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Debating the “Jewish Question” in Tunisia

War, Colonialism, and Zionism at a Mediterranean Crossroads, 1914–1920

Chris Rominger

In Tunisia, the end of World War I and the return of Muslims and European settlers from the front brought attacks against local Jews who had been exempt from conscription under French colonial rule. French commentators spoke of a “Jewish question” fueled by Muslim fanaticism and Jewish profiteering, obscuring their own divisive attitudes and policies. Colonial archives and the popular press, however, reveal that this was far from a monolithic sectarian concern. Jews responded to violence with a variety of transnational political visions. I explore how some Jews reaffirmed their loyalty to France, while others highlighted colonial hypocrisies. Others turned to solutions such as US protection or the Zionist movement. This Tunisian story, with its unique colonial arrangement and legal ambiguities, foregrounds an oft-overlooked North African perspective on the global questions of identity, nationalisms, and minority politics at the end of World War I.

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“Deception begins with trade . . .”

Vladimir Arsen’ev’s Economic Expertise and Challenges of Rationalizing Imperial Diversity in the Taiga

Aleksandr Turbin

The article explores Vladimir Arsen’ev’s rationalization of the economic activities that he observed during expeditions in the Russian Far East, predominantly in the Ussuri region. It analyzes his categorization of the local population, which was derived from nonmatching taxonomies and included concepts such as nationality, religion, race, and subjecthood. Disentangling this categorization helps to outline the main contexts that influenced Arsen’ev, such as postwar political and military concerns, challenges of settler colonialism, and nationalizing empire. The article shows how Arsen’ev’s intertwined life experiences as a military officer and geographer, colonization official, ethnographer, and resource-conscious naturalist outlined the limits of his imagination and provided the ground for his intellectual innovations.

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Democracy in a Global Emergency

Five Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Afsoun Afsahi, Emily Beausoleil, Rikki Dean, Selen A. Ercan, and Jean-Paul Gagnon

Abstract

As countries around the world went into lockdown, we turned to 32 leading scholars working on different aspects of democracy and asked them what they think about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted democracy. In this article, we synthesize the reflections of these scholars and present five key insights about the prospects and challenges of enacting democracy both during and after the pandemic: (1) COVID-19 has had corrosive effects on already endangered democratic institutions, (2) COVID-19 has revealed alternative possibilities for democratic politics in the state of emergency, (3) COVID-19 has amplified the inequalities and injustices within democracies, (4) COVID-19 has demonstrated the need for institutional infrastructure for prolonged solidarity, and (5) COVID-19 has highlighted the predominance of the nation-state and its limitations. Collectively, these insights open up important normative and practical questions about what democracy should look like in the face of an emergency and what we might expect it to achieve under such circumstances.

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The Democracy of Everyday Life in Disaster

Holding Our Lives in Their Hands

Nancy L. Rosenblum

Abstract

Neighbors inhabit a distinct social sphere whose regulative ideal is the democracy of everyday life. Its chief elements are reciprocity and a practical disregard for the differences and inequalities that shape interactions in the broader society and in democratic politics. The democracy of everyday life has heightened significance during disasters. Neighbors hold our lives in their hands. But COVID-19 differs from physical disasters in ways that alter neighbor interactions. Contamination makes relations more fearful at the same time that isolation makes them more valuable. When the meaning attributed to the virus is not shared experience of disease and mortality but rabid partisanship, neighbor relations become distorted. This degradation of the democracy of everyday life signals that democracy itself is imperiled more deeply than political paralysis, corruption, and institutional failure suggest.

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Melenia Arouh

Abstract

The appreciation of form is a common preoccupation in aesthetic analyses of films. The concept of form, however, has traditionally troubled philosophers of art, and although its meaning and significance have been debated throughout history, a common understanding is not always easy to discern. This article reviews certain ambiguities regarding “form” in film aesthetics through an examination of the uses of the word, especially in relation to content, medium, and style. Through this discussion, both the significance of the word is explained, but also the type of analysis it allows for.

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Doing global investments the Nordic way

The “business case” for Equinor's support to union work among its employees in Tanzania

Siri Lange

Abstract

In the Nordic countries, unions are represented in company boards and can influence companies’ policies toward labor abroad. This article focuses on the Norwegian national oil company Equinor and its support of unionization of its employees in Tanzania. This was inspired by the Nordic tradition of social dialogue between corporations and strong, independent unions. Corporation managers and union representatives tend to refer to this social dialogue as “the Norwegian model,” but this is a narrow conceptualization of the model that disregards the role of the state. I argue that while it is beneficial for the Tanzanian workers to be organized, it is probably also “good for business” to have unionized workers who have adopted the Nordic collaborative model, rather than a more radical union model.

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Durkheim en réunion (1ère partie)

Ses interventions à l'Assemblée des professeurs de la Faculté de Lettres de Bordeaux (1887–1902)

Matthieu Béra

Abstract

Thanks to an original archive, this article aims to characterize Durkheim's interventions at the Council of Professors in Bordeaux from 1887 to 1902. Frequency, tonality and above all the subjects of interest of his interventions are studied. We are able to see that he paid great attention to the students and their education (i.e. their courses, fees, grants, the problem of the predominance of Latin, proposals for reform of the competitive agrégation in philosophy) but that he was also interested in administrative subjects (modalities of attribution of new courses and new chairs, procedures of the council) and research subjects (subscriptions for the university library, life of the historical and local Annales du Midi). We finally discover that he certainly had administrative ambitions – to become the dean – ended by political circumstances (the Dreyfus Affair).

