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Edited by Daniel Riha and Anna Maj

This book aims to present how emergent media penetrate all fields of human cultural activity. The content of this volume reflects theoretical and practical discussions on cultural issues influenced by increased adoption of information and communication technologies. New media and Web 2.0 raise increasing attention of academics from wide range of disciplines. Papers, included in this volume, cover a coherent choice of topics selected with respect to the actual state of inter-disciplinary debate on emerging media.

Histories of the Borneo Environment

Economic, Political and Social Dimensions of Change and Continuity

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Reed L. Wadley

In light of the tremendous changes that have come to the island of Borneo in recent decades, this volume takes a detailed historical look at the Borneo environment from native, colonial and national perspectives. It examines change and continuity in the economic, political and social dimensions of human-environment interactions. Reflecting the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of environmental history, the book brings together an international group of historians, anthropologists, geographers and social foresters, all looking through a historical lens at the environment in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, and the Indonesian province of Kalimantan and Brunei. Drawing on extensive archival research and fieldwork, these ten original contributions encompass eleven centuries of history on Borneo, examining interrelated topics that include long-distance trade, conservation, land tenure, resource access, property rights, perceptions of the environment, migration, and development policy and practice.
The chapters in this volume are extensively revised versions of selected papers presented at an international seminar on ‘"Environmental change in native and colonial histories of Borneo: Lessons from the past, prospects for the future"’ held in Leiden under the auspices of the International Institute for Asian Studies.

Edited by Euripides Altintzoglou and Martin Fredriksson

It is significant that Time Magazine, in the wake of the Arab Spring, named The Protester the person of the year of 2011. Since then revolts, social unrest and demands for systemic change have continued to spread, from the anti-austerity street marches in Europe and the progressive ‘No Borders’ global movement, to protests against neoconservative and xenophobic populist movements. The histories that are currently being (re)written, not only in the West but also in North Africa and the Middle East, and more recently in places like Ukraine and Thailand, show us that the immanence and promise of large scale political revolutions is as present as ever across the world. The solidity and stability that nations and economic systems strive for is continuously being challenged by different forces, with shifting means, for various reasons.
As the goals and aspirations of protesters across the world are becoming more heterogonous and less programmatic it becomes increasingly hard to say what ‘the protester’ wants and where ‘the revolution’ will take us. This book makes no attempts to answer that question. On the contrary it embraces the ambiguity and heterogeneity of contemporary protest movements, pointing to how the potentials of revolutionary acts reside behind seemingly irrelevant, disorganized outbursts of apparently aimless acts. Giving meaning to the sign carried by one of the protesters at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in Zucotti Park, saying: ‘We’re here; we’re unclear; get used to it’

Edited by Alexandra Simon-López and Mankhrawbor Dunai

The future holds many secrets that it will not reveal to us easily. Pry as we may, the curtain of mystery is too difficult to completely unveil. It is no surprise therefore that there have been many attempts to imagine what these future possibilities may be. More often than not, the future projections inevitably paint a picture of desolation and destruction. The varying social as well as environmental forces that assault our world, always seem to indicate an impending doom around the corner if we don’t buck the trend of passive disregard for the ills of the present world. The apocalypse seems like an inevitable event. This volume therefore does brilliantly in capturing this quest for answers in a world that seems to be hurling towards different imaginings of the end. Whether imagined through the voices of doomsayer prophets, the wonderfully expressive lens of the digital media or the pages of literature, the volume will take the reader through the different discourses regarding the apocalypse and what we can learn from it. To safeguard our future, this volume seeks to offer answers to prevent our world from going up in flames.

