Noam Chomsky is undoubtedly one of the brilliant polyglots produced in the last century, who continues to engage critically with various issues that bother us today. In the masterly foreword to this book Akeel Bilgrami, a thinker and linguist, explains that this book is ‘a lifetime of reflection by a scientist of language’ (vii). It is divided into four chapters, ‘What is Language?’, ‘What Can We Understand?’, ‘What is the Common Good?’, and ‘The Mysteries of Nature: How Deeply Hidden?’. Through these questions Chomsky intends to get a clarity about and hopes for the answers of the question that forms the name of this book: ‘What Kind of Creatures Are We?’ These fundamental questions ‘cover an impressive range of fields: theoretical linguistics, cognitive science, philosophy of science, history of science, evolutionary biology, metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, the philosophy of language and mind, moral and political philosophy, and, even briefly, the ideal of human education’ (ibid.).
There are two kinds of academic writing, if we classify the work by the nature of the author’s expertise. The first one, the most prevalent, is the kind of writing that is born out of the scholarly work of the author and is primarily based on research and teaching experience. The second kind, comparatively harder to come by, is the writing of a scholar that is the result of an entire lifetime of study, research, teaching, understanding, and more importantly, dialogue. Interreligious Encounters is a rare gem of the second kind of academic writing. When the reader lays their hands on it, and sees the name of the author, they are already overawed with great expectation and tremendous reverence. Michael Amaladoss is a rare theologian and practitioner, who has long critically examined his own faith tradition in order to have meaningful dialogue with other faiths.
This review-essay discusses George Brant’s play Grounded (2013) in the context of its production at the Gate Theatre (London). It begins with a critical examination of my own “mis-seeing” of the play’s protagonist as a version of the tragic Heracles. The analysis which follows compares key aspects of The Pilot’s narrative with Euripides’ Heracles and Sophocles’ Women of Trachis, and relates my “mis-seeing” to Brant’s referencing of symbols and characters from ancient Greek myth within the drama. It finally considers the Gate’s staging of the play’s closing moments in relation to the dramaturgy of Athenian tragedy, examining the ways in which the production denies its watchers the expected tragic spectacle of the fallen hero, instead foregrounding and interrogating the ethics of the audience’s own spectatorship.
This chapter explores Tania Bruguera’s Tatlin’s Whisper series (2006–present) as enactments of an artistic practice that wants to be directly inserted in reality. First, I trace the genealogy of Arte de Conducta as a reaction against the Anglo-European category of “Performance” art, which anchors her work to a cultural tradition outside of the English-speaking context. Then, I discuss how Bruguera’s practice is informed by her engagement with the Escuela de Conducta Eduardo Marante, a short-lived correctional project that sought to re-educate and reintegrate Cuban youths into society. It concludes with an analysis of the Tatlin’s Whisper series and how they activate images from the past to catalyse a critical awareness of the now, and by extension of the future.
This paper explores some ontological aspects of archaeological voids and enclosures together with their translations and substitutions, and considers the nature of spaces within material archaeological deposits and artefacts. The dematerialized and rematerialized bodies of the victims of Vesuvius in CE 79 are reappraised as a case study. By problematizing the voids we are able to think critically about the ontological status of the victims’ persistent traces and residues. Speciﬁcally, using Gavin Lucas’ grid of forces models, we explore how these traces and residues have been transformed into different kinds of objects, including, most recently, rematerializations in the digital, through their ongoing intra-actions within the domains of archaeology, museology, and additive manufacturing. Through this analysis the ambivalent nature of these traces and residues becomes more sensible
What does it mean to say Jesus was subversive? This article engages in meta-critical analysis of the use of ‘subversion’ in historical Jesus research. It argues that the neoliberal lives of Jesus in particular have increasingly fetishized a cultural mainstreaming of subversion in which certain forms of containable subversion are tolerated within late capitalist society, as part of a broader strategy of economic and ideological compliance. On the one hand, J.D. Crossan’s Jesus spun subversive aphorisms which constituted the radical subversion of the present world order. On the other hand, N.T. Wright has frequently intensified the rhetoric of subversion, claiming a ‘profoundly’, ‘doubly’, ‘thoroughly’, ‘deeply’, and ‘multiply’ subversive Jesus, while simultaneously distancing him from traditional subversive fixtures like militant revolutionary action. Through its discursive mimicking of wider cultural trends, this rhetorical trope has enabled Jesus scholarship to enjoy both popular and academic success in Western, neoliberal society.
Since its first attempts to understand natural phenomena, early modern science devoted great attention to the problematic issue of the origin of springs. This essay examines the lively debate that emerged from the studies on fresh water during the years spanning from the mid-sixteenth century to the early eighteenth. By focusing on the interpretations advanced by several authors (including lesser known, but nonetheless important figures such as Mario Bettini, Edward Barlow, and Diacinto Cestoni), and by introducing Antonio Vallisneri’s Primi itineris specimen, an unpublished manuscript which reveals significant insights into the hydrogeological debate, a new analysis is provided of the heterogeneous factors which influenced the path of natural philosophy towards the comprehension of the water cycle. The conclusion suggests how a reconsideration of the intricate backgrounds underlying many scientific debates and concepts could play a critical role in solving a still controversial issue: science’s need for a history of science.
This paper considers the impact of so-called digital divides in digital approaches to teaching about the Ancient and Medieval worlds. My experience mostly derives from teaching a large (150+ student) introductory level “Western Civilization” class at the University of North Dakota. UND is a mid-sized, “High Research Activity” university (according to our Carnegie classification) that draws heavily from the Northern Plains. I teach in small history department of 10 students with relatively strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and a small and withering graduate program. This paper explores how various “digital divides” have shaped my own teaching strategies in an introductory level history course and how working to bridge these divides on a practical level nudged me to think more critically about how digital tools produce students, teachers, and communicate the expectations of the modern world.
There is an unexplored synergy between the ways media archaeology and decolonial theory handle the notion of modernity. Both consider modernity as happening at different places and at different times: modernity is an event that is larger than Europe or the United States. Using this resonance, this article will make a media archaeological reading of the decolonial theorists, Walter Mignolo and Santiago Castro-Gomez’s concept, “the zero point.” The zero point will be read as a media topos present throughout the immersive media that grounds much western media history and visual culture. Finally, based on these criticisms, this article will offer an alternative starting point based in the imaginary media of Adolfo Bioy Casares’ novel, The Invention of Morel. The goal of this intervention is to demonstrate the way the western paradigm of technology has imperialized the imaginations of the world and to offer another place for media artists and technologists to begin from.
This essay was presented as part of the City University MSc for Library and Information Science Module INM380, Libraries and Publishing in an Information Society. Abstract: An overview of 21st-century visual culture and its implications for digital publishing. This essay explores some of the complexities of the media of 21st-century visual culture and the relationship between publishing, information professionals and the vehicles of today’s information communication society. It delves into how organisations harnessing of visual culture media can influence our thoughts, health and behaviours thereby affecting our informational selves in Floridi’s ‘Infosphere’ (2016). Advertising, fanfiction digital cultures and street art are used as examples whilst considering the social changes and implications of a digitally enhanced, image-led world where anyone can become instantaneous global authors, photographers or critics of the digital copy, leaving publishing to reimagine its role and scope in order to survive.