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Daniel Nethery and Elisabeth C. Macknight

Megan Brown, The Seventh Member State: Algeria, France, and the European Community. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2022. Bibliography and index. 369 pp. $39.95 (hb) ISBN 978067425114.

Peter Mulholland, Love's Betrayal: The Decline of Catholicism and Rise of New Religions in Ireland. Oxford and Bern: Peter Lang, 2019. Bibliography and index. 362 pp. $90.95 (hb) ISBN 9781787071278.

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Jingzhen Xie

Abstract

Using eyewitness accounts by some French writers who sojourned in Macau during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this article investigates Macanese history from French perspectives. Attention is given to history, culture, and literature within writers’ interpretations. A distinct feature of Macanese history in this period is a story of the conflict between changed and unchanged, glory and decline, temporariness and timelessness. Imbued with admiration, reminiscence, and critique, the observations made by the French writers form a unique panoramic view over Macau. Such observations illustrate how Western culture examined itself, here represented as Portuguese culture, and the manifestations of this particular culture after being transplanted into another country far from the homeland. Integration of French perspectives can enhance the writing of Macanese history by providing particular insights and literary discernment.

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Karsavina, Mallarmé, and Mauclair

A Literary pas de trois in Early Twentieth-Century Dance Criticism

Sasha Rasmussen

Abstract

The early twentieth century saw a renewed critical interest in the expressive potential of dance, sparked by the overwhelming success of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Taking Camille Mauclair's 1912 review “Karsavina et Mallarmé” as a point of departure, this article explores contemporary attitudes toward the dancing woman, the sexual potential of her body, and the desire to transcend (or erase) her corporeality. For Mauclair, Mallarmé's writings provided an intellectual lens through which dance could be detached from the physicality of the danseuse and recast as a serious artistic and intellectual pursuit. This article argues that Mauclair and other critics who sought to abstract dance from the dancer collectively articulated a cohesive alternative to the supposed “physical imperative” of this period.

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The Multiplied Mind

Perspectival Thinking in Arendt, Koestler, Orwell

Milen Jissov

Abstract

This article examines a dramatic aporia in modern European intellectual history, involving what it calls “perspectival thinking”—a way of thinking in which an individual assumes and thinks from the perspectives of others. This paradox appears in the work on totalitarianism of Europe's three foremost thinkers on totalitarianism—Hannah Arendt, Arthur Koestler, and George Orwell. Examining their explorations of perspectival thinking, this article argues that, taken together, they are strikingly discordant. While Arendt exalts it, Koestler and Orwell problematize perspectival thinking, and Orwell even sees it as evil. The three thinkers thus articulate a dramatically polyvocal understanding of perspectival thinking, creating a remarkable dissonance in modern European thought.

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The Professionalization of the Clergy

Parish Priests in Early Modern Malta

Frans Ciappara

Abstract

This article engages with the role of the parish priests in Malta in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It focuses especially on their degree of professionalization by examining their relations with the bishop and with the other members of the clergy and the laity. It concludes that, as in other countries, it was difficult for the decrees of the council of Trent to be fully implemented in Malta. If some parish priests were diligent in exercising their duty, others preferred to put their personal interests before those of their flock. For some, the gaining of money was their besetting sin with the result that running feuds were an inseparable part of most parishes.

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The Queer Death of the Hanged Dog

The 1677 Execution of Mary Higgs’ Mongrel

Jennifer Lodine-Chaffey

Abstract

Over the last forty years, scholars have interpreted the early modern public execution ritual variously as an affirmation of state power, a chance for victims to fashion a memorable identity on the scaffold, and a site of festivity for those gathered to witness. What, though, do we make of the public execution of a dog? This article considers the 1677 hanging of a dog and its female owner for the crime of bestiality, focusing on early modern English beliefs about animals, human sexuality, and punishment. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, reasons for killing animals involved in bestiality found their basis in interpretations of biblical texts, anxieties about animal familiars, fears of crossbreeding, and a desire to maintain boundaries between beasts and humans. This dog's execution, which occurred publicly and was memorialized in print, complicates the usual understandings of public execution, effectively queering the ritual by destabilizing its meaning.

