While cultural diversity and hybridity have often been celebrated, they also challenge traditional concepts of national and cultural identity – challenges which have caused considerable anxiety. Various disciplines have often investigated the impact of cultural hybridity, multiculture, and (post)colonialism in relative isolation and with a tendency towards over-theorization and loss of specificity. Greater interdisciplinary cooperation can counter this tendency and encourage sustained comparisons between different former empires and across language boundaries.
This volume contributes to such developments by combining contributions from history, English and German studies, cultural geography, theatre studies, and film studies; by covering both the colonial and the postcolonial period; and by looking comparatively at two different (post)colonial contexts: the United Kingdom and Germany.
The result is productive dialogue across the distinct colonial and migration histories of the UK and Germany, which brings out divergent concepts of cultural difference – but, importantly, without neglecting similarities and transnational developments. The interdisciplinary outlook extends beyond political definitions of identity and difference to include consumer culture, literature, film, and journalism – cultural and social practices that construct, represent, and reflect personal and collective identities.
Section I discusses the historical and contemporary role of colonial experience and its remembrance in the construction of national identities. Section II follows on by tracing the reflections of (post)coloniality and twentieth-century migration in the specific fields of economic history and consumer culture. Section III centres on recent debates about multiculture and national/cultural identity in politics, literature, and film.
In the wake of proliferating discourses around globalisation and culture, some central questions around cultural politics have acquired a commonsensical and hegemonic character in contemporary intellectual discourse. The politics of difference, the possibilities of hybridity and the potential of multiple liminalities frame much discussion around the transnational dimensions of culture and post-identity politics. In this volume, the economic, political and social consequences of the focus on ‘culture’ in contemporary theories of globalization are analysed around the disparate fields of architecture, museum discourse, satellite television, dub poetry, carnival and sub-national theatre. The discourses of hybridity, diaspora, cultural difference minoritization are critically interrogated and engaged with through close analysis of cultural objects and practices. The essays thus intervene in the debate around modernity, globalization and cultural politics, and the volume as a whole provides a critical constellation through which the complexity of transnational culture can be framed. Thinking through the particular, the essays limn the absent universality of forms of capitalist globalization and the volume as a whole provides multiple perspectives from which to enter the singular modernity of our times in all its complexity.
Rather than solid frames, some less than perfect aesthetic objects have permeable membranes which allow them to diffuse effortlessly into the everyday world. In the parallel universes of music and literature, Linda Cummins extols the poetry of such imperfection. She places Debussy's work within a tradition thriving on anti-Aristotelian principles: motley collections, crumbling ruins real or fake, monstrous hybrids, patchwork and palimpsest, hasty sketches, ellipses, truncated beginnings and endings, meandering arabesques, irrelevant digressions, auto-quotations. Sensitive to the intermittences of memory and experience and with a keen ear for ironic intrusion, Cummins draws the reader into the Western cultural past in search of the surprisingly ubiquitous aesthetic of the unfinished, negatively silhouetted against expectations of rational coherence. Theories popularized by Schlegel and embraced by the French Symbolists are only the first waypoint on an elaborately illustrated tour reaching back to Petrarch. Cummins meticulously applies the derived results to Debussy's scores and finds convincing correlations in this chiasmatic crossover.
The simultaneously tautological and oxymoronic nature of word / image relations has become a subject of massive debate in the post-modern period. This is not only because of the increasing predominance of word / image messages within our modern media-saturated culture, but also because intellectual disciplines are becoming increasingly sensitized to the essentially hybrid nature of the way we construct meaning in the world. The essays in this volume offer an exemplary insight into both aspects of this phenomenon. Focussing on both traditional and modern media (theatre, fiction, poetry, graphic art, cinema), the essays of
Reading Images and Seeing Words are deeply concerned to show how it is according to signifying codes (rhetoric, poetics, metaphor), that meaning and knowledge are produced. Not the least value of this collection is the insight it gives into the multiple models of word / image interaction and the rich ambiguity of the tautological and oxymoronic relations they embody.
Paris, 1910-1915. Artists, intellectuals, and international celebrities crowd the city as never before. Decadent dreams and avant-garde manifestos celebrate the marriage between art and life. Creative experiments and vital joy dance hand in hand—on the edge of the abyss of WWI. Gabriele D’Annunzio is one of the highly influential yet semi-forgotten protagonists of this season and an emblem of its contradictions. A child of the Decadence, but also a forerunner of Modernism, the Italian poet defies the barriers between art forms, languages, and aesthetic practices. Tellingly, some of the period’s major figures across the arts are involved in D’Annunzio’s projects, including Canudo, Bakst, Brooks, Debussy, Montesquiou, and Rubinstein. In particular, in his sacred drama
Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien, the poet combines French, Italian, literature, theater, mime, dance, music, painting, and cinema in a way that fuses old and new. D’Annunzio’s hybrid experiments challenge Wagner’s ‘total artwork’ theories, search for a synthesis between pictorial stillness and filmic movement, and anticipate contemporary multimedia experiences. These artistic collaborations end suddenly at the outbreak of the Great War, when Dannunzian total artworks migrate from the stage to the battlefield, generating a controversial legacy that calls for renewed critical investigations.
