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Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 1 (March 2016)

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Open AccessArticle
The Human/Machine Humanities: A Proposal
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010017 - 01 Mar 2016
Viewed by 1678
Abstract
What does it mean to be human in the 21st century? The pull of engineering on every aspect of our lives, the impact of machines on how we represent ourselves, the influence of computers on our understanding of free-will, individuality and species, and [...] Read more.
What does it mean to be human in the 21st century? The pull of engineering on every aspect of our lives, the impact of machines on how we represent ourselves, the influence of computers on our understanding of free-will, individuality and species, and the effect of microorganisms on our behaviour are so great that one cannot discourse on humanity and humanities without considering their entanglement with technology and with the multiple new dimensions of reality that it opens up. The future of humanities should take into account AI, bacteria, software, viruses (both organic and inorganic), hardware, machine language, parasites, big data, monitors, pixels, swarms systems and the Internet. One cannot think of humanity and humanities as distinct from technology anymore. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Humanities in a Utilitarian Age)
Open AccessArticle
Enabling Narrative Pedagogy: Listening in Nursing Education
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010016 - 24 Feb 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1882
Abstract
The role of the nurse has become considerably more demanding in the past twenty years through increased complexity of patient care within a rapidly changing health care environment. Research is needed to expand the pedagogical literacy of nurse educators and address the needs [...] Read more.
The role of the nurse has become considerably more demanding in the past twenty years through increased complexity of patient care within a rapidly changing health care environment. Research is needed to expand the pedagogical literacy of nurse educators and address the needs of students entering a complex health care system. Narrative Pedagogy was identified as a research-based nursing pedagogy and has been enabled in nursing education for over a decade. The Concernful Practices emerged from Narrative Pedagogy research, which helped identify what teachers, students, and clinicians considered meaningful in teaching. Listening was one of the Concernful Practices and became the focus of this study. This hermeneutic phenomenological study provided new understandings of the experience of listening in nursing education. The research question addressed “How do nurse educators who enable Narrative Pedagogy experience Listening: knowing and connecting?” One of the themes, Listening as Dialogue, emerged from the study and included ways nurse educators can open and interpret a dialogue, shift the way they think about teaching, and make connections with students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanities in Health Professions Education and Practice)
Open AccessArticle
Cine-Anthology of Hotels as a Place of Time and Death
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010015 - 06 Feb 2016
Viewed by 1168
Abstract
Every place has a story. Hotels, however, have thousands of stories that are multilayered, interwoven, and imbricated. Their puzzled fictions resemble films in that they both overlap unrelated tales, phenomena, and characters within a short temporal fragment. Mysteries, secrets, love, cabal, fraud, hate, [...] Read more.
Every place has a story. Hotels, however, have thousands of stories that are multilayered, interwoven, and imbricated. Their puzzled fictions resemble films in that they both overlap unrelated tales, phenomena, and characters within a short temporal fragment. Mysteries, secrets, love, cabal, fraud, hate, cheating, shows, fun, prostitution, gambling, falls, and so on—all of these conditions and emotions pertain to hotels, as well as films. Working under this framework, then, this paper aims to approach hotels as a temporal experience which goes beyond space for the purpose of both analyzing hotel deaths as a symbolic case of urban living and in order to interpret films as a type of testimony regarding social change. Beyond all of the bright surfaces, hotels represent and reproduce insincerity, insusceptibility, omission, coldness, and distance. Hotels represent gaps, desolateness, devastation, homelessness, and timelessness. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Shock and Awe: Trauma as the New Colonial Frontier
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010014 - 05 Feb 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3062
Abstract
The health of Indigenous girls in Canada is often framed and addressed through health programs and interventions that are based on Western values systems that serve to further colonize girls’ health and their bodies. One of the risks of the recent attention paid [...] Read more.
