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Humanities, Volume 12, Issue 1 (February 2023) – 20 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This article considers Rachel Greenwald Smith’s concept of the “affective turn” in contemporary fiction by looking at a collection of novels published near the turn of the 21st century: David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (1996), Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (2001), Percival Everett’s Erasure (2001), and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000). As Rachel Greenwald Smith claims, this “turn” offers a “corrective or counter to postmodernist suspicion towards subjective emotion” and has foundations of sincerity and authenticity, which align it with the premise of post-postmodernism. These novels, I argue, collectively engage with the affective turn’s inherent post-postmodern potential, as their authors respond to, challenge, and react to postmodern irony and the license of inauthenticity that comes with it. View this paper
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15 pages, 303 KiB  
Article
“My Whole Life I’ve Been a Fraud”: Resisting Excessive (Self-)Critique and Reaffirming Authenticity as Communal in David Foster Wallace’s “Good Old Neon” and Albert Camus’s The Fall
by Allard den Dulk
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010020 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1826
Abstract
The themes of paralyzing, solipsistic self-critique versus the necessarily communal character of authentic, meaningful existence in the work of American novelist David Foster Wallace are best understood in light of existentialism. This article compares Wallace’s story “Good Old Neon” with Albert Camus’s novella [...] Read more.
The themes of paralyzing, solipsistic self-critique versus the necessarily communal character of authentic, meaningful existence in the work of American novelist David Foster Wallace are best understood in light of existentialism. This article compares Wallace’s story “Good Old Neon” with Albert Camus’s novella The Fall, as responses to similar unproductive tendencies within the respective postmodernist and Marxist discourses of their times. Both works portray an absolutist self-critique that produces feelings of (inauthentic) fraudulence and exceptionality; and both include an interlocutor that ultimately makes the reader the direct addressee of the text. In doing so, “Good Old Neon” and The Fall confront the reader with the moral task of resisting excessive (self-)critique and reaffirming authentic, meaningful existence as always arising in connection to others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Authenticity in Contemporary Literatures in English)
15 pages, 764 KiB  
Article
Coming-of-Age of Teenage Female Arab Gothic Fiction: A Feminist Semiotic Study
by Zoe Hurley and Zeina Hojeij
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010019 - 14 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2738
Abstract
This feminist semiotic study explores the folkloric imaginary of the jinn in the context of children’s and young adults’ Arab Gothic literature. Across the Middle East, the jinn is a common trope in literature, folklore and oral storytelling who, in diegetic terms, can [...] Read more.
This feminist semiotic study explores the folkloric imaginary of the jinn in the context of children’s and young adults’ Arab Gothic literature. Across the Middle East, the jinn is a common trope in literature, folklore and oral storytelling who, in diegetic terms, can manifest as the Gothic figure of an aging female, deranged older woman or succubus (known as sa’lawwa in Arabic). In this study, a novel feminist semiotic framework is developed to explore the extent to which the Gothic female succubus either haunts or liberates Arab girls’ coming-of-age fictions. This issue is addressed via a feminist semiotic reading of the narratives of Middle Eastern woman author @Ranoy7, exploring the appeal of her scary stories presented on YouTube. Findings reveal tacit fears, ambivalences and tensions embodied within the Arab Gothic sign of the aging female succubus or jinn. Overall, the research develops feminist insights into the semiotic motif of the female jinn and its role in constituting Arab females as misogynistic gendered sign objects in the context of the social media story explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constructing the Political in Children’s Literature)
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15 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Animal Phenomenology: Metonymy and Sardonic Humanism in Kafka and Merleau-Ponty
by Don Beith
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010018 - 3 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1667
Abstract
