Egyptian Revolution’s Graffiti: The Walls’ Scream against Rubber Bullets and Tear Gas Bombs- Amany Dahab
This paper aims to separate the layers of resistance embodied in the revolution graffiti on the walls of the Egyptian streets; by the same token, these layers will point to the multiple levels of oppression the graffiti expose, to the oppressed voices it expresses, to the oppression unleashed the graffiti artists themselves, and to oppressive whitewashing of the walls, meant to silence the graffiti’s scream. Carrying the fires of Molotov Cocktails, the graffiti not only resist the physical oppression in the streets, but defy the imposed identities and lines of division by implementing unifying themes. Murals like Alaa Awad’s Mourners revive themes from Ancient Egypt that challenge the imposed religious identities and recall experiences that unify the oppressed ones regardless of their genders, religions, or social rankings. While empowering youth, women and the marginalized ones, either as dominant themes or participants in achieving the work, graffiti impose a siege around the established patriarchies and challenges their ability to escape the revolutionaries’ screams the walls echo.
The paper aims at emphasizing the dynamism of graffiti in defying the imposed No-Fly zones, which is evident, not only in the jarring colors, and changing techniques, but in the vitality and mobility of the associated texts, which in their short and simple formations enhance the graffiti’s accessibility that guarantee that everyone receives the message — even those who don’t want to. In the paper, the lines of flights created by the revolutionaries’ graffiti are to be traced in both words and in images.
“A Rhizomatic Discourse: From Plateaus Emerge New Flight Paths”- Julian Majewski
Graffiti as an art practice refuses to be algorithmic and resists established and practical patterns of written language. As a personalized interpretive form of the written language, graffiti revolves around three main umbrella terms of production methods: tagging, throw-up’s, and murals. These methods enable a wide variety of written expression allowing the visual display of graffiti to remain fluid in its development while consciously directing attention towards an aesthetic intervention with the semiotics of written language structures and communication. This paper will investigate graffiti as a rhizomatic discourse with focus being put on Deleuze and Guattari’s definition of rhizomatic tendencies from their Intro to Rhizomes from 100 plateaus. By treating graffiti as a form of personalized written expression that is part of a self-reflective art practice which coexists with the milieu of experimentation, largely based on personal inquiry and creative insight, I will provide references towards how graffiti is a rhizomatic form of written language. The rhizomatic nature of graffiti, explored through its ability to (dis)assemble of the written language in the guise of an art form, remains a creative display of writing that has no set or distinctive paths. Graffiti reconstitutes and questions relationships between art and language through the liberties it takes with written communication. By applying concepts of Ranciere’s free play I will further provide an investigation of aesthetic qualities; which will aid as indicators towards the rhizomatic multiplicities which define graffiti as a rhizome by indicating Deleuze and Guattari’s implications of short and long forms of memory on interpretation.
Micropolitics of Jazz- David Hirst and Dillion Douglas
In the current political milieu, we find ourselves assailed by a particular and homogenous metaphysical politics that demands our investment: there are a proliferation of masochistic pressures—to “keep up” and “updated,” to be autointoxicated, to be a subject, to vote, to browse, to express, to perform, to consume, to “just do it.” Jazz is a means of escape from the obscene machinery of immediacy. It resists the libidinal economy that demands constant investment. The metaphysics of Jazz suspends the self in a dynamic, frenetic vignette of play. It’s trace leaves in self-hood the gravity that manifests its representation in a community, this community is its politics; as an echo, a resonance, of the selfless play act. It sets up a mode of being that is not hijacked by caffeinated necrorhythms that makes bodies collide and crash, that pulverize human textures and temporalities. It is a space where difference finds solidarity in communities of play—where gritty bodies wrestle to get together and get along despite their differences and with their differences. The bodies are already synthesized, sublated, into their own pre-existing in-difference like particles in quantum entanglement the observation of which is conditioned by predetermined spatiotemporal perception. There is no “lead man” or nucleus but a rhizome of detours that make one attentive to every twitch. This is not a biopolitical call to micromanage. It is rather a call to improvise and be enveloped in an aural territory of the ear, of sustained inter-reticence. In this sense, because jazz can never be automated, jazz is unavoidably automosaic. Free jazz is a guerilla topos, or maybe even a guerilla synagogue, where the fractal bodies of Brownian movement within the sketchy postindustrial scene are able to enter into molecular bonds, to restore and rejuvenate these bonds for revolutionary potential.
Women’s Voices in Beur Autobiography- Mohamed Baya
During the 1990s, the xenophobic discourse of the French Front National and the Italian Lega Nord identified the North African migrants and their children as threats for the Nation, and it is at that time that the question of the integration of Maghrebi populations gained public and academic attention. However, today the littérature Beur in France, and the letteratura della Migrazione in Italy are still considered marginal literatures.
While ‘Francophone’ and ‘postcolonial’ studies have often been seen as rival if not antagonistic academic fields, the field of Italian postcolonial studies is still in its infancy. In recent decades, the application of postcolonial critique in Italy has acknowledged texts, voices, and images by migrants, either from former colonies or not, and other minorities.
