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Voicing Pride and Futurity in the Age of A.I.

An Interview with Playwright Pao-Chang Tsai on Solo Date

Jing Chen and Pao-Chang Tsai

Abstract

This interview deals with the question of queer Sinofuturisms through the works of Pao-Chang Tsai, a Taiwanese performer, playwright, and director who became renowned for exploring the Taiwanese theaterscape with new media and novel performative techniques. With a special focus on his acclaimed theatrical production Solo Date (2016), the conversation inquires into themes of artificial intelligence, queer futurity, and transcultural performance featured in this one-man show. Linking the representation of A.I. interface as queer body with the demand for LGBT rights in Sinophone contexts, Tsai's innovative solo performance has examined changing discourses toward queerness and futurism in the age of advanced artificial intelligence. The touching story of how a gay man struggled to process his grief after losing the love of his life further raises critical ethical questions, since the protagonist's true identity is an A.I. robot.

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Ad Fontes Digitales!?

Margins of Representation When Incorporating Medieval Sources into a German Digital History Textbook

Andreas Willershausen

Abstract

The publication of the first German-language digital history textbook, mBook: History for the Future (mBook: Geschichte für die Zukunft, Cornelsen Verlag, 2016), drew much critical attention. In 2018, the mBook was awarded the prize for best textbook in the “society” category by the Georg Eckert Institute for its focus on improving learner competence. This article begins by assessing the mBook's gradation feature (which allows for the linguistic gradation of sophisticated textual sources on several learning levels) and the textbook authors’ aspiration to convey methodological competence and foster understanding of unfamiliar topics (Fremdverstehen), with the help of work on documents, and an understanding of historical times far removed from our own. It quantitatively and descriptively assesses textual documents in the chapters about the Middle Ages, while focusing on their textual preparation and digital implementation.

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Haifaa Majadly and Aharon Geva-Kleinberger

Abstract

This article analyzes the contents of Arabic grammar curricula authorized for the upper years of primary school by the ministries of education of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. The article aims to determine the attitudes and rationales behind these curricula, as well as their objectives, the grammatical materials they cover, the amount of time they allocate to the study of grammar, and their educational and pedagogical approach. Drawing on the results of a comparative analysis, the authors propose developmental alternatives to the current curricula. Arabic language instruction in Hebrew language schools in Israel is not addressed. The results of the study suggest that the examined curricula fail to achieve the functional standards for grammar instruction they set for themselves and to integrate the various domains of linguistic study, and that they suffer from other weaknesses that must be addressed.

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Breaching Flowery Borders

Early Twentieth Century Girls Scrapbooking Their Lives

Leslie Midkiff DeBauche

The American high school seniors I discuss in this article graduated between 1915 and 1922, tumultuous years that included World War I, the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1919, and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. During such extraordinary times, these girls did a most ordinary thing; they made scrapbooks to commemorate their high school years.

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Raymond Nkwenti Fru and Johan Wassermann

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This article explores the representation of identity in selected Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonian history textbooks via their coverage of the reunification of Cameroon. A far-reaching effect of the 1916 Anglo-French partition of German Cameroon and of the reunification of the territory in 1961 is that, in spite of the plurality of precolonial identities, it is the legacies of Anglo-French colonial heritage that seem to be the overwhelming identity indicators in contemporary Cameroon. This content analysis found that the Anglophone history textbook presented a clear Anglophone identity which stood in conflict with the identity promoted by the Francophone textbook, which was characterized by national and colonial Francophone assimilationism. Such representations suggest that the Cameroonian nation state as a colonial geopolitical construct is more imagined than real.

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Migration and Migrants between the Favorable and the Problematic

A Discourse Analysis of Secondary School Turkish History Textbooks from 1966 to 2018

Önder Cetin

Abstract

Migration has significantly shaped the changing demographics of Turkey and the interplay between the self-image of the state and its citizens as elements of nation-building policies, dating back to the late Ottoman period. Although the effects of migration and its representations have been the subject of scholarly studies about collective memory, textbooks have largely been omitted from studies about migration. This article analyzes the topics and discursive strategies used to construct narratives of migration and migrants in secondary-level history textbooks by considering ways in which textbooks construct and transmit collective self-images. Adopting a critical discourse analysis approach, the author demonstrates how topoi are used to present a favorable or problematic image of migration.

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Z. Hidayat and Debra Hidayat

Abstract

This article addresses ways in which members of Generation Z construct identity as techno-entrepreneurs by using livestreaming applications. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative assessments of surveys, interviews, documents, and observations, the authors show how visual and verbal conduct based on expressions, interaction, communication, and transactions was used for informal educational purposes by techno-entrepreneurs in their daily lives. On the micro level, members of Gen Z construct self-images as entertainers and businesspeople who need self-recognition and build relationships with viewers. On the meso level, identity emerges via community cohesiveness and a community of talent, and by streaming pop culture. On the macro level, Gen Z follows social and cultural issues and engages in global citizenship while responding to streaming business opportunities. Livestreaming fosters Gen Z's identity construction and shapes the role of influencers in the development of techno-entrepreneurship.

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Kai Krüger

Abstract

This article examines the presentation of West Germany's “economic miracle” and East Germany's planned economy in school textbooks published between 2014 and 2016. The textbooks tell a success story of the “social market economy” that hardly takes into account the academic research of the last forty years. The results furthermore show that contemporary sources were altered in the process of textbook production in order that they adhere to the German success story. These findings, however, do not only point to conscious ideology production and a lack of knowledge, but also suggest that competition among publishers is an explanatory factor. Multiperspectival and controversial presentations of the economy occur only sporadically. It is therefore questionable to what extent the textbooks benefit historical learning.

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Beholding Ourselves

Black Girls as Creators, Subjects, and Witnesses

Erin M. Stephens and Jamaica Gilmer

The bus was full of excited chatter as it pulled up in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (known universally as The Met) on Fifth Avenue on a cold morning in January. Thirteen girls, along with invited loved ones, had traveled for nine-and-a-half hours from Durham, NC, to view their art displayed in the exhibit, “Pens, Lens, and Soul: The Story of The Beautiful Project” (hereafter, “Pens, Lens, and Soul”). First, the girls filed off the bus to take a photograph on the steps of The Met. As their family and friends waited to disembark, they laughed and shivered while posing for numerous photographs and videos on the cold steps. As they stood at the bottom of the steps of the grand prestigious museum, the impressiveness of their accomplishment was just beginning to dawn on many of them. As she walked around the exhibit one of the artists would comment, “I feel surprised because I didn’t realize it was this big of a thing and I was here and it’s a thing, it’s a big thing … we are capable of doing anything.”

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Anxious Breath

An Autoethnographic Exploration of Non-binary Queerness, Vulnerability, and Recognition in Step Out

Lara Bochmann and Erin Hampson

Abstract

This article is a theoretical, audiovisual, and personal exploration of being a trans and non-binary person and the challenges this position produces at the moment of entering the outside world. Getting ready to enter public space is a seemingly mundane everyday task. However, in the context of a world that continuously fails or refuses to recognize trans and non-binary people, the literal act of stepping outside can mean to move from a figurative state of self-determination to one of imposition. We produced a short film project called Step Out to delve into issues of vulnerability and recognition that surface throughout experiences of crossing the threshold into public space. It explores the acts performed as preparation to face the world, and invokes the emotions this can conquer in trans and non-binary people. Breathing is the leading metaphor in the film, indicating existence and resistance simultaneously. The article concludes with a discussion of affective states and considers them, along with failed recognition, through the lens of Lauren Berlant's concept of “cruel optimism.”