Maurice Merleau-Ponty takes inspiration from Franz Kafka’s metonymic animal literature to develop his concepts of institution and “sardonic humanism.” Metonymy is a literary device, an instituting dimension of language, that allows us a lateral access to animality and expression. Kafka’s dog story enacts [...] Read more.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty takes inspiration from Franz Kafka’s metonymic animal literature to develop his concepts of institution and “sardonic humanism.” Metonymy is a literary device, an instituting dimension of language, that allows us a lateral access to animality and expression. Kafka’s dog story enacts a radical reflection, a critical phenomenology parodying human life. Kafka puts forward a philosophy of generative openness to the animal, against social alienation. This reading comes with Merleau-Ponty’s existential redeployment of Sigmund Freud’s concept of the unconscious as expressive passivity or institution of adulthood. As instituting–instituted, we are always between preserving and surpassing the past, though different comportments and institutions can dogmatically or openly take up these possibilities. Kafka’s (struggle through) metonymic animal literature reminds us that philosophical truth is expressive, that unconscious desire animates language, and that the oppressive silencing of the generative past, the feeling child and the other animal, is at the root of society’s institutionalized oppression. Institution offers a literary method of phenomenologically resisting, of creative critique. Full article
27 pages, 450 KiB  
Article
Edmond Picard and the Congo Free State: A Study in Law and Literature
by Bryant White
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010017 - 2 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2215
Abstract
While the law and literature movement has treated a number of important texts, contexts, and figures from both spheres, surprisingly absent is the situation of Leopold II’s Congo Free State and the person of Edmond Picard. This article seeks to redress that absence, [...] Read more.
While the law and literature movement has treated a number of important texts, contexts, and figures from both spheres, surprisingly absent is the situation of Leopold II’s Congo Free State and the person of Edmond Picard. This article seeks to redress that absence, looking first at Edmond Picard as an important figure who represents both law and literature and analyzing a few texts directly related to colonialism in the Congo: specifically, his legal opinion Consultation délibérée and his travel narrative En Congolie. Then, we examine a few examples of Anglo-American literary resistance to Leopold’s project in the Congo before coming to some conclusions. This study seeks to demonstrate the way in which questions of law and literature are inextricably linked: legal texts pose problems common to literary texts, and vice versa. Interacting with the work of prominent law and literature scholars, such as Richard Posner, Richard Weisberg, and Robin West, we conclude that the two spheres ought not to be abstracted from one another, but rather be examined conjointly, the case of the Congo Free State offering a glimpse into how the two work hand-in-hand with real world consequences for human lives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transdisciplinarity in the Humanities)
8 pages, 242 KiB  
Article
“I Try Not to Be a ‘Neutral Teacher’”: Teacher Identity Formation of Non-Tenured Early-Career Academics in the Humanities
by Vincent C. A. Crone
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010016 - 28 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1556
Abstract
With internationally growing attention to the quality of higher education, a formal teaching qualification has become at many universities a requirement for non-tenured staff to be eligible for tenure. To obtain a qualification, participants in this case study reflect in a portfolio on [...] Read more.
With internationally growing attention to the quality of higher education, a formal teaching qualification has become at many universities a requirement for non-tenured staff to be eligible for tenure. To obtain a qualification, participants in this case study reflect in a portfolio on their teacher identity by describing what they think is important and what guides the choices they make. Based on a thematic analysis of 47 portfolios by aspiring non-tenured early-career humanities scholars in The Netherlands, I will describe the recurring stories about beliefs, values, and commitments toward being a teacher in the humanities. The analysis will provide insight into how teacher identity is determined by the cultural rules of their disciplinary community to which they want to gain access as non-tenured academics. Full article
11 pages, 224 KiB  
Article
Anxious Apocalypse: Transmedia Science Fiction in Japan’s 1960s
by Brian White
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010015 - 22 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1528
Abstract
Science fiction (SF) developed as a self-identified genre in Japan in the 1950s and quickly underwent a boom in the 1960s. Throughout this period, SF literature, film, and television were tightly intertwined industries, sharing production personnel, textual tropes, and audiences. As these industries [...] Read more.