Postcolonial analysis borrows greatly from the poststructuralist models of the canonical holy trinity in postcolonial studies (Said, Bhabha, and Spivak) in addressing traditional postcolonial issues. However, the act of writing back, the hybridization of cultural identity, and the question of race and ethnicity as connected to citizenship and belonging, take on a completely different dimension when translated to the Italian context.
In order to better understand the marginality to which Beur and Italian postcolonial writings are often relegated as an object of sociological research or as a “separate” genre that relies on exoticism, I will focus on the emergence of female autobiography in early Italian and French migrant literatures. In this regard, I will explore Sakinna Boukhedenna’s Journal ‘‘Nationalité: immigrée’’ (1987) and Nassera Chohra’s Volevo diventare bianca (1993), and discuss the originality of the Beur woman’s response to oppression and the limitations of the term post-colonial when applied to the late twentieth century’s North African migrant literature in France and Italy.
Revisiting Constructions of Home and Identity in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles- Christian Ylagan
This paper seeks to complement existing scholarship on Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, and science fiction in general, that have hitherto been focused on binary accounts of human colonization and imperialism, by instead providing an intervention that focuses on the hybridizing dynamic of space travel and encounters with alien races. Specifically, this paper problematizes notions of home and identity from both ontological and ethical perspectives that subvert canonical ways of reading science fiction narratives, especially those from the genre’s Golden Age. Emblematic of these canonical readings is the insistence on the grand narrative of man as galactic colonizer whose culture and identity is considered stable and imposable on alien populations. This paper seeks to invert such a narrative by reading Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles using a postcolonial framework, specifically by viewing the dynamic of human space travel in terms of the ontological and ethical ambiguities that parallel the historical movement of diaspora and decolonization. Drawing primarily on Emmanuel Levinas’ notion of encountering the Other-as-Subject and Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of the habitus as both abstract and material space where these encounters can happen, this paper argues that while the ontological problem of the self-construction of identity is indeed largely influenced by the space that one inhabits, the violent imperialistic ethos of refashioning home as introduced in traditional readings of The Martian Chronicles must give way to an ethical ability to imagine the possibility of a non-violent confrontation with the Other, especially when such contact takes place in fluid, unstable, and imbricated spaces.
Cobra Cadabra, Cobra Macabre: Variations of the Grotesque- Paola Preciado
In this paper we studied the elements of the grotesque within the novel Cobra by Severo Sarduy. We have analyzed the classic ideas that characterize this aesthetic category and we have considered the variations of meaning in different theorists like Kayser, Bloom and Bakhtin. After having resolved that we would start by considering only the macabre and the magic-fantastic, we have reviewed the presence of these elements in the novel. As a result, not only have we observed that Cobra is a representative example of the grotesque, but, furthermore, it problematizes the concept itself. Sarduy’s text proposes fictional universes in which the exaggeration of names in the characters (one of the protagonists is named eleven different ways), the presence of atypical bodies, the absurdity (and cruelty) of the relationships, etc., express the desire to re-think human typifications: what is left of a human being if his features are displaced and transformed into “perverted” forms? From this investigation, we were able to conclude that: 1) the grotesque can be seen as an immanent presence (not only as a “distortion” of the ‘real’ reality), since Cobra suggests that the grotesque first exists, and then it can be thought (explained, rationalized) –reverting Cartesian logic; and, 2) the grotesque is, at the same time, a defense of the abnormal, given that it critiques the official culture and defends moves of creativity. The elements of the grotesque in Cobra suggest for us to conceive the human body beyond its functions and they aim to free it from the alienated characterizations that constrain it.
On Some Motifs in Kafka (That they exist…): Reading Kafka with Benjamin and Adorno- Jeremy Arnott
Treated in these considerations then will not be Kafka’s work, rather two readersof Kafka (Adorno, Benjamin), and the (dis) correspondence this encounter demonstrates. For Benjamin and Scholem, Kafka provided a stage upon which a complex theological (-political) dispute could unfold—yet what did his work stage for Adorno and Benjamin? Adorno claimed that Kafka presented “…our agreement on philosophical fundamentals,” yet this is clearly not the case, as their respective readings reveal profoundly divergent notions of Utopia (Messianism), Politics (Marxism), and perhaps the dignity of philosophy (critique) as such. Hence Kafka becomes the ideal terrain upon which the dis-correspondence of these two thinkers can be articulated, and each better illuminated in their respective singularity as correspondents of difference. In what follows these respective positions will be articulated and juxtaposed: beginning with Benjamin, it will be demonstrated that his Kafka entails an attempt to bridge theological tenants formulated against Scholem with the ‘practical’ materialism of Brecht, all in an attempt to recover a certain sense of (action in) the present moment. Following this Adorno’s response, along with his own reading of Kafka will be elucidated: despite his claim of accord, it will be demonstrated that Adorno utilizes Kafka in critique of Capitalist social relations. Hence Kafka becomes he ideal terrain upon which Benjamin and Adorno’s divergent notions of Politics, and political action can be articulated. Here I will claim that for Adorno critique must always serve a defined political ‘end’ (as Marxism), while for Benjamin it is more a question of ‘means’–of individual sovereignty to act in the present moment.
