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Kathleen James-Chakraborty

Few tools of Nazi propaganda were as potent or as permanent as

architecture. At the instigation of Hitler, who had once aspired to be

an architect, the Nazi regime placed unusual importance on the

design of environments—whether cities, buildings, parade grounds, or

highways—that would glorify the Third Reich and express its dynamic

relationship to both the past and the future. Architecture and urban

design were integral to the way the regime presented itself at home

and abroad. Newsreels supplemented direct personal experience of

monumental buildings. Designed to last a thousand years, these edifices

appeared to offer concrete testimony of the regime’s enduring

character. A more subtle integration of modern functions and vernacular

forms, especially in suburban housing, suggested that technological

progress could coexist with an “organic” national community

rooted in a quasi-sacred understanding of the landscape.

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Carlo Marletti

An electoral campaign is a complex process in which political

actors interact with the mass media in order to orient the voting

preferences and choices of the electorate. It is presumed – but cannot

be taken for granted – that the election campaign is the period

in which the use of propaganda and various forms of political

communication is at its peak. In fact, the interaction between

media and politics has long since become a structural given of contemporary

democracies,1 and periods in which significant political

communication campaigns are developed form part of a cycle that

has become independent of electoral deadlines. It can even be

hypothesised that election campaigns are becoming an ‘internal

moment’ of these larger cycles during which the climate of opinion

that is asserted compromises the election result, sometimes

anticipating the election outcome by even several months.

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Kuru, AIDS, and Witchcraft

Reconfiguring Culpability in Melanesia and Africa

Isak Niehaus

This article examines the significance of witchcraft accusations during the South African AIDS epidemic. In search of broader intercontextual understanding, I compare experiences of AIDS in Bushbuck ridge, where I have done fieldwork, with anthropological studies of kuru, a transmissible degenerative disease, in Papua New Guinea. Whereas scientists blamed the spread of kuru on the practice of cannibalism, those who were affected attributed it to sorcery. These dynamics resonate with the encounters between health workers and host populations during the AIDS epidemic in Bushbuckridge. Health propaganda attributed the rapid transmission of HIV to sexual promiscuity. In response, sufferers and their kin invoked witchcraft, shifting blame onto outsiders and reinforcing the relations that medical labeling threatened to disrupt. The comparison enables us to see witchcraft accusations as a means of reconfiguring culpability, cutting certain networks, and strengthening other existing configurations.

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'This Is as True as All the Rest Is'

Religious Propaganda and the Representation of Truth in the 1580s

Tracey Hill

In the early 1580s religious propaganda was used extensively and ferociously to inform (or misinform) that sector of the English public that had access to such works about events involving a number of Catholic priests and sympathisers and their opponents. This period saw a major episode of crisis over counter-Reformation Catholicism, exemplified by the mission to England headed by Edmund Campion, and the consequent arrest, torture, trial and execution of Campion and his associates. Numerous texts were produced from a variety of perspectives to intervene in the representation of these men, their motives, the treatment they received, and the danger they may or may not have posed to Protestant England. The propagandist texts with which I am concerned range across the various possible positions on these and other Catholic priests.

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Raymonde Monnier

Departing from Mario Turchetti's study on the concept of tyranny and tyrannicide, the author sets out to explore its specific use in the political discourse in the eighteenth century. Originally, as in the works of Plato and Montesquieu, tyranny was used in reference to degenerate forms of government. Tyranny and tyrannicide gained additional significance with its inclusion in the virulent discourse during the radicalization of the French Revolution. Based on the myth of Brutus and other classical sources, anti-tyrannical rhetoric in the form revolutionary literature and propaganda spurted political activism. As the figure of the king became the main obstacle to liberty and the foundation of a new republic, tyranny and tyrannicide became key concepts in the revolutionary movements.

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Letters after the Fact

Responses to Nuala O'Faolain's Are You Somebody?