Science fiction (SF) developed as a self-identified genre in Japan in the 1950s and quickly underwent a boom in the 1960s. Throughout this period, SF literature, film, and television were tightly intertwined industries, sharing production personnel, textual tropes, and audiences. As these industries entered global circulation with the hope of finding recognition and success in the international SF community, however, they encountered the contradictions of the Cold War liberal cultural system under the US nuclear umbrella. Awareness of the discursive marginalization of Japanese SF in the Euro-American dominated global SF scene manifested in Japanese texts in the twin tropes of apocalypse and anxiety surrounding embodiment. Through a close reading of two SF films—The X from Outer Space (Uchū daikaijū Girara, 1967) and Genocide (Konchū daisensō, 1968), both directed by Nihonmatsu Kazui for Shochiku Studios—and Komatsu Sakyō’s 1964 SF disaster novel Virus: The Day of Resurrection (Fukkatsu no hi), I argue that, largely excluded from discursive belonging in the global community of SF producers and consumers, Japanese authors and directors responded with texts that wiped away the contemporary status quo in spectacular apocalypses, eschatological breaks that would allow a utopian global order, as imagined by Japanese SF, to take hold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Japanese Literature and the Media Industry)
12 pages, 1448 KiB  
Article
Deciphering the Parrot’s Voice: Satō Haruo’s “Okāsan” (“Mother”) and Josei (Woman) Magazine
by Atsuko Nishikawa
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010014 - 20 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1453
Abstract
Satō Haruo’s “Okāsan” (“Mother”) is a story that was published in Josei (Woman) magazine in October 1926. The plot follows “I” as he listens to the words of the parrot he bought from the pet store and deduces and fantasizes freely [...] Read more.
Satō Haruo’s “Okāsan” (“Mother”) is a story that was published in Josei (Woman) magazine in October 1926. The plot follows “I” as he listens to the words of the parrot he bought from the pet store and deduces and fantasizes freely about her previous home. In this paper, I spotlight the fact that the home that “I” envisions through the voice of the parrot, Laura, corresponds to the family image that was being presented concurrently in Josei magazine and showcased that the ideal family was simply nothing more than an ideal. In relativizing Josei’s familial discourse, and in this relationship between the published magazine and the story, I argue for the latter’s importance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Japanese Literature and the Media Industry)
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5 pages, 181 KiB  
Editorial
Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of Humanities in 2022
by Humanities Editorial Office
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010013 - 18 Jan 2023
Viewed by 996
Abstract
High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review [...] Full article
17 pages, 282 KiB  
Article
“Readers” and “Writers” in Japanese Detective Fiction, 1920s–30s: Tracing Shifts from Edogawa Rampo’s “Beast in the Shadows” to The Demon of the Lonely Isle
by Shoko Komatsu and Eric Siercks
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010012 - 18 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2174
Abstract
This paper explores the shifting position of “readers” and “writers” within serialized works by Japanese detective fiction author Edogawa Rampo. The essay focuses on two works published at the end of the 1920s and early 1930s: the novella “Beast in the Shadows” and [...] Read more.
This paper explores the shifting position of “readers” and “writers” within serialized works by Japanese detective fiction author Edogawa Rampo. The essay focuses on two works published at the end of the 1920s and early 1930s: the novella “Beast in the Shadows” and Edogawa’s first long-form serialized novel, The Demon of the Lonely Isle. By examining the kinds of magazines in which Edogawa published, as well as the expected readership of those magazines, we discover several important stylistic shifts in Edogawa’s writing as he transitions from being a genre fiction short story writer to an author of popular novels. In Edogawa’s short detective fiction for niche magazines, the position of the reader and writer overlap, mirroring the way readers of detective fiction magazines often became writers themselves. Edogawa parodies his simultaneous position as dedicated reader and writer of detective novels. Moving to popular magazines and long-form fiction causes those self-parodies to shift into the background. Edogawa severs the correlative or dual position of writer/reader in favor of a detached “author” and consuming “reader”. This paper explores the genesis of this change in relation to the development of magazine media in modern Japan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Japanese Literature and the Media Industry)
9 pages, 220 KiB  
Article
‘A Whole Other World than What I Live in’: Reading Chester Himes, on Campus and at the County Jail
by Ed Wiltse
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010011 - 16 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1395
Abstract
This essay first briefly examines African American novelist Chester Himes’ genre-defying position as prison writer turned detective writer, whose influence is clear not only in the usual suspects such as Walter Mosley but also in the Blaxploitation films of the early 1970s, and [...] Read more.
