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A Sinful Landscape

Moral and Sexual Geographies in Cape Town, South Africa

Melissa Hackman

'Spiritual mapping' is a transnational Pentecostal 'spiritual warfare' practice that aims to identify and fight 'territorial spirits', or demons that possess specific places. It was unique in Cape Town, South Africa, at the beginning of democracy, because it was both racialized and sexualized. This article examines how Pentecostals in Cape Town employed spiritual mapping techniques to identify and police groups they understood as morally and spiritually 'dangerous': black and 'coloured' communities and gays and lesbians. I argue that South African spiritual mapping was a response to the material and physical insecurities of democracy, particularly the declining economy, failed promises of the African National Congress, and some of the highest rates of crime in the world.

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A Literacy Landscape Unresolved

Beyond the Boy Crisis and into Superhero Fiction

Michael Kehler and Jacob Cassidy

ABSTRACT

Drawing on qualitative data of secondary school students, we examine how gender is implicated in a specific provincial literacy directive to employ comics and superhero fiction to engage boys. Grounded in a multiliteracies and masculinities framework, we interrogate the intersection of gender and literacy practices in a secondary school English classroom. The research in this article offers a counternarrative to a prevailing discourse grounded in essentialist notions of all boys as struggling readers and instead illustrates the rich potential between students’ lifeworld connections and comics as engaging and critical literacy texts beyond the “boy book” approach adopted in many literacy classrooms. We further argue that a sharper focus on critical literacy pedagogy, which incorporates comics and superhero fiction, reveals an invisibility of gender differences among adolescent reading practices rather than the visibility that has prompted and maintained gendered reform strategies to “help the boys” increase achievement levels in literacy classrooms.

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Mediterranean Basin Wetlands as a Vertebral Axis of the Territory

Relationships with Roman Roads and Contemporary Livestock Trails

Alejandro Fornell Muñoz and Francisco Guerrero

Within the framework of the new environmental history, this article focuses on the interaction between historical human societies and a given natural environment. Specifically, we study the spatial relationships between wetlands, Roman roads, and contemporary livestock trails, with the aim of verifying the role of wetlands as a support of territory planning since antiquity to the present. The documentation used includes geographical and ecological manuscripts together with ancient sources (texts, archaeology). Our results demonstrate an overlapping that remarks the importance of wetlands in the study area’s territorial ordering during various historical moments. This result also opens the possibility of applying this reality to others parts of the Mediterranean region with the same climatological conditions and a similar history. The clear heritage value of the wetlands are compelling enough to take the necessary protection measures for their conservation in the face of the growing threat of their deterioration and disappearance.

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Freedom and loss in a human landscape

Multinational oil exploitation and the survival of reindeer herding in north-eastern Sakhalin, the Russian Far East

Emma Wilson

Sakhalin's multinational offshore oil and gas projects signify hope for the region's economic regeneration. They also pose an environmental threat to the livelihoods of local natural resource-users, including Sakhalin's few remaining reindeer herders. For the herders over the past century, industrial development, particularly in relation to the domestic onshore oil and gas industry, has been associated with environmental degradation and loss of pastures, family cohesion, language and culture. The herders contrast the physical and mental freedom they enjoy living on the land to the constraint of village life. Their survival strategies are based on a certain freedom from authority and the formal law. Their desire for freedom is also manifested in a reluctance to engage with outsiders who could have a significant influence on their future. This paper explores the survival strategies of reindeer herding households and enterprises and the ways that they engage with outsiders such as state officials, NGOs and oil companies. The offshore oil and gas projects could result in further loss of important pastures and pollution of water sources, while project benefits may not reach some of Sakhalin's communities that are more isolated. However, the projects have catalysed global interest in the fate of Sakhalin's native peoples, oil company consultations have enabled herders to voice their concerns about the projects, and oil company-sponsored programmes may provide opportunities for the revival of herding and the reinforcement of native identity. This article considers some of the tensions between economic independence and security, between the democratic right to participate in planning processes and the desire to be free from state regulation, authority and outside intervention.

