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DepositSystems and Other Minimalism in Britain

This collection of essays represents the first international survey of minimalism and postminimalist music from a wide variety of analytical and historical perspectives; its authors include the central scholars in this area. This chapter is the first comprehensive study of the wide variety of minimalist styles in Britain, from the sparse, ‘minimal minimalist’ One Note 1966 by Christopher Hobbs, to repetitive and durational processes that were at first developed experimentally, using random processes (John White’s Machine music) to numerical systems processes, derived from the work of the British Systems Art group. Although there are close ties between the British and American movements (perhaps strengthened by a shared language), the British movement is distinguished by its ties to British systems and op art, and to literature, as well as to the British folk practice of change-ringing. However, the most consistent trait in this music is a sense of play, and playfulness.

DepositThemistocles and the Voice of the Other

All commented on Themistocles’ feat of mastering the Persian language. I show how Plutarch’s depiction of Themistocles differs from previous accounts in cultural assimilation and language acquisition. I argue that Plutarch has been influenced by contemporary concerns relating to assimilation and ethnicity. I analyze three incidents: the inscription Themistocles allegedly inscribed on the shores of Euboea after Artemisium (Them. 9.2), the report that Themistocles ordered that an interpreter should be killed “on the grounds that he dared to use the Greek language in the service of barbarian overlords” (Them. 6.1), and his studies of the Persian language (Them. 29). Plutarch either includes events found in no previous source, or presents them in a tendentious manner different from previous accounts. For Plutarch, the Themistocles legend had become a battle ground for questions of language and self-definition. This trend is continued by authors after Plutarch, who emphasize and invent incidents in Themistocles’ life which demonstrate the primacy of the Hellenic language and culture.

DepositTrusting Others to ‘Do the Math’

Researchers effectively trust the work of others anytime they use software tools or custom software. In this article I explore this notion of trusting others, using Digital Humanities as a focus, and drawing on my own experience. Software is inherently flawed and limited, so its use in scholarship demands better practices and terminology, to review research software and describe development processes. It is also important to make research software engineers and their work more visible, both for the purposes of review and credit.

DepositDigital Cinema, Montage and Other Visualities

Digital technology is enabling a reconceptualization of film and cinema. The pliability of digital media opens up, particularly, the theory and practice of montage to revision. This pliability allows for cheap and easy copying and combining of images, and, relatedly, the transition from film frame to digital screen provides a less precious and more flexible creative space for filmmakers. In my documentary, Comic Book City, Portland, Oregon USA (2012), I leverage these qualities of digital media to experiment with aspects of both cinematic and comic book visualities to create a different sense of montage than the one historically associated with film.

DepositNeeding the other: the anatomy of the Mass Noun Thesis

Othering is the construction and identification of the self or in-group and the other or out-group in mutual, unequal opposition by attributing relative inferiority and/or radical alienness to the other/out-group. Othering can be “crude” or “sophisticated”, the defining difference being that in the latter case othering depends on the interpretation of the other/out-group in terms that are applicable only to the self/in-group but that are unconsciously assumed to be universal. The Mass Noun Thesis, the idea that all nouns in certain languages are grammatically and folk-ontologically similar to mass nouns in English, is an example of such sophisticated othering. According to this Thesis, (a) count nouns refer to discrete objects and mass nouns to stuffs; (b) the other’s language has only mass nouns and thus no count nouns; and therefore, (c) the other’s folk-ontology is an ontology of mass stuffs only. There is much evidence, however, that folk-ontology is independent from language. This paper argues that the Mass Noun Thesis is a case of sophisticated othering rooted in a conflation of grammatical and ontological conceptions of mass and count nouns that is applicable to the language of the interpreter/self but not to the languages of the relevant others, and that othering in this case is driven by a need to create some radically alien other to support a scientific or philosophical theory.

DepositNorming the Other: Narrative Empathy Via Focalised Heterotopia

This critical commentary argues that the novels submitted (emphasis on Ammonite, The Blue Place, and Hild, with three others, Slow River, Stay, and Always briefly referenced), form a coherent body of work which centres and norms the experience of the Other, particularly queer women. Close reading of the novels demonstrates how specific word-choice and metaphor locate the examination of a focalised character’s body in its physical and sensory setting. This examination of the body is referred to as embodiment. The commentary argues that embodiment of the focalised character activates neural mechanisms within the reader to create and sustain narrative empathy. It explores the creation of focalised heterotopias and the narrative consequences for characters traditionally marginalised in our society but not in their own. Keywords: writing the other, queer literature, embodied empathy, focalised heterotopia, narrative empathy, historicity literature, gender discourse literature, word choice