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Humanities, Volume 12, Issue 5 (October 2023) – 39 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In April 2020, a multidisciplinary team of researchers and artists began a collaboration with the charity Migrateful, which runs migrant-led cookery classes. Teaching classes and sharing their cuisine and stories helps the chefs develop their confidence and sense of belonging, whilst participants gain a better understanding of forced migration. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Migrateful chefs delivered a series of online cookery classes with ongoing artistic and co-creative research engagement. The article reflects on how the project inspired new ways of thinking about refugee representation, belonging and co-creative storytelling, whilst also emphasising the power dynamics inherent in co-creative research with marginalised people. Together, these reflections form a ‘recipe’ for a more meaningful and ethical model of engagement activity. View this paper
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20 pages, 339 KiB  
Article
“Edible Aesthetics”: Blurring Boundaries between Pastry and Art
by Maddalena Borsato
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050126 - 22 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1482
Abstract
The inquiry into whether food can be classified as “art” has long been a subject of debate. From its roots tracing back to Plato, this question has attracted the attention of both artistic movements and philosophers, especially throughout the twentieth century. In this [...] Read more.
The inquiry into whether food can be classified as “art” has long been a subject of debate. From its roots tracing back to Plato, this question has attracted the attention of both artistic movements and philosophers, especially throughout the twentieth century. In this paper, I aim to revisit this contentious issue by exploring the realm of pastry making as a form of art. Within the broader discourse on this topic, pastry emerges as a distinctive medium. Since sweets have historically transcended their mere nutritive functions, pastry may establish an immediate connection between art and food. Simultaneously, it reiterates the persistent challenges of encompassing the edible domain within conventional aesthetic theories. Throughout various contexts and periods, confectionery has evolved through the reproduction or imitation of visual arts, often reflecting the prevailing artistic climate of its flourishing periods. Moreover, due to its intimate association with rituals and celebratory occasions, pastry carries a profound cognitive and metaphorical framework that enhances its expressive potential, capturing the attention of many artists. By exploring the intersection of pastry and various artistic genres, drawing on illustrative examples ranging from modern European pièce montées to American cake design and Japanese wagashi, I critically examine the possibility and potential aesthetic qualities of this marginal genre, thereby opening up broader inquiries into the loose categorizations and fluctuations within the intricate domain of art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Narratives and Aesthetics of Cooking: Culinary Humanities)
17 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
“The United States of Lyncherdom”: Humor and Outrage in Percival Everett’s The Trees (2021)
by Michel Feith
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050125 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1311
Abstract
An oeuvre as redolent with the spirit of satire and humor as Percival Everett’s can be said to represent, at the same time, an anthology of humorous devices—a “humorology,” so to speak—and a self-reflexive meditation on the existential, philosophical and/or metaphysical implications of [...] Read more.
An oeuvre as redolent with the spirit of satire and humor as Percival Everett’s can be said to represent, at the same time, an anthology of humorous devices—a “humorology,” so to speak—and a self-reflexive meditation on the existential, philosophical and/or metaphysical implications of such an attitude to language and life. The Trees (2021) is a book about lynching, in which a series of gruesome murders all allude to the martyrdom of Emmett Till. Even though such subject matter seems antinomic to humor, the novel is rife with it. We propose an examination of the various guises of humor in this text, from wordplay and carnivalesque inversion to the more sinister humour noir, black or gallows humor, and an assessment of their dynamic modus operandi in relation to political satire, literary parody and the expression of the unconscious. The three axes of our analysis of the subversive strategies of the novel will be the poetics of naming, from parody to a form of sublime; the grotesque, macabre treatment of bodies; and the question of affect, the dual tonality of the novel vexingly conjugating the emotional distance and release of humor with a sense of outrage both toned down and exacerbated by ironic indirection. In keeping with the ethos of Menippean satire, humor is, therefore, both medium and message. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
12 pages, 295 KiB  
Article
Israeli and Palestinian Settler Colonialism in New Media: The Case of Roots
by Magdalena Pycińska
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050124 - 17 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2709
Abstract
Israeli settler colonialism, in time, became highly linked to the idea of a state, culminating in an institution that defends the past, present, and future practises maintaining the relations between the “native” and “settlers”. Settler colonial ideas and practises sustaining binary opposition between [...] Read more.
Israeli settler colonialism, in time, became highly linked to the idea of a state, culminating in an institution that defends the past, present, and future practises maintaining the relations between the “native” and “settlers”. Settler colonial ideas and practises sustaining binary opposition between the “native” and the “settler” are reproduced not only by Israeli state broadcasters, but also by settler colonial social media. This article proposes media analysis that goes beyond the usual national and conflict narrative and links “settler colonial common sense” with social media impacts and state ideas/sovereign ideas of property that strive to eliminate native people or transfer them outside Israel’s perceived land ownership and sovereignty. This article also shows how Israeli settler colonial politics and narratives are supported by other settler colonial states (especially the United States). New media and settler common sense cannot be disassociated from the Israeli state and global politics, even though some settlers may have their own strategies regarding the relations with native Palestinians. The State of Israel, through massive surveillance technologies and support from other states that view militarisation and population management as crucial to maintaining its power, holds a great deal of influence over how it frames the “conflict” with Palestinians. We witness how both state violence and institutionalised Jewish privilege are recreated on the ground and globally through the new media. This issue is analysed through the “Roots” (a grassroots movement for understanding among Israelis and Palestinians) case study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Media and Colonialism: New Colonial Media?)