The Postmodern as Neoliberalism’s Discursive ‘No Fly Zone’: A Marxist Critique- Ryan Watts
Since its emergence as a coherent political and economic movement ‘from above’
in the late 1970’s, neoliberalism has impacted the organization and discourse of macro level international institutions and states, but also and equally so, that of micro level local institutions, communities, and even individual subjects. A key trait of this is a blurring of the distinction between the public and the private sector (Klein, 2007), as well as the imputation of corporate culture and discourse into the state and public institutions (Wolin, 2008). This permeation of corporate culture and discourse in the state, and the control this confers on those in positions of authority, has the effect of ‘silencing’ or imposing ‘no fly zones’ on alternatives from below that do not adhere to corporate culture and practices, i.e. maximizing efficiency, profit, etc. This presentation will argue that a primary obstacle to effectively challenging neoliberalism is overcoming postmodernist discourse theory. This, I argue, is essential because postmodernist discourse theory 1) has as it basis an ideational conception of ideology that detaches itself from the material constitution of reality, which is largely the result of its Althusserian influence (Hutcheon, 1990; Harvey, 1990) and 2) its incessant critique of Marxist theory, which it homogenizes, subsuming it within the dogmatic and structuralist/Stalinist paradigm (Chakrabarty, 2008; Prakash, 1992). As a result, much of contemporary postmodernist discourse has very little or even nothing critical to say about the material constitution of the global economy of neoliberalism (Sanbonmatsu, 2006; 216).
What is required to adequately and effectively challenge neoliberalism is 1) a recognition that ideology, especially that of neoliberalism is embedded in the material forces of capital (Jameson, 1990; McNally, 2003) and 2) Marxist theory remains important in challenging neoliberalism in a way that can lead to dis-alienation and a deeper form of democracy without ‘homogenizing’ differences, identity, or locality, or imposing a ‘metanarrative’ of development or history (Panitch, 2012; McNally, 2015). Mounting an effective alternative to neoliberalism from below requires the dis-alienation of the social body through the breaking down of control, authority, and segregation of individuals upon which capitalism as a social system rests.
Becoming Hybris: Approaches to Agency in Strategic Theory- Joshua Noisseux
The idea that military strategy and action emanates from a coherent agential source or subjectivity is deeply problematized within contemporary theories of unconventional warfare. This paper pushes the conceptual boundaries of the popular Hybrid Warfare theory (which asserts that non-state actors have usurped conventional militaries as the drivers of conflict and that peace and war are becoming blurred) towards a more radical complication of the notion of strategy itself. Examining the advent of Hybrid War theory as an institutional framework used by military strategists attempting to understand contemporary asymmetric conflicts, the paper charts the trajectory of a theory that threatens not only to surpass its original military purpose but to turn back and agitate against the very coherence of the concepts of strategy and agency in war.
Hybrid War theory, as developed by Bruce Hoffman, offers an unusually nuanced military-doctrinal perspective that strives to better grasp the intricacies of war so as to better prosecute it. It is posited in this paper, though, that the conceptual tools of Hybrid War, if taken to their proper theoretical conclusions, invalidate the very premise of military strategy as a practicable enterprise. While Hybrid War theory attempts to grease the theoretical wheels of moribund military doctrines, this paper tries instead to give the theory wings, in the form of interventions from the work of Brian Massumi (Pre-emptive war and onto-power), Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (multiplicity, assemblage), and Bruno Latour (Actor-Network Theory). The theory of Hybrid War is thus re-assembled and made to trace a line of flight that ultimately describes an ecology of war as an unwinnable, self-perpetuating process, one which continually escapes the grasp of those who strive to control it, while also presenting opportunities for critical re-evaluation of status-quo reinforcing conceptions of strategy, agency, and political subjectivity.
We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Life: Disrupting Ingrained Habits of Existence and Considering New Ways of Thriving- Steve Green
This presentation will explore how the development of an urban agrarian movement can better prepare citizens for the failure of neo-liberalism, and potential collapse of fiat money system. The presentation will suggest that our current focus on individualism has prevented neighbourhoods, cities, and peri-urban areas from designing healthy transformative collectivism and necessary solidarity. It will argue that it is the responsibility of the community based adult educator, activist, leader, gardener to decide whether they will uphold a life-embracing perspective or keep secret this necessary ecological knowledge from “the people’s knowledge”. Attacking the current economic logic conceptually and historically, this paper will dive into specific intricacies of how community gardens interrupt engrained neo-liberal behavior before showing why it is necessary to understand these contradictions and their hyper-local flash points. This short presentation will suggest many ways people are practicing other ways of living, working through useful concepts and practical alternative economies and communities within our current system. . In striving toward critical consciousness, community garden participants might reject former or current passivity, practicing dialogue rather than polemics, and using permeable, interrogative, restless, and dialogical forms previously unused, under-used, or even unknown to them.