The health of Indigenous girls in Canada is often framed and addressed through health programs and interventions that are based on Western values systems that serve to further colonize girls’ health and their bodies. One of the risks of the recent attention paid to Indigenous girls’ health needs broadly and to trauma more specifically, is the danger of contributing to the “shock and awe” campaign against Indigenous girls who have experienced violence, and of creating further stigma and marginalization for girls. A focus on trauma as an individual health problem prevents and obscures a more critical, historically-situated focus on social problems under a (neo)colonial state that contribute to violence. There is a need for programs that provide safer spaces for girls that address their intersecting and emergent health needs and do not further the discourse and construction of Indigenous girls as at-risk. The author will present her work with Indigenous girls in an Indigenous girls group that resists medical and individual definitions of trauma, and instead utilizes an Indigenous intersectional framework that assists girls in understanding and locating their coping as responses to larger structural and systemic forces including racism, poverty, sexism, colonialism and a culture of violence enacted through state policy and practices. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Popular Orientalism: Somerset Maugham in Mainland Southeast Asia
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010013 - 05 Feb 2016
Viewed by 1564
Abstract
Based on his experiences during a journey through mainland Southeast Asia in 1923, Somerset Maugham wrote a book of colonial travel entitled The Gentleman in the Parlour. As the work of one of the most popular writers of the twentieth century, Maugham’s [...] Read more.
Based on his experiences during a journey through mainland Southeast Asia in 1923, Somerset Maugham wrote a book of colonial travel entitled The Gentleman in the Parlour. As the work of one of the most popular writers of the twentieth century, Maugham’s travelogue both expressed and helped to shape contemporary thinking about Southeast Asia and Western imperialism. Focusing especially on his representations of Burma and Cambodia, an analysis is presented of Maugham’s book in the light of postcolonial scholarship, especially the theoretical insights developed under the inspiration of Edward Said’s Orientalism. Despite its pretensions to be apolitical, Maugham’s travel book is shown to be a repository of Western colonial ideas and attitudes, integrally involved in the circulation of the prevailing European discourse of high imperialism. As such, it is a valuable resource for historians and other scholars who wish to understand the way that discourse worked at the level of popular literature. Full article
Open AccessEssay
The Indispensability of the Humanities for the 21st Century
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010011 - 04 Feb 2016
Viewed by 3580
Abstract
This essay surveys the state of the humanities at this critical time. What will be the role of the humanities at the end of this century and beyond? I discuss the “crisis of the humanities” by examining the current challenges of globalization, economic [...] Read more.
This essay surveys the state of the humanities at this critical time. What will be the role of the humanities at the end of this century and beyond? I discuss the “crisis of the humanities” by examining the current challenges of globalization, economic shifts, and extensive budget cuts. I also discuss the social and political divisions that contribute to a crisis within the humanities. Since the culture wars that began in the 1960’s, the content, scope, and focus of the humanities have changed dramatically, and this has impacted how the humanities are perceived and valued by the general public. The second half of the essay makes the case for the vital importance of the humanities. I argue that the fate of the humanities is inseparable from the future of human beings. I highlight the current problems of war, environmental degradation, and mass surveillance that must be managed before they overwhelm and derail the potential for dramatic progress. Following recent scholarship and research trends, I explain how technological advancements will lead to the most significant evolutionary changes to the human being in aeons. Through technologies such as bionics, transgenesis, robotics, genetic engineering, and artificial intelligence, Homo sapiens might be enabled to transcend its former limits and usher in an era of transhumanism. The relevant question is: What do we want to be? I argue that enhancement technologies will make their beneficiaries more robotic and less human, and explain why we must treasure the advantages of our distinctly human capacities and resist the prospect of empowering ourselves to become automatons. My underlying thesis is that developing an understanding of the most insightful ideas and cultivating an appreciation for the greatest creative works that humankind has produced will be crucial for maintaining our humanity. The humanities thus make a unique and indispensable contribution to defining what and who we want our descendants to be. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Humanities in a Utilitarian Age)
Open AccessArticle
Taiwan Universities: Where to Go?
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010012 - 03 Feb 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1576
Abstract
The dramatic expansion of Taiwan universities/colleges from about 100 to 160 from the late 1980s has encountered problems due to social and global changes. What should Taiwan universities move toward and how? This research relies on secondary data to explore the issues Taiwan [...] Read more.