This essay first briefly examines African American novelist Chester Himes’ genre-defying position as prison writer turned detective writer, whose influence is clear not only in the usual suspects such as Walter Mosley but also in the Blaxploitation films of the early 1970s, and in the urban fiction tradition from Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim on down through today’s Triple Crown books and others. I then look at how Himes’ work has been received by the college students and incarcerated people who each spring for the past 20 years have worked together in reading groups set at the local county jail in a project linked to a class I teach, in order to raise questions about genre, audience and pedagogy. The two groups of readers, who may come to see each other as one group over the series of meetings, often develop readings of Himes’ novel that push back against the analysis I present in the classroom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Twentieth-Century American Literature)
15 pages, 328 KiB  
Article
Gorgias on Knowledge and the Powerlessness of Logos
by Josh Wilburn
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010009 - 12 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2175
Abstract
In Gorgias’s Encomium of Helen and Defense of Palamedes, the orator draws attention to two important limitations of speech’s power that concern its different relationships to belief vs. knowledge. First, logos has the capacity to affect and change a person’s beliefs, but it [...] Read more.
In Gorgias’s Encomium of Helen and Defense of Palamedes, the orator draws attention to two important limitations of speech’s power that concern its different relationships to belief vs. knowledge. First, logos has the capacity to affect and change a person’s beliefs, but it is powerless to change or undermine a person’s knowledge. Second, speech has the power to produce a new belief, but it is powerless to produce knowledge itself where knowledge is lacking. My primary aim in this essay is to examine Gorgias’s epistemology of persuasive logos with a view to illuminating these two limitations. I suggest that Gorgias’s claims in the Helen and Palamedes make the most sense when considered in the forensic and deliberative contexts in which the art of rhetoric thrived in ancient Greece. In such contexts the prevailing epistemology that contemporary orators take for granted is a kind of folk empiricism that privileges sense-perception as a source of knowledge, and I argue that Gorgias’s ideas about logos and its limitations are best understood in terms of that epistemological framework. Speech cannot make people “unknow” what they have seen with their own eyes, nor can it act as a surrogate or replacement for sense-perception itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Greek Sophistry and Its Legacy)
15 pages, 295 KiB  
Article
Lessons from Shawshank: Outlaws, Lawmen and the Spectacle of Punishment
by Benjamin Boyce
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010010 - 12 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2438
Abstract
For more than a century, cinema has offered a rich source of images and narratives about crime and punishment. Unfortunately, the restricted nature of correctional environments and the social stigma surrounding incarceration leave most viewers reliant on media representations for the majority of [...] Read more.
For more than a century, cinema has offered a rich source of images and narratives about crime and punishment. Unfortunately, the restricted nature of correctional environments and the social stigma surrounding incarceration leave most viewers reliant on media representations for the majority of their knowledge about correctional spaces. In most media representations of crime and punishment, outlaws and lawmen are reduced to stereotypical archetypes, and incarcerated characters are some of the evilest villains one will ever encounter. Moreover, the prison environment is painted as a playground for bad behavior, as penance for redeemable outlaws, or as an outright paradox that claims to reduce criminality despite appearing to increase it. Our uncritical acceptance of such characterizations goes hand in hand with our cultural addiction to mass incarceration. Limitless stories about uncontainable monsters perpetrating awful crimes inside cushy taxpayer funded facilities endorse a worldview where a permanently expanding and harshening prison system is vital to the safety of a functioning society. In short, our reliance on the spectacle of punishment has left us woefully and willfully misinformed about prison and those who wind up there. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Twentieth-Century American Literature)
10 pages, 610 KiB  
Commentary
Translation in Digital Times: Omid Tofighian on Translating the Manus Prison Narratives
by Omid Tofighian
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010008 - 11 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1985
Abstract
On 12 February 2020, while on an international tour promoting Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, the translator of the book, Omid Tofighian, participated in a seminar at Utrecht University, organised by Australian academic, Anna Poletti (associate [...] Read more.