Ekphrasis and the Mirror of Nature:Otherness and Representation in Shelley’s “On the Medusa of Leonardo da Vinci” and Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror”- Kris Conner
My paper attempts to specify, analyze, and evaluate how Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “On the Medusa of Leonardo da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery” and John Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” formulate a politics of ekphrasis. Contemporary criticism tends to follow James Heffernan in defining ekphrasis as “the verbal representation of visual representation.” This definition captures how ekphrasis bears crucially on the matters of how we conceive the other and receive the other’s discourse. In its engagement with art rather than mere nature, ekphrasis presents a paradigmatic case of how poetry enters into dialogue with a world that is already alive with histories of discourse and signification and permeated by power relations. Yet in recent decades the notion of representation has attracted such withering scorn that many critical programs now take its impossibility as axiomatic. The very possibility of ekphrasis, since it presupposes representation, seems no more than a logocentric fantasy. In their purportedly ekphrastic poems, Shelley and Ashbery offer incisive critiques of representation. For Shelley, representation consists of the acceptance of a visual image’s primacy over language, a delusion
that arises when the visual seduces and overwhelms a perceiver. Ashbery examines how narrative holds the potential to resist the colonizing power of the visual. However, in formulating these critiques through poems that evidently refer to well known paintings, both poets court paradox: the formal effectiveness of the representation of representation in these texts seems to undermine their thematic critiques. By exploring this paradox, Shelley and Ashbery stage, in divergent fashions, encounters with both the visual and the verbal other.
The “Ghost” in the “Shell”: Digital Minds, Cyborg Bodies, and the Pursuit of X- Alexandre Paquet
In The Structure of World History: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange, Karatani
Kojin moves away from traditional Marxist theory by suggesting a return to Marx in which modes of exchange feature at the core of the analysis. In emphasizing the “Borromean ring” of Capital-Nation-State and its respective modes of exchange, Karatani not only explains the current predicament of capitalism, but more importantly explores the possibility of overcoming the trinity through a fourth ambiguous mode of exchange he calls X. The present essay seeks to investigate one specific avenue opening the possibility to achieve this somewhat mysterious mode of exchange. In order to do so, I borrow notions of exchange from Karatani’s work, as well as the concept of biopower as defined by Michel Foucault in analyzing the popular anime movie Ghost in the Shell. More specifically, I explore how an expanded understanding of transferrable information combined with the “cyborgification” of the body as depicted in the film leads to a newly formed “exchange” akin to Karatani’s ambiguous X and ultimately, the possibility to free oneself from the reach of both the state and capitalist society. I begin by providing an overview firstly, of the fundamental conceptualization of modes of exchange by Karatani Kojin and secondly, of the notion of biopower and how it should be understood in its relations to exchange, particularly in regards to the commodification of labour power. The final section of the essay then moves on to the in-depth analysis of Ghost in the Shell, focusing on the inseparable relationship between the mind consisting of information and the enhanced capabilities of the cyborg body, and ultimately, how the two form the necessary precondition opening new avenues of freedom.
“I am not a hero”: circularity and trauma in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home- Gabriela Machado
This paper aims at analyzing narrative circularity and the impossibility of the representation of trauma in Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home: a family tragicomic (2006). According to Robyn Warhol, autography is a better term to describe Bechdel’s work, because it suggest both the writing and the drawing of the self. The subtitle, tragicomic, plays with the tragic and comic elements of text, as well as, with its often underrated genre: comics. Only recently that comics have gained more academic visibility, being still necessary to further analyze how this mixed medium re-configures reading and looking. For Chute, comics “ability to spatially juxtapose” words and images serves to expand personal and historical modes of expression. Fun Home is exemplary in this regard as it traces the author’s family history through the pivotal event of her father’s apparent suicide. Bechdel attempts to posthumously understand and re-trace her father’s closeted homosexuality. The graphic novel is at the same time a memoir of her father, and an autobiography of the author growing up, and her process of coming out herself. Bechdel inserts realistic drawings of actual photographs, maps, letters, and diary entries in order to create an effect of reality. Her work, however, resists historiography and linear storytelling. Her archival obsession serves to reveal the impossibility of representing memory and, ultimately, trauma. Her narrative is circular for it constantly moves back and repeats problematic scenes as a way to reconfigure and problematize traumatic events. This paper close reads the autography in order to pinpoint these circularities and how they create meaning by subverting archival documentation, and blurring biographical truth and fiction.
Tickling the Toes of Power: Maz Jobrani’s Axis of Evil Unpacked- Reza Ashouri Talooki
Founded in 2005 by the Iranian-American stand-up comedian Maz Jobrani, the Axis of Evil comedy tours have aimed to counteract and/or disarm the prevailing dominant discourses that demonize Muslims and Middle Easterners in the wake of 9/11 tragic event. In an ironic reference, parodying G. W. Bush’s account of Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the ‘Axes of Evil’ (State of the Union on January 29, 2002), Maz Jobrani’s project has attempted to subvert and yet explore the common clichés and stereotypes that have emerged from the context of war on terror. My presentation looks at Jobrani’s Axis of Evil’s discourse and, more specifically, humor, as a vigorous and effective device employed in unsettling suspicion, stereotyping, and wiretapping against Middle Easterners and Muslims, in general, and Iranians, in particular. Maz Jobrani’s stand-up comedies, as a result, search for a corrective to be applied to the follies of American.
