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Alienating Hamlet

Precarious Work in Jenny Andreasson's Teatern

Per Sivefors


The protagonist of Jenny Andreasson's autobiographical novel Teatern (2022) is a young female director whose feminist production of Hamlet at the Swedish national stage fails to have its planned premiere. While the novel makes a point of describing the misogynist structures behind this failure, the present article suggests that class structures and precarity are the main reasons behind it. The financial difficulties of the theatre generate a clear discrepancy between cultural capital – embodied by Shakespeare's canonical play – and economic. The resulting precarious work situation is reflected in the protagonist's yearning for stability, in her recurring assertions of class privileges vis-à-vis her co-workers and in her increasing sense of alienation from both them and her own work. While not strictly paraphrasing Shakespeare's play, the protagonist invokes parallels to both Hamlet and Ophelia, and Teatern, instead of locating these parallels in an ‘existential’ reading of Shakespeare's play, anchors the theme of alienation in the economic and social strictures of the theatre institution.

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Artificial Intelligence, Humanness, and Nonverbal Sociality

Ritwik Banerji


Anthropologists have yet to fully consider how artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies may be put to work to develop novel ethnographic media that transcend the basic limitations of the traditional ethnographic text. This article describes an experiment in the development of an AI system based on ethnographic fieldwork focusing on a specific form of nonverbal interaction and human practitioners’ evaluations of the system's ‘humanness’. Among many other elements of humanness, this discussion highlights the many ways that human subjects locate humanness in an agent's ability to parse and respond to others in the midst of nonverbal social interaction.

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Automated Saliency Prediction in Cinema Studies

Using AI to Map Early Cinema's Use of Visual Saliency

Lein de Leon Yong and Suren Jayasuriya


In visual cognition research, saliency refers to the prominence of specific elements in a scene. Moreover, saliency guidance is part of a filmmaker's toolset to build narratives and guide the audience into emotive responses. This article compares two Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) saliency mapping models with viewers’ eye-position mapping to investigate the potentiality of automated saliency mapping in moving image studies by analyzing saliency's role during cinema's transition from one-shot to multiple-shot. Although the exact moment when montage and editing methods appeared cannot be identified with precision, findings suggest one of the reasons for this transition was saliency guidance, hence its preponderance.

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Becoming Through Detachment

Displacement, Unframing, and Disidentification in the Brazilian June Journeys

Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça and Ângela Cristina Salgueiro Marques


This article contributes to the growing literature around the idea of a politics of becoming by emphasizing its deconstructive dimension. It advances the notion of “detachment,” which articulates different angles of such deconstructive dimension. Detachment can draw from three different concepts: displacement (Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe), unframing (Judith Butler), and disidentification (Jacques Rancière). After highlighting the key points of each of these concepts and the way they contribute to an encompassing notion of detachment, the article moves to a brief illustration of how these concepts are relevant to make sense of contemporary protests, focusing specifically on the Brazilian June Journeys of 2013.

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Becoming Visible

Corporeal Politics, Spaces of Appearance, and the Miss America Protest

Moya Lloyd


Jacques Rancière's discussion of disidentification provides an important account of how existing inegalitarian structures and hierarchically ordered identities may be challenged. However, Rancière treats disidentification as a discursive phenomenon, centered on naming. As an explanation of how the invisible might become visible, it is problematic to overlook the body, since appearance requires our bodies to be seen, to become visible. Drawing on discussions of the subject-in-process and the idea of identity as both enfleshed and performatively constituted, this article seeks to enrich Rancière's discussion of disidentification by focusing attention on its embodied dimensions. It does so by exploring, through an analysis of the Miss America protest of 1968, the role of corporeality both in constituting spaces of appearance and in articulating democratic demands for visibility.

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Beyond (Un)Stable

Chars as Dynamic Destabilisers of Problematic Binaries

Jenia Mukherjee, Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, and Raktima Ghosh


Until recently, river islands have been neglected in island studies and river/water scholarship. We address this research gap by focusing on the ‘fluidscape’ of the Lower Ganga Basin, West Bengal, India. Drawing empirical insights on chars (river islands) of the River Ganga, located upstream and downstream of the Farakka Barrage, we present lives and livelihoods in this ‘ever-shifting landscape’ and demonstrate how the barrage project led to transplantation–obliteration–resurrection of chars in repetitive cycles and activated ambivalence among choruas (communities inhabiting chars). Our fluid tales of everydayness in the volatile river islands show how these ‘muddyscapes of hazards’ become ‘muddyscapes of opportunities’ along ‘situated adaptive practices’ and contingent adjustments pursued by choruas. We establish chars as the most significant metaphor of destabilisation, dislodging widely held ideas about rivers, vulnerability, adaptation, among others. The deployment of ‘volatility’ as the theoretical-conceptual traction allows us to perceive chars beyond vulnerability and instead as viablescapes.