On 12 February 2020, while on an international tour promoting Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, the translator of the book, Omid Tofighian, participated in a seminar at Utrecht University, organised by Australian academic, Anna Poletti (associate professor of English language and culture, Utrecht University). Poletti is also co-editor of the journal Biography: an interdisciplinary quarterly, which published a special issue on No Friend but the Mountains in 2020 (Vol. 43, No. 4). The seminar involved Poletti, Tofighian and translation scholar, Onno Kosters (assistant professor of English literature and translation studies, Utrecht University) in conversation. Iranian–Dutch filmmaker, Arash Kamali Sarvestani, co-director with Boochani of the film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time (2017), was in attendance, as well as the Dutch publisher, Jurgen Maas (Uitgeverij Jurgen Maas, Dutch translation based on the English translation). The event was titled ‘No Friend but the Mountains: Translation in Digital Times’. The following dialogue, ‘Translation in Digital Times: Omid Tofighian on Translating the Manus Prison Narratives’, is derived from this seminar and focuses on Tofighian’s translation of the book from Persian/Farsi into English. The topics covered also include the Dutch translation from Tofighian’s English translation, genre and anti-genre, horrific surrealism, Kurdish elements and influences, the Kurdish translation (from Tofighian’s English translation), publication of the Persian/Farsi original, translation as activism, process and technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice II: Refugees and Representation)
11 pages, 271 KiB  
Article
Post-Postmodernism, the “Affective Turn”, and Inauthenticity
by George Kowalik
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010007 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5399
Abstract
This article considers Rachel Greenwald Smith’s concept of the “Affective Turn” in contemporary fiction by looking at a constellation of novels published near the turn of the twenty-first century: David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (1996), Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (2001), Percival Everett’s Erasure [...] Read more.
This article considers Rachel Greenwald Smith’s concept of the “Affective Turn” in contemporary fiction by looking at a constellation of novels published near the turn of the twenty-first century: David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (1996), Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (2001), Percival Everett’s Erasure (2001), and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000). As Rachel Greenwald Smith claims, this “Turn” offers a “corrective or counter to postmodernist suspicion towards subjective emotion” and has foundations of sincerity and authenticity, which align it with the premise of post-postmodernism. These novels, I argue, collectively engage with the affective turn’s inherent post-postmodern potential, as their authors respond to, challenge, and react against postmodern irony and the license of inauthenticity that comes with this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Authenticity in Contemporary Literatures in English)
17 pages, 2366 KiB  
Article
The Assassination of Lieutenant Joe Petrosino: A Contested Symbol in the Mainstream and Italian-American Press in the Early 20th Century
by Marina Cacioppo
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010006 - 3 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2548
Abstract
Recently, scholars have looked at the ethnic press through a social constructionist lens, examining the process through which immigrants developed a sense of identity and the role of print culture in forming “imagined communities” (Anderson). Here, I analyze the coverage of the 1909 [...] Read more.
