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Alienating Hamlet

Precarious Work in Jenny Andreasson's Teatern

Per Sivefors


The protagonist of Jenny Andreasson's autobiographical novel Teatern (2022) is a young female director whose feminist production of Hamlet at the Swedish national stage fails to have its planned premiere. While the novel makes a point of describing the misogynist structures behind this failure, the present article suggests that class structures and precarity are the main reasons behind it. The financial difficulties of the theatre generate a clear discrepancy between cultural capital – embodied by Shakespeare's canonical play – and economic. The resulting precarious work situation is reflected in the protagonist's yearning for stability, in her recurring assertions of class privileges vis-à-vis her co-workers and in her increasing sense of alienation from both them and her own work. While not strictly paraphrasing Shakespeare's play, the protagonist invokes parallels to both Hamlet and Ophelia, and Teatern, instead of locating these parallels in an ‘existential’ reading of Shakespeare's play, anchors the theme of alienation in the economic and social strictures of the theatre institution.

Open access

Becoming Through Detachment

Displacement, Unframing, and Disidentification in the Brazilian June Journeys

Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça and Ângela Cristina Salgueiro Marques


This article contributes to the growing literature around the idea of a politics of becoming by emphasizing its deconstructive dimension. It advances the notion of “detachment,” which articulates different angles of such deconstructive dimension. Detachment can draw from three different concepts: displacement (Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe), unframing (Judith Butler), and disidentification (Jacques Rancière). After highlighting the key points of each of these concepts and the way they contribute to an encompassing notion of detachment, the article moves to a brief illustration of how these concepts are relevant to make sense of contemporary protests, focusing specifically on the Brazilian June Journeys of 2013.

Open access

Becoming Visible

Corporeal Politics, Spaces of Appearance, and the Miss America Protest

Moya Lloyd


Jacques Rancière's discussion of disidentification provides an important account of how existing inegalitarian structures and hierarchically ordered identities may be challenged. However, Rancière treats disidentification as a discursive phenomenon, centered on naming. As an explanation of how the invisible might become visible, it is problematic to overlook the body, since appearance requires our bodies to be seen, to become visible. Drawing on discussions of the subject-in-process and the idea of identity as both enfleshed and performatively constituted, this article seeks to enrich Rancière's discussion of disidentification by focusing attention on its embodied dimensions. It does so by exploring, through an analysis of the Miss America protest of 1968, the role of corporeality both in constituting spaces of appearance and in articulating democratic demands for visibility.

Open access

Book Symposium

The Politics of Becoming: Anonymity and Democracy in the Digital Age

Taina Meriluoto, Anastasia Kavada, Andrea Cornwall, Oliver Escobar, and Hans Asenbaum

Hans Asenbaum's open-access book The Politics of Becoming: Anonymity and Democracy in the Digital Age takes on some of the biggest questions in feminist and radical democratic theory. It asks, how we should understand who we are, and what implications our answer to that question has for democracy.

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A Checkerboard of Ethnoracial Violence

Loïc Wacquant


Ethnoracial violence is a dynamic and multilayered phenomenon whose definition is at stake not only in academe but also in reality itself. It comes in two varieties, expressive and instrumental, when it serves to buttress the other four elementary forms of racial domination, namely, categorization, discrimination, segregation, and seclusion. I point out that the phenomenon is relatively rare and burdened with heavy moral baggage. I introduce distinctions based on directionality (vertical, horizontal), scale of the actors involved (individual, group, or state), degree of spectacularization, and type of ethnic classification system (categorical, gradational). The imperial domain offers an especially fruitful terrain for the comparative investigation and theoretical elaboration of the dynamics of racialization, violence, and the state. Students of human brutality in history should join hands with comparative scholars of race to throw new light on their explosive intersection.

Open access

Christopher Krupa: A feast of flowers review essays

Gavin Smith, Steve Striffler, Paul Eiss, Victor Bretón Solo de Zaldívar, and Christopher Krupa

A feast of flowers is simultaneously grounded in the reality of place and the practice of face-to-face social relations while at the same time being thoroughly shaped by detailed attention to actual global geopolitical economy—not just vague references to globalization, but a thorough engagement with, in this case, finance capital and the way debt has driven Northern ambitions and generated a specific kind of social world in the Ecuador of the Global South.

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A Danish Fool at Elsinore?

Some Thoughts on Hamlet's Lost Clown

Peter K. Andersson


This article discusses the clowning element of a German version of Hamlet believed to date back to the time of Shakespeare. Der bestrafte Brudermord is noted as an adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy which incorporates a lot more low comedy than any extant version of Hamlet and provides opportunity for contemplating the reason why Hamlet has no explicit clown character. The article focuses especially on a character appearing very briefly in the German play, a rustic buffoon called Jens, and his affinity with the rustics and comic servants of other Shakespeare plays and other Elizabethan plays. It is particularly asserted that this role shows signs of the involvement of the clown Will Kemp at some stage of the writing of Hamlet, or of touring continental Europe with an adaptation of it that puts the clowning element at the forefront.

