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Jablonka’s History

Literature and the Search for Truth

Sarah Fishman

story-telling, the exploration of internal realities, to fiction, left history with a less engaging approach. Objective history seeks to answer important questions about the past, rather than simply elaborating events and great men. It is analytical

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Curation as Public Scholarship

Museum Archaeology in a Seventeenth-Century Shipwreck Exhibit

Sarah A. Buchanan

ABSTRACT

Museum archaeology offers opportunities to practice artifact storytelling, engaging visitors on the strength of objects that have been conserved and curated. Public appreciation of science and history is bolstered when museums exhibit objects of singular historic significance in a manner that allows visitors to build an experiential understanding of the objects’ provenance. Archaeologists and conservators began reassembling the 330-year-old French ship La Belle as a live-action exhibition on 25 October 2014 in the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The collaboration broke new ground by inviting visitors, in person and via streaming online video, to watch the experts rebuild the ship in full public view. Until, and after, the reconstructed ship hull was moved into its permanent first-floor gallery location on 21 May 2015, the exhibition brought archaeologists and international museum visitors into the same room to learn. The article interprets these events toward reimagining museum object curation as public scholarship.

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The Ant and the Grasshopper

Rationalising Exclusion and Inequality in the Post-apartheid City

Richard Ballard

As with many other genres of storytelling, fables are as much about the socialisation of political values as they are about the amusement of children. Although their timeless appearance presents their truths as absolute, the meanings of fables change as they are reinterpreted through time by particular ideologies. Thus we find that The Ant and the Grasshopper, a children’s favourite about the need for hard work and careful saving, has recently been commandeered by conservative adults who are searching for ever more coded ways of communicating in today’s anti-racist contexts. This story is attributed to Æsop, a mythical sixth century B.C. slave and storyteller (Adrados 1999). During the renaissance, Europe’s fascination with antiquity prompted renewed interest in Æsop’s fables as vehicles of commentary on the politics of the time (Hanazaki 1993-1994 & Patterson 1991). Their popularity accelerated with the industrial revolution since some of the fables, such as The Tortoise and the Hare and The Ant and the Grasshopper, were particularly suited to the socialisation of selfrestraint and a strong work ethic. The Ant and the Grasshopper tells the story of the ant that worked hard collecting food during summer, while the carefree grasshopper did not. During winter, the ant survived while the grasshopper starved. This story conveyed to children that the threat of lean times was ever present but that hard work would stave off starvation.

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Richard Ivan Jobs

In A Crooked Line (2005), Geoff Eley combines personal memoir with historiography to consider the changes to historical practice during his career, particularly the rise of social history and that of cultural history.* Both approaches, he says, foregrounded the histories of suppressed or hidden groups and both relied upon interdisciplinary methodologies to do so. Yet a bitter rift emerged between the adherents of each, particularly regarding historical claims to truth, a tension that he identifies as peaking in the mid-1980s. To exemplify the shifts underway, he focuses on the unusual structure and form of Carolyn Steedman’s 1986 book, Landscape for a Good Woman. While I have no quibbles with his choice, in this essay I want to point to another text from the same moment that deserves revisiting, particularly given the way it experiments with historical storytelling and the interplay of the professional and the personal. Bonnie Smith’s slim 1985 volume, Confessions of a Concierge, has arguably been overshadowed by her later work of monographs, collections, textbooks, and encyclopedia. As 2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary of its publication, as well as Bonnie Smith’s official retirement from Rutgers University, I offer here an evaluation of the book, consider its rather awkward reception, and situate it within concerns that continue to preoccupy historians of France and Europe.

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Agents, Spectators, and Social Hope

Richard Rorty and American Intellectuals

Marek Kwiek

Rorty wrote his Achieving Our Country as a philosopher, intellectual, academic and citizen, and each of these perspectives lead to a different emphasis in reading his book, and to a different story (and ‘storytelling’ is one of the themes of the book). The emergent pictures vary: the philosopher tells a story of the growing isolation and cultural sterility of analytic philosophy in the United States of America after the Second World War; the intellectual tells a story of the political bareness and practical uselessness of (the majority of) American leftist intellectuals in the context of the emerging new global order at the turn of the 21st century; the academic tells the story about humanities’ departments at American universities, especially departments of literature and cultural studies, and their students, and contrasts their possible future fate with the past fate of departments of analytical philosophy and their students; and, finally, the citizen tells a story about the nationhood, politics, patriotism, reformism (as well as the inherent dangers and opportunities of globalization). Rorty plays the four descriptions off against one another perfectly and Achieving Our Country represents him at his very best: Rorty is passionate, inspiring, uncompromising, biting and very relevant to current public debates. Owing to the intelligent combination of the above perspectives, the clarity and elegance of his prose, and (although not revealed directly) the wide philosophical background provided by his new pragmatism, the book differs from a dozen others written in the 1990s about the American academy and American intellectuals. It also sheds new and interesting light on Rorty’s pragmatism, providing an excellent example of the application of his philosophical views. One has to note that, generally, it is almost impossible to think of any piece written by Rorty outside of the context of his philosophy, and Achieving Our Country is no exception to this rule.

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Seeing Is Being

Transfer, Transformation, and the Spectatorship of Transgender Mobility in François Ozon’s The New Girlfriend

Julia Dettke

mode of storytelling was dominant until the end of the twentieth century. 1 In classic American comedies such as Some Like It Hot (dir. Billy Wilder, 1959), Tootsie (dir. Sydney Pollack, 1982), and Mrs. Doubtfire (dir. Chris Columbus, 1993), the

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Denis Vuka

cause political action by assuring those engaged in such action of the triumph of their cause. 21 Following Henry Tudor, political myth is conceived as a narrative of events in dramatic form. 22 This form of dramatic storytelling has a number of fixed

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Jonathan Bach, Heather L. Dichter, Kirkland Alexander Fulk, Alexander Wochnik, Wilko Graf von Hardenberg and Carol Hager

that ultimately “undermine[s] the broader significance of the 1960s” (40). The latter, however, exemplify the generation of 1968 through a “self-conscious remembering and storytelling” that signifies a shift from an intergenerational struggle between

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Heidi Morrison, James S. Finley, Daniel Owen Spence, Aaron Hatley, Rachael Squire, Michael Ra-shon Hall, Stéphanie Vincent-Geslin, Sibo Chen, Tawny Andersen and Stéphanie Ponsavady

Jones’s novel Mosquito , respectively. Examining the plays Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964) and The Owl Answers (1965), Cervenak analyzes Kennedy’s aesthetics as “a wandering: a fundamentally nonstraight, twisted, and hard-to-follow storytelling that

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Leslie Paul Thiele and Marshall Young

acknowledge introducing exaggerations, minimisations and omissions into their narrative accounts of events ( Tversky 2004 ). And it is likely that many more are not so self-aware – or honest – when answering survey questions about fibbing. In a ‘storytelling