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Deposit“Another Night, Another Story: the Frame Narrative in Toni Morrison’s Paradise and Alf Laylah wa Laylah”

This essay utilizes and applies the recurrent and pervasive taxonomic characteristics of the frame to the narrative of Toni Morrison’s Paradise (1998), the third novel in her trilogy: Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), and Paradise. This critical approach avoids exploring the features of Paradise as a frame narrative by exclusively comparing it to another frame narrative. The frame structure in Paradise does not develop through its similarity to some construction or specific frame narrative that belongs to a certain culture or period. Determining the frame structure in Paradise by its resemblance to another frame narrative would suggest that the sample frame narrative is a hierarchical and hegemonic model. To the contrary, my analysis illustrates how Paradise emerges as an innovative frame narrative and how it adopts and adapts the taxonomic characteristics of the frame by employing inventive techniques. Concurrently, this study links Paradise to the heritage of the life-giving frame narratives and accentuates its significant reproduction of the celebrated Arabic story cycle of Alf Laylah Wa Laylah.

DepositThe Central Mystery: Conversion Experiences in Selected Works of Flannery O’Connor

Although Flannery O’Connor’s fiction has been subjected to criticism of all types and although she is known for her interest in religious matters, no one prior to this has done an in-depth study on the presentation of conversion in her fiction. With William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience as a basis for both definition and structure, O’Connor’s works were examined in the light of the conversion experience as it is broken down into three stages: a sense of sin, a state of exhaustion combined with a realization of the individual’s inability to change, and conversion itself. Conversion can be either sudden or gradual. Francis Marion Tarwater, the protagonist of O’Connor’s novel The Violent Bear It Away, is the prototypical convert, going through all three stages and experiencing both types of conversion. O’Connor cements her plot with pervasive symbolism, and both plot and symbolism combine to demonstrate her thesis that conversion — or at least the possibility of conversion — is included in every good story.

DepositFaithful Witnessing as Practice: Decolonial Readings of Shadows of Your Black Memory and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

This article considers Marıa Lugones’s concept of faithful witnessing as a point of departure to think about the ethics and possibilities of faithful witnessing in literary contexts. For Lugones, faithful witnessing is an act of aligning oneself with oppressed peoples against the grain of power and recognizing their humanity, oppression, and resistance despite the lack of institutional endorsement. I engage the work of Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Denise Oliver, and other scholars who offer methodologies and discourses on recognition, witnessing, and resis- tance. I argue that the feminist philosophical concept of faithful witnessing is a critical ele- ment of reading decolonial imaginaries. The article undertakes close readings of two novels in the Afro-Latinx and Afro-Hispanic tradition: Donato Ndongo’s Shadows of Your Black Memory and Junot Dıaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. In these readings, the concept of faithful witnessing enriches the analysis of religious colonization and the gender violence inherent to coloniality.

DepositThe ‘FizzBuzz’ Programming Test: A Case-Based Exploration of Rhetorical Style in Code

Every code text is informed by stylistic decisions that impact how the text is interpreted and understood. While software developers have long discussed concerns of style in regards to writing code, scholars of computation would benefit from a rhetorical approach to style, an approach that links style to substance and sees style as situated and audience-specific. In this essay, several stylistic variations of code written for the ‘FizzBuzz’ hiring test are examined in order to demonstrate the significance of stylistic choice in code composition. The range of approaches coders might take to communicate a preferred method of accomplishing a given task in code indicates that rhetorical style performs an important role in how code is accessed and comprehended by human and nonhuman audiences alike. Accordingly, software critics need to attend more closely to the ways that coders employ rhetorical style in order to induce particular types of rhetorical action through their code texts and practices.

DepositBook Review: Interreligious Encounters by Michael Amaladoss in Reading Religion November 2017

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.

DepositGrounded, Heracles and the Gorgon’s Gaze

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.

DepositArte de Conducta: On Tania Bruguera’s Tatlin’s Whisper series (2006-present)

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.

DepositPalimpsests of Immaterial Assemblages Taken out of Context: Tracing Pompeians from the Void into the Digital

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

DepositRace . . . and Other Four Letter Words: Eminem and the Cultural Politics of Authenticity

Rap superstar Eminem has become the new poster child for everything that’s dangerous about contemporary popular culture. He’s crude, juvenile, and foul-mouthed. His lyrics are violent, misogynistic, and homophobic. He’s corrupting our youth, poisoning our culture, and laughing about it all the way to the bank. Or so the story goes. This essay argues that much of what underpins the moral panic surrounding Eminem is a set of largely unspoken questions about race, identity, authenticity, and performance. In particular, this paper examines the ways that Eminem’s status as a white man who has achieved both critical and commercial success within a predominantly black cultural idiom serves to challenge dominant social constructions of race in the US by de- and re-constructing popular understandings of both whiteness and blackness.

Deposit“The Poetics from Athens to al-Andalus: Ibn Rushd’s Grounds for Comparison,” Modern Philology 112 (2014): 1-24.

The Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Poetics by the Andalusian philosopher Ibn Rushd (d. 1198) has been treated by commentators as wide-ranging as Borges, Renan, and Kilito as an exemplary case of the failure of translation. Critics who presume Ibn Rushd’s failure often concentrate on his rendering of Aristotle’s tragedy and comedy by praise (madīh) and blame (hijā’). Taking account of Ibn Rushd’s stated intention of using Aristotle‘s Poetics to facilitate comparative literary analysis, I argue here that far from representing a failure of comprehension, the rendering of tragedy and comedy as praise and blame respectively offered the Arabic philosopher a useful means of conceiving literary form outside the confines of a single literary tradition. Contrary to recent arguments in contemporary translation theory, Ibn Rushd’s methodical appropriation of Aristotle’s treatise suggests that at certain cultural junctures pursuing the path of fluency and localization can accomplish more than literalist foreignization.