18 pages, 561 KiB  
Article
Did John Stuart Mill Write ‘On Social Freedom’?
by Antis Loizides, Andreas Neocleous and Panagiotis Nicolaides
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050123 - 17 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1335
Abstract
During his final years, John Stuart Mill reportedly attempted to update the argument of On Liberty (1859). Published posthumously in 1907, ‘On Social Freedom’ represents the initial, unrefined draft of his reworked ideas. This article argues that John Stuart Mill was [...] Read more.
During his final years, John Stuart Mill reportedly attempted to update the argument of On Liberty (1859). Published posthumously in 1907, ‘On Social Freedom’ represents the initial, unrefined draft of his reworked ideas. This article argues that John Stuart Mill was not the author of ‘On Social Freedom’. First, we revisit the question of the essay’s authorship traditionally: the emphasis is on the essay’s content and the historical context of the mid-twentieth-century debate on Mill as its author. We trace the disagreement to two broad reactions to Mill’s thought. Ultimately, the question of whether the manuscript’s substantial divergence from J. S. Mill’s renowned works is enough to refute his authorship depends on one’s interpretation of Mill as a systematic philosopher. Second, we tackle this task non-traditionally: the focus shifts to the tools of computer-assisted authorship identification and the use of machine learning (ML) techniques. Once we establish some key ideas, methods, and limitations of this field of studies, we present our attempts at a computer-assisted solution to the puzzle. The results of our experiments, using ML techniques, corroborate the conclusions reached via the traditional route. Full article
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16 pages, 327 KiB  
Article
Worlds of Meaning at the Edge of Extinction: Conservation Behaviour and the Environmental Humanities
by Thom van Dooren
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050122 - 17 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1746
Abstract
We are living in the midst of a period of mass extinction. All around us, diverse species of animals and plants are disappearing, often largely unnoticed. However, this is also a period in which, on a daily basis, new and fascinating insights into [...] Read more.
We are living in the midst of a period of mass extinction. All around us, diverse species of animals and plants are disappearing, often largely unnoticed. However, this is also a period in which, on a daily basis, new and fascinating insights into animal life are emerging as we come to appreciate more about their remarkable perceptual, cognitive, social, and emotional lives. This article explores this strange juxtaposition of loss and knowledge-making and the many challenges and possibilities that it gives rise to. It focuses on the emerging field of Conservation Behaviour in which researchers are seeking to modify or manipulate animal behaviours to achieve conservation outcomes: for example, teaching lizards not to eat toxic prey, or birds to utilise a safer migratory route. The article seeks to bring this approach to conservation into dialogue with work in environmental humanities, including the emerging paradigm of conservation humanities. The article outlines an interdisciplinary environmental humanities approach to conservation behaviour, grounded in work in multispecies studies and philosophical ethology. It then explores four broad thematic areas—agency, identity, ethics, and loss—in which the dialogue between these two fields might prove to be particularly, and mutually, enriching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Conservation Humanities)
15 pages, 1239 KiB  
Article
Familiar Strangers in the Shrouded Forest: Stigma, Representation and Alzheimer’s Disease in Always
by Andrew Phillip Young
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050121 - 17 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1170
Abstract
While literature and popular culture have sought to understand Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) in terms framed by the loss of social relationships and the strain caregivers face, this arrangement articulates AD as “being lost”, a fragmentation of temporal experience, or as irrationality punctuated by [...] Read more.
While literature and popular culture have sought to understand Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) in terms framed by the loss of social relationships and the strain caregivers face, this arrangement articulates AD as “being lost”, a fragmentation of temporal experience, or as irrationality punctuated by moments of self-awareness (which often operate to dehumanize those with AD). This analysis seeks, as Stefan Merrill Block puts it, to “stop looking for the lost person” in our encounter with AD. As a contemporary case study, the interactive experience Always functions as a critical intervention by not prizing moments of clarity as narrative catharsis (which literature and popular culture tend to do in the form of what is known as the “love miracle”). Instead, it serves as an important gesture toward destabilizing these practices and bridging the gap between the representation of AD and its realities. Rather than acting as a simulator of AD, Always is an abstract piece that, through design and game mechanics, opens a space for users to consider the implications of having their senses destabilized. As a result, this analysis considers how design addresses issues of social stigma, representation, storytelling and navigability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature and Medicine)
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16 pages, 308 KiB  
Article
Body Horror in Octavia E. Butler’s Clay’s Ark
by Maria Holmgren Troy
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050120 - 16 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1333
Abstract
African American science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler’s works have attracted a great deal of academic interest since the 1990s onwards. Clay’s Ark (1984), however, has not gained as much scholarly attention as some of her other novels, and the centrality of Gothic [...] Read more.