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Arthur Scherr

Abstract

Emulating Arthur Hertzberg's study, The French Enlightenment and the Jews (1968), many scholars have condemned Voltaire for anti-semitism without considering his ironical writing style, amply evident in Candide. The Philosophical Dictionary, a synopsis of his views on diverse historical, ethical, political, and religious matters, may be culled for matter pertaining to his opinion of Jews and Judaism. A careful analysis of some of Voltaire's controversial statements in the Philosophical Dictionary, often interpreted as anti-Jewish, reveals that he appreciated the Jewish people's abilities and aspirations. His most satirical and hostile comments about the “barbarity” and relative historical insignificance of the Jews—contrary to some historians, he never said that they sought to rule the world, until some former Jews catastrophically transitioned into the infâme, the Christian Church, epitome of evil—usually involved his discussion of the mythical, biblical Jews of Old Testament stories, in whose truth he occasionally pretended to believe.

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Affordability and relationality

The reproduction and transformation of the segregated city in Windhoek

Lalli Metsola

Abstract

 Despite the professed break from apartheid, a dual logic continues to reproduce the segregated city structure in Windhoek, Namibia's capital. On the one hand, the formal regulation of access to urban land, housing, and basic services privileges property ownership and ratepaying. On the other hand, for the informal residents, access is provisional and incremental, and depends on cultivating relations with peers and authorities. However, the latter logic of access also contributes to a moral imagination that challenges entitlement based on market participation. The article argues that everyday urban governance and urban citizenship in Windhoek arise out of the coexistence, clashes, and collusions between these logics in policies and planning, the residents’ claims of entitlement, and the communication between residents and authorities. The article is based on fieldwork conducted in 2016 and 2019.

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Algorithmic Aesthetics

Bodies and Subjects in the Era of Big Data

Andrew J. Ball

Though the authors in this general issue of Screen Bodies engage with a wide array of media, they express a shared group of concerns. Namely, how recent technological advancements and the big data cultures of the Information Age are altering social norms concerning the body, the subject, and intimacy. The first two articles focus on increasingly data-oriented cultures that have given rise to aesthetics derived from quantification and mathematics. In “Qualities Over Quantities: Metric and Narrative Identities in Dataveillant Art Practice,” Amy Christmas examines the “surveillant aesthetic” present in three multimedia art projects—Hasan Elahi’s Tracking Transience (2002 to present), Jill Magid’s Composite (2005), and Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s Stranger Visions (2012–2013). Christmas argues that these artists explore new modes of subject constitution and constraint, and reveal the potential of “dataveillance” to bridge formerly disconnected processes of “quantitative (metric) and qualitative (narrative)” self-formation. Similarly taking up questions of aesthetics, the “quantified self,” and its relation to narrative, Kallie Strode examines the datafication of beauty in “Narrating (Sur)face: The Marquardt Mask and Interdisciplinary Beauty.” Strode reflects on the ethics of quantifying beauty and looks to the plastic surgery method patented by Stephen Marquardt, who has developed a model of facial beauty using the golden ratio. The Marquardt mask, she argues, exemplifies an algorithmic aesthetic that is being applied to the reformation of bodies. Along similar lines, in “Cyborgian Salariats” Stephanie Bender argues that the individual is subordinated and rationalized by modern technology. Bender examines how Sasha Stone’s photo essay “Hundred-Horsepower Office” presents an optimistic vision of a new kind of subject, the Weimar-era white-collar worker, a human-machine assemblage that combines the body and modern office technology.

Open access

Amaqaba nama Gqobhoka?

Working through Colonial Derision of Black Ontology

Siseko H. Kumalo

Abstract

Working through the two concepts of amaqaba nama gqobhoka, I outline ‘ontological derision’. I argue that ontological derision is rooted in intra-Black conflict that leads to interracial conflict, and propose ontological recognition as a resolution to the tensions that exist in the South African political landscape. To reach the postcolonial condition advanced by scholars like Mahmood Mamdani (2021), the modes of life that existed in South Africa prior to colonial imposition need to be recognised as legitimate and worthy of participation in the formation of the public sphere. I argue that recognising this ontology will inform the genuine formation of an inclusive national identity in South Africa. Such a proposal is rooted in the thinking of William Wellington Gqoba, who suggests that the more the two cultures understand each other, the less tensions will exist between them.