Literature, Visual Arts and the Power of Narrative
Author: Hanna Meretoja,Colin Davis
Category: Literary Criticism
In recent years there has been a huge amount of both popular and academic interest in storytelling as something that is an essential part of not only literature and art but also our everyday lives as well as our dreams, fantasies, aspirations, historical self-understanding, and political actions. The question of the ethics of storytelling always, inevitably, lurks behind these discussions, though most frequently it remains implicit rather than explicit. This volume explores the ethical potential and risks of storytelling from an interdisciplinary perspective. It stages a dialogue between contemporary literature and visual arts across media (film, photography, performative arts), interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives (debates in narrative studies, trauma studies, cultural memory studies, ethical criticism), and history (traumatic histories of violence, cultural history). The collection analyses ethical issues involved in different strategies employed in literature and art to narrate experiences that resist telling and imagining, such as traumatic historical events, including war and political conflicts. The chapters explore the multiple ways in which the ethics of storytelling relates to the contemporary arts as they work with, draw on, and contribute to historical imagination. The book foregrounds the connection between remembering and imagining and explores the ambiguous role of narrative in the configuration of selves, communities, and the relation to the non-human. While discussing the ethical aspects of storytelling, it also reflects on the relevance of artistic storytelling practices for our understanding of ethics. Making an original contribution to interdisciplinary narrative studies and narrative ethics, this book both articulates a complex understanding of how artistic storytelling practices enable critical distance from culturally dominant narrative practices, and analyzes the limitations and potential pitfalls of storytelling.
Against the backdrop of the polarized debate on the ethical significance of storytelling, Hanna Meretoja's The Ethics of Storytelling: Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible develops a nuanced framework for exploring the ethical complexity of the roles narratives play in our lives.Focusing on how narratives enlarge and diminish the spaces of possibilities in which we act, think, and re-imagine the world together with others, this book proposes a theoretical-analytical framework for engaging with both the ethical potential and risks of storytelling. Further, it elaborates anarrative hermeneutics that treats narratives as culturally mediated practices of (re)interpreting experiences and articulates how narratives can be oppressive, empowering, or both. It also argues that the relationship between narrative unconscious and narrative imagination shapes our sense of thepossible.In her book, Meretoja develops a hermeneutic narrative ethics that differentiates between six dimensions of the ethical potential of storytelling: the power of narratives to cultivate our sense of the possible; to contribute to individual and cultural self-understanding; to enable understandingother lives non-subsumptively in their singularity; to transform the narrative in-betweens that bind people together; to develop our perspective-awareness and capacity for perspective-taking; and to function as a form of ethical inquiry. This book addresses our implication in violent histories andargues that it is as dialogic storytellers, fundamentally vulnerable and dependent on one another, that we become who we are: both as individuals and communities.The Ethics of Storytelling seamlessly incorporates narrative ethics, literary narrative studies, narrative psychology, narrative philosophy, and cultural memory studies. It contributes to contemporary interdisciplinary narrative studies by developing narrative hermeneutics as a philosophicallyrigorous, historically sensitive, and analytically subtle approach to the ethical stakes of the debate on the narrative dimension of human existence.
This book provides a comprehensive compilation of essays on the relationship between formal experimentation and ethics in a number of generically hybrid or "liminal" narratives dealing with individual and collective traumas, running the spectrum from the testimonial novel and the fictional autobiography to the fake memoir, written by a variety of famous, more neglected contemporary British, Irish, US, Canadian, and German writers. Building on the psychological insights and theorizing of the fathers of trauma studies (Janet, Freud, Ferenczi) and of contemporary trauma critics and theorists, the articles examine the narrative strategies, structural experimentations and hybridizations of forms, paying special attention to the way in which the texts fight the unrepresentability of trauma by performing rather than representing it. The ethicality or unethicality involved in this endeavor is assessed from the combined perspectives of the non-foundational, non-cognitive, discursive ethics of alterity inspired by Emmanuel Levinas, and the ethics of vulnerability. This approach makes Contemporary Trauma Narratives an excellent resource for scholars of contemporary literature, trauma studies and literary theory.