African American science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler’s works have attracted a great deal of academic interest since the 1990s onwards. Clay’s Ark (1984), however, has not gained as much scholarly attention as some of her other novels, and the centrality of Gothic aspects, in particular those related to body horror, has not been addressed. By focusing on how these aspects inform the structure, setting, and characters’ actions and relationships in this novel about an extraterrestrial infection that threatens and changes humanity, this article demonstrates how Butler employs and adapts strategies and conventions of Gothic horror and body horror in order to explore various attitudes towards difference and transformation, paralleling these with a particular brand of antiblack racism growing out of American slavery. Although the 1980s are already receding into American history, and a few aspects of the imagined twenty-first century in this novel may feel dated today (while many are uncomfortably close to home), Clay’s Ark is a prime example of how aspects of popular culture genres and media—such as science fiction, the Gothic, and horror films—can be employed in an American novel to worry, question, and destabilize ingrained historical and cultural patterns. Full article
13 pages, 328 KiB  
Article
The Vagina, the Ear, and the Eye: Bodily Orifices and Sight in Miguel de Cervantes’s “El Celoso Extremeño”
by Silvia Arroyo
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050119 - 16 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1221
Abstract
The complex mythological web of Miguel de Cervantes’s novella “El celoso extremeño” has been extensively explored by scholars. However, despite the fact that most conducting myths referenced in the novel revolve around themes of vigilance, clandestine gaze, and visual deceit, these topics have [...] Read more.
The complex mythological web of Miguel de Cervantes’s novella “El celoso extremeño” has been extensively explored by scholars. However, despite the fact that most conducting myths referenced in the novel revolve around themes of vigilance, clandestine gaze, and visual deceit, these topics have not been systematically addressed yet. This present essay intends to bridge this analytical gap by exploring the ways in which mythological parables in “El celoso extremeño” connect with contemporary scientific preoccupations regarding perception, optical illusions, the nature of images and sounds and the ways the human eye and ear perceive them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Eye in Spanish Golden Age Medicine, Anatomy, and Literature)
11 pages, 789 KiB  
Article
Modern Anxieties and Traditional Influence in Horror Anime
by Anik Sarkar
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050118 - 13 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2017
Abstract
Japan has a longstanding tradition of horror narratives that feature a variety of macabre embodiments. They draw upon ancient folklore, thereby providing a unique perspective on spirits specific to Japanese culture. The influence of these countless supernatural beings from Japanese mythology and folklore [...] Read more.
Japan has a longstanding tradition of horror narratives that feature a variety of macabre embodiments. They draw upon ancient folklore, thereby providing a unique perspective on spirits specific to Japanese culture. The influence of these countless supernatural beings from Japanese mythology and folklore has molded many incarnations seen in popular culture, which have been commonly deemed “strange” and “weird”. This study seeks to demystify the ambiguity and “strangeness” surrounding three Japanese anime series, Another, Yamishibai, and Mononoke. It attempts to analyze how each of these anime employs folklore and traditional art-styles to portray a modern society plagued with sociocultural complications. Full article
12 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
The Purloined Letters of Elizabeth Bishop
by Axel Nesme
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050117 - 12 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1050
Abstract
In this paper I propose to examine several poems by Elizabeth Bishop through the prism of the concept of letter delineated in “Lituraterre”, where Lacan explores the connection between the literal and the littoral in order to draw a key distinction between signifiers [...] Read more.
In this paper I propose to examine several poems by Elizabeth Bishop through the prism of the concept of letter delineated in “Lituraterre”, where Lacan explores the connection between the literal and the littoral in order to draw a key distinction between signifiers which are the semblances involved in ordinary communication, and the letter as a precipitate resulting from their breakdown. Insofar as the letter causes “writing effects that are structured around moments of vacillation of semblances” (M-H Roche), such effects may be traced in poems where Bishop focuses on how meaning is set adrift by eliding, displacing or transforming graphemes and phonemes. Her observation that “the names of seashore towns run out to sea” points to the littoral/liminal space of the poetic signifier that straddles enjoyment and meaning. I analyze Bishop’s painterly treatment of mist through the prism of Lacan’s discussion of Japanese calligraphy where the unary brush stroke, which “is the means to clear original Chaos” (E. Laurent), operates as the equivalent of the median void, often represented by fog in Chinese painting, i.e., as an avatar of the littoral that separates knowledge from enjoyment. I conclude with a reading of a poem where the semiosis of mortality hinges on the (dis-)appearance of certain phonemes, inviting us to question the literal/literary destiny of letters when they turn into Joycean litter, and prompting us to revisit Lacan’s familiar aphorism that “a letter always reaches its destination”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis)
12 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
A Re-Evaluation of the Grievance Studies Affair
by Geoff G. Cole
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050116 - 12 Oct 2023
Viewed by 3647
Abstract
During 2018, three academics employed what they referred to as “reflective ethnography” to examine the hypothesis that many disciplines (e.g., sociology, educational philosophy, and critical race theory) are motivated by extreme ideologies, as opposed to generating knowledge. The authors published, or had accepted, [...] Read more.
