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Writing for Student Audiences

Pitfalls and Possibilities

Heather Streets-Salter

When historians privilege writing to and for one another over all other kinds of writing—especially in a period when the humanities in particular are under siege at public universities around the country—do we run the risk of making ourselves irrelevant to anyone but ourselves? This article explores the stakes involved when historians shift the focus of their scholarly work toward alternate, non-academic audiences. In this case, I will focus my attention on writing for university and secondary student audiences through textbooks and reference works. On the one hand, I argue that writing for students has its pitfalls, because it is devalued in the historical discipline relative to monographs and articles based on archival research. As such, investment in such writing can prove detrimental to achieving tenure and promotion. On the other hand, I argue that writing for students allows us to reach a much larger audience than our peers. In addition, writing for student audiences forces us to think carefully about the accessibility of our writing as well as the link between research, telling stories in writing, and teaching. As such, I argue that writing for students may allow historians greater visibility and relevance in the public at a critical time, given recent cuts in higher education budgets.

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‘And gret wel Chaucer whan ye mete’

Chaucer’s Earliest Readers, Addressees and Audiences

Sebastian Sobecki

and when, in which locations and on what occasions, did Chaucer’s readers first experience his poetry? If some of his works were performed, were these readings punctuated by interjections or even topical exchanges? Were his earliest audiences socially

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Einar Wigen

Empire was never an important concept in Ottoman politics. This did not stop Ottoman rulers from laying claim to three titles that may be called imperial: halife, hakan, and kayser. Each of these pertains to different translationes imperii, or claims of descent from different empires: the Caliphate, the steppe empires of the Huns, Turks, and Mongols, and the Roman Empire. Each of the three titles was geared toward a specific audience: Muslims, Turkic nomads, and Greek-Orthodox Christians, respectively. In the nineteenth century a new audience emerged as an important source of political legitimacy: European-emergent international society. With it a new political vocabulary was introduced into the Ottoman language. Among those concepts was that of empire, which found its place in Ottoman discourse by connecting it with the existing imperial claims.

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John Ireland

Sartre's conflicted relationship with his theatrical audience is explained by showing how Sartre's initial theatrical venture, Bariona, created in a POW camp in December 1940, sparked an idealized conception of the audience. The particular context in which the play was produced brought its performers and audience together into an almost mystical fusion. But these virtues, derived from pre-textual “oral“ culture, lost much of their luster with Sartre's second play, The Flies. Like its predecessor, The Flies used myth to counter German censorship, but in occupied Paris in front of a much more heterogeneous audience. The resulting comparative failure complicated Sartre's relationship to the mass audiences he sought in the post-war years. Theater audiences became emblematic of a wider public Sartre never fully trusted to accept or understand his ideas. Furthermore, Sartre's decision to stage almost all his plays between 1946 and 1959 at the “bourgeois“ Théâtre Antoine only made him even more mistrustful of audiences he often found himself writing “against.“

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From individual grief to a shared history of the Bosnian war

Voice, audience, and the political in psychotherapeutic practices with refugees

Laura Huttunen

This article explores the relationship between psychotherapeutic practices with people with refugee backgrounds and “the political”. The relationship between voice and audience in psychotherapeutic practices is explored; through such an analysis the relationship between psychotherapy, history, and the political is considered. The theoretical questions are approached through a case study, a Bosnian man with refugee background living in Finland and attending psychotherapy there who invited the anthropologist to attend his therapy sessions. The analysis of the single case is situated within long-term ethnographic research on the Bosnian diaspora. Situating the personal in historical and moral plots, as well as seeking larger audiences beyond the confines of the therapeutic relationship, is seen as crucial in producing therapeutic effects. Simultaneously, the case enables a theoretical discussion about the relationships between voice, audience, and the political.

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'I Listen to the Soundtrack and I'm Back There in the Day'

Impacts of Performing Memory in Northern Ireland

Magdalena Weiglhofer

This article addresses the function of public presentations of personal memory in a post-conflict context and explores whether they may contribute to a preservation of that conflict. In particular, it examines the reception of performed memories of violence and its aftermath by audiences who have lived through similar experiences. To do this, it will discuss observations from empirical research on a verbatim theatre production in Northern Ireland, Heroes with Their Hands in the Air, that used interviews with relatives of those killed or wounded in an incident that came to be known as 'Bloody Sunday'. Drawing on the responses to the stories portrayed, it argues that, although such performative re-enactment of memory may contribute to an affirmation of collective identity and thus to preserving boundaries, it allows a community of memory to examine past events of suffering and explore impacts that reach into the present.

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Frederick Luis Aldama

The study of emotional body language is beginning to show results that contribute to our understanding of the affective and aesthetic impact of films on their audiences. This article presents an analysis of Mira Nair’s film Salaam Bombay! by turning to neurobiological findings on the emotions.

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Writing for different audiences

Social workers, irregular migrants and fragmented statehood in Belgian welfare bureaucracies

Sophie Andreetta

In Belgium, depending on their immigration status, foreigners may be entitled to different forms of social assistance, ranging from emergency medical care to financial benefits. In a context where residence permits are constantly updated, re-examined or withdrawn by the administration, this article explores the ways in which welfare bureaucrats deal with irregular migrants. Based on ethnographic fieldwork at welfare offices in French-speaking Belgium, this article shows that documentary practices in welfare bureaucracies have the effect of both restricting access to social assistance and aiding irregular migrants in bringing cases against the administration. This article thus also delves into the double-edged relationship of the social workers to the state by focusing on the competing norms and interpretations of law they encounter on a daily basis.

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Tiki Balas

Do television news programs meet viewer expectations and needs? Research into this issue found the answer to be negative. There is a breakdown between the editors of current a airs programs and the viewers. One of the reasons for this is the two groups' different systems of values. All the news editors on Israeli television were given a closed questionnaire based on "uses and gratification." They marked the degree of journalistic importance of each parameter and the extent to which these parameters are treated within their programs. Simultaneously, the questionnaire was presented to a representative sample of viewers, who were asked about the importance of the parameters for them and the extent to which these parameters are found in television current a airs programs. This study finds a huge gap between the viewers and the editors in both the public and commercial channels. The research findings support researchers that criticize the "usage and gratification" approach as explaining media consumption.

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Robert Shaughnessy

This introduction maps the prospectus of the issue, introducing the concept of applied Shakespeare in terms of its roots in the applied, socially engaged and participatory performance practices that have developed in a wide variety of educational, theatrical and community settings in recent years. Operating in the nexus between this work and a body of canonical plays that serve as a resource to address the needs of diverse user constituencies, applied Shakespeare is represented in this issue by a series of case studies, which the introduction summarises.