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Alfred Betschart

Ronald Aronson praises Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential Marxism in an essay in the Boston Review. I argue that existential Marxism is a case of a contradictio in adiecto. Sartre was never recognized as a Marxist by his contemporaries. He not only failed to show any interest in the question of economic exploitation, but most of the answers he gave in the Critique even contradicted Marxist theory. His expression of Marxism as the philosophy of our time seems to have rather been more an act of courtesy than the expression of deep conviction. As Sartre himself later said, Marxism and existentialism are quite separate philosophies.

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Malcolm Turvey

This article questions the priority that Carl Plantinga accords to the viewer’s emotions in his theory of the rhetorical power of screen stories, and makes the case that reason, in the sense of practical reasoning, plays just as important a role as emotion in our ethical response to such fictions. Practical reasoning is the form of reasoning concerned with the actions of agents and what they should do in specific situations. The protagonists of screen stories often engage in practical reasoning, articulating and deliberating about the reasons for their actions, and secondary characters around them regularly question their reasons. In this way, these stories prompt us to understand and question their reasons too and thereby to engage in practical reasoning, a species of which is moral reasoning. Screen stories also often stage a confrontation between divergent ethical perspectives and ask audiences to reflect about which one is more morally compelling.

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Vasiliki P. Neofotistos

Using the Republic of North Macedonia as a case study, this article analyzes the processes through which national sports teams’ losing performance acquires a broad social and political significance. I explore claims to sporting victory as a direct product of political forces in countries located at the bottom of the global hierarchy that participate in a wider system of coercive rule, frequently referred to as empire. I also analyze how public celebrations of claimed sporting victories are intertwined with nation-building efforts, especially toward the global legitimization of a particular version of national history and heritage. The North Macedonia case provides a fruitful lens through which we can better understand unfolding sociopolitical developments, whereby imaginings of the global interlock with local interests and needs, in the Balkans and beyond.

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"There's Something About HER"

Realities of Black Girlhood in a Settler State

Kandice A. Sumner

In this article I examine my lived experience as a Black girl in a white settler state using an autoethnographic approach within the framework of critical race and feminist theory to unpack the deleteriousness of existing as a Black female in a white educational settler state. Drawing on my doctoral research, I conclude that greater attention, in terms of theory and praxis as well as compassion, needs to be applied to the educational journeys of Black girls in white settler states, particularly in predominantly white schools.

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Cary J. Nederman

During the Latin Middle Ages, as today, “tyranny” connotes the exercise of power arbitrarily, oppressively, and violently. Medieval thinkers generally followed in the footprints of early Christian theologians (e.g., Gregory the Great and Isidore of Seville) and ancient philosophers (especially Aristotle) regarding the tyrant as the very embodiment of evil rulership and thus as the polar opposite of the king, who governed for the good of his people according to virtue and religion. However, examination of the writings of some well-known and influential authors from ca. 1150 to ca. 1400—including John of Salisbury, Ptolemy of Lucca, William of Ockham, Bartolous of Sassoferrato, and Nicole Oresme—reveals three very diverse and distinct conceptions of tyranny, each of which justified the tyrant in one way or another.

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Times of Democracy

The Unavoidable Democracy of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Denmark

Anne Engelst Nørgaard

Democracy became a popular and highly contested concept in the Danish-speaking parts of the Danish monarchy in 1848. For a brief time, it went from being an occasional guest in political language to a popular concept in the constitutional struggle of 1848–1849. This article argues democracy became attached to an equally popular concept of the time, movement, when introduced into everyday political communication in Denmark. In this context, democracy became a name for the movement observed in Europe and in the Danish monarchy. The article identifies three main interpretations of democracy that occurred in the Danish constitutional struggle of 1848–1849 and argues the battle over the constitution was essentially a battle over how one interpreted the past, the present, and the future. Democracy became a key term in this battle in 1848 Denmark.