During 2018, three academics employed what they referred to as “reflective ethnography” to examine the hypothesis that many disciplines (e.g., sociology, educational philosophy, and critical race theory) are motivated by extreme ideologies, as opposed to generating knowledge. The authors published, or had accepted, seven “hoax” articles in a number of peer-reviewed journals. When the story broke in the Wall Street Journal, the authors stated that the articles advocated a number of ludicrous, inhumane, and appalling ideas. For example, one argued that men should be trained like dogs with shock collars. Their acceptance for publication was therefore taken as evidence for the kind of ideas that many academic disciplines will advocate. In the present article, I will show that the central aspects of the hoax articles do not match with how they were later described by the hoax authors and many other commentators (e.g., journalists). Despite the vast amount of media coverage, this has (virtually) gone unnoticed. I will suggest that the widely accepted narrative of the so-called Grievance Studies affair is incorrect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cultural Studies & Critical Theory in the Humanities)
9 pages, 229 KiB  
Article
Role of Cinema and Psychoanalysis in Affective Experience
by Elisabetta Bellagamba
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050115 - 10 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1499
Abstract
This paper focuses on a peculiar aspect of film viewing, specifically the way in which—interacting with the viewer and their own story—visual images create identifications that can make the viewing a more or less disturbing affective experience. Psychoanalysis and cinema have an indissoluble [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on a peculiar aspect of film viewing, specifically the way in which—interacting with the viewer and their own story—visual images create identifications that can make the viewing a more or less disturbing affective experience. Psychoanalysis and cinema have an indissoluble connection. In particular, the language of cinema comes very close to that of psychoanalysis, given that movies are made according to our psychism. On the basis of this relationship, filmic narration often becomes part of patients’ session, especially teenagers, allowing us to explore areas of the mind hitherto silent. Full article
11 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Jane Austen’s Persuasion: Finding Companionate Marriage through Sickness and Health
by Maureen Johnson
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050114 - 10 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1571
Abstract
In Jane Austen’s last novel Persuasion (1817), embodiment and disability function metonymically to show the emotional suffering of its characters. Austen gives temporary impairments to the novel’s protagonists, Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, and physical disabilities to minor characters who suffer actual [...] Read more.
In Jane Austen’s last novel Persuasion (1817), embodiment and disability function metonymically to show the emotional suffering of its characters. Austen gives temporary impairments to the novel’s protagonists, Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, and physical disabilities to minor characters who suffer actual and metaphorical falls, such as Louisa Musgrove and Mrs. Smith. In Persuasion, Austen evokes pain and suffering in both mental and physical ways, with men, like Wentworth, experiencing mental impairments and women, like Anne, Louisa, and Mrs. Smith, experiencing physical impairments. Austen uses impairments, illness, and disability as prostheses to highlight the importance of a marriage of respect, affection, and rationality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Storytelling, Body, and Disability in Fiction and Popular Culture)
14 pages, 327 KiB  
Article
Joking Around, Seriously: Freud, Derrida, and the Irrepressible Wit of Heinrich Heine
by Elizabeth Rottenberg
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050113 - 08 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1267
Abstract
This essay sets out to explore the unexpected but amusing entanglement of three Jewish writers—Harry (“Heinrich”) Heine, Sigismund (“Sigmund”) Freud, and Jackie (“Jacques”) Derrida. You will not often find a reference to Heine in the work of Jacques Derrida, but you will find [...] Read more.
This essay sets out to explore the unexpected but amusing entanglement of three Jewish writers—Harry (“Heinrich”) Heine, Sigismund (“Sigmund”) Freud, and Jackie (“Jacques”) Derrida. You will not often find a reference to Heine in the work of Jacques Derrida, but you will find a Heine joke in Derrida’s discussion of forgiveness in Le parjure et le pardon (1998–1999), where the name Heine is invoked precisely in order to recall the scandalous automaticity, the machine-like quality of forgiveness. Beginning with Derrida’s surprising reference to the man George Eliot called a “unique German wit”, this essay will begin by arguing that there is something about Heine’s jokes, his Witze, his mots d’esprit, that not only plays up, but also paradoxically takes seriously, what Derrida, echoing Nietzsche in Of Grammatology, describes as the “play of the world.” The second part of this essay will engage Freud’s particular and quite special relation to Heine: Heine is the third most cited German writer in all of Freud’s work (after Goethe and Schiller). Neither Homer nor Sophocles is cited more often than Heine. Indeed, a bon mot from Heine is always ready-to-hand in the face of theoretical obstacles (e.g., “Observations on Transference Love”, “On Narcissism”, etc.). But perhaps nowhere is Freud’s affinity with Heine more apparent and more striking than in Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905), where Heine’s witticisms offer the best and most canonical examples of jokes. In conclusion, this essay will argue that Heine’s wit can be read as a playbook—not only for psychoanalysis’s economic understanding of jokes, but also, more radically, for deconstruction’s thinking of play. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis)
15 pages, 1585 KiB  
Article
So-Called Sovereign Settlers: Settler Conspirituality and Nativism in the Australian Anti-Vax Movement
by Madi Day and Bronwyn Carlson
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050112 - 01 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4530
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the social and economic instability that followed, has given new life to conspirituality and far-right ideology in so-called Australia. This article discusses how politico-spiritual communities invested in both conspiracy theories and New Age spirituality have pieced together settler narratives [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the social and economic instability that followed, has given new life to conspirituality and far-right ideology in so-called Australia. This article discusses how politico-spiritual communities invested in both conspiracy theories and New Age spirituality have pieced together settler narratives about a New World Order and external threats to Western society from far-right and white supremacist Christian ideology circulated via new media. Using anti-colonial discourse analysis, we elucidate the undercurrent of white supremacist ideology in the Australian anti-vax movement, and highlight the misuse of Indigeneity in far-right and anti-vax narratives. We discuss how these narratives are settler-colonial and how conspiritualists co-opt and perform Indigeneity as a form of settler nativism. As a case study, we analyse the use of the term sovereignty by settlers attached to Muckadda Camp—a camp of ‘Original Sovereigns’ occupying the lawn outside Old Parliament house from December 2021 to February 2022. Using Indigenous critique from both new media and academia, we argue that although settlers may perform Indigeneity, they are exercising white supremacist settler narratives, and not Indigenous sovereignty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Media and Colonialism: New Colonial Media?)