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Edited by Geoffrey V. Davis, Peter H. Marsden, Bénédicte Ledent and Marc Delrez

This collection has one central theoretical focus, viz. stock-taking essays on the present and future status of postcolonialism, transculturalism, nationalism, and globalization. These are complemented by ‘special’ angles of entry (e.g. ‘dharmic ethics’) and by considerations of the global impress of technology (African literary studies and the Internet). Further essays have a focus on literary-cultural studies in Australia (the South Asian experience) and New Zealand (ecopoetics; a Central European émigrée perspective on the nation; the unravelling of literary nationalism; transplantation and the trope of translation). The thematic umbrella, finally, covers studies of such topics as translation and interculturalism (the transcendental in Australian and Indian fiction; African Shakespeares; Canadian narrative and First-Nations story templates); anglophone / francophone relations (the writing and rewriting of crime fiction in Africa and the USA; utopian fiction in Quebec); and syncretism in post-apartheid South African theatre. Some of the authors treated in detail are: Janet Frame; Kapka Kassabova; Elizabeth Knox; Annamarie Jagose; Denys Trussell; David Malouf; Patrick White; Yasmine Gooneratne; Raja Rao; Robert Kroetsch; Thomas King; Chester Himes; Julius Nyerere; Ayi Kwei Armah; Léopold Sédar Senghor; Simon Njami; Abourahman Waberi; Lueen Conning; Nuruddin Farah; Athol Fugard; Frantz Fanon; Julia Kristeva; Shakespeare. The collection is rounded off by creative writing (prose, poetry, and drama) by Bernard Cohen, Jan Kemp, Vincent O’Sullivan, Andrew Sant, and Sujay Sood.

Series:

Ashraf Jamal

Symptomatic of an emergent shift away from prescriptive and deterministic accounts of change in South Africa, Predicaments of culture in South Africa posits an open-ended and speculative approach to the question and agency of culture. The key question, posed by Justice Albie Sachs of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, ‘what does it mean to be a South African?’ is shifted from its familiar ontological and epistemological habitat, ‘what is identity?’, the better to embrace its ethical and political rider, ‘what are identities for?’, and its more pragmatic possibility, ‘what can identities do?’ These qualifications – Bhabha’s – form the building blocks that skew and enrich existing presumptions about South Africa’s history, its present moment and its future.

Jamal challenges and qualifies the conflicting and contiguous drives of fatalism, positivism and relativism, which are the dominant claimants upon the South African cultural imaginary. It is this critical non-positionality that forms the distinctive trait of an inquiry which, in eschewing allegiance and closure, opens up the debate about what it means to be South African and the role of culture therein.

‘In hindsight, and with the hither side of the future before us’, Jamal’s driving assumption is that ‘world society is advancing towards yet another age of ignorance;
an age beyond suspicion and irony, in which thought, whether self-critical or not, is no longer the agent of reason’. Jamal calls for an urgent reappraisal of the absence of love – of lovelessness – which he sees as the infected root of South Africa’s inability to create a positively affirmative cultural imaginary.

Uncertain Territories

Boundaries in Cultural Analysis

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Inge E. Boer

Tracing and theorizing the concept of the boundaries through literary works, visual objects and cultural phenomena, this book argues against the reification of boundaries as fixed and empty non-spaces that simply divide the world. Expanding on her previous work on gender and Orientalism, Inge Boer takes us into uncertain territories of fashion and art, tourism and travel, skilfully engaging the ambivalence of boundaries, as both protecting and confining, as bringing distinction while existing by virtue of their ability to be transgressed. In her close readings of that boundaries as desert, as frame, as home (or lack of it), Boer shows that boundaries are spaces within, through, and in the name of which negotiations take place. They are not lines but spaces ; neither fixed nor empty but flexible and inhabited.
With the publication of this book, Boer’s intellectual legacy stretches beyond her untimely passing. The writings that she left behind can be said to have inaugurated the future of her work, presented in the latter part by several of Boer’s intellectual companions. In their original essays, the contributors elaborate on Boer’s theme of boundaries as spaces where opposition yields to negotiation. Committed to the artefact as cultural stimulant, as the embodiment of thought, their analyses span a multitude of artefacts and media, ranging from literature to photography, to art installation and presentation, to film and song. Fanning out from Boer ‘s central focus – Orientalism – to other places of contestation, boundaries are shown to mediate the relationship between self and other ; they are, ultimately, spaces of encounter.