Trauma in Contemporary Literature analyzes contemporary narrative texts in English in the light of trauma theory, including essays by scholars of different countries who approach trauma from a variety of perspectives. The book analyzes and applies the most relevant concepts and themes discussed in trauma theory, such as the relationship between individual and collective trauma, historical trauma, absence vs. loss, the roles of perpetrator and victim, dissociation, nachträglichkeit, transgenerational trauma, the process of acting out and working through, introjection and incorporation, mourning and melancholia, the phantom and the crypt, postmemory and multidirectional memory, shame and the affects, and the power of resilience to overcome trauma. Significantly, the essays not only focus on the phenomenon of trauma and its diverse manifestations but, above all, consider the elements that challenge the aporias of trauma, the traps of stasis and repetition, in order to reach beyond the confines of the traumatic condition and explore the possibilities of survival, healing and recovery.
Author: Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg,Alexandra Schultheis Moore
Category: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
What can literary theory reveal about discourses and practices of human rights, and how can human rights frameworks help to make sense of literature? How have human rights concerns shaped the literary marketplace, and how can literature impact human rights concerns? Essays in this volume theorize how both literature and reading literarily can shape understanding of human rights in productive ways. Contributors to Theoretical Perspectives on Human Rights and Literature provide a shared history of modern literature and rights; theorize how trauma, ethics, subjectivity, and witnessing shape representations of human rights violations and claims in literary texts across a range of genres (including poetry, the novel, graphic narrative, short story, testimonial, and religious fables); and consider a range of civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights and their representations. The authors reflect on the imperial and colonial histories of human rights as well as the cynical mobilization of human rights discourses in the name of war, violence, and repression; at the same time, they take seriously Gayatri Spivak’s exhortation that human rights is something that we "cannot not want," exploring the central function of storytelling at the heart of all human rights claims, discourses, and policies.
At a time increasingly dominated by globalization, migration, and the clash between supranational and ultranational ideologies, the relationship between language and borders has become more complicated and, in many ways, more consequential than ever. This book shows how concepts of ‘language’ and ‘multilingualism’ look different when viewed from Belize, Lagos, or London, and asks how ideas about literature and literary form must be remade in a contemporary cultural marketplace that is both linguistically diverse and interconnected, even as it remains profoundly unequal. Bringing together scholars from the fields of literary studies, applied linguistics, publishing, and translation studies, the volume investigates how multilingual realities shape not only the practice of writing but also modes of literary and cultural production. Chapters explore examples of literary multilingualism and their relationship to the institutions of publishing, translation, and canon-formation. They consider how literature can be read in relation to other multilingual and translational forms of contemporary cultural circulation and what new interpretative strategies such developments demand. In tracing the multilingual currents running across a globalized world, this book will appeal to the growing international readership at the intersections of comparative literature, world literature, postcolonial studies, literary theory and criticism, and translation studies.
This book explores the Gothic mode as it appears in the literature, visual arts, and culture of different areas of Latin America. Focusing on works from authors in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Andes, Brazil, and the Southern Cone, the essays in this volume illuminate the existence of native representations of the Gothic, while also exploring the presence of universal archetypes of terror and horror. Through the analysis of global and local Gothic topics and themes, they evaluate the reality of a multifaceted territory marked by a shifting colonial and postcolonial relationship with Europe and the United States. The book asks questions such as: Is there such a thing as "Latin American Gothic" in the same sense that there is an "American Gothic" and "British Gothic"? What are the main elements that particularly characterize Latin American Gothic? How does Latin American Gothic function in the context of globalization? What do these elements represent in relation to specific national literatures? What is the relationship between the Gothic and the Postcolonial? What can Gothic criticism bring to the study of Latin American cultural manifestations and, conversely, what can these offer the Gothic? The analysis performed here reflects a body of criticism that understands the Gothic as a global phenomenon with specific manifestations in particular territories while also acknowledging the effects of "Globalgothic" on a transnational and transcultural level. Thus, the volume seeks to open new spaces and areas of scholarly research and academic discussion both regionally and globally with the presentation of a solid analysis of Latin American texts and other cultural phenomena which are manifestly related to the Gothic world.