Perhaps no other art form in the Western world has polarized opinion to the same extent as opera. While its devotees can be almost fanatical in their enthusiasm, its detractors will dismiss lyric theatre as an impossible hybrid. Literature and music undermine one another when brought together, they maintain. Their contempt for the genre is more often than not motivated by the supposedly mediocre quality of the librettos or scripts to which the works are set as well as the implausibility of characters singing instead of speaking their emotions. But what if these much maligned scripts provided composers with the raw material necessary to convert stereotypes into exemplary figures and place them in powerfully dramatic situations? What if the unreality of opera opened up gripping vistas onto the reality of human emotions?
When Literature Becomes Opera strives to answer these questions by analyzing the artistic process through which literary texts are simplified then transformed into lyric dramas. Using as examples eight outstanding operas inspired by works of French writers (
Rigoletto, La traviata, Carmen, Thaïs, La Bohème, Tosca, Pelléas et Mélisande and
Dialogues des Carmélites), this study demonstrates that a libretto, like a film script, enters into a partnership with the art it serves: music. When the quality of the partnership is high, all of opera's liabilities that purists take pleasure in deriding become stunning assets.
Futurism and the Technological Imagination, results from a conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas in Helsinki. It contains a number of re-written conference contributions as well as several specially commissioned essays that address various aspects of the Futurists’ relationship to technology both on an ideological level and with regard to their artistic languages.
In the early twentieth century, many art movements vied with each other to overhaul the aesthetic and ideological foundations of arts and literature and to make them suitable vehicles of expression in the new Era of the Machine. Some of the most remarkable examples came from the Futurist movement, founded in 1909 by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.
By addressing the full spectrum of Futurist attitudes to science and the machine world, this collection of 14 essays offers a multifaceted account of the complex and often contradictory features of the Futurist technological imagination. The volume will appeal to anybody interested in the history of modern culture, art and literature.
In response to the dominance of Latin as the language of intellectual debate in early modern Europe, regional centers started to develop a new emphasis on vernacular languages and forms of cultural expression. This book shows that the local acts as a mark of distinction in the early modern cultural context. Interdisciplinary in scope, essays examine vernacular strands in the visual arts, architecture and literature from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. Contributions focus on change, rather than consistencies, by highlighting the transformative force of the vernacular over time and over different regions, as well as the way the concept of the vernacular itself shifts depending on the historical context.
Contributors include James J. Bloom, Jessica E. Buskirk, C. Jean Campbell, Lex Hermans, Sun Jing, Trudy Ko, David A. Levine, Eelco Nagelsmit, Alexandra Onuf, Bart Ramakers, and Jamie L. Smith
The articles assembled in this book discuss important questions about German society and the very notion of what being German means in the age of globalization and the vanishing of nation-states in a continuously strengthening European Union; the question about what is German culture in a postmodern era; and how the past affects and shapes the present and future of hybrid German generations. Taking into account not only national but also transnational and recent global developments and concomitant critical debates, this book continues to engage in the discourses of rethinking German national identity, exploring socio-cultural, literary and cinematic responses by German, German Jewish, and other minority authors and filmmakers.
These essays focus particularly on trends since the turn of the millennium, and explore how these trends and their new developments are represented and interpreted through the eyes of different media.
Beyond Political Correctness: Remapping German Sensibilities in the 21st Century will appeal to readers with a wide variety of academic interests, including cultural history, film studies and contemporary German literature, German-Jewish and Minority literature.
Music, Popular Culture, Identities is a collection of sixteen essays that will appeal to a wide range of readers with interests in popular culture and music, cultural studies, and ethnomusicology. Organized around the central theme of music as an expression of local, ethnic, social and other identities, the essays touch upon popular traditions and contemporary forms from several different regions of the world: political engagement in Italian popular music; flamenco in Spain; the challenge of traditional music in Bulgaria;
boerenrock and rap in Holland; Israeli extreme heavy metal; jazz and pop in South Africa, and musical hybridity and politics in Côte d’Ivoire. The collection includes essays about Latin America: on the Mexican corrido, the Caribbean, popular dance music in Cuba, and bossanova from Brazil. Communities of a cultural diaspora in North America are discussed in essays on Somali immigrant and refugee youth and Iranians in exile in the US. Grounded in cultural theory and a specialized knowledge of a particular popular musical practice, each author has written a critical study on the mix of music and identity in a particular social practice and context.