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Surviving Slavery

Sexuality and Female Agency in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Morocco

Chouki El Hamel

The tragic hero of North African slavery is female. In Morocco in the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, female slaves, mainly black women originally from West Africa, survived and sometimes thrived by forging emotional bonds with their masters. The striving for survival and the tragic drama of the female slaves' lives entailed emotional and sexual bonds via concubinage. For free Moroccan men concubinage was legalized and was secured by means of the connection to sexual desire. Concubines, that is, enslaved women, used, initially at least, this desire to secure a better position in a servile status within a society where gender was hierarchical: patrilineal and patriarchal. If it was legally and socially established for a male to be entitled to female slave sexuality, it was, as well, legally and socially conventional for the progeny of female slaves to inherit the father's legal status. I use the analysis of the concubinage system as a process to investigate the interplay of agency, emotions, sexuality, identity, race, and gender in Morocco.

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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.

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Shakespeare's Afterlives

Raising and Laying the Ghost of Authority

Paul Franssen

One of the most impressive contributions to Shakespeare scholarship of recent years famously opens as follows: ‘I began with the desire to speak with the dead’. The author, Stephen Greenblatt, explains that the modern critic is in some ways like a shaman who calls up the spirits of the deceased. Greenblatt goes on to argue that such unmediated access to the past is, alas, impossible, as we are always bound by the preconceptions of our own era. Yet the longing for such ultimate authority remains. A similar desire to speak with the dead, translated into a fantasy, lies behind many texts which do allow us unmediated contact with dead writers, including Shakespeare. Such fantasies often take the form of Shakespeare’s ghost appearing on earth, or of mortals being granted an interview with his shade in Elysium. Before 1800, it is almost exclusively in the form of a ghost that Shakespeare is deployed as a literary character, in prologues, epilogues, plays, novels, and narrative poems. Nor are such apparitions confined to Britain alone: in broadly similar ways, from the late eighteenth century onwards, Shakespearean ghosts also appear on the European Continent. I will study this phenomenon from the perspective of authority: the authority invested in Shakespeare’s ghost itself; and hence, in the later author who ventriloquizes through that ghost, making Shakespeare the mouthpiece for her or his ideas and values; and the eventual loss of that authority in Britain, though not so much in Continental Europe.

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Editorial

Screening Vulnerability

Brian Bergen-Aurand

About the time I first encountered Robert McRuer’s Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability soon after its publication in 2006, I began to turn my research and teaching from queer theory toward disability studies and crip theory. Or, it might be more accurate to say that crip theory and disability studies began to infect my previous work in queer theory and dis-ease its trajectory. Rather than focus on carnality and desire as much as I once had, I began focusing on corporeality and vulnerability—what Emmanuel Levinas (2006: 64) describes as the radical passivity of being “for the other” without ever desiring such a responsibility, without having either force or intention, something I experience despite myself. Vulnerability, especially rather than capability or ability—with their links to energy, strength, power, and vitality—began to hold a more central place in my research and critical thought. I began rethinking what bodies do and what they do to us when we experience them, especially through screens.

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Caroline Humphrey

In the rethinking of cosmopolitanism that has been under way in anthropology the emphasis in the European tradition of thought, pertaining to humanity in general and universal values, has been replaced by focus on specific and new cosmopolitan peoples and sites. Cosmopolitanism ceases to be only a political idea, or an ideal, and is conceptualized also in terms of practice or process. A vocabulary of 'rooted cosmopolitanism', 'vernacular cosmopolitanism' and 'actually existing cosmopolitanisms' has emerged from the characteristically anthropological acknowledgment of diversity and inevitable attachments to place. This article accepts such an approach, but argues that it has neglected the presence and intense salience of the ideas of cosmopolitanism held by nation states. Such ideologies, especially those promulgated by authoritarian states, penetrate deep into the lives and thoughts of citizens. The article draws attention to the binary and contradictory character of nation state discourse on cosmopolitanism, and to the way this creates structures of affect and desire. The Soviet concept of kosmopolitizm is analyzed. It is contextualized historically in relation to the state discourse on mobility and the practice of socialist internationalism. The article argues that although the Stalinist version of kosmopolitizm became a poisonous and anti-Semitic accusation, indeed an instrument of repression, it could not control the desire created by its own negativity. Indeed, it played a creative and integral part in the emergence of a distinctive everyday cosmopolitanism among Soviet people.

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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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'Working on Holiday'

Relationships between Tourism and Work among Young Canadians in Edinburgh

Kathleen Rice

Working holiday-maker programmes have facilitated a growing cohort of mobile young people who have an ambiguous status as both worker and tourist. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted among Canadian working holiday-makers in Scotland, this paper shows how working holiday-makers are situated in an ambiguous, contradictory position as working tourists, and are streamlined towards particular social and professional fields in which work-leisure boundaries are blurred. Although these blurred boundaries seem contradictory, they benefit employers who require an educated yet temporary work-force, while also meeting the desires of working holiday-makers for a lifestyle that is flexible, social, far from the pressures of friends and family, and that puts them in regular contact with other young foreigners who, like them, are at transitional points in life.

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European Bodies

Who Embodies europe? Explorations into the Construction of european Bodies

Anika Keinz and Paweł Lewicki

In this special issue we focus on processes of europeanisation and the work of colonial legacies and their impact on the production of the european body, a body that is always already racialised, classed and gendered. ‘european body’ can be observed in discourses and practices that constitute the normal/desired/legitimate body and concomitantly impacts notions about the civilised/cultured body, often linked to whiteness, secularism, legitimate class and gender performances. We ask to look back across pasts and into the present in order to explore who currently marks the boundaries of what is considered civilised, cultured, “normal” and comes to define what is considered a european body. What embodies the present, which and whose body epitomises europeaness and how does europeanisation generate (tacit) knowledge about the legitimate body?

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Community Participatory Research in HIV/AIDS Prevention

An Exploration of Participation and Consensus

Jon Poehlman

This article reports on an investigation into the extent to which individual involvement in community participatory research activities on HIV/AIDS created agreement or consensus among participants from four Malawian communities about the causes, risks, and behaviours associated with AIDS transmission in their communities. In this research, cultural consensus analysis was used in an exploratory manner to measure the level of agreement among participants prior to and immediately following participation in community participatory workshops. The results demonstrate variability by community and gender in the levels of consensus, or agreement, achieved through the workshops. These findings suggest that consensus is not an automatic outcome of participation in small group interventions and in some cases can result in less agreement on community issues around HIV. Moreover, we lack a clear understanding of how consensus contributes to desired or positive change. Also discussed is the potential utility of cultural consensus analysis as a tool in evaluating the effectiveness of community participatory interventions.