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Transitions Within Queer North African Cinema

Nouri Bouzid, Abdellah Taïa, and the Transnational Tourist

Walter S. Temple

In recent years, North African queer cinema has become increasingly visible both within and beyond Arabo-Orientale spaces. A number of critical factors have contributed to a global awareness of queer identities in contemporary Maghrebi cinema, including the dissemination of films through social media outlets and during international film festivals. Such tout contemporain representations of queer sexuality characterize a robust wave of films in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, inciting a new discourse on the condition of the marginalized traveler struggling to locate new forms of self and being—both at home and abroad.

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David A. B. Murray

In this paper I want to trace how and why The Invention of Culture (IOC) has resonated strongly throughout my encounters with anthropological theory and fieldsite experiences in the Caribbean. I briefly outline how some of its key analytical arguments about the meanings and applications of the ‘culture’ concept can be productively compared and applied to what at first glance might appear to be quite unrelated ‘new’ theoretical models about gender and sexuality, particularly Judith Butler’s ‘performative’ approach, more than twenty-five years after its initial publication.

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Thomas K. Hubbard

Adolescent sexuality has been at the forefront of the recent “Culture Wars,” as is clear from the many news stories and political battles over issues such as sex education, teen pregnancy and STDs, Child Sexual Abuse, enhanced legal regulation of sex offenders, pedophiles on the internet, “sexting” and child pornography. On the one hand adolescents today are more sexually mature than at most historical periods: physical puberty occurs ever earlier (Moller, 1987), while children’s capacity to access the same media as adults grows ever more sophisticated. Already in 1982, Neil Postman presciently observed that electronic media had obliterated the historical technological superiority of literate adults relative to not‐yet‐fully-literate children (Postman, 1982). At that point, he was thinking mainly of television, but his observation has become even more true in the digital age, when adolescents are often the ones teaching their parents and grandparents. 1982 had not yet grasped what would be the ubiquity of MTV or cheap, highly graphic visual pornography in many parents’ closets, or if not there, on their kids’ computer screens. Children have become the most clever at accessing media at precisely the time when popular media culture is more saturated with verbal, musical, and visual images of sexuality than ever before.

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(Not) Dying of Shame

Female Sexual Submission in 1890s' Erotica

Chris White

Presented here is part of an on-going project concerned with nineteenth- century representations of sexuality that play with or deploy power hierarchies for erotic purposes. While there is a growing body of work documenting the ethics, practice, and pleasures of BDSM (a portmanteau acronym meaning Bondage and Domination, Domination and Submission, Sadism and Masochism),2 one cannot of course assume that the ends of the nineteenth century and twentieth century share an understanding of sexual activity where representations of power construct the relationships and acts in a (semi)playful scenario. However, for some BDSM participants the notion of ‘play’ is anathema since they regard BDSM as a lifestyle choice that defines their entire existence.3 Much of the nineteenth-century critical apparatus exercised upon representations of sexual power-play derive from a pathology of desire, the perversion of normative ‘healthy’ sexuality. Terminology is the first difficulty and its problems describe the nature of the theoretical difficulties in engaging with this material. In relation to the kind of material I will be discussing here, the terms most often invoked to define the sexual activity are masochism and sadism, neither of which has a particularly flattering lilt to it, since the words, as commonly defined, describe a self-destructive or destructive violence exercised through sex.

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Queering masculinity

Re-Theorising Contemporary Tomboyism in the Schizoid Space of Innocent/Heterosexualized Young Femininities

Emma Renold

This article critically explores the seduction of contemporary tomboyism for young tweenage girls within neo-liberal postfeminist times and an increasingly commodified (hetero)sexualised girlhood culture. A central aim of the article is to contextualize the persistence of the tomboy discourse and girls' appropriation of tomboyism within competing schizoid discourses of presumed innocence and compulsory normative (hetero)sexuality. Drawing on past and current predominantly UK based ethnographic research mapping girls' relationship to tomboyism, the first half of the article considers how to theorise girls' fluid appropriation of 'being a bit tomboy' within a discursive terrain of multiple femininities and fashion feminism. The second half of the article revisits a case study of one eleven-year-old self-identified tomboy, Eric/a, to re-think conceptualisations of girls' sustained appropriation of 'tomboy' as more than some licensed mimicry of masculinity when it is taken-up as a performative politics of subverting emphasized (hetero)sexualized femininities. The article concludes with a call for future theorizations of girlhood (for example, tomboyism) that foreground the intersection of gender, sex, sexuality, age and time and their socio-cultural and contextual contingency.

