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Actualising History

Responsibilities with Regard to the Future in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Aamir Aziz and Frans Willem Korsten

Whereas prior studies have focused on Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible in relation to the Puritan past of the United States of America, this article looks at the play’s present in relation to a future. If, as is the case, the play is an intervention in its contemporary circumstances, this is obviously with the aim of moving towards a better future. The question then becomes: how does the play deal with the past in the way that the Salem trials (1692) relate, by means of a theatrical intervention, to a future? In the twentieth century the relation of theatre, and of theatricality in general, with the future was paradigmatically explored in the work of Bertolt Brecht. In his view, the role of theatre was to produce a distance, not an unreflexive and emotional involvement in a plot. This distance or alienation was necessary to make people see behind the scenes of the socio-political and economic system, as a result of which they would start to think and become able to act in order to change the course of history. This appears to be an essential strategy as well if we think about the powers of spectacle, as they have been dealt with in previous studies in performance research, and a possible theatrical response to them.

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Yasser K. R. Aman

The monstrous image created by William Blake in ‘The Tyger’ left the world wrapped in an apocalyptic vision that creates an epiphany of unknown Romantic potentials symbolised in ‘The Tyger’. The apocalyptic vision, deeply rooted in Christian religion, develops into an ominous harbinger of the destruction of the modern world portrayed in W.B. Yeats’ ‘The Second Coming’. The image of the beast marks the difference between two ages, one with strong potentials and the other with fear and resident evil unexplained. I argue that the apocalyptic theory in Christianity has an impact on the development of the image of the beast in both poems, an impact that highlights man’s retreat from Nature into the modern world which may fall apart because of beastly practices.

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Ndumiso Dladla

Even though the Pan Africanist Congress was formed in 1959 after departing from the African National Congress at a point marking out the irreconcilability of the Azanian ‘faith’ with the other interpretations of the struggle within the ‘broad church’ of the Congress Movement, it was only six years later, in 1965, that it modified its name to the PAC of Azania. The name Azania is supposed to have been suggested by Nkrumah at the All-African Peoples’ Conference in 1958 attended by the Africanists even before the inauguration of the PAC (Diaz 2009: 239; Hilton 1993: 5). The Azanian tendency in ‘South African’ history can arguably be said to have existed from the earliest times of resistance by the indigenous people against the unjust wars of colonisation (see Dladla 2020: 71–108).

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Joel Modiri

This article sets out a few key questions, themes, and problems animating an Azanian social and political philosophy, with specific reference to the radical promise of undoing South African disciplinary knowledges. The article is made up of two parts: The first part discusses the epistemic and political forces arrayed against black radical thought in South Africa and beyond. A few current trends of anti-black thinking – liberal racism, Left Eurocentrism, and postcolonial post-racialism – which pose challenges for the legibility of Azanian critique are outlined. Part two constructs an exposition and synthesis of key tenets of Azanian thinking elaborated upon under three signs: ‘South Africa’, ‘race and racism’, and ‘Africa’. The aim of the discussion is to illustrate the critical, emancipatory potential of Azanian thought and its radical incommensurability with dominant strands of scholarship in the human and social sciences today. The article ultimately defends the reassertion of black radical thought in the South African academy today and underscores in particular the abolitionist drive of Azanian political thought.

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Graham Holderness and Bryan Loughrey

This special issue of Critical Survey has a twofold purpose: to mark the twentieth anniversary of the events of 11 September 2001, when Islamic terrorists piloted two planes into New York’s World Trade Centre, killing some three thousand innocent people; and to register some of the cultural changes that have taken place in the subsequent two decades, and can be directly or indirectly attributed to that world-changing day. The attacks of 9/11 soon came to represent an extensive typology of collisions: the ‘clash of civilisations’ between East and West; the unstable boundaries between war and peace in our contemporary world; and (to many, but not all academics) the destructive violence that potentially underlies Western values of liberty and peaceful co-existence. It has long been a commonplace that 9/11 profoundly and irreversibly changed our world. This issue sets out to represent and reflect some of those changes.