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10 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
The Submerged, Post-Truth “Island of Happiness” in Michel Houellebecq’s Extension du domaine de la lutte
by Keith Moser
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050111 - 01 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1113
Abstract
This article proposes a Debordian reading of Michel Houellebecq’s first work Extension du domaine de la lutte that would thrust him into the spotlight as France’s most popular and controversial writer. Specifically, this investigation demonstrates that Debord’s theories are a useful lens from [...] Read more.
This article proposes a Debordian reading of Michel Houellebecq’s first work Extension du domaine de la lutte that would thrust him into the spotlight as France’s most popular and controversial writer. Specifically, this investigation demonstrates that Debord’s theories are a useful lens from which to analyze Houellebecq’s harsh critique of late capitalism. Owing to a radical paradigm shift in the capitalist paradigm, Debord and Houellebecq posit that we live in a brave new world in which millions of individuals no longer have a frame of reference for distinguishing between commonplace reality and its simulation on a screen. On the informational battlefield where simulations of the good(s) life have proliferated themselves to the brink of replacing the real in the collective imagination of consumer citizens, they illustrate that the timeless search for happiness also seems to be even more fraught with peril in the 21st century. Full article
16 pages, 333 KiB  
Article
Malignant Care: Affects and Labor in Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupé (2001)
by Pujarinee Mitra
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050110 - 28 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1183
Abstract
Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupé (2001) is about six women who meet in an express train’s compartment in southern India. One of these women, Akhila, is the narrator of the novel, while we hear the voices of the other women only when they narrate [...] Read more.
Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupé (2001) is about six women who meet in an express train’s compartment in southern India. One of these women, Akhila, is the narrator of the novel, while we hear the voices of the other women only when they narrate their stories in first person to Akhila. The way the women tell these stories one by one is in the spirit of empowering Akhila, who is portrayed as a woman bound within heteronormative ideas of coupledom and gender-based expectations of care labor within patriarchal families. The women also encourage her, by example, to question the accepted ethical model of feminist practice within an already unethical patriarchal structure of society. This encouragement happens, I argue, as they recount instances of the self-acknowledged unethical care practices through which they have affectively resisted different forms of violence within the upper caste, patriarchal, heteronormative family structure. These forms of violence are intersectional as they are based on overlapping identities of caste, age, and gender. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing)
12 pages, 259 KiB  
Article
“Education Is a Cultural Weapon”: The Inner London Education Authority and the Politics of Literature for Young People
by Karen Sands-O’Connor
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050109 - 28 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1094
Abstract
The Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) was founded in 1965 to manage education in London’s inner boroughs; by the early 1970s, it was held up as one of the most progressive education experiments in British history. One of the marks of this progressiveness [...] Read more.
The Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) was founded in 1965 to manage education in London’s inner boroughs; by the early 1970s, it was held up as one of the most progressive education experiments in British history. One of the marks of this progressiveness was its attention to London’s Black child population and its attempts to connect with Black culture through multiculturalism. However, while the ILEA prided itself on its anti-racist, multicultural education methods, its publication arm often provided mixed messages about the value and place of Black students in the education system and society. Multiculturalism, which the ILEA used to guide the production of reading materials, often resulted in a lack of cultural specificity and an avoidance of issues facing Black students, such as racism. Partnering with Black educators allowed the ILEA to offer more culturally specific and anti-racist material, but doing so also brought the ILEA to the attention of critical governmental authorities, who would eventually disband the ILEA out of fear of Black radicalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constructing the Political in Children’s Literature)
13 pages, 731 KiB  
Article
Narrations on Digital Unconsciousness: A Psychoanalytical Perspective on SCPs
by Francesca De Marino
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050108 - 28 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1084
Abstract
With a psychoanalytic lens, this article will examine some forms of contemporary narration, which develop in the virtual world and appear as phenomena related to mythopoiesis in preadolescence. Such forms put the body at the heart of the identity transformation. The body becomes [...] Read more.
