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God and His Doubles

Kipling and Conrad's 'The Man who would be King'

Kaori Nagai

When James Brooke (1803–68), a former soldier of the East Indian Company, sailed for Borneo in 1838 as an adventurer and merchant, he was inspired by contemporary works of ethnology and geography, especially Thomas Stamford Raffles’s History of Java. Upon his arrival, he eagerly inquired after the languages and customs of native inhabitants. His interviews often took the form of inquiries into their religious beliefs, especially as to whether they had a concept of a supreme God, and if so, by which name he was known. Brooke religiously recorded in his journals the details of such interviews, and even the unease of his native informants, who occasionally had difficulty understanding what Brooke wanted when he insistently asked who and what their god was. Brooke’s inquiry was along the lines of comparative philology, which was at that time regarded as a vital methodology for the new human sciences.

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Shakespeare and Catholicism

The Jesuits as Cultural Mediators in Early Modern Europe

Sonja Fielitz

Though religious matters have long been part of Shakespeare criticism, they have not been the most popular ones on this agenda for a long time. In the last two decades, however, the question of Shakespeare’s personal religious belief has been re-introduced to the scene of early modern studies and vividly discussed by Shakespeare scholars all over the world. The topic has thus proved to be much more than a wave of fashion in Shakespeare studies and certainly deserves further critical investigation. For matters of space this essay must be restricted to one of the numerous questions that concern the field, i.e., the cultural and political impact which the early Jesuit mission, and here the Provincia Germaniae Superioris, had on William Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and the theatre of his time.

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Rereading Marge Piercy and Margaret Atwood

Eco-feminist Perspectives on Nature and Technology

Soraya Copley

This article rereads early dystopian eco-narratives and explores the ways in which Margaret Atwood and Marge Piercy manipulate established generic conventions to make correlations between their fiction and the 'real' world. It explores the avenues of hope which both authors find necessary for the future by close textual analysis of the three novels under discussion. The article is significantly informed by eco-feminist theories, which centre on a basic belief that ecological crisis is the inevitable effect of a Eurocentric capitalist patriarchal culture. It explores the ways in which the symbolic equation of woman with nature is implemented by characters in the novels, and the consequences this has for other characters. The article explores the engagement of both authors with the eco-feminist idea of women's unique agency in an era of ecological crisis.

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The Nature of Gender

Are Juliet, Desdemona and Cordelia to their Fathers as Nature is to Culture?

Gordana Galić Kakkonen and Ana Penjak

This article brings ecofeminist critical thinking to William Shakespeare's female characters: Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Desdemona in Othello, and Cordelia in King Lear. Beginning with the principal that women and nature are similar in many ways (reproductive function, discrimination, subordination, possession, violence), ecofeminism focuses on the interaction between the two. Ecofeminism grounds its beliefs in the fact that patriarchal domination gets imposed through different binary oppositions including man-woman and culture-nature categories. By applying ecofeminism's positions, the authors will provide a critical thinking of the production of socially imposed inequalities seen through Juliet, Desdemona, and Cordelia. Since out of many different publications on the topic of ecofeminism none has provided such an approach, the authors believe that the article presents an important addition to the literature on both Shakespeare and ecofeminism.

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The Shades of a Shadow

Crime as the Dark Projection of Authority in Early Modern England

Maurizio Ascari

This article focuses on early modern England to explore the relation between the definition and prosecution of crime through lawmaking and law enforcement on the one hand, and the cultural representation of crime and surveillance on the other. While at the time the control of crime was extremely faulty, culture was part of the apparatus of psychopolicing that was implemented to prevent and contain transgression. Two main areas of crime will be discussed. The first embraces witchcraft, Catholicism, and atheism. Controlling beliefs was a major concern in early modern England since religious divisions eroded the monological discourse of the divine on which mundane authority also rested. The second area includes high treason, petty treason, and vagrancy. All these notions of crime were functional to the preservation of the social order, reflecting the self-validating strategy of sovereign power, which presented its relation with society as mirroring that between God and creation.