Linguistic Evolution: The Finch’s Parallel- Vivian Milliken
This paper discusses the parallels between the evolution of animal species in comparison with that of human languages. A brief synopsis of the qualities of the two processes highlights the similarities and differences between the two, for better or for worse. Through the examination of an extinct language, a formerly endangered language, and an emerging language this paper exemplifies 3 possible outcomes of linguistic evolution and parallels these examples with those of familiar species undergoing the same process. Following Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the situations of the exemplified languages Ubykh, Catalán, and Nicaraguan sign language are deconstructed in terms of their fitness, ultimately explaining the progress each has made through the evolutionary cycle, as well as the social circumstances surrounding their “fitness” or lack there of. Drawing a parallel between the linguistic and animal evolutionary processes, this paper concludes evaluating the role of English on a global scale as a language which acts as an “invasive species” and outlines its effects on other world languages. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the reality and inevitability of language change, and furthermore to highlight the sociocultural factors at play which historically have had, and continue to have, a significant affect on language evolution and death.
Silence: On Jouall Literary Violence in an Otherwise ‘Quiet’ Revolution- Alexandre Desbiens-Brassard
When Joshua A. Fishman, in a short summary of socio-linguistics, states that “[o]vert behavior toward language and toward language users is a concern shared by political and educational leaders in many parts of the world and is an aspect of the sociology of language that frequently makes headlines in the newspapers” (Fishman 268), he is sinning by euphemism. Behaviors toward language and language users – by which is meant a wide range of gestures, actions or value judgments made towards a variety of language or its speakers, from violent assault to demeaning joke and everything in between – are not just headline material, they are also the spark from which originates many political fires. Language is more than a way to communicate with other human beings; it is a matter of cultural survival, of life and death. The Canadian province of Quebec provides a clear example of how behaviors toward language and language-users can be recuperated extra-linguistically to support a larger social or ideological discourse. There, language has been a cornerstone of a national and individual identity in perpetual construction since the very beginning of European settlement. The most intense linguistic debate to take place in Quebec did so during the Quiet Revolution of the 1960’s, a period of enormous and uncharacteristically fast political and social changes. This debate focused almost exclusively on the slang of poor, uneducated French-Canadians, commonly known as joual. In the heated political climate of the sixties, joual became conceptualized as a dual linguistic entity that was both the symptom of a cultural oppression and a potential tool to destroy this very oppression. This period also marked the first use of joual in the literary field as part of a political and stylistic movement aiming at creating a true littérature québécoise. This presentation will thus endeavor to examine how the theorizations of joual by its enemies and supporters, in both literary and political works, has contributed to a larger discourse and praxis of cultural change that was affecting Quebec society.
Longitudinal perspectives on child Spanish heritage acquisition: Gender assignment and concord in the early stages of exposure to English- Ana Julia Perez Alfajarrín
Studies within the field of second language acquisition generally agree that the acquisition of abstract features such as gender presents difficulties for native speakers of non-gendered languages, e.g. L1 English, L2 Spanish (Bruhn de Garavito and White, 2002; Hawkins and Franceschina, 2004; White et al., 2004; Montrul, Foote & Perpiñan, 2008, among others). However, less is known about the process of acquiring these properties in early childhood by heritage (minority language) speakers of a gendered language in contact with a non-gendered one (e.g. L1 Spanish, L2 English).
Spanish monolingual children seem to master gender assignment (lexical marking of gender to nouns) and concord (process of matching features across the DP) in noun phrases by age 3 to 4. However, longitudinal naturalistic and experimental studies on Spanish heritage children have shown that such features can be delayed or are vulnerable to language loss (Sánchez-Sadek, Kiraithe &Villareal, 1975; Anderson, 1999; Gathercole, 2002; Montrul & Potowski, 2007). The current debate, thus, focuses on whether Spanish heritage children can fully acquire these morphosyntactic properties or whether they are lost in a language contact situation.
This paper attempts to shed light on the above mentioned issue by analyzing the longitudinal development of such features in four normally developing children aged 3;9 and 5;7: two Spanish heritage siblings who arrived in Canada at ages 1;6 and 3;4, and two age-matched Spanish monolingual siblings living in the heritage speakers’ country of origin. I ask specifically whether Spanish gender features are already vulnerable to be lost or delayed after two years of exposure to English and whether age of onset to the dominant language determines such difficulties.
In order to examine these questions, a corpus of eighteen one-hour recordings is analyzed looking specifically at noun phrases containing canonical (i.e. cama “bed”) or non-canonical (i.e. lápiz “pencil”) nouns. Findings are discussed within the feature re-assembly model (Putnam & Sánchez, 2013) and the literature on simultaneous bilingualism.
Pre- and Post- Revolutionary (1979) Film Tilting in Cinema Created in Iran, Compared to Tilting of the Cognate Period of Canada- Mahsa Miri
Human beings have ways of doing things that are part of their culture. Every nation has patterns of organization that are inherited—the status quo—and then some have a precipitating action, sometimes referred to as a ‘revolution,’ leading, perhaps to innovation or regression; in short, reflecting change. This change can be tracked in artistic products and expressions such as cinema. While change can be tracked in narrative or themes of films, it can also be reflected in titling. The purpose of this research is to document and prove that organizational structure seen in titling is a valid method for reflecting social and political trends in society. Revolutionary thought can be identified by an analysis of titling, and three particular revolutions are of interest; Cuba (social), Iran (political), and Venezuela (cultural). This research involves looking at the titling in movies in the periods prior to and after these revolutions. To insure that the data of the post-periods hasn’t been unduly affected by world, western, and international cinema trends, a control will be established reflected by an analysis of movie-titles made in Canada as a place with stabilized social, economic, and political situation in the cognate timeframes. While many see Canada playing a subdominant role in world cinema, the task of analyzing American, English, French and other titling is beyond the scope of this study. As a result, Canada is picked due to more manageable media recourses as a western country.