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“Undoing” Gender

Nexus of Complicity and Acts of Subversion in The Piano Teacher and Black Swan

Neha Arora and Stephan Resch

Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (2001) and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) are films about women directed by men. Both films unorthodoxly chart women artists’ struggle with the discipline imposed on them by the arts and by their live-in mothers. By portraying mothers as their daughters’ oppressors, both films disturb the naïve “women = victims and men = perpetrators” binary. Simultaneously, they deploy audiovisual violence to exhibit the violence of society’s gender and sexuality policy norms and use gender-coded romance narratives to subvert the same gender codes from within this gender discourse. Using Judith Butler’s and Michael Foucault’s theories, we argue that Haneke and Aronofsky “do” feminism unconventionally by exposing the nexus of women’s complicity with omnipresent societal power structures that safeguard gender norms. These films showcase women concurrently as victim-products and complicit partisans of socially constructed gender ideology to emphasize that this ideology can be destabilized only when women “do” their gender and sexuality differently through acts of subversion.

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M.I.A. in the Global Youthscape

Rethinking Girls' Resistance and Agency in Postcolonial Contexts

Lisa Weems

In this article I explore the performance art of international hip-hop artist M.I.A. to interrogate the problematic of girls' resistance and agency within a global youthscape. Using a feminist transnational framework, I analyze how her music and celebrity persona may be considered gendered post-colonial cultural productions that highlight issues of inequality, violence and domination. I argue that M.I.A.'s cultural productions serve as pedagogical symbolic resources for theorizing girlhood in post-colonial contexts specifically around issues of sexuality. As a symbolic resource, M.I.A.'s work is pedagogical in the larger global youthscape as well as in scholarship on girls in post-colonial contexts. Specifically, M.I.A. (in her music and interviews) openly wrestles with the embodied tensions between complicity and possibility in post-colonial girlhood. Consistent with a feminist transnational framework, I argue that the identities of “Third World” girls are discursively produced as innocent yet hypersexualized exotic Others in the service and/or mercy of “First World” colonial men and women. However, M.I.A. makes explicit that within the context of globalization, the cultural politics of gender and sexuality take place on/through/with brown female bodies—whether it is in the battlefield, the street or in the bedroom. A close analysis M.I.A.'s song 10 Dollar illustrates how Third World girls exercise resistance and agency in negotiating imperialist and nationalist heteropatriarchy.

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What Am I Still Doing Here?

Travel, Travel Writing, and Old Age

Robin Jarvis

This article offers preliminary thoughts on travel writing from a gerontological perspective. Gender, race, and sexuality have provided important analytical frames for travel writing studies, but age has yet to function as a topic or point of reference. Through a consideration of five travel books by respected modern authors—Jan Morris, Dervla Murphy, V. S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, and Colin Thubron—the article asks what motivates travel writers to stay “on the road” into their seventies and beyond, and what the distinctive features of travel narratives written at this life stage might be. The article aims to demonstrate the intrinsic fascination of travel books in which a strong abiding curiosity about the world coexists with an acute—and often melancholy—awareness of the passing of time and personal mortality.

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Reports

Publications, Films and Conferences

Jean-Pierre Digard, Sigal Nagar-Ron, Soraya Tremayne, Soheila Shahshahani and Veronica Buffon

PUBLICATIONS

Anatoly M. Khazanov and Günther Schlee (eds.) (2011), Who Owns the Stock? Collective and Multiple Property Rights in Animals (New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books), "Integration and Conflict Studies", Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, vol. 5, 332 pp., 8 maps, 19 tables, 66 fig., biblio., index.

Motzafi-Haller, Pnina (2012), In the Cement Boxes: Mizrahi Women in the Israeli Periphery (The Hebrew University Magnes Press), pp. 276, ISBN: 978- 965-493-650-7.

Helie, Anissa and Hoodfar, Homa (eds.) (2012), Sexuality in Muslim Contexts: Restrictions and Resistance (London: Zed Books), Pb., glossary, xiv + 346 pp., index, ISBN: 978-1-78032-286-8.

FILMS

What is Farhâdi Trying to Portray of Iranian Everyday Life and Iranian Characters in His Films?

CONFERENCES

Encounters and Engagements: Creating New Agendas for Medical Anthropology, 12–14 June 2013, EASA/SMA/URV Joint International Conference, Tarragona, Spain.

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Mona Tajali

Male leaders have often used women's bodies and dress as a means to regulate their access to formal politics, including to national parliaments. Through an analysis of women's activism surrounding the expansion of headscarved women's access to the parliament during the 2011 parliamentary elections in Turkey, I argue that pious women's public protests against discriminatory actions of male leaders towards headscarved women's candidacy challenged the hegemonic symbolism surrounding the headscarf as articulated by both secularist and conservative religious forces. The consequent discourse shift offered a new perspective on women's sexuality in the public arena and brought secular and pious women's rights groups, who rarely saw eye to eye with one another, closer as they realised that imposed dress codes are vehicles for their exclusion from formal politics.