This interdisciplinary study examines the role interpersonal and place attachment bonds play in crafting a national identity in American literature. Although there have been numerous ecocritical studies of and psychoanalytic approaches to American literature, this study seeks to integrate the language of empirical science and the physical realities of place, while also investigating non-human agency and that which exists beyond the material realm. Murphy considers how writers in the early American Republic constructed modernity by restructuring representations of interpersonal and place attachments, which are subsequently reimagined, reconfigured, and sometimes even rejected by writers in the long nineteenth century. Within each narrative American perceptions of otherness are pathologized as a result of insecure human-to-human and human-to-place attachments, resulting in a restructuring of antiquated notions of difference. Throughout, Murphy argues that in order to understand fully the contextually varied framework of human bonding, it is important to emphasize America’s "attachment" to various constructions of otherness. Historically, people of color, women, ethnic groups, and lower class citizens have been relegated—socially, politically, and culturally—to a place of subordination. Refugees escaping the French and Haitian Revolutions to American cities encouraged writers to transform social, cultural, and political attachments in ways that the American Revolution did not. The United States has always been part of an extended global network that provides fertile ground from which to imagine a future American identity; this book thus gestures toward future readers, educators, and scholars who seek to explore new fields and new approaches to understand the underlying human motivations that continually inspire the American imagination.
The Genesis story of Cain's murder of Abel is often told as a simplistic contrast between the innocence of Abel and the evil of Cain. This book subverts that reading of the Biblical text by utilising Giorgio Agamben's concepts of homo sacer, the state of exception and the idea of sovereignty to re-examine this well-known tale of fratricide and bring to the fore its political implications. Drawing from political theory, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, this book creates a theoretical framework from which to do two things: firstly, to describe and analyse the history of interpretation of Genesis 4:1-16, and secondly to propose an alternative reading of the Biblical text that incorporates other texts inside and outside of the Biblical canon. This intertextual analysis will highlight the motives of violence, law, divine rule, and the rejected as they emerge in different contexts and will evaluate them in an Agambenian framework. The unique approach of this book makes it vital reading for any academic with interests in Biblical Studies and Theology and their interactions with politics and ethics.
Food is a defining feature in every culture. Despite its very basic purpose of sustaining life, it directly impacts the community, culture and heritage in every region around the globe in countless seen and unseen ways, including the literature and narratives of each region. Across the African continent, food and foodways, which refer to the ways that humans consume, produce and experience food, were influened by slavery and forced labor, colonization, foreign aid, and the anxieties prompted by these encounters, all of which can be traced through the ways food is seen in narratives by African and colonial storytellers. The African continent is home to thousands of cultures, but nearly every one has experienced alteration of its foodways because of slavery, transcontinental trade, and colonization. Food and Foodways in African Narratives: Community, Culture, and Heritage takes a careful look at these alterations as seen through African narratives throughout various cultures and spanning centuries.
Miton and Early Modern Devotional Culture analyses the representation of public and private prayer in John Milton’s poetry and prose, paying particular attention to the ways seventeenth-century prayer is imagined as embodied in sounds, gestures, postures, and emotional responses. Naya Tsentourou demonstrates Milton’s profound engagement with prayer, and how this is driven by a consistent and ardent effort to experience one’s address to God as inclusive of body and spirit and as loaded with affective potential. The book aims to become the first interdisciplinary study to show how Milton participates in and challenges early modern debates about authentic and insincere worship in public, set and spontaneous prayers in private, and gesture and voice in devotion.
Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the globalization of Cuban culture, along with the bankruptcy of the state, partly modified the terms of intellectual engagement. However, no significant change took place at the political level. In Community and Culture in Post-Soviet Cuba, De Ferrari looks into the extraordinary survival of the Revolution by focusing on the personal, political and aesthetic social pacts that determined the configuration of the socialist state. Through close critical readings of a representative set of contemporary Cuban novels and works of visual art, this book argues that ethics and gender, rather than ideology, account for the intellectuals’ fidelity to the Revolution. Community and Culture does three things: it demonstrates that masculine sociality is the key to understanding the longevity of Cuba’s socialist regime; it examines the sociology of cultural administration of intellectual labor in Cuba; and it maps the emergent ethical and aesthetic paradigms that allow Cuban intellectuals to envision alternative forms of community and civil society.
This book offers a critical engagement with contemporary IR textbooks via a novel folklorist approach. Two parts of the folklorist approach are developed, addressing story structures via resemblances to two fairy tales, and engaging with the role of authors via framing gestures. The book not only looks at how the idea of ‘social science’ may persist in textbooks as many assumptions about what it means to study IR, but also at how these assumptions are written into the defining stories textbooks tell and the possibilities for (re)negotiating these stories and the boundaries of the discipline. This book will specifically engage with how the stories in textbooks constrain how it is possible to define IR through its (re)production as a social science discipline. In the first part, story structures are explored via Donkeyskin and Bluebeard stories which the book argues resemble some structures in textbooks that define how it is permissible to tell stories about IR. In the second part the role of authors is explored via their framing gestures within a text, drawing on a number of fairy tales. By approaching the stories in textbooks alongside fairy tales, Starnes reflects back onto IR the disciplining practices in the stories textbooks tell by rendering them unfamiliar. Aiming to spark a critical conversation about the role of textbooks in defining the boundaries of what counts as IR and by extension the boundaries of the IR canon, this book is of great interest to students and scholars of international relations.
As contemporary socio-ecological challenges such as climate change and biodiversity preservation have become more important, the three pillars concept has increasingly been used in planning and policy circles as a framework for analysis and action. However, the issue of how culture influences sustainability is still an underexplored theme. Understanding how culture can act as a resource to promote sustainability, rather than a barrier, is the key to the development of cultural sustainability. This book explores the interfaces between nature and culture through the perspective of cultural sustainability. A cultural perspective on environmental sustainability enables a renewal of sustainability discourse and practices across rural and urban landscapes, natural and cultural systems, stressing heterogeneity and complexity. The book focuses on the nature-culture interface conceptualised as a place where experiences, practices, policies, ideas and knowledge meet, are negotiated, discussed and resolved. Rather than looking for lost unities, or an imaginary view of harmonious relationships between humans and nature based in the past, it explores cases of interfaces that are context-sensitive and which consciously convey the problems of scale and time. While calling attention to a cultural or ‘culturalised’ view of the sustainability debate, this book questions the radical nature-culture dualism dominating positive modern thinking as well as its underlying view of nature as pre-given and independent from human life.
This book seeks to address and fill a puzzling omission in contemporary critical IR scholarship. Following on from the aesthetic turn in IR, critical and ‘postmodern’ IR has produced an impressive array of studies into movies, literature, music and art and the way these media produce, mediate, and represent international politics. By contrast, the proponents of the aesthetic turn have overlooked fashion as a source of knowledge about global politics. Yet stories about the political role of fashion abound in the news media. Margaret Thatcher used dress to define her political image, and more recently the fascination with Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni and other women in similar positions, and the discussions about the appropriateness of their wardrobes, regularly makes the news. In Sudan, a female writer and activist successfully challenged the government over her right to wear trousers in public and in Europe, the debate on women’s headscarves has politicised a garment item and turned it into a symbol of fundamentalism and oppression. In response, the contributors to this book investigate the politics of fashion from a variety of perspectives, addressing theoretical as well as empirical issues, establishing the critical study of fashion and its protagonists as a central contribution to the aesthetic turn in international politics. The politics of fashion go beyond these examples of the uses and abuses of textiles and fabrics for political purposes, extending into its very ‘grammar’ and vocabulary. This book will be a unique contribution to the field and will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, critical IR theory and popular culture and world politics.
