and subvert his narrative of steady democratisation. Habermas and Realism The contours of political realism today are contested, and in certain respects indeterminate. Some common features nonetheless can be identified and be seen to overlap with
Habermas and Contemporary Realist Thought
Leslie Paul Thiele and Marshall Young
mature individual, mythology and fairy tales are supposed to give way to rational analysis. Within academia this evaluation is common. Natural and social scientists typically disparage ‘anecdotal evidence’. Narratives are seen as optional supplements at
Narrative space is a rudimental literary theory into which critics delve when dealing with the interpretation of literary texts. It is through narrative that humans start telling their stories, feelings, thoughts, memories and consciousnesses
Pilgrimage Patterns and Authorial Self-Presentation in Three Pilgrimage Texts
This paper explores a theme important in pilgrimage narratives from a variety of cultures: the expression of the author/pilgrim’s developing understanding of the meaning and significance of his or her pilgrimage. It does so through three case studies: readings of three first-person narratives from widely differing chronological, cultural and religious milieux. The first narrative is Aelius Aristides’ The Sacred Tales, an ancient Greek text written AD c. 170, which evokes the culture of Graeco- Roman healing pilgrimage; the second is Friar Felix Fabri’s Evagatorium in Terrae Sanctae (‘Wanderings in the Holy Land’), a Latin narrative of Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land written c.1484–8; and the third is Pierre Loti’s Un pèlerin d’Angkor (‘An Angkor Pilgrim’), a French text relating a personal (and initially nonreligious) pilgrimage to the temples of Angkor in what was then French Indo-China, published in 1912. These three narratives were produced in cultures with profoundly different traditions of pilgrimage, including its practice, its cultural meanings and the modes of its description. These significant differences immediately raise the question of the meaning and usefulness of attaching the label ‘pilgrimage narratives’ to all three texts, and invite a reasoning for the exercise of comparison across cultures and across time.
This article explores one of Jane Austen's narrative techniques, focusing on her characters' telling of and writing on their past. To incorporate events that characters experienced at different times or locations, she uses life stories constructed by an individual told in the first person. She relies on the characters' subjective telling of their own life stories at crucial points in the plot, rather than leaving the description to the omniscient narrator. In so doing, she provides fresh ways of reading; she enables the reader to get involved in the narrative by sharing an individual's life story and at the same time she ensures that the reader places the character's narrative at some distance. Her use of this method of stories allows her to follow and develop literary tradition. Inheriting the tradition of the letter-writing generations, she provides a new use of life-story telling and a new way of reading them.
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.
Genre Imperatives, Gender Consciousness and Status Questioning
In the two and a half centuries of Tokugawa rule (1600–1868) Japan underwent profound transformations of an economic, social, political and cultural nature. What began as an era of warrior rule, of apparently strict application of the law and of theoretically impenetrable social compartments evolved at a fast pace into a time when popular culture attained unprecedented brilliance, the samurai’s identity as fighters was virtually nullified and money often supplanted rank in mediating access to services. In this environment, travel and travel narratives came to play a significant role in the commoners’ gradual assertion of their own personas. Through a confrontation with otherness mediated by cultural precedent and implemented by detachment from the ordinary, the space of travel allowed for alternative creations of the self and re-definitions of the individual in society. Travel, to a great many people of all social standings, offered both a chance for recreation (in the leisure-related connotation of the term) and for re-creation (that is, re-generation, or creation of a new persona). Detachment from one’s pre-assigned social niche offered the possibility to challenge, however momentarily, one’s roles and identity by subtly questioning the parameters of gender and status that defined the individual in the space of the ordinary.
Breea C. Willingham
The purpose of this article is to describe the meaning of incarceration for African American women as depicted in the narratives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated African American women. This article uses black feminist thought as the primary theoretical framework to provide the relevant context for understanding the race, sexual, and gender oppressions that contribute to African American women's experiences with imprisonment. I argue that black women's prison narratives offer a unique insight into interlocking patterns of oppression that contribute to their incarceration, and how discrimination based on race, gender, and sexuality extends into prison.
Globalisation and Literary Studies
One of post-colonialism’s enduring projects has been the attempt to describe or understand the discursive component of Empire. Founding texts such as Edward Said’s Orientalism, argued that a complementary and necessary culture of imperialism existed alongside the economic and political structures of colonisation. The claim of such work was that this culture discursively produced ideas about difference that justified the European subjugation of other races and made possible the political expansion of the European states. The attempts to extend this analysis to describe a current culture of globalisation have been limited and in some ways unsuccessful. Without repudiating the methods of post-colonialism, it is necessary to recognise that changes to the structures of international relations have seen an attendant shift in the accompanying patterns of discourse. While, undoubtedly, many of the discourses that animated colonisation remain in place, the disavowal of a continuity between globalisation and earlier imperialist or colonising phases of modernity is one of globalisation’s characteristic movements. It is, therefore, insufficient to simply identify the persistence of imperialist discourses, ‘without significant challenge’, in ways that are insensitive to new cultural formulations brought about by structural changes in international relations.
Talking to Patricia J. Williams Following the Reith Lectures.
Richard H. King, Sharon Monteith, and Patricia J. Williams
This year’s Reith Lecturer was Patricia J. Williams, a lawyer and Professor of Law at Columbia and author of the award-winning The Alchemy of Race and Rights (1993) and The Rooster’s Egg: The Persistence of Prejudice (1995) as well as numerous essays and articles in law journals and in The Village Voice, The Nation and Ms. Magazine. Professor Williams was invited to speak in this the European Year Against Racism but she found herself and the topic of her lectures the subject of heated media debate in Britain. Tabloids and broadsheets alike reviled her as ‘a militant black feminist who thinks all whites are racist and the family is wrong’ (Daily Mail) and her lectures were even described as ‘mumbo-jumbo’ in the Daily Telegraph. Britain’s newspapers and Melvyn Bragg on Radio 4’s ‘Start the Week’ combined to demonise the first black woman speaker in the 49-year history of the Reith Lectures.