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Commoning in New York City, Barcelona, and Paris

Notes and observations from the field

Ida Susser

Based on fieldwork in New York City, Barcelona, and Paris, this article explores recent Occupy events and how these represent a claim for an urban commons, and the building of a new political consciousness. The article analyzes commoning in the three cities as a form of popular education that transforms space, time, and language. The reemergence of commoning is seen as a response to neoliberal policies, the creation of a temporary and insecure workforce (or precariat), and the need to develop different approaches to power and transformation. Although clearly reflective of historical experiences, commoning can be seen as a newly significant form of protest that brings together and creates a shared culture among fragmented progressive groups often divided by issues of identity and topic.

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Underground Theater

Theorizing Mobility through Modern Subway Dramas

Sunny Stalter-Pace

This article begins from the premise that modern American drama provides a useful and understudied archive of representations of mobility. It focuses on plays set on the New York City subway, using the performance studies concept of “restored behavior” to understand the way that these plays repeat and heighten the experience of subway riding. Through their repetitions, they make visible the psychological consequences of ridership under the historical and cultural constraints of the interwar period. Elmer Rice's 1929 play The Subway is read as a particularly rich exploration of the consequences of female passenger's presumed passivity and sexualization in this era. The Subway and plays like it enable scholars of mobility to better understand the ways that theatrical texts intervene in cultural conversations about urban transportation.

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Nathan Abrams

This article considers the Jewishness of Stanley Kubrick (1928–1999), one of the most important filmmakers of the twentieth century. It argues, first, that Kubrick's origins and ethnicity had a significant impact on his work. Second, it locates Kubrick in the intellectual milieu of New York City to show that Kubrick's films engaged with the same dilemmas and explored the same paradoxes as the New York Intellectuals did. Third, it suggests that Kubrick can also be productively considered as a European director. Finally, a brief case study of his 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), using a 'Midrashic' approach, is provided.

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“I Want to Ride My Bicycle”

The 11th Annual Bicycle Film Festival

Sønke Myrda

The Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) has grown from a minor grassroots event to a global “Fest” staging urban cycling events in over two dozen cities worldwide. In its 11th year in New York City, the “BFF” New York (June 22–26, 2011) intends to provide its participants with a “weekend full of bike movies, music, art, street party and after parties,”1 before going on tour around the globe. Festival cities include Amsterdam, Athens, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Paris, Sao Paolo, Sydney, Taiwan, Tokyo, Vienna.

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Emily Stokes-Rees, Blaire M. Moskowitz, Moira Sun and Jordan Wilson

Exhibition Review Essay:

Exhibition without Boundaries. teamLab Borderless and the Digital Evolution of Gallery Space by Emily Stokes-Rees

Exhibition Reviews:

The Colmar Treasure: A Medieval Jewish Legacy. The Met Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York by Blaire M. Moskowitz

Shanghai Museum of Glass, Shanghai; Suzhou Museum, Suzhou; and PMQ, Hong Kong by Moira Sun

The Story Box: Franz Boas, George Hunt and the Making of Anthropology. Exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery in New York City (14 February–7 July 2019) and the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, British Columbia (20 July–24 October 2019) by Jordan Wilson

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Kaoru Miyazawa

In this article I examine how a new immigrant girl from Jamaica participated in Abstinence Only Until Marriage (AOUM) classes at her school in New York City, and how her interpretation of the values taught in the classes shaped her aspirations for her future as well as the meaning of her past pregnancy. AOUM was a site in which the indirect and seductive power of the state motivated her to align her aspirations and method of attaining them with the neoliberal notion of success, and the neoconservative Christian notions related to family and sexuality in which, essentially, she did not believe. The finding shows that teaching sexuality as a personal matter only and separate from economic equality, and sexuality and reproductive rights does not contribute to the empowerment of girls. I conclude by suggesting that teaching sexuality as a public and political issue is an alternative method of empowerment.

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“I Hope Nobody Feels Harassed”

Teacher Complicity in Gender Inequality in a Middle School

Susan McCullough

In this article, based on an ethnographic study conducted at a New York City public middle school during the 2013 to 2014 school year, I examine gender relations between early adolescent girls and boys, and between them and their teachers. The data—interviews and focus groups with girls, as well as observations—reveals girls’ perceptions of the boys’ dominance in the school and the ways in which boys used symbolic violence and sexual harassment to maintain their social, emotional, and physical power over the girls. Also, I discuss teacher denial of, and complicity in, these structures of power between students. Teachers normalized the hegemonic masculine practices as typical adolescent behavior and the school was deemed to be a gender equitable site by students and teachers. Furthermore, I consider questions regarding the role of teachers in this institutional violence against girls, as well as in relation to my role as researcher.

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Shakespeare and ‘Native Americans’

Forging Identities through the 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary

Monika Smialkowska

This article examines the celebrations organised for the 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary in three American locations: Wellesley, MA; Atlanta, GA; and Grand Forks, ND. By focusing on these hitherto neglected events, the article extends the investigations, initiated by Thomas Cartelli and Coppélia Kahn, into the ways in which the Tercentenary activities in the U.S. participated in the contemporaneous debates concerning American national identity. These investigations have until recently concentrated almost exclusively on the Tercentenary festivities organised in the metropolitan centre of New York City. An examination of the provincial celebrations in regions as diverse as New England, the South, and the Midwest, indicates that the Shakespeare Tercentenary provided a platform for the negotiation of a complex network of interrelated, and sometimes conflicting, national and local identities.

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Dennis A. Gilbert

My article focuses on Le Théâtre existentialiste (Existentialist Theater) by Simone de Beauvoir, recently translated and published in the volume of the Beauvoir Series on her literary writings. The first part introduces the original sound recording of this text and the circumstances behind its possible production in New York City in 1947 and my discovery of it at Wellesley College in 1996. The second part analyzes the divisions of Beauvoir's remarks as she presents Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and their principal plays from the period of the Occupation: The Flies, No Exit, and Caligula. The third part then evaluates certain of Beauvoir's key concepts in terms of how they were able to define adequately the substance of existentialist theater for a postwar American audience and whether they remain valid for a more contemporary theatrical public some six decades later.

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Colette Palamar

While increasing urbanization intensifies the need for ecological restoration in densely populated areas, projects implemented in urban settings are often beset with conflicts stemming from a mismatch between traditional restoration practices and social realities. As ecological restoration practitioners seek to protect and remediate urban ecosystems, I contend that the broad set of principles developed by the environmental justice movement can provide an excellent conceptual framework for integrating social ecologies into restoration plans. Successful integration is constrained, however, by a number of challenges both within the Principles of Environmental Justice and ecological restoration theory and practice. Using a case study of New York City's Green Guerillas community gardening program, I show how the principles can begin to be operationalized to provide an effective grounding methodology for the design, development, and implementation of urban restoration projects.