This article explores how Shakespeare transforms his early picture of female virtue embodied by Bianca Minola – safely stowed in her chambers in The Taming of the Shrew – into the freedom we find in Othello's Bianca, who is an emblem of the larger world; her movements aligned with integrity, the ability to reason, and mastery of her body. I investigate how Bianca's 'nomadic' status guarantees her safety and speech, and also locate her agency and mobility alongside the movements of female characters like Moll Cutpurse, Isabella Whitney's dejected maidservant, and Spenser's Britomart – all guardians of a world to which they only peripherally belong.
Bianca at Large
The making of Roma/Gypsy migrants in post-industrial Scotland
Drawing on research among Slovak Roma labor migrants to the UK, this article examines differentiated modalities of belonging and a crystallization of the category of Roma/Gypsy in one neighborhood in a post-industrial Scottish city. This originally working-class, predominantly white area has been transformed, through several waves of migration, into a multicultural neighborhood. Established residents of the neighborhood express a sense of growing crisis and blame for local decline is frequently placed on migrants and, in particular, Gypsy migrants from Eastern Europe. The article focuses on the shifting forms of ethnocultural categorization that mark Roma difference in Glasgow.
The article studies the emergence of the transgender phenomenon within LGB activism in contemporary Ukraine in relation to an ongoing geopolitical process of Europeanisation, which involves negotiations over the country’s belonging to Europe. The article is based on PhD research (2013–2018) and has borrowed from governmentality studies and also from literature about the Europeanisation process. It pays particular attention to the instrumentalisation of sexual diversity and the transfer of ideas from Western to Eastern Europe. Using data from field research, the article brings to light the discrepancies between the globalised frameworks for LGBT activism and localised meanings and practices.
Jew-ish Identities in Contemporary British Jewish Writing
Adam Thirlwell's contention that 'Jewish is always half-Jewish' is provocative. Whilst themes of not belonging are central to much Jewish writing, Thirlwell's claim effectively dismisses the idea that there could ever be a wholly Jewish identity. To the extent that all identities are arguably provisional, constructed and contingent, this might be the case. However, there is a danger that Thirlwell's contention is not entirely playful. The implications of such a manoeuvre are explored in Andrew Sanger's novel, The J-Word (2009) and Mark Glanville's memoir, The Goldberg Variations (2004), which, in different ways, both reflect on the challenges of inchoate identities. This article looks at the ways in which these texts problematize a sense of blurred boundaries in terms of (half-)Jewishness. It will go on to argue, however, that whereas some contemporary British Jewish writers demonstrate a rather fraught sense of identification, others are less attached to a singular or even dual sense of defining identity. As the twenty-first century unfolds, British Jewishness is increasingly figured as a matrix of connections that form ever more imbricated ways of belonging.
One characteristic of ‘the new wars’ is that they are often about identity politics, i.e., the quest for power is couched in terms of exclusion and inclusion of people in various groups. But although wars and violence can be explained with reference to ethnicity, i.e., cultural factors, it must also be taken as a language with which other things—economic, material, and political—are being addressed. First, ethnicity is a relational concept that explains such relationships as ethnic. But although it is imagined, it is real in terms of mobilizing individual people on the bases of a history of common origin that people take to be true. Secondly, ethnicities are not remnants of the past but entities continuously being re-created and shaped within contemporary realities. Hence, colonialism helped pin down relationships, and thereby make them basis for continuous new elaborations about identities, and also ordering them in new systems of hierarchy, creating new elites based on ethnic belonging that play key roles in today’s developments. Thirdly, we should also note that in socalled ethnic wars, civilians are targeted because the aim is to clear areas of people who do not ‘belong.’ We see this clearing of areas used as a strategy, for instance, in order to control key strategic resources. And as the war economy is no longer controlled by a state alone, but rather is decentralized and based on exploiting specific resources through outright plunder, black market trade, and external support, even enemies are not what they used to be.
When I began to study at the Leo Baeck College I was very much influenced by our lecturer in Bible Dr Ellen Littmann. In fact I owe to her my own interest in the Hebrew Bible. At her urging I went on to do doctoral studies so that I could eventually succeed her at the College. Bible was not her first field of study. Instead it was history and she belonged to that circle around Ismar Elbogen and Leo Baeck who were such significant figures at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin and indeed for all of German Jewry before the war. She was brought to England from Israel by Rabbi Dr Van der Zyl the main architect in the creation of the College.
A bizarre adventure happened to space on the road to globalisation: it lost its importance while gaining in significance. On the one hand, as Paul Virilio insists,1 territorial sovereignty has lost almost all substance and a good deal of its former attraction; if every spot can be reached and abandoned instantaneously, a permanent hold over a territory with the usual accompaniment of long-term duties and commitments turns from an asset into a liability and becomes a burden rather than a resource in power struggle. On the other hand, as Richard Sennett points out, ‘as the shifting institutions of the economy diminish the experience of belonging somewhere special … people’s commitments increase to geographic places like nations, cities and localities’.2 On the one hand, everything can be done to far away places of other peoples without going anywhere. On the other, little can be prevented from being done to one’s own place however stubbornly one holds to it.
A new book, ‘Social Quality: A Vision for Europe', edited by Beck, van der Maesen, Thomése and Walker has just been published under the egide of the European Foundation of Social Quality (Beck et al., 2001). This book is a follow-up to ‘The Social Quality of Europe', edited by Beck, van der Maesen and Walker and published in 1997 (Beck et al., 1997). Both books belong to the context of the 1997 ‘Amsterdam Declaration on the Social Quality of Europe', an attempt by social scientists and social policy experts to influence the political decision-makers of the European Union in the direction of an increased concern for ‘social quality’ (SQ) — to complement or supercede the traditional pursuit of purely economic objectives.
Joanna K. Stimmel
With the increasing medialization of cultural memory regarding
World War II and the Holocaust, cinematic texts become significant
components of our remembrance. Not only videotaped witness testimonies
but also documentaries and fictional films make up the growing
body of visual material that tells of the wartime past and the way
we remember it. Today, the great majority of the filmmakers depicting
the Holocaust on screen—as well as their audiences—belong to
the so-called second and third generations. Born too late to have witnessed
the murder of Europe’s Jews, these film directors nonetheless
declare a very strong personal connection to the past they never
knew. Their renditions of this past is, as Marianne Hirsch argues,
driven by the “postmemory,” a type of memory in which the connection
to its object or source is mediated not through recollection
but rather through imagination and creation.
Walter S.H. Lim
In this comparative article focusing on the representation of the migration experience of two recent first-generation Asian-American authors, I consider the ways that Mukherjee and Lim's possession of important symbolic capital, their solid tertiary education, and excellent first language proficiency in English condition their portrayal of this transition from the old to the new country. If possessing such symbolic capital lends important support for any immigrant desire for American naturalization and belonging, does Mukherjee's portrayal of Jasmine's insertion into American social and cultural life and Lim's own professional positioning in the American academy register tensions and contradictions in their literary representation of the experience of successful assimilation? Do Mukherjee and Lim's prior identities as postcolonial subjects (India and Malaysia were once British colonies) inflect in distinctive ways their representation of assimilation and marginalization and home and homelessness in the American Promised Land that is the controlling telos of Asian immigrant desire?