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From the Ottoman to the American Empire

Syrian Narratives of Global Power

Kathleen Reedy

This article examines Syrian narratives of global power, ranging from the Ottoman era to the present day. Despite the country's relatively peripheral status in international politics, the stories of its people always feature Syria as a central figure in global policy and intrigue. When viewed not merely as speculation or conspiracy theories but as a form of speech act, these narratives can be seen as having an effect on relationships between different groups of people in relation to and among Syrians. This 'identity work' allows Syrians to order their own world through discussions of global power and gives them a sense of agency. Thus, 'talking about the powerful' actually serves to empower a local, 'marginalized' population, momentarily reversing the whole concept of peripheralization.

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Airports as Urban Narratives

Toward a Cultural History of the Global Infrastructures

Nathalie Roseau

This article focuses on the process of the design of airports and how in particular the urban context has shaped their specific histories. Far from being merely pure technical or functional equipment, they have been mirrors for contemporary expectations, just as they informed the modern urban imaginary. According to this perspective, an urban history of airports can be traced from the first aerodromes dedicated to large urban publics to the development of spectacular airports driven by the massive recent routinization of air transport so intricately bound up with globalization. Based on research on specific cases of the design and building of New York and Paris airports, this article aims to resist the temptations to dehistoricize the airport topic, and to introduce a narrative mode of thinking about these specific and concrete spaces.

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Introduction

Contested Narratives of Storied Places—the Holy Lands

Jackie Feldman

The articles in this special section on pilgrimage and the Holy Lands provide a wide range of perspectives on the practice, representation, and production of sacred space as expressions of knowledge and power. The experience of space of the pilgrim and the politically committed tourist is characterized by distance, impermanence, desire, contestation, and the entwinement of the material and the spiritual. The wealth of historical Christian and Western narratives/images of the Holy Land, the short duration of pilgrimage, the encounter with otherness, the entextualization of sites, and the semiotic nature of tourism all open a gap between the perceptions of pilgrims and those of 'natives'. Although the intertwining of symbolic condensation, legitimation, and power makes these Holy Land sites extremely volatile, many pilgrimages sidestep confrontation with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as inimical to the spirit of pilgrimage. A comparative view of the practices of contemporary Holy Land pilgrims demonstrates how communitas and conflict, openness and isolation are constantly being negotiated.

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Michael Schuldiner

his trip with Sebastia Junyer to Paris in which narrative was provided. 4 However, Picasso’s most important foray into the world of the comic strip was no doubt his 1937 etching and aquatint, The Dream and Lie of Franco [ Sueño y mentira de Franco

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Christian Gudehus

This article is based on the findings of an empirical study that is being conducted in Austria, Poland, and Germany. The material consists of a total of sixty group discussions with families, people of different age groups, as well as individuals dealing professionally with history and memory, including historians, teachers, politicians, journalists, displaced persons, and Jewish communities. Even if there are differences within every country, one clearly can observe dominant country-specific ways of speaking about the past. The German discourse could be described as a meta-narrative. Germans do not speak mainly about the past itself, but rather about how it should or should not be represented. The narrations are highly skeptical and unheroic. By contrast, the Polish discourse is almost devoid of skeptical narratives. Notions such as “historical truth,” “national pride” and “national history” were dominant in the discussions. The article concludes by noting that even though the modes of narrating the past are different in Germany and Poland, its function remains untouched: the past is always a resource for the construction of coherence and meaning.

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James J. Fiumara

Nitzan Ben Shaul, Cinema of Choice: Optional Thinking and Narrative Movies

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James E. Cutting, Catalina Iricinschi, and Kaitlin L. Brunick

This article presents a new method to create maps that chart changes across a cinematic narrative. These are unlike narrative spaces previously discussed in the literature—they are abstract, holistic, dynamic representations based on objective criteria. The analysis considers three films (All About Eve, Inception, and MASH) by counting the co-occurrences of main characters within scenes, and 12 Angry Men by counting their co-occurrences within shots. The technique used combines the statistical methods of correlation, multidimensional scaling, and Procrustes analysis. It then plots the trajectories of characters across these spaces in All About Eve and Inception, regions for characters in Inception and MASH, and compares the physical arrangement of jurors with their dramatic roles in 12 Angry Men. These maps depict the changing structures in the visual narrative. Finally, through consideration of statistical learning, the article explores the plausibility that these maps mimic relations in the minds of film viewers.

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Ned Lazarus

Sami Adwan and Dan Bar-On, eds., Learning the Other’s Historical Narrative: Israelis and Palestinians, Parts One and Two (Beit Jalla: Peace Research Institute in the Middle East, 2003, 2006).

Robert I. Rotberg, ed., Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006).

Paul Scham, Walid Salem, and Benjamin Pogrund, eds., Shared Histories: A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2005).

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Isabelle Hertner and Alister Miskimmon

This article outlines how Germany has sought to project a strategic narrative of the Eurozone crisis. Germany has been placed center stage in the Eurozone crisis, and as a consequence, the German government's crisis narrative matters for the future of the common currency. We highlight how the German government has sought to narrate a story of the cause of the Eurozone crisis and present policy solutions to influence policy decisions within the EU and maintain domestic political support. This focus on the public communication of the crisis is central to understanding the development of Germany's policy as it was negotiated with EU partners, the U.S. and international financial institutions. We draw on speeches and interviews by Chancellor Angela Merkel and two of her senior cabinet ministers delivered at key moments of the Eurozone crisis between May 2010 and June 2012. The article argues that while Merkel and her governments have been able to shore up domestic support for her Eurozone policies, she has struggled to find a coherent strategic narrative that is both consistent with German domestic preferences and historical memory, and with those of other Eurozone members.

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Rescuing Early America from Nationalist Narratives

An Intra-Imperial Approach to Colonial Canada and Louisiana

Daniel H. Usner

The effort to compare and connect different French colonies in North America encounters some treacherous roadblocks, including the powerful impact of Canadian and United States nation building on the treatment of French colonial regions and the widely divergent approaches taken by scholars of New France and French Louisiana. This essay attempts to explain why these obstacles appeared in the first place and to suggest how they might be overcome in the future. At a time when historians of early America are vigorously seeking new analytical frameworks and meaningful historical narratives, intraimperial research on complex relationships and comparative issues in French North America constitutes an essential area of study. Whether examining the role of Canadian families in the founding of Louisiana, the influence of Acadian settlers on south Louisiana culture, or the character of Indian relations in French colonies—among other issues—a shared history of early Canada and Louisiana will significantly improve our understanding of North American peoples and places.