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Skin and Bone, Spirit and Self

Interpreting Ezekiel's Vision

Diana Lipton

Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of the dry bones contains what may well be the most powerful and memorable images of a book overflowing with powerful and memorable imagery. Readers, Jews and Christians alike, have traditionally found in this vision an extraordinary sign of hope concentrated in the idea of resurrection; even the dead can live. For me, however, it signifies something very different, though equally extraordinary: the depth of God’s desire that people should empathise with Him, and the extent of His willingness to help them reach that goal.

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Henrik Åström Elmersjö and Daniel Lindmark

History as a school subject has been a thorny issue for advocates of peace education at least since the 1880s. Efforts, including the substitution of cultural history for military history, have been made to ensure that history teaching promotes international understanding, not propagates chauvinism. The Norden Associations of Scandinavia, which were involved in textbook revision since 1919, achieved some success by altering contents, but national myths remained central to each country's historical narrative, making it difficult to give history education its desired international orientation.

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Dagmar Haase

Whereas environmental and social impacts of urban sprawl are widely discussed among scholars from both the natural and social sciences, the spatial consequences of urban decline are nearly neglected when discussing the impacts of land transition. Within the last decade, "shrinkage" and "perforation" have arisen as new terms to explain the land use development of urban regions faced with demographic change, particularly decreasing fertility, aging, and out-migration. Although shrinkage is far from being a "desired" scenario for urban policy makers, this paper argues that a perforation of the built-up structure in dense cities might bring up many positive implications.

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Introduction

Why Revisit Intimacy?

Sertaç Sehlikoglu and Aslı Zengin

Intimacy is tightly bound up with notions of privacy, sexuality, proximity and secrecy, and with dynamics of sensual and affective attachments and forms of desire. It is therefore integral to the formation of human selves and subjectivities, as well as communities, publics, collectives and socialities. The articles in this Special Section all offer an anthropological inquiry into intimacy, seeking a conceptual formulation that might capture its actual operations, the ways intimacy is done in talk and action. They thus contribute ethnographically to ongoing anthropological debates about intimacy, and explore how multiple domains and forms of intimacies are defined, shaped, constructed and transformed across different social worlds.

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'Beauty in Usuality'

Ivor Gurney and the Twistedness of Things

Hugh Underhill

For Ivor Gurney nothing came easily. ‘The price of almost anything that one desires worthily’, he wrote from France in 1917, ‘is only Pain … long ago I decided that to accomplish what I wish was worth a great deal of pain and was ready to undergo it’. ‘We Who Praise Poets’ suggests that the poet may expect no praise from his contemporaries, and his worth is only to be measured against the ‘great trees’ of past poetry, ‘the able and the mighty dead’: in effect, those dead are envisaged as pronouncing the verdict on his achievement.

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Reports

Publications

Lina Sayed, Ana Ghoreishian and Leila Mouri

Shereen El-Feki (2013), Sex and Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World (London: Chatto and Windus), 345 pp., ISBN: 24681097531, £8.99.

Afsaneh Najmabadi (2013), Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Experimental Futures) (Durham, NC: Duke University Press), 450 pp., including 22 photographs + 2 tables, ISBN: 978-0- 8223-5557-1, U.S.$27.95 (pbk).

Samira Aghacy and Evelyne Accad (2009), Masculine Identity in the Fiction of the Arab East Since 1967 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press), 232 pp., ISBN: 978-0-8156-3237-5, U.S.$34.95.

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Nose Aesthetics

Rhinoplasty and Identity in Tehran

Sara Lenehan

Tehran currently hosts one of the largest rhinoplasty markets in the world, and rhinoplasty is the most sought after cosmetic surgery in the country. This article examines whether the rhinoplasty trend reflects a shift in Iranians' attitudes towards their ethnic and cultural identity. It is argued that fashion and beauty norms in Tehran are certainly informed by globalised images, but these are mediated by Iranian moralities of prestige, image consciousness and class awareness. Thus, while many of the persons interviewed described 'Iranian noses' as aesthetically inferior to 'European noses', their statements were not necessarily coupled with a desire to negate Iranian identity.

