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.

DepositEx-Jews and Early Christians: Conversion and the Allure of the Other

This essay explores how and why three early Christian figures–Epiphanius, Romanos the Melode, and Ambrosiaster–have, at various times, been imagined as former Jews. By applying a hermeneutics of conversion, this essay argues that the significance of these three Christians’ ex-Jewishness lies not in its historicity (or falsity) but in the way Christians (ancient and modern) have tried to grapple with the Jewish “other” that lies so close to the Christian self.

DepositThe History of the History Department (and a few others!) — 2010-2014

The History of the History Department (and a few others!) — 2010-2014 In Fall 2010, the History Club and the History Department embarked on an oral history project to tell the history of SUNY Cortland’s History Department. Through oral history, our former colleagues can tell us about their lives, their careers in teaching and scholarship, and the changes to our department and campus over time. Students in our History Club host the interview and invite members of our campus to attend. Students also develop a list of questions for the interview. We hope that these interviews will become a living archive of SUNY Cortland’s ever changing History Department. Occasionally, we will include videos of other faculty members outside the History department. These videos will also help us tell the history of our campus and faculty at SUNY Cortland. Thank you to the History Club and to all of you who have attended these events! Our first interviews were conducted with Frank Burdick and Roger Sipher. Since then, the History Club has interviewed Don Wright and Sandy Gutman. We have also included a video of Henry Steck from the Political Science department. He gave an interesting talk about his experiences in postwar Berlin from 1946 to 1951 and answered some questions from members of the History Club. To listen and watch, go here:

DepositThe Other-for-Me: The Construction of Saladin in El conde Lucanor

Resumen: Este artículo estudia la representación de Saladino en los ejemplos 25 y 50 de Conde Lucanor, estableciendo paralelos con textos mediterráneos relevantes –historias de las cruzadas, poesía caballeresca y literatura didáctica y sapiencial– y argumenta en contra de la interpretación de estas historias como representaciones críticas de Saladino y los musulmanes. Propongo que el Saladino construido por Juan Manuel es una representación heredera de una tradición literaria en la que se idealiza al sultán ayubbí, ya presente en la imaginación europea antes de CL. Saladino es transformado por Juan Manuel en un modelo de comportamiento virtuoso y es un caso de una proyección colonial del infante sobre el conocimiento desarrollado en las culturas arabo-islámicas. Palabras clave: Conde Lucanor; Juan Manuel; Saladino; cruzadas; reconquista Abstract: This essay analyzes the representation of Saladin in examples 25 and 50 of Conde Lucanor, establishing parallels with other Mediterranean narratives –historical accounts of the Crusades, chivalric poetry, didactic and wisdom literature– to problematize the view that these stories are critical representations of Muslims and of Saladin. I propose that the Saladin of the examples embodies an idealized vision of the Ayyūbīd sultan, already present in the European imagination before CL, transformed by Juan Manuel into model of behavior and a sign of Juan Manuel’s colonial projection on the knowledge of Arabo-Islamic cultures. Keywords: Conde Lucanor; Juan Manuel; Saladin; crusades; Reconquista

DepositNeo-Latin’s interplay with other languages

During the Early Modern Period, every educated person knew Latin, and possibly several other languages, besides his or her mother tongue. Due to this widespread multilingualism the question arose which language to use for which context or purpose. The ‘battle of languages’ was not only fought on a theoretical plane but also exercised its effect on the books and other material printed during this period. After a brief discussion of the interaction between Latin and the various vernaculars in Europe during the Early Modern Period, this chapter focuses on the eloquent ambassadors of this polyglot world, namely multilingual and mixed-language publications offering Latin in combination with one or more vernaculars, thus illustrating the complex interplay between Latin and the national languages of Europe.

DepositAspects of Otherness in John Adams’s Nixon in China

This article explores the relationship between the music of John Adams’s Nixon in China and the action taking place on stage. At many points throughout the opera, these forces are at odds, creating dramatic moments that often heighten the previously established sense of sarcasm and reverse the expected narrative roles of the characters. This is achieved by manipulating the Other in a unique manner as to not directly reference Chinese music, but rather juxtapose culturally neutral music with easily recognizable Western topics and genres.

DepositNew Technology for Imaging Unreadable Manuscripts and Other Artifacts

In the twenty-first century advances in digital technology are propelling the study of ancient literature and scribal culture. This essay describes an integrated set of advances in image capture, processing, and dissemination that improves upon first-hand experience and harnesses the power of the web to connect people and data. Illegible manuscripts are an area of particular interest among all the cultural heritage artifacts that benefit from these advances. Spectral RTI makes it possible to distinguish letters and other evidence of use based on traces as subtle as the corrosion of parchment where ink had once been and the spectral signature of ink stains that cannot be distinguished by the human eye. WebGL and open standards are making it possible to link to interactive enhanced images from anywhere on the web, and to link from the images to annotations and tools for analysis. The essay proceeds in four sections. First, Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) makes it possible to capture and visualize fine texture in artifacts such as inscriptions, but at high resolution also the texture of parchment. Second, spectral imaging dramatically improves upon the spectral range and resolution of the human eye in seeing and distinguishing colors. Third, Spectral RTI combines the advantages of the first two technologies producing a result that is greater than the sum of its parts. Finally, open web standards open new doors for accessing, viewing, and annotating Spectral RTI images.