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Tatiana Podolinská

This contribution analyses the results of international sociological surveys that collected data in Slovakia, namely three waves of the European Values Study (EVS 1991, 1999, 2008) and two waves of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP 1999 and ISSP 2006-2008). Focusing on the survey data the essay elucidates the concrete process of religious dynamics in post-communist Slovakia. Attention is paid to the so-called 'core of believers' as the main representative of 'traditional' religiosity, using this unique opportunity to explore the dynamics of this group within the last two decades. The author concludes that even if institutional religiosity is still far more dominant in the Slovak religious scene, the prevailing form of religiosity is of a post-traditional character.

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The Ecology of Class

Revolution, Weaponized Nature, and the Making of Campesino Consciousness

Christopher R. Boyer

Mexican villagers endured three decades of dispossession during the late nineteenth-century dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz (1876–1880, 1884–1911). The transfer of most lands held by communities known as pueblos led many rural people to join the Mexican revolution of 1910–1917, and it helped to structure the postrevolutionary politics. Using E. P. Thompson's concept of “community,” this article suggests that villagers' sense of solidarity formed by their shared lives within the pueblos, and leavened by collective experiences during the Díaz dictatorship and revolution, helped them to forge a new identity as campesinos with an inherent right to land reform during the postrevolutionary era. A core component of campesino identity was opposition to hacienda owners. This opposition set up a struggle over land during the 1920s and 1930s that led some landowners to “weaponize nature” by destroying natural resources such as forests rather than turning it over to villagers through the land reform.

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Off the Beaten Path

Non-Metropolitan Representations of Homosexuality in Three French Films

Romain Chareyron

This article offers a reflection on the ways in which the representation of gays and lesbians in contemporary French cinema has mostly focused on specific and limiting traits. With their choice of locales (Paris and other cities) and bodily characteristics (young, fit), these films convey a restrictive view of homosexuality. Such portrayals have gained traction due to their numerous iterations in films and in the media. By focusing on the works of three directors who have adopted a radically different perspective in their portrayals of homosexuality, this article will highlight the close ties that exist between sexuality and topography. Providing a more true-to-life account of homosexuality, the films move away from cities to investigate the geographical margins. In so doing, they question the tenets of France’s republican ideals, where differences tend to be smoothed out in favor of unity and homogeneity. These films reinstate diversity and individuality at the heart of their narratives.

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The Ice as Argument

Topographical Mementos in the High Arctic

Kirsten Hastrup

This article explores the predominance of ice and the role of topographical mementos in the High Arctic environment. The ice is its own argument in complex ways: it is an actor in the human/non-human network, as well as in the hunter-scientist relationship. Whatever climate history one wants to tell, it begins and ends with the ice.

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Resources of Hope

Wicken Fen Stories of Anthropogenic Nature

Laura Cameron

Through a series of stories about the U.K. National Trust nature reserve known as Wicken Fen, this article seeks to contextualize the coining of the word 'anthropogenic' and to highlight some possible 'resources for a journey of hope' (to use the words of Raymond Williams). Although o en portrayed as 'wilderness' and the last wetland remnant of the drained Great Fenland, Wicken Fen is also acknowledged to be one of the most intensively managed reserves in the U.K. This article is therefore an exploration of human-made nature which seeks to understand what it might mean - and has meant - to live in the Anthropocene.

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Frank Hole

In the past decade there has been a shift of focus from individual archaeological sites to an approach that incorporates the dynamic interplay of land, climate, society, economy, ritual and technical innovation. A growing understanding of past climates and environments, coupled with the use of satellite technology and other means of remote sensing, has opened new avenues of interpretation. Classic problems, such as the origins and spread of agrarian societies, have benefited from an array of new scientific methods, and there is increasing attention to social and ritual aspects of society.