The dramatic expansion of Taiwan universities/colleges from about 100 to 160 from the late 1980s has encountered problems due to social and global changes. What should Taiwan universities move toward and how? This research relies on secondary data to explore the issues Taiwan universities currently face—a low birth rate and global competition. The decreasing number of incoming students will result in a lower registration rate and less tuition revenue, which will make some universities struggle to survive. Hence, government policies, proposed by the Ministry of Education, have been implemented to assist Taiwan universities to adjust to external changes. The Innovative Transformation Policy, adopted in 2015, consists of strategies for university–industry cooperation, university mergers, university closures, and a re-shaping of the university paradigm. This policy has begun to be implemented and its initial outcome will be continually evaluated. In accordance with the Innovative Transformation Policy, this study encourages Taiwan universities to improve governance, set prominent unique characteristics of development, and enhance global competitiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Idea of the University)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Humanities in 2015
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010009 - 22 Jan 2016
Viewed by 1030
Abstract
The editors of Humanities would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2015. [...] Full article
Open AccessEssay
The Painting on the Wall
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010010 - 22 Jan 2016
Viewed by 1366
Abstract
This personal essay describes what influenced my development as a creative writer, in my childhood and adolescence. It delineates the effect on my imagination of family story-telling and of images—paintings and prints. I grew up in Italy, where I spent the first thirty [...] Read more.
This personal essay describes what influenced my development as a creative writer, in my childhood and adolescence. It delineates the effect on my imagination of family story-telling and of images—paintings and prints. I grew up in Italy, where I spent the first thirty years of my life. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Music and Language in Ancient Verse: The Dynamics of an Antagonistic Concord
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010008 - 20 Jan 2016
Viewed by 1690
Abstract
In antiquity, the relationship between “music”, “poetry”, and “language” was very different from the way they relate to each other today, for back then each of these mediums was endowed with a distinct, independent signifying code expressing a semiosis all its own. However, [...] Read more.
In antiquity, the relationship between “music”, “poetry”, and “language” was very different from the way they relate to each other today, for back then each of these mediums was endowed with a distinct, independent signifying code expressing a semiosis all its own. However, these separate “semiospheres” nonetheless never ceased growing towards and into one another. This is so because music and “melic” poetry were believed to have the capacity to denote something ordinary language could not denote but could not do without, namely “etymonic truth”. As a result, the users of ordinary language were obsessed with divining the “hyponoia” poets encoded in music and chant. Above all, they wanted this hyponoia to constitute the signifié of their language. For this reason, the meaning expressed in language was subject to a process in which it was constantly being “deported” from its ordinary acceptations and transported towards meanings encoded in music. However, this “deterritorialization” of ordinary meaning never resulted in a full “reterritorialization” upon the terrain of the truth encoded in music. Musicians and poets would not tolerate it. As far as they were concerned, music and poetry would cease being “truthful” if the semiosis they conveyed and the semiosis conveyed by language were interchangeable. For, again, as a signifying code, prosaic language was sui generis incapable of representing the truth. Hence, the relationship between these three codes consisted of a sort of intersemiotic dynamic equilibrium in which language was continuously evolving towards a non-linguistic expression of meaning which conferred truth upon it and what it means. And yet the music and poetry which were the source of that truth deliberately kept language from consummating the aspiration of accosting the truth they encoded. This paper explores the mechanics of this intersemiotic dynamic equilibrium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue “Reading the beat”—Musical Aesthetics and Literature)
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Open AccessArticle
Decolonization of Trauma and Memory Politics: Insights from Eastern Europe
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010007 - 18 Jan 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2463
Abstract
The movement to decolonize trauma theory conceptualizes traumas as rooted in particular contexts. Scholars working within this framework caution against the monumentalism of traumas as singular events and press for the acknowledgment of traumas experienced by minorities and liminal groups. In addition, this [...] Read more.