Transient Questions

New Essays on Mavis Gallant

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Edited by Kristjana Gunnars

Mavis Gallant has been a leading literary figure in Canada since her first short story, published in 1951, and has grown to be considered internationally as a modern master of the genre. Her writing is nuanced, sensitive, gifted, deep and concise. She leaves everything open for the hidden potential that can always be discovered. Times change; society, history, politics may develop out of recognition. Cultures metamorphose. Literary landscapes and theories are renewed. But the classics of our time stay where they are, pillars of that which is solidly about us. Mavis Gallant’s work is of that calibre: her writing will remain interesting and relevant no matter what else happens.
This book is an exploration of what Gallant’s readers are thinking now: where they place her in the panorama of literature and what meaning she has for them now. Scholars continue to probe into the stories, their characters, the capsules of history they present, and continue to find them challenging. As with Shakespeare, no amount of scrutiny will yield the final answer. That is how complex Gallant’s writing is. Especially now, when the positioning of her characters is a more prominent condition in general, we need to review Gallant’s artistic insights.
As Francine Prose says in Harper’s Magazine: Gallant’s cast of characters are a “motley assortment of refugees, fugitives, and travelers” and “displaced persons scrambling on the margins of a society they will never belong to.” This is the modern condition. As with other great writers, Gallant shows herself to be prophetic in cutting down to the roots of the sensibility of our era. We are reading her work, and we are thinking about it and talking about it. This book is part of that large conversation.
Contributors are: Neil Besner, Di Brandt, Nicole Côté, John Lent, Gerald Lynch, Maria Noëlle Ng, Peter Stevens, Simone Vauthier, Per Winther.

Future Matters

Action, Knowledge, Ethics

Series:

Barbara Adam and Chris Groves

Future Matters concerns contemporary approaches to the future – how the future is known, created and minded. In a social world whose pace continues to accelerate the future becomes an increasingly difficult terrain. While the focus of social life is narrowing down to the present, the futures we create on a daily basis cast ever longer shadows. Future Matters addresses this paradox and its deep ethical implications. It locates contemporary approaches to the future in a wider sociological and historical framework of practices, traces differences and continuities, and shows how contemporary practices of futures-construction make taking responsibility for futures all but impossible.
For a long time, historiography was the sum of national efforts. Historians automatically thought and wrote within the framework of nation states – even when discussing “foreign policy” and “inter-national” topics. “Globalization” is beginning to change their approach. Now that borders have become more fluid in contemporary society, and interest in transnational processes is increasing, the principles of the methodological nationalism of the past are undergoing a critical review. A different view of global cohesion parallels this trend. Until recently, the North Atlantic perspective dominated the mental world order: the “modern” period was believed to have started in Europe and North America and to have spread gradually throughout the rest of the world; the temporality of the core area was considered to have defined developmental periods elsewhere as well. This Eurocentrism is now under fire, and many attempts to circumvent it are in progress. The peer-reviewed book series Studies in Global Social History figures within these new trends. Each volume in this series addresses (the connections between) macro-regions and aims to visualize contrasts and similarities, to demonstrate how our present global society has materialized from uneven and combined developments and from interaction between acts “from above” and “from below”: from rulers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and administrators on the one hand and from slaves, peasants, indentured labourers, wage-earners, and housewives on the other hand.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to either the series editor Marcel van der Linden or the publisher at BRILL, Wendel Scholma.

The series includes the subseries Studies in Global Migration History and Studies in the Social History of the Global South.

Brill Open offers you the choice to make your research freely accessible online in exchange for a Publication Charge. This can be by choice or to comply with funding mandates or university requirements. Brill offers various options of Open Access; for more information please go to the Brill Open webpage.

The series published an average of 3,5 volumes per year over the last 5 years.