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Vera Kuklina, Sargylana Ignatieva and Uliana Vinokurova

This article explores the role of higher education institutions in the development of indigenous cultures in the Arctic city of Yakutsk. Although indigenous cultures have historically been related to traditional subsistence activities and a rural lifestyle, the growing urbanization of indigenous people brings new challenges and opportunities. The article draws on statistical data, as well as qualitative data from the Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Peoples of the Northeast (ILCPN) at the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) and the Arctic State Institute of Culture and Arts (AGIKI): annual reports, focus groups, interviews, and participant observations. The article argues that students and graduates contribute to the creation of a new image of the city as one in which indigenous cultures can find their own niche.

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Modernity, Ḥadāthā, and Modernité in the Works of Abdallah Laroui

Conceptual Translation and the Politics of Historicity

Nils Riecken

The puzzle this article examines is how one can study the concept of modernity within the history of its universalization as a process of translation. For this purpose, I look at how the contemporary Moroccan historian and intellectual Abdallah Laroui has critically engaged with the history, politics, and epistemology of translating modernity (Arabic ḥadāthā, French modernité) into his intellectual and political setting of Morocco, North Africa, and the Middle East during and after the colonial period. I read him as making a critical intervention into existing modes of timing and spacing the concept of modernity and, thus, what I describe as the politics of historicity. In conclusion, I make a methodological plea for framing the history of concepts across political borders in terms of translational practices.

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Carl Plantinga

This article is a discussion of and rejoinder to the comments of three respondents on my book, Screen Stories: Emotion and the Ethics of Engagement. Jane Stadler argues that the book would profit from more attention to the “temporal prolongation” made possible by multi-episode television, especially as it relates to the nature of character engagement. While I have reservations about the notion of medium specificity in relation to television and film (and thus prefer the term “screen stories”), I agree that temporal prolongation in relation to an ethics of screen stories is a vital topic. Malcolm Turvey argues that Screen Stories promotes moral intuition and emotion at the expense of moral reasoning and that an ethics of engagement should pay equal attention to reasoning. In my response, I enumerate four reasons why, despite my belief in the importance of reasoning, I focus on emotion and intuition. I do agree that, once we can decide just what moral reasoning is, it should become a focus of an ethics of engagement. Cynthia Freeland focuses her remarks on various aspects of the third part of my book, “The Contours of Engagement,” in which I examine how the features of screen stories can lead to viewer experiences with ethical implications. In response, I discuss three issues: medium specificity once more, the supposed tension between conceptions of the active and passive spectator, and the psychological underpinnings of various sorts of character engagement.

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Carl Plantinga

In this overview and discussion of my recent book, I outline its major topics and arguments and ruminate on its purpose, its implications, and possible objections to the very idea of an ethics of screen stories. Screen stories are narratives that appear on screens, and in this book I focus on long-form screen stories. The book has three parts. Part I develops a theory of the persuasive or rhetorical power of screen stories. Part 2 argues that while one dominant response to that power in film and media studies has been what I call “estrangement theory,” it is in fact an “engagement theory” that offers more promise for the development of an ethics of screen storytelling. Part 3 examines some of the contours of engagement, or, in other words, some of the means by which screen stories engage the viewer in ethical thinking and moral persuasion. There, I focus on character engagement, narrative structure (and especially endings), and narrative paradigm scenarios.

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Tore Holst

In Delhi, former street children guide tourists around the streets they once inhabited and show how the NGOs they live with try to resocialize current street children. The “personal stories” they perform implicitly advocate simple solutions that conveniently fit the limited engagement of the tourists, whose ethical position is thereby validated in relation to the NGO. But this uncomplicated exchange of guides’ emotions for tourists’ capital is in the guides’ interest, because it allows them to set boundaries for the emotional labor of performing their past suffering. The guides are thus incentivized to work within a post-humanitarian logic, selling their stories as commodities, which then incentivize the tourists to act as consumers, who have little choice but to frame their declarations of solidarity with the children as acts of consumption.

