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Fearful Symmetries

Essays and Testimonies Around Excision and Circumcision

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Edited by Chantal Zabus

Often labelled ‘rituals’ or ‘customs’, male circumcision and female excision are also irreversible amputations of human genitalia, with disastrous and at times life-long consequences for both males and females. However, scholars and activists alike have been diffident about making a case for symmetry between these two practices. Fearful Symmetries investigates the sociological, medical, legal, and religious justifications for male circumcision and female excision while it points to various symmetries and asymmetries in their discursive representation in cultural anthropology, law, medicine, and literature.
Experts have been convened in the above fields – SAMI ALDEEB ABU-SAHLIEH, DOMINIQUE ARNAUD, LAURENCE COX, ROBERT DARBY, ANNE–MARIE DAUPHIN–TINTURIER, TOBE LEVIN, MICHAEL SINGLETON, J. STEVEN SVOBODA – along with first-person testimonies from J.K. BRAYTON, SAFAA FATHY, KOFFI KWAHULÉ, and ALEX WANJALA. The volume covers various genres such as sacred writings, literary and philosophical texts, websites, songs, experiential vignettes, cartoons, and film as well as a vast geographical spectrum – from Algeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Kenya, and Somalia to the then Congo and contemporary Northern Zambia; from Syria to Australia and the United States.
In addressing many variants of excision and circumcision as well as other practices such as the elongation of the labia, and various forms of circumcision in Jewish, Islamic, and African contexts, Fearful Symmetries provides an unprecedented, panoptical view of both practices.

Communards and Other Cultural Histories

Essays by Adrian Rifkin

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Adrian Rifkin

Edited by Steve Edwards

This collection of some 32 articles and essays by Adrian Rifkin were written over a period of forty years. It contains innovative and influential studies of the archives of art, urbanism, music and popular life in France and Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Arranged around a number of studies of the representation of the Paris Commune, the book also contains chapters on Edith Piaf’s role in French culture, histories of art education, opera and queer life in the city as well as analytical accounts of the commodity and cultural theory in Adorno and Benjamin. An extended introduction by Steve Edwards works over the questions of uneven time in Marxist cultural theory and the disciplinary formations that underpin many of Rifkin’s essays.

Mette Løvschal

western Jutland (Olesen, 2012 ). This site contains a palimpsest of succeeding boundaries from three temporally well-separated periods within a more than 2000-year-long time span. At least three farmstead enclosures from c. 250–50 bc shared the same alignment as a whole village of enclosed farmsteads