Résumé

Cet article vise à caractériser les interventions de Durkheim aux assemblées des professeurs de la Faculté de Lettres de l'université de Bordeaux entre 1887 et 1902 en se référent à une archive inédite. Sont présentées les fréquences, la tonalité et surtout ses domaines d'interventions. On voit qu'il s'intéresse d'abord aux étudiants et à leurs études (ouverture ou fermeture des cours, attribution des bourses, droits d'inscription, problème de la prédominance du latin, réforme de l'agrégation de philosophie), mais aussi aux questions administratives (attribution des chaires, fonctionnement du conseil de l'université), et aux questions liées à la recherche (abonnements en revues à la Bibliothèque universitaire, vie de la revue antiquisante des Annales du midi). On découvre qu'il n'était pas dépourvu d'ambitions administratives, que les circonstances politiques (l'affaire Dreyfus) vinrent contrarier.

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Antoine Savoye

Abstract

Despite the ostracism he maintained towards them, Le Play's social science continuers did not ignore Durkheim's work and commented on it – even if laconically – in their journals. The LePlayists loyal to the master's orthodoxy raised the same grievances against Durkheim throughout his academic life. They refused to accept his conception of the social fact as superior and prior to the individual, imposing itself on him with a coercive force. Their criticisms, however, were less virulent after Durkheim's death, as sociology proved a sustainable science whose project had become irrefutable. With the dissident LePlayists, the view is different. Emerging later, it dealt with the object of sociology and the method advocated by the author of the Règles. From the Tourvillians’ point of view, Durkheim's sociology does not adopt the best path for social science (investigation by direct observation), and neglects its process of coordination of social facts (the nomenclature developed by Tourville). Consequently, Durkheim's results are questionable. The debate the Tourvillians wanted to have with Durkheim took place post mortem, thanks to Bouglé and his students from the Centre de documentation sociale, and their engagement, in the 1930s, with Durkheimian sociology and social science.

Résumé

En dépit de l'ostracisme de Durkheim à leur égard, les représentants de la science sociale issue de Le Play n'ont pas ignoré son œuvre et l'ont commentée – même si laconiquement – dans leurs périodiques, d'une part, La Réforme sociale, d'autre part, La Science sociale et ses dérivés.

Les leplaysiens restés dans l'orthodoxie du maître nourrissent – de la Division du travail social aux Fondements élémentaires de la vie religieuse – les mêmes griefs à l'encontre de Durkheim. Volontiers polémiques, ils refusent sa conception du fait social qui, « supérieur et antérieur à l'individu … s'impose à lui avec une force coercitive prépondérante » (Clément, 1915). Leurs critiques perdent cependant de leur virulence après la mort de Durkheim, au fur et à mesure que la sociologie s'avère une science durable dont le projet devient irréfutable.

Du côté des partisans de la science sociale renouvelée par Henri de Tourville, l'appréciation de Durkheim est différente. Plus tardive, elle porte sur l'objet de la sociologie et sur la méthode prônée par l'auteur des Règles. Aux yeux des tourvilliens, celui-ci n'emprunte pas, à tort, la « voie royale » de la science sociale : l'enquête par observation directe, et néglige l'outil de coordination des faits sociaux qu'est la nomenclature mise au point par Tourville. Dès lors, les résultats auxquels aboutit Durkheim, par exemple dans les Fondements, sont sujets à caution (Descamps, 1912). La critique des tourvilliens est d'autant plus vive qu'elle se nourrit d'un dépit : Durkheim ne fait aucun cas de leurs travaux (Périer, 1913). Le débat qu'ils auraient souhaité engager n'aura lieu que post mortem, grâce à Bouglé et ses élèves du Centre de documentation sociale (Aron, Polin) qui joueront le jeu, dans les années trente, de la confrontation entre sociologie et science sociale.

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Andrew J. Ball

I am pleased to begin the final issue of the year with a very special announcement. Screen Bodies is modifying its editorial direction and the kind of work it will feature. Many of our readers will already have a sense of these changes, made evident by the new Aims and Scope section we made available online earlier this summer, and by the journal’s new subtitle, The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology. As these indicate, the foundational commitments of the journal remain unchanged; however, moving forward will we intensify our focus on new media art, technology studies, and the interface of the sciences and the humanities. We will continue to examine the cultural, aesthetic, ethical, and political dimensions of emerging technologies, but with a renewed attention to such areas as intermediality, human–machine interface, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, generative art, smart environments, immersive and interactive installations, machine learning, biotechnology, computer science, digital culture, and digital humanities. The journal will continue to prioritize matters of the body and screen media, both in terms of representation and engagement, but will emphasize research that critically reexamines those very concepts, as, for example, in the case of object-oriented feminism’s nonanthropocentric approach, which asks us to rethink what we mean by bodies and embodiment.

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Editorial

Walking on the edge: Educational praxis in higher education

Lill Langelotz, Kathleen Mahon, and Giulia Messina Dahlberg

This special issue is a collection of articles that emerged from a series of symposia on praxis in higher education, aimed at critically exploring challenges and possibilities for educational praxis, including its role in the contemporary university. The collection highlights the need for asking critical and uncomfortable questions about what is and what could be in higher education. It calls for more focused attention on the consequences of what we do as teachers and university communities, both intentionally and inadvertently, so that higher education can be more socially just and responsive to student and societal needs amidst contemporary challenges. In explicating the concept of ‘educational praxis’, the editorial introduces the metaphor of ‘walking on the edge’ to illustrate the concept’s ‘uncomfortable dimension’ in terms of academics’ responsibility to engage critically with challenging issues in endeavours to address educational concerns.