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Erasing the Nation

The Historiography of African Nationalism in Conqueror South Africa

Terblanche Delport

The story of conqueror South African historiography relies on the ebbs and flows of narrative clichés and tropes. The main narrative arcs relate to historiographies that frame the understanding and analysis of conqueror South Africa. These historiographies interpret history as forming part of an epistemological paradigm of conqueror South Africa: a historiography that does not question the ethical right to conquest. This article focuses on the interpretations of African Nationalism by proponents of the liberal and Marxist historiographic traditions and critiques the way in which these historiographies depict and characterise African Nationalism. This historical characterisation bears an influence in current political and social discourse in conqueror South Africa: African Nationalism is relegated to a misguided moment in history, something to be reflected upon from a distance, an irrelevant phase in the long walk to a multiracial and cosmopolitan South Africa.

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For Us, By Us

Towards a More Just Philosophical Community

Bryan Mukandi

This article examines the Australian ‘Continental Philosophy’ community through the lens of the Azanian philosophical tradition. Specifically, it interrogates the series of conversations around race and methodology that arose from the 2017 Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP) conference. At the heart of these were questions of place, race, Indigeneity, and the very meaning of ‘Continental Philosophy’ in Australia. The pages that follow pursue those questions, grappling with the relationship between the articulation of disciplinary bounds and the exercise of colonial power. Having struggled with the political and existential cost of participation in the epistemic community that is the ASCP, I argue for disengagement and the exploration of alternative intellectual communities. This is ultimately a call to intellectual work grounded on ethical relations rather than on the furtherance of the status quo. It is a call to take seriously the claim, ‘the land is ours’.

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Felix Chami

The Romans identified East Africa as Azania. The Chinese as Zezan. The metropolis of Rhapta was indicated to be the capital of Azania. In recent times a controversy emerged as to the location of Azania and Rhapta. A discussion has also occurred regarding the kind of people who settled in Azania. Whereas some scholars agree that the core of Azania was in East Africa modern, the geographical extent of Azania is in question. Archaeological, historical, and linguistic data have been used to suggest Azania extended from the coast of East Africa to the Great Lakes region, central Africa and South Africa. It is also argued that the people of Azania were Bantu speakers who were farming and smelting iron. It is therefore justifiable for the people of the larger region of South Africa to East Africa to name themselves Azanians.

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Joydeep Chakraborty

This article seeks to enlarge the scope of the current scholarly discussion on the trauma-related or, more precisely, ‘belated’ aspect of post-9/11 American literature through a focus on hallucinatory experiences in post-9/11 American poetry, and through the application of the information-processing models of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the interpretation of these experiences. To attain this purpose, the article focuses on four poems – ‘High Haunts’ by Tish Eastman, ‘The Dead Have Stopped Running’ by Matthew Mason, ‘Making Love after September 11, 2001’ by Aliki Barnstone and ‘Strangers’ by Lucille Lang Day – all of which were included in An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind: Poets on 9/11 and September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond, two of the major anthologies of 9/11 poems that came into being in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. This article, finally, attempts to discover a poetic strategy to conquer the trauma of 9/11 at the personal level.

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Shireen H. Alkurdi, Awfa Hussein Al-Doory, and Mahmoud F. Al-Shetawi

This article sheds light on the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s interest in Egypt and the Arab world. It underscores the influence of his tour in Egypt during the opening of the Suez Canal on his works, drawing on the theoretical underpinnings established by Edward W. Said. The study foregrounds Ibsen’s correspondence, plays, and other works that include references to his two-month stay in Egypt and to his encounter with the Arab culture. Ibsen’s references validate the Western stereotyping and ideology that have influenced a wide array of Western writers in the ways they misrepresent and misinterpret the Arab culture, and concomitantly other references mirror a personal force of admiration. Additionally, the article discusses the idea that Ibsen’s sojourn in Egypt did not alter his viewpoint of the Arab culture in general and the Egyptian one in particular which is markedly controlled by the Western stereotyped image of Arabs and their culture.