SILENCE – DISCOURSE – ART- Quintin Teszeri
I didn’t want to write about something in the first place. ‘About’ – the infamously domineering preposition – announces discursive writing’s distance from its objects and intellectual supremacy over them. I wanted to write something that existed firstly in, at, of, and for. Then only through existing in all these ways, through such an anaclitic relationship to its objects (silence, discourse, and art), also being about. I wanted to not only articulate the possibilities of the three actions in the face of the desire to communicate, but also embody them. The text is structured into three columns – silence, discourse, and art – that will be read by three individuals. This method of organization is something of a compromise that borrows from, flirts with, and betrays the ideologies that underlie all three of its objects. Is there any better way to address the struggle to communicate, the struggle to forge a shared system for transporting meaning, than to struggle with it? Consisting solely of found text from 21 different sources, the paper takes to an extreme the scholarly practice of borrowing ideas and repositioning them in relation to each other. This act of representation exterior to native context involves decontextualizing words (both their form and content) and recontextualizing them as needed. This academic appropriation, this particular brand of colonizing meaning, is so oft performed in order to bolster an “objective” argument. But no language is without bias. What happens if we engage our personal biases, beliefs, and inklings positively? What happens when we embrace them rather than mitigate them? Such an approach does not feign objectivity. It forgoes any attempt at logically establishing truths, believing that being obviously subjective is as close as one can really get to truth.
Gramsci Visits the Library: Hegemony in the Stacks- Paul St-Pierre
Librarians have long cultivated a professional image of affable, fair-minded neutrality and dedication to community service. However, as a theoretically impoverished discipline that largely eschews the conscious examination of power relations, this pluralist self-image conceals deeper ideological blind spots. Libraries are products of state policy, and despite their apparent benevolence, conceal a role in promoting dominant ideologies. As an educational institution, the library can be considered what Althusser calls an Ideological State Apparatus with an important role in indoctrinating the population.
This paper explores librarianship through a Gramscian lens, looking at librarians as subaltern organic intellectuals who often uncritically participate in an historic bloc that privileges the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism. Using examples from public and academic libraries, it exposes ways in which librarians act through their collections and services to unconsciously marginalize under-represented groups, as well as how they counterintuitively play a part in supporting the enclosure and commodification of information by large commercial publishing houses.
Yet all is not lost. There are many instances of librarians contesting censorship, surveillance, and capitalism in the public interest. Librarians must take advantage of their intermediate position between the bosses and the masses, actively participating in power struggles over the control of information and knowledge, striving for praxis in their vocation. Scientia potentia est!
Problems in the Historiography of the Soviet politic for Muslim Women’s Emancipation- Yelena Abdullayeva
The history of the Bolshevik politics to empower women and girls in the Muslim regions is still a developing scholarly field. The Soviet scholarship emphasizes the results: gender equality under the socialist banner that put an end to veiling, segregation and discriminatory matrimonial laws along with the assumption that Muslim women were no longer ignored and exploited group. Such canonic interpretations justify positive Soviet-style female emancipation and ignore at what expense the Bolsheviks achieved those outcomes. The writings of the post-communist period criticise the Soviet women empowerment policy and argue that those forced policies cost degradation of traditional values, loss of ethnic and religious identities. The apparent problem with these approaches is that the prevailing ideology stands behind all these scholarly writings that limit the objective and unbiased assessment of the past events. I aim to illustrate how the comprehensive study, that is free of ideology, links the context and government policies with the outcomes and how the dominant ideologies influence interpretation of the historical processes that responsible for their silencing in historiography.
I examine the role allotted to women by the Koran and traditional code of laws, and show the actual impacts of these religious and cultural tenets on women’s role prior to the Russian revolution. Through analysis of primary sources I weigh the extent to which the Soviet centre dictated these universal policies against the ability of regional agencies to implement them according to local peculiarities. I also contrast the status of women in less conservative Tatar and Azerbaijani cultures with the extremely conservative societies of Central Asia. I use this analysis to establish benchmarks according to which I assess the relative impact of the universal Bolshevik emancipation policies that ignored cultural and gender variations in these regions and responsible for the conflict between Soviet emancipation effort and the local cultures.