Free access

Democratic Self-transformations

Identity, Performance, and the Politics of Becoming

Hans Asenbaum and Taina Meriluoto

Our selves are characterized by inner multiplicity (Elster 1986). Our raced, classed, gendered, and sexed identities are intersectional (Crenshaw 1991; Wojciechowska 2019). Depending on the context and our state of mind, we are parents, employees, dancers, slackers, victims, perpetrators, players, hosts, explorers, altruists, or egoists. We are all these things at once and consecutively. We change and grow. Our identities are never permanent but always in motion, being transformed through our performative engagements (Lloyd 2005). We are constantly becoming.

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Desencanto in the Spanish Transition (1977–1982)

A Case for Bringing Together the History of Concepts and the History of Emotions

David Beorlegui Zarranz


This article analyzes how the concept of desencanto (disenchantment) was framed within the political discourse of the Spanish democratic transition as a way of delegitimizing radical political actors and normalizing the realpolitik of elite consensus. Through an analysis of the ubiquitous mainstream press usage of the term between 1977 and 1982, I argue that the combination of emotional and temporal meanings assigned to the concept worked to reinforce the moderation exhibited by government positions. Desencanto represented the disappointment or sadness felt by those hoping for a revolutionary rupture with Franco's dictatorship, which was associated to nostalgia or pathological relationships of the past. With the “revolution,” or “utopia” of the past, critics made clear that the radical Left was nostalgic or unrealistic for political projects that did not belong in a modern democracy, exclusively understood from the single and present-oriented politics of moderation and the possible.

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Digital Humanities—Ways Forward; Future Challenges

Honoring David Kammerling Smith and the Digital Public Sphere; Acceleration?; Digital Humanities for the People(?); Infrastructure as Privilege; Computation, Cultures, and Communities; Digital Humanities and Generational Shift

Sally Debra Charnow, Jeff Horn, Jeffrey S. Ravel, Cindy Ermus, David Joseph Wrisley, Christy Pichichero, and David Kammerling Smith


Have digital tools and methods accelerated the rate of scholarly production over the last 20 years? If so, has this acceleration been beneficial for scholarship? This article considers examples of accelerated historical scholarship as well as calls for a “slow history.” Through an analysis of the author's own experiences with the digital humanities, it examines the advantages and disadvantages of digital technologies in the field of history. It concludes that online resources and digital technologies have expanded the archive for the historian and created new ways to reach other specialists and the general public. Nevertheless, historical scholarship must still rely on carefully crafted, well-argued prose whose production cannot be accelerated by new digital technologies, although recent developments in the field of artificial intelligence may ultimately challenge this situation.

In recent decades, the field (or, at times, discipline) of digital humanities (DH) has revolutionized the scholarly profession and beyond—and with good reason. Seen at times as a democratizing force, DH has led to the creation of an increasing number of open- access databases and scholarly publications, the launching of massive archival digitization initiatives, and the development of numerous digital tools that help streamline the work of the academic researcher, student, and educator. In many ways, then, its benefits are manifest. Yet, recent years have also begun to reveal numerous problems that could influence various aspects of our trade as well as what—and how—information will be available in the future. This article discusses some of the advantages and disadvantages of DH and invites the reader to reflect on what we can do to help mitigate these problems.

Exciting new modes of digital scholarship have emerged in recent years, providing us with expanded windows onto the past. This process has been accelerated by somewhat democratized ways of digitizing and analyzing source material. A main issue of contemporary knowledge production using digitized sources is how power can so easily be reinscribed into access to archives. The choice to digitize collections, even the existence of collections themselves, creates a great opportunity for research but also runs the risk of reinforcing the privilege and worldviews that have shaped and continue to shape the very processes of digitization and digitalization. Drawing on examples of Western and non-Western digital scholarship, this article argues that, although the digital facilitates greater public knowledge of collections, when it comes to decolonizing our research subjects, it also introduces significant layers of complexity.

This article advances an analysis of the development and state of critical digital humanities. It posits two modalities for this approach to digital humanities (DH). The first is a modality of inward-looking, functional self-critique that comprises a rethinking of computational genesis stories, logics and methods, institutions and infrastructures, and digital capitalism, and the second is an outward-looking critique best understood as a form of situated sociopolitical engagement that embraces epistemic and social justice projects that are decolonial, anti-racist, inclusive, collaborative, and multilingual. Through these analyses, the article offers a vision of critical digital humanities in its mission to critique the ideologies, social inequities, and epistemological hierarchies that are built into technological products and computational logics and that are concomitantly fostered by knowledge- creation industries of universities, corporations, governments, and the GLAM[R] sector. In this way, the article shows how critical digital humanities helps us to envision the role that DH can play in processes of recovery, reparations, emancipation, and community-building.

Drawing upon over 20 years as Editor-in-Chief of H-France, I argue that the scholarly profession, established in Cold War era, pre-digital institutions, has only begun to adapt to the transformations introduced by the global digital humanities. A generational shift is currently underway as younger scholars more natively adept with digital technologies use their skills and forms of new media to press for changes in hiring and tenure practices, to demand greater progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues, and to insist that the academy confront the collapse of academic positions in the humanities and provide training for and recognition of alternative career paths. I call upon professional organizations to undertake difficult conversations and take leadership in reshaping professional organizations for a post–Cold War, digital age, especially in terms of funding priorities. Scholarly organizations will best gain influence through collaboration.