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Reconsidering the Look in Sartre's: Being and Nothingness

Luna Dolezal

Jean-Paul Sartre's account of the Look in Being and Nothingness is not straightforward and many conflicting interpretations have arisen due to apparent contradictions in Sartre's own writing. The Look, for Sartre, demonstrates how the self gains thematic awareness of the body, forming a public and self-conscious sense of how the body appears to others and, furthermore, illustrates affective and social aspects of embodied being. In this article, I will critically explore Sartre's oft-cited voyeur vignette in order to provide a coherent account of the Look and to illustrate the significance of intersubjectivity and self-consciousness in Sartre's work. Through considering Sartre's voyeur vignette and other examples of reflective self-consciousness, this article will examine epistemological, self-evaluative and ontological concerns in the constitution of reflective self-consciousness. It will be contended that Sartre's accounts of the Look and reflective self-consciousness within social relations can provide insight into the intersubjective nature of the shaping of the body and the significance of self-presentation within the social realm.

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The Look as a Call to Freedom

On the Possibility of Sartrean Grace

Sarah Horton

That the traditional understanding of the look views it mainly in terms of shame, oppression, and conflict is unsurprising, since that is precisely how Being and Nothingness presents it. 1 It is well known, however, that Being and Nothingness

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Religion through the Looking Glass

Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond

Katherine Swancutt

home nearby. Concluding Remarks: Through the Looking Glass of Fascination Watching one’s own biography become shaped by the inclinations of fieldwork friends, whose lives we episodically dip in and out of, has its own particular brand of fascination

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The Sartrean Account of the Look as a Theory of Dialogue

Steve Martinot

At the center of his ontological treatise, Being and Nothingness, in a section titled "The Look," Sartre creates a small narrative moment of dubious virtue in which he is able to resolve one of the truly vexing problems of phenomenology up to his time. It is the problem of the Other. How is it that one can apprehend the Other as subject? Previously, philosophy had sought to understand the other through reflection or attribution (and Sartre deals in particular with the Hegelian and Heideggerian accounts). But to regard the other as a reflection of oneself ends in an obvious solipsism: all others would be only reflections of oneself. To define the other as a subject simply because one saw a person standing there reduces subjectivity irretrievably to object status. And to attribute subjectivity to the other as an extension of experience with oneself as a subject renders one a source of mere doctrine through which to see others. Yet to proclaim the other to be unknowable as a subject leaves no basis upon which to speak about personal and social relations. I will argue that because Sartre's account of the look, his vision of the interpersonal as a subject-object relation, is couched within the realm of the visible, it takes the form of conflict. It will be my contention that being-for-others takes on a different character when articulated in terms of the spoken or "audible." And this difference will have certain socio-political ramifications.

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Through the Looking Glasses and Anthropology Comes ‘Home’: Globalising the View on European Cultures

Introducing a New Co-Editor

Jennifer R. Cash

undertaken for thirty years and more to bring Europe in ‘from the margins’ of anthropological inquiry. In the coursework I took at Indiana University towards my PhD, Michael Herzfeld's (1987) Through the Looking Glass was foundational reading, right

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“Like Alice through the Looking Glass”

Claude Lévi-Strauss in New York

Vincent Debaene

What were the significance and the impact, for Claude Lévi-Strauss, of his experience as a refugee in New York between May 1941 and December 1944? If one follows Lévi-Strauss's late reconstructions, his exile appears surprisingly as an almost enchanted experience, marked by various encounters (Roman Jakobson, André Breton, Franz Boas), the first contact with North-West Coast Amerindian art, and the discovery of New York, an almost surrealistic city “where anything seemed possible.” Without contesting such an a posteriori reading, this article shows how such a reconstruction has been made possible through a complex reorganization of a traumatizing past. It then appears that the exile, and its remembrance in later texts, played a pivotal role in the development of Lévi-Strauss's anthropological work to come: his experience as a refugee was at the root of his reinvention of symbolism as well as of his reflections on humanity as a whole.

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Through the Looking Glass: Philosophical Toys and Digital Visual Effects

Stephen Prince

Digital visual effects bridge art and science in ways that have expanded the expressive tools available to filmmakers. Digital imaging also has enlarged a domain for realism in cinema based on indexical and perceptual factors. Examining these factors, the article questions the visual skepticism that often surrounds discussion of visual effects in film studies. A conjunction of art and science has characterized cinema throughout its history, especially in the era of “philosophical toys” from which the medium originated. The article examines that era in light of what it suggests about digital imaging today and the aesthetic forms that it enables.

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Shanghai, London, and Paris through the Looking Glass

Carlos López Galviz

Imagining the future of cities is often an exercise that is based upon the imagining of future transport infrastructure. The article explores this connection historically by drawing parallels between London, Paris and Shanghai since c.1851. It focuses on the role that symbols and mythmaking have in the process of envisioning both future transport and future cities. It raises questions about the continuities between contexts that are distant across space and over time and the extent to which such continuities might provide some insights into the many connections between cities, transport and mobilities.

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Another Look at the Look of the Other: Sartre's Presentation of Daniel in L'Age de raison

Paul Reed

Whenever Daniel has been the focus of critical attention, he has invariably been seen within an ontological framework, in terms of a desire to ‘be’, in the Sartrean sense. It has now come to be regarded as a truism that Daniel’s attempts at self-punishment signify such a desire. The interpretation originates with Iris Murdoch who, quoting an extract from Le Sursis, in which Daniel expresses a desire ‘to be a pederast, as an oaktree is an oaktree’, concludes that ‘[Daniel] is never able to experience a pure coincidence with his vice; he remains detached from it, an observer, a possibility. His attempts to achieve coincidence take the form of self-punishment’.

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MacDougall, David. 2019. The looking machine: essays on cinema, anthropology and documentary filmmaking. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 232 pp. Pb.: US$29.95. ISBN: 9781526134110.

Igor Karim