With a psychoanalytic lens, this article will examine some forms of contemporary narration, which develop in the virtual world and appear as phenomena related to mythopoiesis in preadolescence. Such forms put the body at the heart of the identity transformation. The body becomes a staple of the metamorphosis of suffering and drives the elaboration of pain. While always on the edge of ambiguity, these stories nurture persecution, fear, a state of permanent and ruleless alert, and a flood of primordial affects questioning the boundaries between the organic and the inorganic, which is a problem that the common sense of our time seems to feel with greater urgency. Full article
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14 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Form Poetry and the Pandemic
by Tapaswinee Mitra
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050107 - 26 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1342
Abstract
This article looks at a set of anglophone form poetry that I wrote for a course I took while pursuing my master’s degree in Gender Studies at Ambedkar University, Delhi (2019–2021), during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The poems [...] Read more.
This article looks at a set of anglophone form poetry that I wrote for a course I took while pursuing my master’s degree in Gender Studies at Ambedkar University, Delhi (2019–2021), during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The poems are a documentation of the life that I lived and experienced during this time. Using an auto-ethnographic method, this article simultaneously engages with poetic forms, such as the haiku, villanelle, sestina, and acrostic, and provides a self-reflexive analysis of the content and the South Asian context from which the poems emerged. Each poem, I argue, grapples with various gendered structures of interpersonal and state violence, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown that followed in its wake. In this article, I explore the ways in which the everydayness of violence can be documented through art and creative practices. My primary question is: What is the form of the poem doing for the content of the poem; that is, in what ways do certain poetic forms assist in the documentation of personal experiences of violence during a pandemic? This article explores the political possibilities offered by the method of writing form poetry as a documentation of violence, as well as providing a ‘witness’ to it. Thinking more about the role of producing art vis-à-vis my academic research, I further ask: How can we expand the scope of the feminist research methods we use, and what role might form poetry play in this? I situate this article at the intersection of South Asian Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Literary and Cultural Studies, particularly focusing on the South Asian anglophone poetics of the written word in a post-pandemic time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing)
21 pages, 341 KiB  
Article
Antilogies in Ancient Athens: An Inventory and Appraisal
by Livio Rossetti
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050106 - 25 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Antilogies, or pairs of symmetrically opposed speeches or arguments, were generally ignored by Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle, Cicero, and Diogenes Laertius, and, later, by Eduard Norden, Hermann Diels, and most modern scholars of antiquity. As a consequence, until the end of the twentieth century [...] Read more.
Antilogies, or pairs of symmetrically opposed speeches or arguments, were generally ignored by Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle, Cicero, and Diogenes Laertius, and, later, by Eduard Norden, Hermann Diels, and most modern scholars of antiquity. As a consequence, until the end of the twentieth century CE, antilogies have been ignored or, at best, treated as a minor literary device to be mentioned only with reference to individual writings. Nevertheless, during the second half of the fifth century, antilogies were a crucially important form of argument and persuasion in ‘sophistic’ thought, philosophy, historiography, comedy and tragedy, and other fields. In order to redress the historical neglect of the art of antilogy, this essay provides an inventory (doubtless incomplete) of some 30 antilogies composed by playwrights such as Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, historians such as Herodotus and Thucydides, and, most importantly, ‘sophists’ such as Protagoras, Gorgias, Prodicus and Antiphon (in addition to a few other writers of the same period). Building on this inventory, the second part of the essay seeks to establish identifying features of antilogy and assess its cultural significance in the Athenian context (in the second half of the fifth century BCE). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Greek Sophistry and Its Legacy)
14 pages, 284 KiB  
Article
As Seen from the Camera Obscura: Haniya Yutaka’s Ontological Film Theory
by Naoki Yamamoto
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050105 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
Haniya Yutaka (1909–1997) was one of the leading figures in postwar Japanese literature and avant-garde art movements, chiefly remembered today for his unfinished metaphysical novel Dead Souls [Shirei, 1946–1997]. This essay, however, examines his hitherto unknown theoretical writings on film. Haniya [...] Read more.
Haniya Yutaka (1909–1997) was one of the leading figures in postwar Japanese literature and avant-garde art movements, chiefly remembered today for his unfinished metaphysical novel Dead Souls [Shirei, 1946–1997]. This essay, however, examines his hitherto unknown theoretical writings on film. Haniya and other writers gathering around the literary magazine Kindai bungaku [Modern Literature, 1946–1964] shared a keen interest in film’s unparalleled importance in twentieth-century modernity. And their collective efforts to transgress conventional boundaries between literature and film culminated in the 1957 publication of the anthology entitled Literary Film Theory [Bungakuteki eigaron]. Above all, Haniya’s film writing was clearly distinguished for its tendency to explicate film’s paradoxical mode of existence philosophically, an approach that the film critic Matsuda Masao later called an “ontological film theory” [sonzaironteki eigaron]. Looking closely at his essays and interviews collected in Literary Film Theory and two other volumes on this topic—Thoughts in the Darkness [Yami no naka no shisō, 1962] and Dreaming in the Darkness [Yami no naka no musō, 1982]—the present essay reads Haniya’s theorization of cinema in relation to both Martin Heidegger’s existential phenomenology and recent scholarly debates on non-Western film theory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Japanese Literature and the Media Industry)
10 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
Reading the “Slash” in Percival Everett’s American Desert
by Joe Weixlmann
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050104 - 19 Sep 2023
Viewed by 875
Abstract
This article explores Percival Everett’s multi-dimensional use of a concept he has termed the “slash” (i.e., the line that both separates and conjoins signifier/signified) in his novel American Desert. In effect, this slash is a trope Everett deploys to compel readers not [...] Read more.