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(Dis)Connecting Tourism and Photography

Corporeal Travel and Imaginative Travel

Jonas Larsen

Many connections between mobility and photography are traced and established in this article. It is shown that photography entered discourses of tourism before photography was even invented. Sketching and image hunting were central to pre-photographic tourists and they voiced passionate desires for a machine that could easily fix the fleeting and elusive image of the camera obscura and Claude glasses. The difficulties that Talbot experienced while drawing a foreign prospect with the camera obscura led him to invent photography, while Eastman reinvented photography after realising through his own body that holiday picturing meant 'travelling heavy'. The early history of photography is intimately linked to travel and tourism: pre-photographic tourists desired photography and it became designed with the tourist in mind and later for 'travelling light'. Lightweight and reproducible, photographs were designed for movement too. They were crucial in putting the world on display and globalising the 'tourist gaze'. At a time where travelling was associated with fatigue, hassles and risks on the one hand and visual pleasures on the other, photographs seamlessly transported distant places to the convenient and safe armchair. They allow touristic visual consumption where no actual tourism takes place.

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René Devisch

Diversely echoing Gail Weiss (1999) and Paul Stoller and Cheryll Olkes (1987), I hold that maleficent fetishes that sustain lethal sorcery shape and enact, yet pervert, their proper contours of embodied interactions and transactions. These interactions are being absorbed and consumed, if not devoured, by the sensual order of the uncanny and by forces of abjection. From my immersion in the life of the Yaka people in Kinshasa and south-west Congo, I am aiming at some endogenous understanding of how interacting bodies – or more precisely, intercorporeal awareness – can conform to (attune to) and become subordinated to (and implicated by) the frenzy of the transgressive and annihilating ‘forces’ mobilised by maleficent fetishes and lethal sorcerous violence. I contend that the mysterious field of sorcery and maleficent fetishes among the Yaka seems to foster among complicitous pairs some pre-reflective and interpersonal awareness of their body in the fold of (embracing) images, fantasies, experiential gestalts and desire of sorts. This primary entwinement of (inter)corporeal capacities, ‘forces’, cultural expectations and horizons of significance may help us to comprehend innovatively the sensual articulation of a genuine epistemology and a groping for moral economy in the very mood of transgression and perversion. This merging of desire, intercorporeality and sensing out of things paradoxically ties in with the pursuit as well as the obliteration of ethics. Such intermingling shows up in people’s manifold search to tame or, for other purposes, to stir up forms of unsettling, rupture, paradoxes, indeterminacy, categorial and ontological aporias, perversion or even destructive violence.

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Revolting Men?

Sexual Fears and Fantasies in Writings by Old Men, 1880–1910

Ann Heilmann

‘Being a man,’ Norman Mailer once wrote, ‘is the continuing battle of one ’s life … [One] can hardly ever assume [one] has become a man’. At the turn of the nineteenth century, it was the unbecoming (collapse) of (English) manhood which was foremost in the minds of many male writers. The growing sense of a masculine collective self in crisis can be placed in direct correlation with the advances of the British women’s movement and its destabilization of patriarchal hegemonies. This article examines the way in which, in their endeavour to exorcize the threat of female cultural and sociopolitical agency, anti-feminist male writers pressed New Woman fiction into service as a medium for conservative propaganda. I shall be considering two textual configurations of the turn-of-the-century masculinity complex and its articulations of dread and desire, dystopia and the male free-love plot. Sexual fantasies of women’s reconfinement within the boundaries of male desire, these texts served to defuse, depoliticize and (hetero)sexualize the political and moral/social purist agendas of feminist activists and writers by transforming the New Woman – the agent of feminist rebellion in women’s fiction – into a Sexy Angel in the House.