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The 2020 paradox

A multisystem crisis in search of a comprehensive response

Aleida Azamar Alonso and Carmen Maganda Ramírez

In most of the world, we follow a production model based on economic premises from the middle of the nineteenth century, including processes of accumulation, monopolization, and privatization of a territory’s common goods and of life itself, in order to guarantee the reproduction of capital. International regulations and laws that protect nature are mostly limited to reaction and repair of environmental damages caused by anthropocentric activities in the most vulnerable and impoverished nations in the world but do not o􀄞 en question the damage to populations, especially indigenous peoples and their ancestral territories. Latin America exemplifies this, given that the region has experienced a series of political, economic, environmental, and now health crises as it has become the epicenter of the current COVID-19 pandemic (Pan American Health Organization, PAHO, 2021).

Open access

Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh

Much has been said about the influential role of Forough Farrokhzad (1934–1967) in developing a feminine language in modern Iranian love poetry. Despite this, scholars have not systematically or theoretically examined what I call ‘the poetics of individuation’ in Forough’s lyrics. The present article analyses Forough’s poetic and individual paths of development as two inevitably parallel and intertwined routes. The article theorises that by removing a pre-imposed patriarchal sense of sin with regard to feminine love, Forough deconstructed the masculine narrative of good poetry in five highly significant ways via the feminine and self gaze. The article concludes that the poet’s commitment to poetry as a platform of expression was a means of her liberation and individuation as an independent feminine poet with voice and agency.

Open access

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

The American continents have become one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistically, it is the world region which has been impacted the most by the pandemic. By August 3, 2021, over two million people have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19, which represents roughly half of the total number of confirmed global deaths from the disease (Statista, 2021). Moreover, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimates that the economies of this region will contract by 5.3% in 2021, which will plunge almost 30 million inhabitants of this world region into poverty (ECLAC, 2021).

Open access

The antimonies of the PAH (Platform of Mortgage Victims) in Spain

Between solidarity and political effectiveness

Monique Nuijten and Pieter de Vries

In the Platform of Mortgage Victims (PAH) the common view exists that all activists are equal, that there are no leaders, and that there is no division of labor between grassroots activists and activist-politicians. We show that the trope of horizontalism (the nonexistence of hierarchy within the platform) in effect hides the existence of an unacknowledged leadership structure and of electoral aspirations. We argue that the tensions between grassroots activists and emerging activist-politicians stand for a fundamental divide that renders possible a true change in the state of the situation. This article draws on the work of Alain Badiou and Jodi Dean to argue that the PAH contributed to the 15M movement as a truth event by staging performances of egalitarianism and cultivating solidarity in a disciplined way.

Open access

Geoffrey Aung

Dua, Jatin. 2019. Captured at sea: Piracy and protection in the Indian Ocean. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

Appel, Hannah. 2019. The licit life of capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Sopranzetti, Claudio. 2018. Owners of the map: Motorcycle taxi drivers, mobility, and politics in Bangkok. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

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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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Being Screens, Making Screens

Functions and Technical Objects

Mauro Carbone, Graziano Lingua, and Sarah De Sanctis

The present relations between screens and the human body invoke a genealogy that should help us to understand their status. However, we suggest that this historical-genealogical work shall be matched with a more comprehensive anthropology of screen experiences. By mobilizing the notion of “arche-screen,” we identify the transhistorical principle underlying such experiences with the showing/concealing and the exposing/protecting function pairs—the latter exceeding the visual dimension and involving our bodily relations with the environment. These function pairs, which are rooted in our body and make it into our proto-screen, can be enhanced via their externalization as appropriate technical objects. By highlighting the prostheticization of skin in some prehistoric artistic techniques and the role of the veil from the Old Testament to Leon Battista Alberti’s treatise On Painting, we stress that the interweaving of the above-mentioned screen functions is a constant feature of human experiences and that its thematic variations are traceable in more recent screen forms.

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Beyond Representation

Technofeminisms and the Promise of Computing for Girls

Amélie Lemieux

Kristine Blair. 2019. Technofeminist Storiographies: Women, Information Technology, and Cultural Representation.

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“Biggest Nationalist in the Country”

Self-Descriptive Uses of “Nationalist” in Contemporary Russia

Veera Laine

Nationalism is an ism rarely used as self-description. This article suggests that nationalist discourses are on the move, meaning the concept may be used in novel ways. In Russia, for example, the president recently identified himself as a nationalist, claiming ownership of the concept in the long-standing struggle against manifestations of oppositional nationalism. The article asks who describes themselves as nationalists in contemporary Russia, how do they define the concept, and how did it change during the years 2008–2018 when nationalism as a political idea became increasingly important in Russian politics? Drawing from Russian newspaper sources, the article suggests that diverse, self-proclaimed nationalist actors rely on narrow ethnic understandings of the concept and do not embrace the president’s interpretation of multinational nationalism.

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Bodies with Objects in Space through Screens

Casual Virtuality and the Self-Mediation of Laura Paolini’s Constraining Aesthetics

Jakub Zdebik

Constraining aesthetics are central to Laura Paolini’s artistic corpus, involving the relationship of her body to everyday objects in confined spaces during the time of the pandemic. Paolini creates a self-reflexive simulacrum of artistic experience of body, objects, and space through the interface of digital screens. This article seeks to elaborate how the elements of body, objects, and space in performance, video, and installation art are part of a screenic embodiment when read through the concepts of habit (Walter Benjamin), proprioception (Brian Massumi), allegory (Craig Owens), mediation (Fredric Jameson), and documentation (Amelia Jones).