The Crisis and Return of Storytelling from Robbe-Grillet to Tournier
Author: H. Meretoja
Category: Literary Criticism
The Narrative Turn in Fiction and Theory explores the philosophical and historical underpinnings of the postwar crisis and return of storytelling and shows their relevance for the ongoing debate on the significance of narrative for human existence.
How can we help and support people to face climate change? Engaging with Climate Change is one of the first books to explore in depth what climate change actually means to people. It brings members of a wide range of different disciplines in the social sciences together in discussion and to introduce a psychoanalytic perspective. The important insights that result have real implications for policy, particularly with regard to how to relate to people when discussing the issue. Topics covered include: what lies beneath the current widespread denial of climate change how do we manage our feelings about climate change our great difficulty in acknowledging our true dependence on nature our conflicting identifications the effects of living within cultures that have perverse aspects the need to mourn before we can engage in a positive way with the new conditions we find ourselves in. Through understanding these issues and adopting policies that recognise their implications humanity can hope to develop a response to climate change of the nature and scale necessary. Aimed at the general reader as well as psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and climate scientists, this book will deepen our understanding of the human response to climate change.
Author: Suzanne Macleod,Laura Hourston Hanks,Jonathan Hale
Category: Social Science
Over recent decades, many museums, galleries and historic sites around the world have enjoyed an unprecedented level of large-scale investment in their capital infrastructure, in building refurbishments and new gallery displays. This period has also seen the creation of countless new purpose-built museums and galleries, suggesting a fundamental re-evaluation of the processes of designing and shaping of museums. Museum Making: Narratives, Architectures, Exhibitions examines this re-making by exploring the inherently spatial character of narrative in the museum and its potential to connect on the deepest levels with human perception and imagination. Through this uniting theme, the chapters explore the power of narratives as structured experiences unfolding in space and time as well as the use of theatre, film and other technologies of storytelling by contemporary museum makers to generate meaningful and, it is argued here, highly effective and affective museum spaces. Contributions by an internationally diverse group of museum and heritage professionals, exhibition designers, architects and artists with academics from a range of disciplines including museum studies, theatre studies, architecture, design and history cut across traditional boundaries including the historical and the contemporary and together explore the various roles and functions of narrative as a mechanism for the creation of engaging and meaningful interpretive environments.
Thinking and Acting in the Local and Global Commons
Author: Joni Adamson,Kimberly N. Ruffin
Category: Literary Collections
Contributors to the collection examine literary, historical, and cultural examples from the 19th century to the 21st. They explore notions of the common--namely, common humanity, common wealth, and common ground--and the relation of these notions to often conflicting definitions of who (or what) can have access to "citizenship" and "rights." The book engages in scholarly ecological analysis via the lens of various human groups--ethnic, racial, gendered, coalitional--that are shaping twenty-first century environmental experience and vision.
How can art act as an intercultural mediator for dialogue? In order to scrutinize this question, relevant theoretical ideas are discussed and artistic intervention projects examined so as to highlight its cultural, political, economic, social, and transformational impacts. This thought-provoking work reveals why art is needed to help multicultural neighbourhoods and societies be sustainable, as well as united by diversity. This edited collection underlines the significance of arts and media as a tool of understanding, mediation, and communication across and beyond cultures. The chapters with a variety of conceptual and methodological approaches from particular contexts demonstrate the complexity in the dynamics of (inter)cultural communication, culture, identity, arts, and media. Overall, the collection encourages readers to consider themselves as agents of the communication process promoting dialogue.