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Introduction

A White Republic? Whites and Whiteness in France

Mathilde Cohen and Sarah Mazouz

France is an overwhelmingly majority-White nation. Yet the French majority is reluctant to identify as White, and French social science has tended to eschew Whiteness as an object of inquiry. Inspired by critical race theory and critical Whiteness studies, this interdisciplinary special issue offers a new look at White identities in France. It does so not to recenter Whiteness by giving it prominence, but to expose and critique White dominance. This introduction examines the global and local dimensions of Whiteness, before identifying three salient dimensions of its French version: the ideology of the race-blind universalist republic; the past and present practice of French colonialism, slavery, and rule across overseas territories; and the racialization of people of Muslim or North African backgrounds as non-White.

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Introduction

Dickens and Sex

Holly Furneaux and Anne Schwan

This collection explores the still underrepresented topics of sex, erotics and desire in the work of Charles Dickens. Contributors draw upon and suggest new points of convergence between a wide range of theoretical perspectives including cultural phenomenology, materialism, new historicism, critical race studies, feminist and queer theory. Analysis of a broad range of Dickens’s fiction, journalism and correspondence demonstrates Dickens’s sustained commitment to exploring a diverse range of sexual matters throughout his career.

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Carol Banks

Whereas questions of race, class and gender may be uppermost in the minds of many late twentieth-century scholars and critics, in the early modern period tradition and belief were the predominant preoccupations, in practical terms, custom and Christianity were inextricably intertwined within the changing culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. An awareness of these past concerns motivates each of the seven articles in this issue, articles which re-examine literary and historical texts, not as past mirrors in which we might speculate upon our own particular preoccupations, but as sources of a more anthropological and spiritual history.

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Editorial

Representations of Dystopia in Literature and Film

Pat Wheeler

In this issue of Critical Survey scholars from both Britain and North America analyse representations of dystopia in literature and film. In the keynote article, Patrick Parrinder offers an examination of Samuel Butler's Erewhon, contexualising it within the tradition of dystopian romance – which, he argues, saw a last flowering in the late nineteenth century. In a thought-provoking discussion Parrinder covers a range of utopian/dystopian narrative strategies and a selection of novels including The Time Machine, The coming Race and A Crystal Age.

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Sharon Monteith

This year American scholar Patricia J. Williams was invited to Britain to speak as Reith Lecturer, only the fourth woman and the third black speaker to contribute to the prestigious series of lectures which has a 49-year history. Her chosen subject was as topical as it proved controversial. Professor Williams’s subtle and measured discussion of the persistence of racism in daily life – and in even the most liberal of consciousnesses – struck a chord in British society. The furore that broke in the press was based as much in a certain ‘British’ intransigent refusal to allow that the persistence of prejudice could possibly be as ‘bad’ here as across the Atlantic as it was in a basic reluctance to address distinctive realities in contemporary society. Richard H. King and I interviewed Williams immediately following the transmission of the lecture series on Radio 4 and the transcripts, published by Virago as Seeing a Colour-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race, are reviewed in this issue by Larry Brown. Brown places Williams alongside fellow African-American scholar bell hooks in order to assess the different perspectives they take on issues of race and the politics of identity, and in order to decide on nature of the often very different roles of contemporary black intellectuals.

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French Color Blindness in Perspective

The Controversy over "Statistiques Ethniques"

Daniel Sabbagh and Shanny Peer

In the United States, while some race-based policies such as affirmative action have faced often successful political and legal challenges over the last quartercentury, historically, the very principle of official racial classification has met with much less resistance. The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, according to which “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” was not originally intended to incorporate a general rule of “color blindness.” And when in California, in 2003, the “Racial Privacy Initiative” led to a referendum on a measure—Proposition 54—demanding that “the state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin,” this restriction was meant to apply exclusively to the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment, that is, the three sites where affirmative action was once in effect and might be reinstated at some point, or so the proponents of that initiative feared. In any case, that measure was roundly defeated at the polls.

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Renata Lizzi

Expo 2015 represented a major challenge for Milan and Italy. Built around the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” it combined local and global traditions, innovation, and technology, while establishing diplomatic and trade relations with many countries from around the world. The conclusion of a long process that had lasted about nine years, Expo 2015 was marked by difficulties in its governance and by delays in the implementation of its projects and works. After a brief review of this process, the chapter focuses on the events of 2015, the final race for the completion of works, and the event itself. It then discusses the theme that was chosen, including its representation by the various pavilions set up by the 158 participating countries. The final section discusses the outcome of Expo 2015 in terms of its legacy—the Milan Charter—and the economic opportunity for future development that the site presents.

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Guido Legnante

In 2004, for the third successive year, the center-left opposition achieved

political success in the local elections, while the center-right government

suffered a clear defeat. The headlines of the main daily papers

were unequivocal: “Cities and Provinces, the Victory of the Center-

Left” (Corriere della Sera, 15 June); “Olive-Tree Coalition Victorious in

the Cities” (la Repubblica, 15 June); “The Center-Left Wins the Race in

Milan” (Corriere della Sera, 28 June); “The Polo Loses Even in Milan”

(la Repubblica, 28 June); “The Center-Right Hands Milan over to the

DS” (Il Giornale, 28 June). The 2002 and 2003 elections had already

registered clear victories for the center-left, not least because of the

symbolic importance of the successes of Riccardo Illy in Friuli-Venezia

Giulia and Enrico Gasbarra in the Rome provincial elections.

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Danai S. Mupotsa and Elina Oinas

In this themed issue we explore images that unsettle, disrupt, disqualify, and transgress the visual and affective expectations visited upon contemporary girls. The articles here suggest new ways of seeing, visualizing, and representing the girl, and of feeling and thinking about her. We begin from the recognition that girls are seduced into qualifying and passing in normative, intersecting ways that work along the various axes of sex, gender, age, corporeality, class, and race, and that we need to attend to possible disruptions of this logic. How do girls both entertain and interrupt the presumably obligatory wish to qualify? We attempt to answer this by looking at the intimate and embodied aspects of being a girl, and at the processes of estheticizing, and fetishizing the girly. We ask how the girl as subject-in-process establishes and challenges the notions of failing and passing.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to Volume 4 of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. LATISS has been gradually widening its focus from its point of origin in the U.K. and this issue is truly international with material from Latin America, U.S.A, Sweden and England. LATISS’s approach – to study and reflect on the detail of teaching and learning practices in contexts of institutional change and national and international policies – is also well exemplified by the articles in this issue. For example, three of the articles explore issues of ‘race’ and ethnicity in connection with programme design, institutional politics and classroom relations respectively and in very different historical and policy contexts. Two articles also connect to topics on which LATISS has recently published special issues: on gender in higher education and on using the university as a site to critically explore the meaning and operation of neoliberalism.