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Laurence Piper

On the mainstream liberal view it is both possible and desirable to separate out political and economic power from prescriptive normative views of how life ought to be led—at least beyond a relatively restricted ‘overlapping consensus’ about what constitutes the right process for resolving disputes about political leadership, justice and the economy. This is said to establish a public realm where claims to resources and recognition are framed in universal terms, and a private realm where particular beliefs about God, family and culture reside. Only by compromising views of politics justified by particular visions of the good life can we who value freedom and equality co-exist peacefully and prosperously, especially in an increasingly multi-cultural and socio-economically diverse world. In various ways the articles in this edition challenge this view, and offer more complex portrayals of the theoretical and empirical relationships between democracy, morality and discipline.

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Polycarp Ikuenobe

This article examines Nnamdi Azikiwe’s idea of mental emancipation as the intellectual foundation for his political philosophy. Mental emancipation involves re-educating Africans to adopt scientific, critical, analytic, and logical modes of thinking. Azikiwe argues that development must involve changing Africans’ intellectual attitudes and educational system. He argues that Western education, through perpetuating negative stereotypes and engendering ‘colonial mentality’, has neither fostered critical and scientific thinking, nor enabled Africans to apply their knowledge for development. Mental emancipation would enable Africans to develop self-confidence, and the critical examination of superstitious beliefs that have hindered Africa’s development. I show that Azikiwe’s ideas have been recaptured by African philosophers like Bodunrin and Wiredu, regarding their critique of aspects of African tradition and prescription for how African philosophy can contribute to development.

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Tony Fisher

The article develops Sartre's remarks on the paradox of the actor in two ways. Firstly, it derives from them an 'existential ontology' of mimetic performance - an 'onto-mimetology'. Secondly, it uses this reconstruction in order to put pressure on Sartre's analogy of the actor with bad faith. In grasping the problem of acting from a Sartrean perspective, I show that this analogy is not as clear cut as he assumes and that a crucial difference exists between the situation of the theatre and that of bad faith. To master the paradox of his own being I argue the actor's technique indeed utilizes the same 'non-persuasiveness-of-belief ' thesis identified by Sartre as the condition of possibility for bad faith, yet in the actor's case it need not necessitate the condition of bad faith. In conclusion, I propose that through the notion of play, the actor sheds intriguing light on Sartre's notion of freedom.

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John H. Gillespie

This two-part article examines whether Sartre's final interviews, recorded in L'Espoir maintenant [Hope Now], indicate a final turn to belief through an overview of his engagement with the idea of God throughout his career. In Part 1 we examine Sartre's early atheism, but note the pervasive nature of secularised Christian metaphors and concepts in his religion of letters and the centrality of man's desire to be God in Being and Nothingness. His theoretical writings seek to refute the idea of God, but in doing so God is paradoxically both absent and present. In Part 2 we assess his anti-theism and consider his final encounter with theism in L'Espoir maintenant, arguing that it is part of Sartre's long-term engagement with the idea of God.

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Danielle M. LaSusa

This article explores the Sartrean concept of the spirit of seriousness so as to better understand contemporary sightseeing tourism. Sartre's spirit of seriousness involves two central characteristics: the first understands values as transcendent, fixed objects, and the second—less acknowledged—understands material, physical objects as instantiating these transcendent values. I interpret the behavior of at least some contemporary tourists who travel to “mustsee” destinations as a subscription to both aspects of the spirit of seriousness and to a belief that the objects and destinations of tourist sites contain these transcendent, immutable values, such as “Art,” “Culture,” “Liberty,” etc. These “must-see” objects and destinations can thereby be understood to make “obligatory demands” of tourists, compelling them to visit. I argue that this serious mode of traveling to “must-see” sites is a form of Sartrean bad faith, as well as an evasion of the potential existential anguish that travel can evoke.