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Guillaume Lecomte

The comic book series La Vie secrète des jeunes is a sardonic account of French young people’s behaviours witnessed from the voyeuristic viewpoint of its author-illustrator, Riad Sattouf. Despite its caricatural and non-photorealistic visual style, the work conveys a strong sense of authenticity, mixing truth claims borrowed from established non-fiction traditions (journalism, autobiography and documentary). It is also a rare example of a non-fiction comic turned into live action. This article considers the comic and its TV adaptation, and discusses film’s ability to adapt an account of truth rooted in comics ontology. The article first provides a theoretical structure that details the intricacy of repeating the truth from comic to film. Second, it highlights the way in which the comic develops its authenticity by constantly reaffirming Sattouf’s presence and subjectivity. The article aims to show that the adaptation anonymises this viewpoint in order to re-construct the authenticity of its reality.

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Sermin Ildirar and Louise Ewing

Researchers have recently suggested that historically mixed findings in studies of the Kuleshov effect (a classic film editing–related phenomenon whereby meaning is extracted from the interaction of sequential camera shots) might reflect differences in the relative sophistication of early versus modern cinema audiences. Relative to experienced audiences, first-time film viewers might be less predisposed and/or able to forge the required conceptual and perceptual links between the edited shots in order to demonstrate the effect. This article recreates the conditions that traditionally elicit this effect (whereby a neutral face comes to be perceived as expressive after being juxtaposed with independent images: a bowl of soup, a gravestone, a child playing) to directly compare “continuity” perception in first-time and more experienced film viewers. Results confirm the presence of the Kuleshov effect for experienced viewers (explicitly only in the sadness condition) but not the first-time viewers, who failed to perceive continuity between the shots.

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Stephen Wang

Jean-Paul Sartre argues that human beings are fundamentally incomplete. Self-consciousness brings with it a presence-to-self. Human beings consequently seek two things at the same time: to possess a secure and stable identity, and to preserve the freedom and distance that come with self-consciousness. This is an impossible ideal, since we are always beyond what we are and we never quite reach what we could be. The possibility of completion haunts us and we continue to search for it even when we are convinced it can never be achieved. Sartre suggests that we have to continue seeking this ideal in the practical sphere, even when our philosophical reflection shows it to be an impossibility. Sartre puts this existential dilemma in explicitly theological terms. 'God' represents an ideal synthesis of being and consciousness which remains a self-contradictory goal. This dilemma remains unresolved in his thinking.

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“Tobacco! Tobacco!”

Exporting New Habits to Siberia and Russian America

Matthew Romaniello

Russia transitioned from enforcing the world’s longest ban on importing tobacco in the seventeenth century to legalizing the product at the beginning of the eighteenth and ultimately becoming one of the world’s largest producers of tobacco by the nineteenth century. A part of this process neglected by historians is the way in which Russia distributed tobacco among the indigenous communities in Siberia, Kamchatka, and Russian America, creating new consumers where none had existed. This article discusses both the process by which Russia exported tobacco to its frontier and the manner in which tobacco consumption was localized among its diverse populations. Tobacco was not a single product experienced the same way throughout the empire but rather became a marker of difference, demonstrating the multiple communities and trade networks that influenced the nature of Russia’s colonial presence in Asia and the North Pacific.

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Akulina Mestnikova

The article provides an overview of recent initiatives spearheaded by indigenous peoples in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) that seek to improve the existing language policy put forth by the state government. Although there has been some research conducted on the activities of public organizations and associations of indigenous peoples in the region, more must be done to better understand activities specifically related to language policy. The article presents a history of indigenous and minority organizing in the republic since the end of the Soviet era, with special attention paid to the campaigns regarding the status of native language and its presence within the educational sphere. It then analyzes the results of a 2011 sociological study regarding people’s beliefs about responsibility for native language maintenance and revitalization.

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The End of the Beginning

Normativity in the Postdigital Museum

Ross Parry

This article is an attempt to frame a way of seeing museums after the digital revolution. By introducing the concept of the ‘postdigital’, its aim is to evidence a tipping point in the adoption of new media in the museum—a moment where technology has become normative. The intention is not to suggest that digital media today is (or, indeed, should be) universally and equally adopted and assimilated by all museums, but rather to use the experience of several (national) museums to illustrate the normative presence digital media is having within some organizational strategies and structures. Having traced this perceived normativity of technology in these localized institutional settings, the article then attempts to reflect upon the consequences that the postdigital and the normative management of new media have for our approach to museological research.

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Women and Carnival Space

Gender and Carnival in a North Aegean Island Community

Regina Zervou

This article focuses on gender relations through the performance of carnival rites in a North Aegean island rural community. Based on qualitative research, it approaches the women’s use of public space during carnival and the changes under the influence of women’s emancipation since the 1970s. The percentage of women, especially young girls, participating in carnival rites has risen dramatically over the last decade. However, not all carnival public spaces are equally open to women. The article examines the way women try to impose their presence on the strictly male universe of the carnival space and especially the marketplace, the traditional and timeless core of the carnival rites, where only men can pronounce the obscene carnival language, fruit of the kafeneion male discourse and the reactions of the male community to the novelties brought by feminism into the village.

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Hazem Azmy

This article reflects critically on Shakespeare’s presence in the Egyptian cultural and national imaginaries between the country’s celebration of two Shakespeare quadricentennials. The 400th anniversary of his birth in 1964 coincided with the euphoric reimagining of Egypt as a decolonizing nationalist utopia, and also with the launch of the highly emblematic al- Masraḥ magazine; that of the Bard’s death in 2016 has occurred as the exhausted ‘post-revolutionary’ nation navigates a welter of blind spots and uncertainties on all levels. Culled from the wider public sphere, mainstream stage practice and my classroom experiences as an instructor of drama and theatre in contemporary Egypt, the article’s three snapshots exhibit compelling evidence of cultural hegemony, entrenched gerontocracy and both the subtle and not so subtle continuing subjugation of feminized voices.

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The Shadows of Knowability

Reading between Opaque Narrative and Transparent Text

Younes Saramifar

The torch of ember and its puzzling knowability are my exemplars, serving to open the binary of opacity and transparency in narrativity. I highlight inadequacies in the binary of opacity and transparency by examining the works of Peter Lamarque and Clare Birchall on matters of narrative and secrecy. I will try to see how one can think about opacity/transparency through the lenses of speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy. I do so by drawing examples from memories of the Iran-Iraq war (1980–1989) and explaining how the language of remembering becomes the realm of a tension between presence and absentia, between the unsaid within the said. I explore how memory-as-narrative and narrative-as-memory sustain the potentiality that eludes Orwellian newspeak.

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Masculine Appearances

Male Physicality on the Late-Victorian Stage

David Haldane Lawrence

James Eli Adams, in Dandies and Desert Saints: Styles of Victorian Masculinity (1995), has written of the ‘intractable element of theatricality in all masculine self-fashioning, which inevitably makes appeal to an audience, real or imagined … even the normative is typically asserted as an unending performance’. It could also be argued that ‘masculine self-fashioning’, and the necessity for display to an audience gaze, is taken to its extreme in the world of entertainment, where men appear on stage, in costume, wearing make-up, and acting out aspects of masculinity often alien to their own personae. Through applying this debate to nineteenth-century popular culture, this article discusses men who confronted the gaze of both sexes while posing as living statues, displaying muscular strength, or encouraging idolatry through their charismatic presences on the legitimate stage.