Recently, scholars have looked at the ethnic press through a social constructionist lens, examining the process through which immigrants developed a sense of identity and the role of print culture in forming “imagined communities” (Anderson). Here, I analyze the coverage of the 1909 assassination of police Lieutenant Petrosino in both mainstream and Italian-American press and popular culture. This shocking event ignited a debate over the nature and origin of the Mafia and the dangerousness of the Italian community, a debate involving discourses of racial difference, immigration restriction, and the capability of Italians to assimilate. This debate became an important arena in which Italian immigrants defined themselves and their place in America. Italians were represented predominantly in the context of criminality, so immigrant writers constructed their own counter-representations in newspapers, re-coding stereotypes and negotiating a collective Italian-American identity. In the press, Petrosino became a contested symbol: on the one hand, of the rhetoric of the inclusiveness of the American melting pot and, on the other, of the possibility of redemption from the discredit that the actions of a small minority threw on the whole community. Full article
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10 pages, 225 KiB  
Article
Neo-Barroco, the Missing Group of the New American Poetry
by Paul E. Nelson
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010005 - 28 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1315
Abstract
The New American Poetry anthology delineated “schools” of North American poetry which have become seminal: The Black Mountain School (Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov), the New York School (John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Frank O’Hara), the San Francisco Renaissance (Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser, [...] Read more.
The New American Poetry anthology delineated “schools” of North American poetry which have become seminal: The Black Mountain School (Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov), the New York School (John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Frank O’Hara), the San Francisco Renaissance (Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser, Jack Spicer), and the Beats (Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure). The word seminal is used in a traditional way, from the root: “of seed or semen … full of possibilities”, but here also because the work is dominated by men and the omission of poets like Diane di Prima and Joanne Kyger seems especially egregious now. As compared to the whiteness of academic verse of the time, the New American Poetry was radical and more diverse, but could be seen as quite inadequate in those aspects from a contemporary perspective. Of course culture must always be judged in proper context, including its era and the anthology has had a powerful impact on the poetry of the continent from which it came. This paper posits that The New American Poetry, had it looked even slightly off the shore of North America, could have included the Neo-Barroco school of Latin American poetry. The affinities are almost endless and the limited scope of even the most radical poets of the post-war generation is exposed. Full article
11 pages, 756 KiB  
Article
Representing the Silk Road: Literature and Images between China and Japan during the Cold War
by Zhixi Yin
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010004 - 21 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1627
Abstract
The essay focused on the TV documentary series The Silk Road and discussed the significance of this co-production between China and Japan. Two television stations, NHK and CCTV, provided each other with technical support to create a new image of the Silk Road [...] Read more.
The essay focused on the TV documentary series The Silk Road and discussed the significance of this co-production between China and Japan. Two television stations, NHK and CCTV, provided each other with technical support to create a new image of the Silk Road in 1980. They attempted to rediscover the cultural relationship in Asia. Japanese Oriental studies were either the base for this co-production or the source of trouble. CCTV needed to utilize and overcome Japanese technology and the resources from Oriental studies, to represent national culture and identity through images. On the other hand, Japan once again sought ways to represent the Asian “others.” However, the challenge was making it relative to Orientalism and imperialism. This essay also compares the two versions and suggests that both ancient Asian cultural histories that they represented through images reflected the contemporaneous political situation of the Cold War. In CCTV’s version, the images of the Silk Road became a symbol of the re-establishment of China’s national identity, including the imagination of a “multi-ethnic state” and a “community of cultural memory that unites East and West”. Furthermore, this version also represented the trade with neighboring states. Each of these elements had a realistic role in the political environment of 1980. On the other hand, NHK’s version contains a narrative to prove Japan is the last stop on the Silk Road. Moreover, before this documentary, Japanese literature had long sought the “unknown” of the Silk Road and became a strong intellectual foundation for The Silk Road. The narrative of Japan “being a part of the Silk Road, but unlike in colonialism, as a traveler” is what Yasushi Inoue repeatedly expressed in his literary works and appeared to have been passed on through the images of the documentary. Carrying the negative legacy of Japanese imperialism, then being caught between the United States and the Socialist bloc, and having a difficult choice of political identity, Japanese intellectuals refrained from expressing their political positions and chose to describe cultural history from the “traveler’s” perspective. This essay suggests this is an attempt to redefine Japan on the cultural map of Asia and indirectly to break through the polarization of capitalism and socialism in the Cold War. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Japanese Literature and the Media Industry)
11 pages, 235 KiB  
Article
Constructing the ADHD Child in Historical Children’s Literature
by Xiaoyu Hou
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010003 - 21 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1683
Abstract
In this article, debates around ideas of childhood and disability will be engaged through the close reading of the retrospective diagnosis of a child with ADHD in an early work of German children’s literature (also widely translated, including into English in 1848), Heinrich [...] Read more.
