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Britain and Germany in a (Post)Colonial World
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.
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.
In: Carmen
Hybrid Spatialities and Multiple Temporalities
The twentieth century saw many revolutions. Various transformations in the political, economic, social, technological and artistic domains not only inaugurated new eras, or at least discourses about new eras; they also often entailed a radical reorientation in the very conceptions by which any revolution could be thought. This beautifully edited collection of essays addresses itself to the particular revolution by which we came to understand the unity of space and time as ontological categories.
The twelve papers collected in this volume explore the consequences of conceptions of time and its relationship to space. Although originating from the revolution in mathematics and theoretical physics, these essays extend the thinking of space-time in a multi-disciplinary approach through the philosophy of space and time, social geography, post-Marxian social theory, new network theory, the philosophy of art and culture, musicology, evolutionary biology, historiography, psychoanalytic theory, and comparative literature. The result is a fascinating snapshot of a nearly universal transformation, but one that was only slowly realized, as the debates in one field reverberated across a vast terrain of discourse and discipline. In tracing the varied responses to the developments emanating from theoretical physics, the essays in this volume reveal how discontinuous but profound shifts in knowledge and aesthetics ultimately converge on a radically transformed horizon.
Contributors are: Peter Galison, Richard T. W. Arthur, Nader El-Bizri, Chunglin Kwa, Leslie Kavanaugh, Mary Lynne Ellis, Patricia Locke, Sander van Maas, Raviv Ganchrow, Josef Früchtl, M. Christine Boyer, and Antoine Picon.
From Silent Film to MTV
Editors: Chris Perriam and Ann Davies
Since Prosper Mérimée and Georges Bizet (with his librettists Meilhac and Halévy) brought the figure of the Spanish Carmen to prominence in the nineteenth century an astonishing eighty or so film versions of the story have been made. This collection of essays gathers together a unique body of scholarly critique focused on that Carmen narrative in film. It covers the phenomenon from a number of aspects: cultural studies, gender studies, studies in race and representation, musicology, film history, and the history of performance. The essays take us from the days of silent film to twenty-first century hip-hop style, showing, through a variety of theoretical and historical perspectives that, despite social and cultural transformations—particularly in terms of gender, sexuality and race—remarkably little has changed in terms of basic human desires and anxieties, at least as they are represented in this body of films. The conception of Carmen’s independent sexuality as a source of danger both to men (and occasionally women) and to respectable society has been a constant. Nor has sexual and ethnic otherness lost its appeal. On the other hand, the corpus of Carmen films is more than a simple recycling of stereotypes and each engages newly with the social and cultural issues of their time.