The movement to decolonize trauma theory conceptualizes traumas as rooted in particular contexts. Scholars working within this framework caution against the monumentalism of traumas as singular events and press for the acknowledgment of traumas experienced by minorities and liminal groups. In addition, this body of literature suggests a question of fundamental significance to memory politics: How to make sure that postcolonial attempts to memorialize the traumatic histories of colonialism do not become sources of state subjugation and oppression? Using examples from Eastern Europe, this article analyzes the complexity of memory landscapes in this region and the difficulty of acknowledging traumas of “non-Western” groups on their own terms. Drawing on works by three authors from the region (Ene Kõresaar, Svetlana Aleksievich and Jasmina Husanović), this essay identifies alternative ways of thinking about the nexus of trauma and difference by addressing how complexity and vulnerability can help to transcend competing victimhoods in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Imagining and Reimagining Gender: Boccaccio’s Teseida delle nozze d’Emilia and Its Renaissance Visual Legacy
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010006 - 15 Jan 2016
Viewed by 1825
Abstract
Giovanni Boccaccio’s Teseida delle nozze d’Emilia (1339–1341?) is an innovative vernacular text in which Teseo (Theseus) and the Scythian Amazons are reinvented as antagonists in a war fought to determine how women are meant to live their lives. Boccaccio’s characterization of these figures [...] Read more.
Giovanni Boccaccio’s Teseida delle nozze d’Emilia (1339–1341?) is an innovative vernacular text in which Teseo (Theseus) and the Scythian Amazons are reinvented as antagonists in a war fought to determine how women are meant to live their lives. Boccaccio’s characterization of these figures and their interactions offer an effective counter-narrative to the prevailing ethos that women’s inborn proclivities and deficiencies preclude, perforce, their participation in the public arena. In the absence of written criticism, cassone (marriage chest) paintings constitute the quattrocento Nachleben of the text, whose readership comprised a wide swath of the literate populace through the 15th century. I will argue that painters, in conjunction with their patrons and humanist advisors, fashioned Teseida visual narratives that undermined Boccaccio’s vision of the potential of women to productively and autonomously engage in the governance of successful societies. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Deep Mapping and Spatial Anthropology
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010005 - 14 Jan 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2924
Abstract
This paper provides an introduction to the Humanities Special Issue on “Deep Mapping”. It sets out the rationale for the collection and explores the broad-ranging nature of perspectives and practices that fall within the “undisciplined” interdisciplinary domain of spatial humanities. Sketching a cross-current [...] Read more.
This paper provides an introduction to the Humanities Special Issue on “Deep Mapping”. It sets out the rationale for the collection and explores the broad-ranging nature of perspectives and practices that fall within the “undisciplined” interdisciplinary domain of spatial humanities. Sketching a cross-current of ideas that have begun to coalesce around the concept of “deep mapping”, the paper argues that rather than attempting to outline a set of defining characteristics and “deep” cartographic features, a more instructive approach is to pay closer attention to the multivalent ways deep mapping is performatively put to work. Casting a critical and reflexive gaze over the developing discourse of deep mapping, it is argued that what deep mapping “is” cannot be reduced to the otherwise a-spatial and a-temporal fixity of the “deep map”. In this respect, as an undisciplined survey of this increasing expansive field of study and practice, the paper explores the ways in which deep mapping can engage broader discussion around questions of spatial anthropology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Mapping) Printed Edition available
Open AccessConcept Paper
Life Sciences—Life Writing: PTSD as a Transdisciplinary Entity between Biomedical Explanation and Lived Experience
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010004 - 30 Dec 2015
Viewed by 1916
Abstract
Since the second half of the 20th century, the life sciences have become one of the dominant explanatory models for almost every aspect of human life. Hand in hand with biomedical developments and technologies, the life sciences are constantly shaping and reshaping human [...] Read more.