This article explores Percival Everett’s multi-dimensional use of a concept he has termed the “slash” (i.e., the line that both separates and conjoins signifier/signified) in his novel American Desert. In effect, this slash is a trope Everett deploys to compel readers not to align themselves with what might otherwise be perceived as the author’s message but rather to explore a wide range of the possible ideas and provisional meanings his fiction might generate, challenge these perceived meanings, constructively play with his text, and eventually tease out some (inevitably contingent) concepts that may, upon further consideration, morph into newer, richer sets of understanding. Although Everett’s use of the slash is not unique to American Desert, it is arguably the novel in which he uses the trope most pervasively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
13 pages, 273 KiB  
Article
“You Can Really Make the Story Your Own”: Taking Back Candyman
by Marco Petrelli
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050103 - 18 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1565
Abstract
This essay offers a comparative analysis of Bernard Rose’s 1992 Candyman and its 2021 sequel directed by Nia DaCosta. Through an intertextual approach informed by gothic studies, narratology, and critical race theory, the essay shows how DaCosta’s film establishes a transformative relationship with [...] Read more.
This essay offers a comparative analysis of Bernard Rose’s 1992 Candyman and its 2021 sequel directed by Nia DaCosta. Through an intertextual approach informed by gothic studies, narratology, and critical race theory, the essay shows how DaCosta’s film establishes a transformative relationship with its predecessor. In the 2021 film, Candyman rewrites the story of the original, disrupts its stereotypical representation of Blackness, and appropriates the horror genre to give voice to the peculiar anxieties of contemporary African American life. In so doing, DaCosta’s film also challenges classic gothic tropes of horrific Blackness while at the same time pushing back against dominant narratives on race to reclaim space for a discussion on racial relations in America filtered through a Black lens. Full article
17 pages, 361 KiB  
Article
The Scholarship behind the Eyes in La pícara Justina (1605)
by Javier Soage
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050102 - 18 Sep 2023
Viewed by 994
Abstract
This article studies the fictionalisation of the eyes and their potential in La pícara Justina (The Spanish Jilt) (1605), a picaresque novel by the licentiate López de Úbeda. To this end, a collection of passages is discussed in the light of physiognomic and [...] Read more.
This article studies the fictionalisation of the eyes and their potential in La pícara Justina (The Spanish Jilt) (1605), a picaresque novel by the licentiate López de Úbeda. To this end, a collection of passages is discussed in the light of physiognomic and medical–humanistic sources close to the author’s context, which makes it clear that he was at least familiar with the technical literature as well as with the learned circles next to the court. The article also attempts to explain certain elusive passages concerning (or having suggested any connection to) the eyes, with an emphasis on the turn of phrase ‘ojos médicos’ and its assumed link to the Menippean ‘sight from afar’ and the phenomenon of the so-called ‘médicos chocarreros’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Eye in Spanish Golden Age Medicine, Anatomy, and Literature)
15 pages, 315 KiB  
Article
“Me Has Visto el Alma en los Ojos”: Hidden Passions in Spanish Golden Age Tragedy
by María Rosa Álvarez Sellers
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050101 - 18 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
The Spanish Golden Age tragedy is assembled around the conflict of passions, which does not find an adequate channel of expression in words because there are feelings that cannot be confessed if one wants to preserve life. However, such intense emotions cannot be [...] Read more.
The Spanish Golden Age tragedy is assembled around the conflict of passions, which does not find an adequate channel of expression in words because there are feelings that cannot be confessed if one wants to preserve life. However, such intense emotions cannot be hidden for a long time, either. The characters discover that the eyes speak in silence and cannot lie, so they appeal to their sincerity at crucial moments. Such examples can be found in the declarations of love addressed to inaccessible or forbidden women or in the narratives of women who report sexual assault or husbands who believe they have been dishonored. In this article, we will analyze all these circumstances to demonstrate that, if they contradict the lips, the eyes are the windows of the soul, and they speak a language that is as expressive as it is eloquent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Eye in Spanish Golden Age Medicine, Anatomy, and Literature)
12 pages, 247 KiB  
Article
Read with Me/While We Wait—A Community of Voices in Percival Everett’s Trout’s Lie
by Anne-Laure Tissut
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050099 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 769
Abstract
In Trout’s Lie, Percival Everett seems to be once more exploring pure form as part of a quest for abstraction. Yet the effect of the poems in the collection largely relies on the materiality of language characterizing all poetry—mostly a play on [...] Read more.