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Marilyn Strathern

This stimulating collection puts agriculture into current conversations on the Anthropocene. In particular it relates, as an effect of the impetus toward defining responsibility, the contemporary sense of urgency that makes “us” find new reasons for thinking of humankind as a whole. The articles carefully unpick this holism, both in terms of people’s varying relations to the circumstances of cultivation or marketing and in terms of populations being divided through offsetting or knowledge-distribution strategies. It is a small extrapolation to observe that the same must be true of the particularity of crops: no more than persons can they be lumped together.

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Toward a Naturalized Aesthetics of Film Music

An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Intramusical and Extramusical Meaning

Timothy Justus

In this article, I first address the question of how musical forms come to represent meaning—that is, the semantics of music—and illustrate an important conceptual distinction articulated by Leonard Meyer in Emotion and Meaning in Music between absolute or intramusical meaning and referential or extramusical meaning through a critical analysis of two recent films. Second, building examples of scholarship around a single piece of music frequently used in film—Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings—I follow the example set by Murray Smith in Film, Art, and the Third Culture and discuss the complementary approaches of the humanities, the behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences to understanding music and its use in film.

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Transforming the matryoshka

Merger of Russian regions

Igor Yu. Okunev, Petr V. Oskolkov and Maria I. Tislenko

English abstract: This article assesses the 2000s reforms of the Russian administrative divisions and the implications of the reforms for the institutional structure and related discourse through institutional and discourse analysis. The authors reach the conclusion that the “special status” of the newly formed territorial entities remains undefined, while the representation norm is highly uneven, since the competences of governing bodies in the merged entities lie predominantly in the ethnic and cultural sphere. The reform was not a single and coherent policy measure but rather a number of incoherent initiatives. This can be seen from the presence of different (re)integration models in respective amalgamation cases, different models of a “special status” and a variety of reactions to the reform emanating from the population.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo evalúa las reformas del 2000 en las divisiones administrativas rusas y las implicaciones de dichas reformas en la estructura institucional y el discurso relacionado, a través del análisis institucional y del discurso. Los autores llegan a la conclusión de que el “estatus especial” de las entidades territoriales recién formadas permanece indefinido, mientras que las normas de representación son desiguales, ya que las competencias de los órganos rectores en las entidades fusionadas residen predominantemente en la esfera étnica y cultural. La reforma no fue una medida política única y coherente, sino una serie de iniciativas incoherentes. Esto se puede ver por la presencia de diferentes modelos de (re) integración en los respectivos casos de amalgamación, diferentes modelos de un “estatus especial” y una variedad de reacciones a la reforma que emanan de la población.

French abstract: Cet article analyse les réformes des divisions administratives russes de l’année 2000 et leurs implications pour la structure et le discours institutionnels, en utilisant les méthodes institutionnelle et discursive. Les auteurs concluent que le « statut spécial » des entités territoriales nouvellement formées reste indéfini, tandis que la norme de représentation demeure très inégale, les compétences des organes directeurs des entités fusionnées étant principalement concentrées dans les domaines ethnique et culturel. La réforme ne constitue pas une mesure politique cohérente, mais un certain nombre d’initiatives incohérentes. La présence de différents modèles de (ré)intégration dans les cas de fusion évoqués, les divers cas de « statut spécial » et la variété des réactions populaires face à cette réforme en témoignent.

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"We Are Not Dead Souls"

The Good Petroleum Fairies and the Spirits of the Taiga in Subarctic Siberia

Dominique Samson Normand de Chambourg

Through the example of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug–Yugra, which has become one of the country’s main energy hubs (accounting for 62 percent of Russian oil production) and a pioneer in matters of native rights, this article sheds light on what is at stake in the Siberian taiga of the early twenty-first century between two worlds that, over the years, have variously clashed, assisted each other, and ignored each other. Based primarily on fieldwork carried out between 2013 and 2018, as well as on interviews with local cultural and economic actors, the article outlines a local aspect of a history in movement that is still to be written.