Jusqu’à récemment, la littérature académique des rivières et espaces aquatiques s'est peu intéressée aux îles fluviales. L'existence de ce qui est « fluide » - c'est-à-dire, au-delà de la démarcation entre le « solide » et le « liquide » - en Asie du sud deltaïque n'est pas reconnue comme legs du savoir hydrologique colonial. Afin de combler ce vide, cette article présente les résultats d'une enquête empirique conduite sur les îles du bas Gange, en amont et en aval du barrage Farakka. En proposant la notion de « fluidscapes », nous nous attacherons à décrire les vies et modes de vie dans ces espaces toujours en mouvement et montreront comment le projet de barrage a provoqué une rupture sans précédent dans l’écologie de la rivière qui a transplanté, oblitéré et ressuscité des îles fluviales en cycles répétitifs. Il fera également écho à l'attitude ambivalente des Choruas, ces communautés qui habitent les îles fluviales. Ces histoires fluides de la vie quotidienne dans des îles fluviales volatiles nous permettent de mieux comprendre comment ces « espaces boueux dangereux » peuvent devenir des « espaces boueux d'opportunité » par la mise en œuvre de pratiques d'adaptation et d'ajustements contingents de la part des Choruas. Nos enquêtes ethnographiques nous ont conduits à voir dans ces îles fluviale une métaphore de la déstabilisation significative, renversant largement les idées préconçues sur les rivières, la vulnérabilité, l'adaptation, etc. Le recours à la « volatilité » comme concept théorique est fécond dans la perception de ces espaces insulaires spécifiques comme offrant un au-delà du vulnérable vers des espaces de vie qui sont bien viables, au contraire.

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Biometrics, Dualities, and Fluid Identities

Decentralized Response to the Modern Normalization of Biopower

Melody Ling


Categorized by what Michel Foucault called the “biopolitics” of life, the modern human body is reborn into a defamiliarized incarnate social entity that embodies an ecology of different kinds of augmentations. How do the mechanisms of biopolitics create normalized bodies and identities, and what are the real stakes of this new biopolitical power? This article investigates a genealogy toward the contemporary definition of identity and how biopolitics induces and creates a modern milieu of dualities. It then proposes a concept of “fluid identities” as a disruptive, provocative, and whimsical design intervention. It recognizes fluidity to be a presumed agentic human condition and a widely acceptable social factor; it recognizes identities to be “fragmented yet authentic” and “incomplete but sufficient.”

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Book Review

Erika Monahan

Nick Fielding (Oxford: Signal Books, Ltd., 2020), xv +320pp. £16.99 Hardcover. ISBN 978-1-909930-865.

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Book Reviews

Matthew C. Eshleman, Phillip Barron, Nahum Brown, J. Reese Faust, and Brooks Kirchgassner

Bruce Baugh, Philosophers’ Walks (New York: Routledge, 2022), 251 pp., $48.95 (paperback), ISBN: 978-0-3673-3313-3

Marco Cavallaro and George Heffernan (editors), The Existential Husserl: A Collection of Critical Essays (New York: Springer, 2022), 354 pp., $119.99 (hardback), ISBN 978-3-031-05094-7

Mary L. Edwards, Sartre's Existential Psychoanalysis: Knowing Others (London: Bloomsbury, 2023), 258 pp., $115.00 (hardback), ISBN 978-1-350-17347-7, $39.95 (paperback), ISBN 978-1-350-33107-5.

Elisa Magrì and Paddy McQueen, Critical Phenomenology: An Introduction (Cambridge and Hoboken: Polity, 2023), 240 pp., $24.95 (paperback), ISBN: 978-1-5095-4112-6

Michael J. Monahan, Creolizing Practices of Freedom: Recognition and Dissonance (Lanham: Roman & Littlefield, 2023), 206 pp., $105 (hardback), ISBN 978-1-5381-7461

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Book Reviews

Yael Nativ and Edna Barromi-Perlman

Eshel, Ruth. Dance Spreads Its Wings: Israeli Concert Dance 1920–2010 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2021), 500 pp., $99.99 (hardback).

ROZENTAL, ROTEM. Pre-State Photographic Archives and the Zionist Movement (New York: Routledge, 2023). 260 pp., $128 (hardback).