In Trout’s Lie, Percival Everett seems to be once more exploring pure form as part of a quest for abstraction. Yet the effect of the poems in the collection largely relies on the materiality of language characterizing all poetry—mostly a play on sounds and the visual dimension of the text. How to conciliate the quest for pure form and the unruliness of the bodily? It will be argued that Everett brings them together through a work on forms not only in space but also in time, focusing on endings in both the abstract and the concrete sense of the term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Continuing Challenges of Percival Everett)
21 pages, 10493 KiB  
Article
‘Together We Prepare a Feast, Each Person Stirring Up Memory’
by Ed Stevens, Anna Khlusova, Sarah Fine, Ammar Azzouz and Leonie Ansems de Vries
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050098 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1567
Abstract
Our story starts in April 2020, in the early stages of the UK’s first national COVID-19 lockdown. A multidisciplinary team of researchers and artists began a collaboration with Migrateful, a charity that runs cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants struggling [...] Read more.
Our story starts in April 2020, in the early stages of the UK’s first national COVID-19 lockdown. A multidisciplinary team of researchers and artists began a collaboration with Migrateful, a charity that runs cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants struggling to integrate and access employment. Teaching classes and sharing their cuisine and stories helps the chefs develop their confidence and sense of belonging, and food is central to the enterprise. The focus of the project was a series of interactive online cookery classes delivered by Migrateful chefs, with ongoing involvement from the researchers and artists. In this paper, we weave together the research team’s reflections on the project with commentary from the participants and artists. We outline our methods and our learning from the collaboration and explain how it inspired new ways of thinking about refugee representation, food and belonging, co-creative storytelling, and virtual engagement. We discuss the ways in which Migrateful’s model helps to support the production of counter-narratives that value, foreground, and amplify migrants’ perspectives and voices while acknowledging the tensions involved in adapting this model to the virtual space. We emphasise the power dynamics inherent in engaging and researching with marginalised people and their stories while considering whether artistic involvement and creation may help to navigate some of these challenges, and we address how the virtual environment affected the potential for collaborative storytelling, interaction, and engagement levels among participants. Together, these reflections form a ‘recipe’ for what we hope to be a more meaningful and ethical model of engagement activity that builds on this learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice II: Refugees and Representation)
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12 pages, 433 KiB  
Article
Pain’s Echo: Lament and Revenge in Ovid’s “Procne and Philomela”
by Ilit Ferber
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050096 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1451
Abstract
The article offers a reexamination of Ovid’s story of Philomela and Procne, with an emphasis on revenge and lament as two responses to acts of wrongdoing and loss. My analysis begins by exploring philosophical and psychoanalytic perspectives, mainly from Nietzsche and Freud, which [...] Read more.
The article offers a reexamination of Ovid’s story of Philomela and Procne, with an emphasis on revenge and lament as two responses to acts of wrongdoing and loss. My analysis begins by exploring philosophical and psychoanalytic perspectives, mainly from Nietzsche and Freud, which are usually thought of as complete opposites: revenge is considered active and violent, whereas lament is passive and paralyzed. However, upon revising Ovid’s tale of unimaginable suffering answered by both lament and revenge, I show that in Ovid’s story, they appear as interconnected and dependent on each other. Initially, Philomela appears as the passive, lamenting sister, while Procne appears as the angry, vengeful one. Nevertheless, as the narrative unfolds, the roles of the sisters change. Through the characters of Philomela and Procne, Ovid presents a compelling account in which these two responses can be seen as mirror images of the same phenomenon, rather than diametrically opposed binaries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis)
20 pages, 4526 KiB  
Article
Virtual Craft: Experiences and Aesthetics of Immersive Making Culture
by Minhyoung Kim
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050100 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1250
Abstract
As immersive media, including VR, AR, MR, and XR, continues to expand rapidly during the pandemic era, there remains limited research on its comprehensive characteristics and its potential to create new forms of experience and aesthetics. This may be attributed to a lack [...] Read more.
As immersive media, including VR, AR, MR, and XR, continues to expand rapidly during the pandemic era, there remains limited research on its comprehensive characteristics and its potential to create new forms of experience and aesthetics. This may be attributed to a lack of an understanding that immersive technologies exist encompassing both realms of reality and virtuality, leading to misconceptions that they are radically disconnected from traditional notions of materiality. In contrast, this study identifies an emerging trend characterized by the material implementation of immersive technologies in the domain of making culture in VR, which is referred to as “virtual craft” in this research. By reviewing studies on immersive media, materiality, making culture, and triadic semiotics, an integrated conceptual framework was developed to assess the experiences, aesthetics, and potential of immersive making culture. This framework is then applied to a specific case study involving virtual craft, with a particular focus on the 3D painting application, Tilt Brush, and related applications that the author has observed and tested. In conclusion, this paper presents a vision of the future of virtual craft and discusses the sustainability of immersive making culture, highlighting the potential for continued innovation and integration in various fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Transdisciplinary Humanities)
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