The artist Stan Brakhage drew creatively from the habits, limitations, and thresholds of human visual perception. This article examines how Brakhage compelled viewers to attend to their visual perceptions in a unique way when engaging with his films. The article begins with an outline of John Ruskin's concept of the innocent eye, and its relevance to Brakhage's creative aspirations. Next, by placing the concept of the innocent eye within the context of existing theories on visual perception, the article suggests two ways in which Brakhage was able to retutor the eyes through his films: the first was by paying special attention to entoptic vision (visual impressions whose source is within the eye itself) as a source of inspiration; the second was by developing a series of techniques that compel the viewer to attend to the visual information on the screen in a way that subordinates semantic salience, and emphasizes the surface detail.
Margaret Atwood's Portrayal of Childhood Bullying and its Consequences in Cat's Eye
Cat’s Eye, published in 1989, reveals Margaret Atwood’s preoccupation with both family ties and friendship. The profundity and fallibility of such bonds are made manifest by the relationships in which Elaine, the novel’s protagonist, becomes involved during the course of the novel. Her family background is an unorthodox yet loving one, and the father-figure of this family contrasts strikingly with the domineering patriarch within Cordelia’s family, who subdues and excludes his youngest daughter. The bond between siblings is explored through reference to Elaine’s brother Stephen, and also through Cordelia’s patronising older sisters, who tend to contribute to her sense of inferiority and abandonment. The interconnection between family and friendship is evident in the way in which modes of behaviour formed within the family context are perpetuated within a friendship group, as the child attempts to compensate for his/her own, and others’, inadequacies.
The Microsocial Foundations of Physical Military Violence in Noncombat Situations
Nir Gazit and Eyal Ben-Ari
In this article, we use the case of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories to offer a microsociological analysis of military violence in noncombat situations. Utilizing the insights of Randall Collins, we suggest that in order understand these encounters, the emotional dimensions of violent behaviors must be linked to the interactional dynamics that trigger the transformation of these emotions into violent actions. We review the emotional configurations that characterize military occupations and discuss a range of violent behaviors initiated by these emotions. Finally, our analysis goes beyond the microsociological level to complement Collins’s model by showing the trans-situational implications of our analysis. We focus on the emergence of violence leaders (the “violent few”), the importance of actual and real audiences, and the development of a violent military habitus.
Military, Medical, and Political-Security Discourses in the Humanitarian Treatment of Syrian Casualties in Israel
Hedva Eyal and Limor Samimian-Darash
In this article, we examine statements by state officials and individuals from the military and the medical establishment regarding the provision of medical aid by Israel to casualties from the Syrian Civil War. We argue discussions of this project have been characterized by three different discourses, each dominant at different times, which we classify as military, medical, and political-security. We propose “unintended securitization” to describe how the project moved from the military into the medical-civilian and then into the political sphere, and came to be seen as advancing the security interests of the Israeli state. We argue the relationship between humanitarianism and securitization seen here challenges the view that humanitarian apparatuses are often subordinated to military rationales by showing how securitization here emerged from the demilitarization of what was initially a military project.
The anthropological conundrum
Douglas R. Holmes
Fascism in our time is emerging not as a single party or movement within a particular nation-state but rather as a dispersed phenomenon that reverberates across the continent nested within the political contradictions of the European Union. Rather than focusing on a specific group to determine whether it is or is not “fascist,” we must look at how diverse parties and movements are linked together in cross-border coalitions revealing the political ecology of contemporary fascism and the intricate division of labor that sustains it. Underwriting contemporary fascism is an “illiberal” anthropology that can colonize every expression of identity and attachment. From the motifs and metaphors of diverse folkloric traditions to the countless genres of popular culture, fascism assimilates new meanings and affective predispositions.
Kathleen Sweeney. 2008. Maiden USA: Girl Icons Come of Age. New York: Peter Lang.
Tim J. Smith
The intention of most film editing is to create the impression of continuity by editing together discontinuous viewpoints. The continuity editing rules are well established yet there exists an incomplete understanding of their cognitive foundations. This article presents the Attentional Theory of Cinematic Continuity (AToCC), which identifies the critical role visual attention plays in the perception of continuity across cuts and demonstrates how perceptual expectations can be matched across cuts without the need for a coherent representation of the depicted space. The theory explains several key elements of the continuity editing style including match-action, matchedexit/entrances, shot/reverse-shot, the 180° rule, and point-of-view editing. AToCC formalizes insights about viewer cognition that have been latent in the filmmaking community for nearly a century and demonstrates how much vision science in general can learn from film.
Asif A. Ghazanfar and Stephen V. Shepherd
Because the visual neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of monkeys are largely similar to ours, we explore the hypothesis that the same cinematographic techniques that create a visual scene for us likely create one for these close kin. Understanding how monkeys watch movies can illuminate how film exploits the capacities we share with our simian relatives, what capacities are specific to humans, and to what extent human culture exerts an influence on our filmic experience. The article finds that humans and monkeys share a basic capacity to process sensory events on the screen. Both can recognize moving objects and acting individuals, and both prefer looking at motion pictures of social behaviors over static images. It seems clear that some of the same things that make movies “work“ for human brains also work for the brains of our nonhuman relatives—excepting two critical features. First, humans appear to integrate sequential events over a much larger time frame than monkeys, giving us a greater attunement to the unfolding narrative. Moreover, humans appear to have special interest in the attention and intentional states of others seen on the screen. These states are shared through deictic cues such as observed gazing, reaching, and pointing. The article concludes that a major difference in how humans and monkeys see movies may be declarative in nature; it recognizes the possibility that movies exist as a means of sharing experience, a skill-set in which the human species has specialized and through which humans have reaped unprecedented rewards, including the art of film.
Dracula, Penny Dreadful, and the Logic of Repetition
Dracula (NBC / Sky Living, 2013–14) and Penny Dreadful (Showtime / Sky Atlantic, 2014–) are two reimaginings of classic nineteenth-century novels that can help us better understand how adaptations function in a media landscape dominated by a logic of repetition and convergence, where sequels, reboots, and remakes have become the norm. While Dracula adapts Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, with the eponymous character arriving in London posing as an American entrepreneur in order to defeat an evil secret society, Penny Dreadful offers viewers a mélange of classic nineteenth-century Gothic novels in the style of Moore and O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999–). What distinguishes the two series is the way in which they employ instances of simultaneous adaptation and appropriation in their character building, to the extent that Dracula or Penny Dreadful’s Ethan Chandler can more easily be read as mergers of iconic characters, images, and types.
Comparative Perspectives on Travel Writing and Ethnography
Jörg Lehmann and Thomas Stodulka
How can travel books and narrative ethnography be compared? This article systematically examines the works of an eminent travel writer and an anthropologist with respect to paratexts, themes, lexis, named entities, and narrative positions. It combines quantitative methods with a close reading of three books. The article discusses whether a mixed-methods approach of close reading and quantitative analysis can be applied to comparing larger corpora of travel writing and ethnography.