of social feelings and normative grievances that would otherwise not dare speak their own names. We conclude that QAnon is an authoritarian fiction centered on anti-Semitic conspiracy beliefs that disturbingly reprise key themes of fascism, but that it presents this within the symbolic disguise of a fantasy scenario that is calculated to attract alienated white, middle-class and working-class, individuals. This argument helps explicate adherents’ resistance to the falsification of Q claims and predictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
9 pages, 218 KiB  
Article
Marvel Presents a Global Utopia and Confronts Nationalism: Eternals as a New Mythology Forged from Western Roots
by Emma de Beus
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030060 - 14 May 2022
Viewed by 2617
Abstract
Marvel’s 2021 film Eternals presents a new mythology for a new century, for an audience grappling with the complexity of postcolonialism and concerned about resurging white nationalism. Its mythology, while rooted in Western narratives, presents a utopia in the form of a multicultural [...] Read more.
Marvel’s 2021 film Eternals presents a new mythology for a new century, for an audience grappling with the complexity of postcolonialism and concerned about resurging white nationalism. Its mythology, while rooted in Western narratives, presents a utopia in the form of a multicultural pantheon, presented by a carefully selected, diverse class. While Marvel undoubtedly has commercial concerns, its careful construction of this new mythology and the considered adaptation process show a moral vision for the future. Importantly, this vision presents a direct contrast to the resurgence of the appropriation of classical mythology as justification for white supremacy. Marvel’s Eternals therefore can be seen as utopian: it offers the perfection of moral predictability, of good triumphing over evil. However, it simultaneously undercuts its story by couching it in the genre of a comic book superhero fantasy adventure–the reality Eternals offers, even fictionally, is beyond ordinary, mortal humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Greek Mythology & Modern Culture: Reshaping Aesthetic Tastes)
13 pages, 279 KiB  
Article
Memory Traces in The Reign of King Edward III
by Jonathan Baldo
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030059 - 25 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1745
Abstract
Indirectly addressing the authorship question in the anonymous The Reign of King Edward III, this paper focuses on a signature of Shakespeare’s treatment of English history, a concern with the political implications of remembering and forgetting. Multiple ironies attend the unstable relation of [...] Read more.
Indirectly addressing the authorship question in the anonymous The Reign of King Edward III, this paper focuses on a signature of Shakespeare’s treatment of English history, a concern with the political implications of remembering and forgetting. Multiple ironies attend the unstable relation of remembering and forgetting in the play. The opening of Edward III gives the impression that England’s forgetful enemies, Scotland and France, require schooling by a nation that appears to own memory. However, initial appearances prove to be deceiving, as three early Shakespearean scenes prominently feature lapses of English memory, causing the early alignment of England with faithful memory to slip away. There are traces of a distinctly Shakespearean approach to history—one that interrogates the mixed effects of historical memory itself and the values commonly assigned to remembering and forgetting—in The Reign of King Edward III. A consideration of the scenes that share the practice of Shakespeare’s histories—of not simply reviving the past but also reflecting on the motivations and conflicts associated with recollection—accords well with previous attributions of those scenes to Shakespeare on stylistic grounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nationalism in Early Modern Literature)
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