Engaging with the Religious Other: The Significance of the Material Dimension of Religion with Interreligious Relations- Georgia Carter
Looking to contemporary scholarship on the material dimension of religion with a view to developing understandings of both the self and the other in interreligious relations, this paper will seek to demonstrate how the inadequate treatment of religious materiality is both problematic and limiting to our understanding of religion and interreligious dialogue. As represented in the shift from the theological study of religious traditions to the study of religion as such (being a systematized set of beliefs and practices) within academia, the materiality of religion has been increasingly highlighted as an important subject of study and understanding. The growing acknowledgment of the integral relationship that exists between ritual and outward expression of religious affiliation has developed in connection with a postmodernist approach to religion. This is in stark contrast to preceding propagated pluralist positions regarding faith commitment and its expression in the public sphere. Processes of globalization, along with more frequent and diverse manners of exchange across geographical and cultural borders, have made encounters with the religious “other” more prevalent than ever before. And yet, in spite of these irrefutable societal shifts, the material dimension of religion has remained largely underdeveloped in the academic reflection on interreligious encounters. Through an examination of the scholarship of Richard Kind, “religion” as a problematic category of analysis will be discussed. Furthermore, looking to the work of Birgit Meyer and Patrick Eisenlohr, the role of ritual and the material within religion will be explored. From this, looking to Marianne Moyaert and Paul Hedges’ treatments of the material dimension of religion in connection with interreligious dialogue and relationship building, this paper will seek to establish why an inadequate inclusion of the material in a discussion of interreligious dialogue is problematic.
A No-Fly Zone Or A Contact Zone?- Jing Xu
Located in the border area between China and Russia, the Chinese city of Harbin is prone to be interpreted as the contact zone between the two countries. However, the population layout of Harbin in history indicates the opposite. The huge number of Russian immigrants in this city who originally came for the construction of Chinese Eastern Railway in 1898 lived in Daoli district (meaning “the inside of the railway”), while the Chinese mainly lived in Daowai district (meaning the “outside of the railway”). Such residential separation between the two ethnics indicates that the Russians came not for assimilating the Chinese into “yellow Russian”, but for establishing a second home country without “contamination” by the Chinese. The ideology of remaining “pure Russian” is represented in many aspects, such as schools, clubs, churches which were exclusive to the Russians. However, these aspects did not reveal thoroughly the complex relationship between the two nationalities in Harbin. While the Russian and Chinese were separating from and repulsive against each other, they were also attractive to each other. This is illustrated by the Russian-Chinese trade, the creolization into a third language and the special architectural styles derived from the mix of the two cultures. The Russians and the Chinese both kept distance from and were close to each other. The border city of Harbin was paradoxically a no-fly zone and a contact zone between China and Russia. To explore such paradoxical nature of the city, this essay examines first the formation and development of the residential separation between the Russians and the Chinese in Harbin, then explores the communication and the mutual influence between the two ethnics in the aspects of trade, language and architecture.
Geografía liberada: Política del lugar en el Canto General de Pablo Neruda- Michal Špína
El Canto general del poeta chileno Pablo Neruda es una obra de complejidad y heterogeneidad excepcional, calificada como una enciclopedia poética de Chile y América Latina y, a su vez, como una autobiografía y confesión política del poeta. Mientras que numerosos críticos han prestado su atención a la cantidad de las referencias históricas presentes en la obra, mucho menos se han analizado las relaciones geográficas. Por lo tanto, el objetivo de la ponencia es analizar críticamente las maneras de las cuales el lugar, el espacio y la geografía entran en la construcción de la imagen de la América Latina y, simultáneamente, del mismo Neruda. En primer lugar se trata de la selección de lugares y entidades geográficas mencionadas; luego, la relación entre los lugares y acontecimientos (tanto de historia política como de historia personal) y entre los lugares y los protagonistas de algunos poemas; asimismo, los procesos que podemos llamar la geografización del hombre (como en el poema “San Martín”) y la antropomorfización de la geografía (“La lámpara en la tierra”). Finalmente, la ponencia plantea la noción de una “geografía liberada” como reescritura crítica de la geografía de los países latinoamericanos: además de contar la “historia de los oprimidos”, el Canto general reconfigura la geografía del continente, tratando de liberarla de la opresión colonial y clasista e incorporarla en la conciencia colectiva.
Censoring the Love: A case study of Deepa Mehta’s Fire- Ramanpreet Kaur
The Supreme Court of India’s decision to uphold Section 377 of the Indian Penal code (which prohibits and criminalizes same-sex relationships) in 2013 and the Indian government’s recent ban on the film Unfreedom (2015) due to the presence of explicit scenes depicting a lesbian couple making love have reignited the debate on censorship in Indian cinema in terms of the control, suppression, and silencing of subcultures. The rich theme of same-sex desire that was celebrated in India from the ancient Sanskrit epics through to the medieval Persian-Urdu poetic tradition was ultimately frozen during the colonial encounter, driven by Victorian reservations and anxieties to harness non-normative sexual activities. After Independence, the Indian government continued this tendency by centralizing the censorship board in 1949 and giving it the power to recommend cuts as well as to ban a film outright. The infamous Khosla Committee’s report (1969) on the Cinematograph Act 1952 and the Cinematograph (Censorship) Rules 1983 had suggested that several prohibitions (kissing scene for instance) were based on an “unwritten rule,” the censorship of “excessively passionate love scenes”, “indelicate sexual situations” and “scenes suggestive of immorality” was derived from the British code of censorship applied in Britain as well as in British India (1). On the other hand, the pugnacious emergence of right-wing Hindutva (Hindu-ness) politics in the twentieth century have popularized the myth that homosexuality was imported to India by invading West Asian Muslims and colonizing Europeans. In this paper, the policies of the censorship board and the right-wing Hindu nationalists’ notions of anarchic and minatory emotions accompanying those sexual practices considered as perverted, criminal or taboo will be analyzed in the context of the reception, criticism, and banning of Deepa Mehta’s film Fire. This paper will interrogate the dichotomy between Indianness and foreignness in considerations of homosexuality, the nation-state’s discourse on obscenity and morality, and the silencing and suppression (and even the denial of the existence) of lesbians in Indian cinema and society to maintain ‘national security’ and communal harmony in the postcolonial framework.