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Entanglements with the 'Sea'

Persian Poetry and Diasporic Iranian Literature in Australia

Nasim Yazdani and Michele Lobo

Displacement following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and later political instability in the Middle East, has led to the increase of Iranian migrants to Australia and beyond, many of whom live in exile and can never return. This article explores how Iranian conceptualisations of the sea provide a framework for entanglements with nature and the environment that are poetic and turbulent, and provides insights into nostalgia and belonging. It explores some entanglements with the ‘sea’ in the work of classical and contemporary Persian poets, diasporic Iranian women’s literature, artwork and memories of newcomers of Iranian heritage who seek asylum in Australia. The article also highlights the connections between poet and world through investigating the role of the geographical realm and nostalgia in producing the worlds of human relations and thoughts with the place.

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Environmental Configurations

When the River Zayandeh Rud Stopped Crossing Isfahan

Sahar Faeghi and Sophie Roche

Among the many consequences of Iran’s suffering from water shortage in recent decades, the major river of Isfahan city, Zayandeh Rud, has dried out. While experts observe this issue through environmental discourses and local farmers engage in political protests, citizens phrase the loss of the river as a cultural catastrophe. Within the environmental configuration that includes the river, historical buildings, parks, fauna, flora and humans, habitual relationships produce a sense of security and well-being. Since the drought, this configuration has been seriously affected. We suggest the drought is experienced as sociocultural disaster because Zayandeh Rud is a central element for the creation of social, cultural, economic and political relationships. Following the suggestion of Tim Ingold, we conceptualise the environment as the interplay between the German notion of Umwelt (out world) and Innenwelt (subjective world).

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Epilogue

Abstraction and Schematization in the Repeated Copying of Designs

Philip Steadman

When drawings are copied repeatedly in sequence by different people, they tend to undergo characteristic processes of change. Parts of an image become separated out, the whole design is flattened, the outline is emphasized, and perspective occlusion is removed. The drawing becomes more abstract, more schematic—in a word, more diagrammatic. This article focuses on such drawing processes and on the results of experiments in repeated copying by anthropologists, psychologists, architectural students, and Surrealists. The tentative conclusion is that designs are represented mentally in a ‘diagrammatic’ way that affects not only how they are seen but also how they are changed when reproduced.

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Zhuoyao Li

Recent discussions by Martha Nussbaum and Steven Wall shed new light on the concept of reasonableness in political liberalism and whether the inclusion of epistemic elements in the concept necessarily makes political liberalism lose its antiperfectionist appeal. This article argues that Nussbaum’s radical solution to eliminate the epistemic component of reasonableness is neither helpful nor necessary. Instead, adopting a revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness in terms of a weak view of rationality that is procedural, external and second-order rather than a strong view that is substantial, internal and first-order can help political liberalism maintain an epistemic dimension in the idea of reasonableness without becoming perfectionist. In addition, political liberalism can defend a stronger account of respect for persons against liberal perfectionism on the basis of the revised understanding of epistemic reasonableness. Both arguments serve to demonstrate the strength of the political liberal project.

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Ethical Dilemmas and Moral Conundrums

Negotiating the Unforeseen Challenges of Ethnographic Fieldwork

Jocelyn D. Avery

Many anthropologists will be required to gain ethics approval in order to begin their research. Prior to commencing, though, it is not always possible to predict what will happen in the field, or how you as the researcher will react, much less to incorporate all possible safeguards in an ethics application. My research was conducted at a special education needs college with the aim of discovering the sense of self of students with intellectual disabilities. I underwent a lengthy and complicated ethics approval process and gained associated external approvals. As my research evolved in the field, I became interested in strands of enquiry that without care could have potentially breached my ethics guidelines. New questions could suggest to staff that I was doing something other than stipulated in their consent documents. The ethics approval process can help refine the research methodology and analysis; however, it cannot prepare us for the moral conundrums that arise in the field.