In this article, debates around ideas of childhood and disability will be engaged through the close reading of the retrospective diagnosis of a child with ADHD in an early work of German children’s literature (also widely translated, including into English in 1848), Heinrich Hoffmann’s poem Struwwelpeter. ADHD is one of the most widely diagnosed and medicated childhood developmental disorders of the present day. At the same time, recent debates have raised questions about the diagnostic criteria, the potential side effects and efficacy of medication, and the impact of the current political context on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s classic arguments about bio-power (2008), as well as the most recent work of critical psychology on childhood developmental disorders, the article draws out both how retrospective diagnoses of ADHD and other disorders, including Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), are defined by current criteria within the political context of the current psychological, cultural, and medical controversies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constructing the Political in Children’s Literature)
15 pages, 293 KiB  
Article
Reading Behind Bars: Literacy and Survival in U.S. Prison Literature
by Katie Owens-Murphy
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010002 - 20 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1871
Abstract
This paper unpacks the contradiction between the benefits of literacy and the punitive prison policies that seek to curb or regulate reading by beginning with the complicated historical relationship between incarceration and literacy. I then turn to the testimonies of two prominent incarcerated [...] Read more.
This paper unpacks the contradiction between the benefits of literacy and the punitive prison policies that seek to curb or regulate reading by beginning with the complicated historical relationship between incarceration and literacy. I then turn to the testimonies of two prominent incarcerated autodidacts who I now regularly teach within my prison literature classes both on my university campus and at a men’s prison. The writings of Malcolm X and Etheridge Knight model the difficulties of negotiating the institutional risks and personal and political rewards of learning to read and write behind bars—particularly while Black. What is more, while literacy may provide an “on-ramp” toward higher education, barriers for incarcerated people continue to proliferate in our current era in the form of book bans, paywalls, and the material conditions of prisons themselves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Twentieth-Century American Literature)
14 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Sophistry and Law: The Antilogical Pattern of Judicial Debate
by Stefania Giombini
Humanities 2023, 12(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12010001 - 20 Dec 2022
Viewed by 2045
Abstract
This essay aims to reveal the relationship between sophistry and law in a twofold direction: on one side, how the development of ancient Greek law influenced sophistry’s production, and on the other, how and to what extent the knowledge and skills developed by [...] Read more.
This essay aims to reveal the relationship between sophistry and law in a twofold direction: on one side, how the development of ancient Greek law influenced sophistry’s production, and on the other, how and to what extent the knowledge and skills developed by sophists contributed to the development of legal expertise in classical Athens. The essay will initially focus on the historiographical category of the sophists to identify a line that connects these intellectuals to the new vision of society, the democratic polis, and the community that presides over legal and judicial life. This section will show that we can indeed speak of a “sophistic movement” in light of the structuring role of antilogies (antilogiae, or antithetical arguments) in forensic rhetoric. The rest of the essay will examine, from a theoretical point of view, sophistic methods of argument that contributed to the development of ancient Greek law. Touching on the issues of opposition, the debate, the reductio ad absurdum, and the principle of non-contradiction, the essay will highlight the relevance of sophistic thought to the judicial field and, more generally, the legal arena, in ancient Athens, so much so that one can think of the sophists as advocates of a particular legal culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Greek Sophistry and Its Legacy)
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