Richard Lynch Garner’s is a curious case in the history of the fragility of fame. Born in 1848, the explorer, zoologist, specimen hunter, and pioneer in linguistics, animal ethics, and primatology inspired at least one fictional character: the mysterious, offstage Dr. Johausen, the ape fancier who disappears from his jungle hide in Jules Verne’s missing-link fantasy Le Village aérien (Radick 2007: 124). If, as I presume for reasons that will become clear, Garner may also have contributed to the making of Hugh Lofting’s imperishable hero, Dr. Dolittle, it is perhaps surprising that no literary researcher, as far as I know, has ever undertaken to study him. For a brief spell in the early 1890s, around the time of a then-renowned (and soon to be notorious) expedition that he undertook to Fernan Vaz in French Gabon, Garner was one of the most celebrated men in the world—such that satirists had only to allude to him in the certainty that readers would know whom they meant (Radick 2007: 84–85, 123, 136–137). Yet he died in poverty in 1920 (at about the time of the publication of the first Dolittle book).
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A Reflection on the Reputation of Richard Lynch Garner
The Beijing Upheaval of 1989 Revisited
Rilly Chen and Fei Yan
This article provides a multidimensional approach to understanding the interactional dynamics of political contention. By reexamining the highly influential case of the Beijing student movement in 1989 with newly published memoirs from top party leaders and central student figures of the movement, we show more clearly that the escalating conflict between the government and protesters and their nuanced interplay grew, developed, and took on its own identity as the process evolved. It was the increasingly boisterous divisions within both the Communist Party and the student body itself, coupled with their close interactional relationship and interdependence, that resulted in a violent outcome that neither party had envisaged or intended. This finding suggests that multidimensional interactions may have triggered causal processes that escalated both the scale and the influence of the mobilization.
Three Fandom Autoethnographies
Tamar Rapoport and Efrat Noy
This article advocates autoethnography as a critical feminist methodology for using personal testimony to investigate women’s experience and performance of fandom The article’s centerpiece is an analysis of the personal testimonies of three women—researcher-fans of different ages—of a fan-owned club Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem. In addition to revealing women’s gendered-based experiences and the different ways in which women acquire and perform fandom, their personal stories prove valuable for exposing the gendered regime of the football field. Moreover, they reveal how women who are not fluent in the hegemonic language of fandom make their way in the fandom field as they seek their own voice and position in it. The analysis suggests that women’s participation can disrupt the hegemonic masculinity of fandom and challenge its established boundaries, thereby problematizing accepted definitions of the authentic fan.
John Ireland and Constance Mui
We are thrilled, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Sartre Studies International, to publish for the first time in English (thanks to Dennis Gilbert’s initiative and perseverance) two interviews on theater given by Sartre to Russia’s oldest continually running theater journal, Teatr, whose first issues date from the 1930s. Six years apart, these two interviews give us the flavor of Sartre addressing a Soviet audience, in early 1956, just before Russian tanks rolled into Hungary and then again in early 1962, as France negotiated its exit out of the disastrous Algerian War. While these interviews intersect at times with remarks made by Sartre in interviews and lectures during the same period in France (the need for theater to become a truly popular forum, the importance of Brecht as a model of politically engaged theater, etc.), the tone of the two interviews (the first in particular) is different, as Sartre seeks to connect with a socialist audience. These interviews also break new ground. Discussing contemporary playwrights, Sartre demonstrates, for example, his familiarity with Kateb Yacine and Algerian theater. More unexpectedly, addressing Russian readers, Sartre offers a much more positive assessment of Jean Vilar’s Théâtre National Populaire than he ever formulated in France. In short, beyond their content, these interviews help us appreciate even more the importance of the situation shaping Sartre’s pronouncements at any given moment.
Benjamin Abrams and Giovanni A. Travaglino
This issue of Contention is definitively international, featuring data and cases from dozens of countries including Rwanda and China. We are proud to be a journal sought out by scholars working on diverse non-Western cases as well as by those conducting ambitious international analyses. As editors, we firmly believe that an interdisciplinary journal is best served by also being international, and as the journal continues to grow, we are looking to turn our attention toward building editorial teams featuring excellent scholars from around the world. We hope that the variety of international cases in our pages will one day be mirrored by a similarly international community of authors, reviewers, and editors.
The Case of Yakutsk
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.
Conceptual Translation and the Politics of Historicity
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.
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.
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.
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.