“Economics in the Boudoir: Violent Sex and General Economy in Georges Bataille’s Sadeian System”-C. Austin Knudson
Particularly disturbing pornographic stories and sober disquisitions on political economy find a surprising epistemological connection, even equivalence, in the oeuvre of French intellectual Georges Bataille (1897-1962). His three-volume opus The Accursed Share (1949) goes so far as to insist that an honest account of modern economics cannot be conceived separate from the impulse to, and act of, a singularly excessive brand of nonreproductive sex. Accordingly, my paper traces Bataille’s self-described “Copernican transformation” of conventional economic thought whereby an analysis of world economy is grounded in the concepts of nonproductive expenditure and useless consumption (emblematized for him in literary pornography) rather than the production and accumulation of wealth, which to this day are held sacrosanct in the multifarious systems of contemporary economists both classically-trained and otherwise. More importantly, I unpack why and how Bataille finds the most accurate model for his radically contrarian economic system in the works of the Marquis de Sade and the excessive depictions of sex, madness, and death therein. Though long considered a mere curio in the cabinet of cultural theory, The Accursed Share and its appropriation of de Sade now deserve a thorough reevaluation in light of the fact that “nonproductive expenditure” and “useless consumption” have so clearly become foundations, rather than results, of contemporary capitalism. Just as Bataillean watchwords like these have become common currency in popular accounts of, say, the helter-skelter superannuation of desire underlying contemporary commodity circulation or imminent global ecological collapse, a thorough appraisal of Bataille’s Sadeian system appears salutary and, if not “productive,” at least singularly urgent.
Alfonso Cortés: Explosive Verses in the Sky- Jaime R. Brenes Reyes
“La Canción del Espacio” (“The Song of the Space”) is a poem by Alfonso Cortés, a not well-known Nicaraguan poet. Despite being regarded as the second most important and influential poet after Rubén Darío, Cortés has neither been translated nor analyzed in academia. His life story is unique: he was considered by his family as the “crazy” one, to the point of his family tying him to a chair. More interestingly, Cortés’s family lived in Darío’s house in León, Nicaragua. Attached to a chair most of the time, Cortés, when untied, would run straight to his notebook, ready to write verses. Of the few poems that survived the vigilance of the family, the one I intend to present on demonstrates his philosophical interests, from metaphysics of space to the ontology of time. In my presentation, I will attempt a translation as well as an analysis of this particular poem. For instance, I will pay special attention to his verses that take place in an unknown space: time. Cortés writes,
… ¿Tiempo, dónde estamos
tú y yo, yo que vivo en ti y
tú que no existes?
… Time, where are we,
you and I, I that live in you, and
you that do not exist.
(My own translation)
As the verses continue, the reverberations of what some, including his family, consider lunacy come to the front; words as explosive mechanisms used to transmit intuitions that are hard for the reader to grasp. A fantastic self-taught poet, whose own mind was one of imagination and beauty, yet his verses relinquished due to being tied to a chair; Cortés waiting for those fleet moments: to fly freely, to soar great heights through his poetry.
Stopping the Pinocchio Story: Empowering a Disabled Ontology of Ruin and Exile- Alexander Jackson
“Stopping the Pinocchio Story” will express an understanding of the disabled identity as internally andeternally schismatic. As a disabled student, it occurs to me that I have always been at odds with the reality of my identity. Marked with difference from the moment of birth and placed in the vanguard of humanity’s sense of bodily decay and mutation, the disabled occupy a fascinating position of alterity. Our difference as disabled people is that we begin by facing ‘the end’. Our disabled bildung is composed of not only an Inner-Exile (a being outside normalcy while already residing within normal society), but also a relationship to bodily decay or ruin from the moment we become anything at all. The disabled have a unique position next to concepts of ruin and exile, then, because we are always-already negotiated within both concepts, but require no temporal passage to them. Like Pinocchio, however, I always wanted to be a “real boy”, and the desire to be something other than what we are, as disabled, is common. However, it misses the power that can be found in rejecting a model of redemption or normalcy and accepting the schismatic exile of the disabled. Through analysis of James Burger’s notions on apocalypse, and Catharine Malabou’s New Wounded, alongside concepts of confession and even Walter Benjamin’s notions of form and constellations in The Origin of German Tragic Drama (among others), I will set forth an understanding of the disabled as ontologically schismatic but empowered. I will come to the conclusion that it is time to stop wishing or lying about our reality. Indeed, It’s time to stop telling the ‘Pinocchio story’.