Since the second half of the 20th century, the life sciences have become one of the dominant explanatory models for almost every aspect of human life. Hand in hand with biomedical developments and technologies, the life sciences are constantly shaping and reshaping human lives and changing human biographies in manifold ways. The orientation towards life sciences and biomedicine from the very beginning to the end of human life is driven by the utopian notion that all forms of contingency could be technologically and medically controlled. This paper addresses the interrelatedness of life sciences and human biographies in a field where contingency and risk become essential and existential parts of lived experience: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). On the one hand, this diagnostic entity is related to (neuro-)biological underpinnings of (a lack of) psychic resilience as well as to those of contemporary pharmacotherapy. On the other hand, PTSD is also understood as based on a traumatic life event, which can be accessed through and addressed by talk therapy, particularly narrative exposure therapy (NET). We argue that a novel focus on concepts of narrativity will generate pathways for an interdisciplinary understanding of PTSD by linking biological underpinnings from neurobiological findings, to brain metabolism and pharmacotherapy via the interface of psychotherapy and the specific role of narratives to the lived experience of patients and vice versa. The goal of our study is to demonstrate why therapies such as psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy are successful in controlling the disease burden of PTSD to some extent, but the restitutio ad integrum, the reestablishing of the bodily and psychic integrity remains out of reach for most PTSD patients. As a test case, we discuss the complementary methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the established procedures of talk therapy (NET) to show how a methodological focus on narratives enhanced by notions of narrativity from the humanities grants access to therapeutically meaningful, enriched notions of PTSD. We focus on TCM because trauma therapy has long since become an intrinsic part of this complementary medical concept which are more widely accessible and accepted than other complementary medical practices, such as Ayurveda or homeopathy. Looking at the individual that suffers from a traumatic life event and also acknowledging the contemporary concepts of resilience, transdisciplinary concepts become particularly relevant for the medical treatment of and social reintegration of patients such as war veterans. We emphasize the necessity of a new dialogue between the life sciences and the humanities by introducing the concepts of corporeality, capability and temporality as boundary objects crucial for both the biomedical explanation, the narrative understanding and the lived experience of trauma. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On Sound: Reconstructing a Zhuangzian Perspective of Music
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010003 - 28 Dec 2015
Viewed by 1182
Abstract
A devotion to music in Chinese classical texts is worth noticing. Early Chinese thinkers saw music as a significant part of human experience and a core practice for philosophy. While Confucian endorsement of ritual and music has been discussed in the field, Daoist [...] Read more.
A devotion to music in Chinese classical texts is worth noticing. Early Chinese thinkers saw music as a significant part of human experience and a core practice for philosophy. While Confucian endorsement of ritual and music has been discussed in the field, Daoist understanding of music was hardly explored. This paper will make a careful reading of the Xiánchí 咸池 music story in the Zhuangzi, one of the most interesting, but least noticed texts, and reconstruct a Zhuangzian perspective from it. While sounds had been regarded as mere building blocks of music and thus depreciated in the hierarchical understanding of music in the mainstream discourse of early China, sound is the alpha and omega of music in the Zhuangzian perspective. All kinds of sounds, both human and natural, are invited into musical discourse. Sound is regarded as the real source of our being moved by music, and therefore, musical consummation is depicted as embodiment through sound. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue “Reading the beat”—Musical Aesthetics and Literature)
Open AccessArticle
Thick Description beyond the Digital Space
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010002 - 25 Dec 2015
Viewed by 1535
Abstract
The arrival and rapid spread of digital media can help the humanities better discern general patterns in human societies and cultures, and single out instances or moments which need an in-depth analysis. However, the process of digitization also poses certain threats to the [...] Read more.
The arrival and rapid spread of digital media can help the humanities better discern general patterns in human societies and cultures, and single out instances or moments which need an in-depth analysis. However, the process of digitization also poses certain threats to the humanities: it introduces new and possibly distorting filters between ourselves and our object of research, it can make us blind to the social, political and cultural situatedness of the sources, and it can cause us to forget that certain aspects of human life are simply too complex to be digitally understood. Briefly elaborating on the case of parliamentary irony in Belgian history, I try to demonstrate the need to combine “flat” digital searches with multilayered hermeneutic approaches based on traditional philological research. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Double Blind Peer-Review in Humanities
Humanities 2016, 5(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010001 - 23 Dec 2015
Viewed by 1055
Abstract
Pre-publication peer-review forms the basis of how scholarly journals assess whether an article is suitable for publication. [...] Full article
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