Eibhlín Evans

Literary history might identify the 1990s as the decade of the memoir, as a period that witnessed a prodigious outpouring of sombre narratives of grim beginnings overcome in individual triumphs, or of scandalous escapades intimately exposed. However entertaining or shocking, few will be memorable, their highly personal recollections remaining pertinent to the lives of the authors alone. Publishing successes are often due to word of mouth recommendations as, for example, in the recent success of Lorna Sage’s excellent autobiography Bad Blood. Even in such cases we can claim that the writing is, as it were, consumed in a quiet way where its charms are celebrated in a low level, personalised propaganda which eventually leads to a more public recognition. Reviewers and publicity machines can play their part in the success of a book but we seldom find a situation where readers’ written responses amount to a collective and influential embrace which propels a publication into further public prominence.

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The Body in Motion

Communism and Epistemology in Iva Pekárková's Novel Truck Stop Rainbows

Simona Fojtová

Drawing on feminist conceptualisations of the body, this essay analyses Iva Pekárková’s novel, Truck Stop Rainbows (published as Péra a Perutě [Feathers and wings] in 1989, translated into English in 1992), to show how this contemporary Czech writer challenges the metaphor of the female body as a container through which communist propaganda in Czechoslovakia offi cially sanctioned and established a normative female identity in maternal, economic and civic functions. I seek to demonstrate how Fialka, the female protagonist who lives under the Czechoslovak communist regime of the 1980s, critiques discursive and epistemic formations that conceptualised the female body as a vessel for reproduction and labour and denied the female body the authority to function as a source of knowledge. Striving to spotlight the body in its cognitive role, I argue for an understanding of the body not as an instrument of knowledge or a neutral medium that enables knowledge production but, rather, as a condition of the possibility of knowing.

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Renata Jambrešić Kirin and Reana Senjković

This article shows how the model of the ideal patriotic woman, established through propaganda activities between two competitive ideologies in Croatia during the Second World War, have been transformed and adapted to accommodate diverse genres of memory culture from 1945 until the present day. In order to indicate the inter- relation of media-ideological constructs and self-definition, the authors have compared cultural representation models of ‘acceptable’ and ‘obnoxious’ females in war time with ethnographical interviews conducted with women at the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Antifašistički front žena (Women’s Anti-Fascist Front, AFŽ) Istrian Conference in 2004. The contrast between recollections and culturally constructed official memory shows how the memories of women, as autonomous historical subjects, resist the imposed collective amnesia on the anti-fascist movement, although these women also leave many ‘unsuitable truths’ untold about their subordinate role within the anti-fascist movement.

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Racial and Social Prejudice in the Colonial Empire

Issues Raised by Miscegenation in Portugal (Late Nineteenth to Mid-Twentieth Centuries)

Patrícia Ferraz de Matos

This article analyses the issue of miscegenation in Portugal, which is directly associated with the context of its colonial empire, from late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. The analysis considers sources from both literary and scientific fields. Subsequently, aspects such as interracial marriage, degeneration and segregation as well as the changes brought about by the end of World War II and the social revolutions of the 1960s are considered. The 1980s brought several changes in the attitude towards Portuguese identity and nationality, which had meanwhile cut loose from its colonial context. Crossbreeding was never actually praised in the Portuguese colonial context, and despite still having strong repercussions in the present day, lusotropicalism was based on a fallacious rhetoric of politically motivated propaganda.

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Contested Representations

Exploring China’s State Report

Halme-Tuomisaari and Miia

As states become parties to international human rights treaties, they undertake the obligation to provide periodic state reports to UN human rights treaty bodies. Officially, state reports are paramount vehicles of factual information of a given state’s human rights situation. Unofficially their status may be contested and their data reduced to state propaganda. This article examines this transformation through the submission of China’s first state report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The article shows how human rights documents of diverse genres join together in a continual ceremony of dialogue. It connects minute details of treaty body proceedings to more general developments in the international human rights field, and argues that beneath the veneer of diplomatic conduct accompanying human rights dialogue lays an intense struggle for representation and legitimacy. It further discusses how this struggle reflects the recent rise of Kantian theories of international law. These theories seek to re-evaluate the foundational concept of international law, namely ‘sovereign equality’, and, thus continue the mission civilisatrice that has characterized elements of international collaboration for centuries.