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The Punctum and the Past

Sartre and Barthes on Memory and Fascination

Patrick Eldridge

This article extrapolates a theory of memory as an intentional consciousness from Sartre’s early, scattered references to memory. There are three key questions: How does Sartre conceive of memory’s intentional structure? Its temporal structure? And how does memory display both continuity and discontinuity in the stream of consciousness? Starting from the Sartrean insight that memory is a ‘double consciousness’ the article offers an analysis of how memory helps to constitute a temporally complex mode of being-in-theworld. Aside from memory’s usefulness in this regard, memory also has the power to disturb consciousness and disrupt its projects. Roland Barthes’s concept of the punctum – which is connected to analyses of mourning – helps to clarify this. A synoptic analysis of Sartre and Barthes allows for a phenomenological description of how consciousness can be stuck in the past, confronted by something that was, and which holds the mind captive.

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Religion through the Looking Glass

Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond

Katherine Swancutt

This article is an exploration into how a distinct fascination with the study of religion traverses the biographies of researchers who, through fieldwork, episodically enter into the life-worlds of the peoples they study. In it, I offer up ethnographic and autoethnographic reflections on the experiential crossroads and personal biographies that are perhaps as constitutive of religion as they are of the persons who study it. Through a discussion of interconnected events that arose during and outside of my anthropological fieldwork among the Nuosu, a Tibeto-Burman group of Southwest China, I highlight how Nuosu claims to authoring my biography have brought their animistic religion and culture, as well as its international import, further into focus for myself, local scholars, and rural Nuosu persons. My argument pivots around the idea that fieldwork-based researchers and their interlocutors often appropriate each other’s biographies in rather cosmic ways, thus revealing the historically, socially, and personally contingent qualities that are involved in studies of religion.

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From Exoticism to Authenticity

Textbooks during French Colonization and the Modern Literature of Global Tourism

Claudine Moïse

*Article translated by Francine Tolron

This article explores the French fascination with “the primitive” and “the exotic” in the post–World War I years through a study of representations of the French colonies in textbooks intended for primary and secondary schoolchildren. It then compares these representations with contemporary French-language tourist literature in Ontario, Canada, demonstrating continuities between these “exotic” representations of the colonial other and contemporary discourses centered on “authenticity” in the world of international tourism.

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Carrie A. Rentschler and Claudia Mitchell

Girlhood Studies scholars respond to an overwhelming portrayal of girls as either bad or needing rescue in, for example, mainstream films on mean girls, popular psychology texts on primarily light-skinned middle class girls’ plummeting self-esteem, and media panics about teen girl sexting. According to Sharon Mazzarella and Norma Pecora, “In response to public anxiety and cultural fascination,” in “academic studies of girls…the emphasis has shifted slightly so that the discourse is no longer linked primarily to crisis” (2007: 105). Still, in popular and policy discourse today, girls are often unfairly and inaccurately cast as either super agents or failing subjects.

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'You ain't the man you was'

Learning to Be a Man Again in Charles Reade's A Simpleton

Georgina O'Brien Hill

This article examines the role of the sensation novel in the construction of male identities in the Victorian period through an examination of Charles Reade's A Simpleton, a Story of the Day (1873). This novel exploits Victorian anxieties surrounding male identity and seeks to affirm unstable concepts of masculinity through dominant codes of imperialism. O'Brien Hill argues that Reade's novel is unusual in the sensation canon due to the combination of the adventure sub-plot and sensational narrative devices, serving to expose the fluidity of male identity and Victorian fascination with the spectacle of masculinity in crisis.

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What Am I Still Doing Here?

Travel, Travel Writing, and Old Age

Robin Jarvis

This article offers preliminary thoughts on travel writing from a gerontological perspective. Gender, race, and sexuality have provided important analytical frames for travel writing studies, but age has yet to function as a topic or point of reference. Through a consideration of five travel books by respected modern authors—Jan Morris, Dervla Murphy, V. S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, and Colin Thubron—the article asks what motivates travel writers to stay “on the road” into their seventies and beyond, and what the distinctive features of travel narratives written at this life stage might be. The article aims to demonstrate the intrinsic fascination of travel books in which a strong abiding curiosity about the world coexists with an acute—and often melancholy—awareness of the passing of time and personal mortality.

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Overlapping Time and Place

Early Modern England’s Girlhood Discourse and Indigenous Girlhood in the Dominion of Canada (1684-1860)

Haidee Smith Lefebvre

For nearly two hundred years, Indigenous girls and young women were at the heart of Canada’s fur trade. As wives to British fur traders and as daughters of these unions, they liaised with traders and tribes. Although wives and daughters were viewed initially from an Indigenous perspective they gradually lost their separate identities as traders increasingly held them up to European ideals. Simultaneously, England’s fascination with girls and girlhood fluctuated between seeing girlhood as a gendered life-stage leading to matrimony on the one hand, and girlhood as a rhetorical device unhindered by biology or chronology on the other. In my article I link these two contexts so as to interpret Pauline Johnson’s essay, A Strong Race Opinion. Her essay criticizes contemporaneous Anglo-Canadian authors for depicting Indian heroines in an artificial light rather than as flesh-and-blood girls. My interpretation considers girlhood from an Indigenous perspective as a unique, distinct, and natural identity.

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Body Shock

The Political Aesthetics of Death

Uli Linke

In a global media market, images of war and victimhood are trafficked as master tropes of trauma situations with immense emotional appeal. Concurrent with this transformation of historical atrocities into consumable commodities, new forms of spectatorship—focused on bodies, medicine, and death—are being produced by the entertainment industry. The article examines this fascination with corpses by focusing on Body Worlds, a traveling anatomical exhibit that was initially launched in Germany. I interrogate the means by which dissected corpses are presented as popular entertainment in a post-Holocaust society and seek to explain the installation's global appeal. My research reveals that the collusion between the state and private enterprise not only endorses the global traffic in corpses but also enables the public spectacle of anatomical human bodies by negating subjectivity, violence, and history.

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James Gibbs

This study of Sartre's first novel seeks to move beyond the metaphysical constraints that are implicit when specifically focusing on either the work's literary or philosophical qualities, instead approaching the text as metafiction. Through an understanding of the novel's self-referentiality, its awareness of its accordance to narrative technique or reliance on existential verbatim, one gains an understanding of Sartre's fascination with the dialogue that exists between literature and philosophy. The examination of La Nausée and its Anglo-American criticism leads to a re-evaluation of the role of bad faith, in which character, author and, particularly, reader, are implicit. For reading is, like Roquentin's concluding understanding of existence, a balancing-act between the in-itself and the for-itself; an interaction with bad faith in which it is the individual/the reader that is responsible for attributing meaning to experience/La Nausée.

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The Return of the Animal

Posthumanism, Indigeneity, and Anthropology

Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

The vectors by which the question of the animal has confronted the discipline of anthropology are both diverse—from paleoarchaeological fascination with the transition from ape to man to sociocultural accounts of human-animal conflict—and fraught insofar as they tend to loop back into one another. For instance, while posthumanism is intellectually novel, to take its line of critique seriously is to recognize that the science of man has depended on the philosophical animal from the start. A still tighter loop could be drawn around Lévi-Strauss's foundational interest in animal symbolism and the Amazonian ontologies undergirding Latour's amodern philosophy. Three related interdependencies pull hard on these loops: 1) philosophy and anthropology; 2) the human and the animal; 3) modernity and indigeneity. This last interdependency is notably undertheorized in the present efflorescence of human-animal scholarship. This article attends to some of the consequences of modernity/indigeneity's clandestine operations in the literature.