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John Hodgson

Postcolonial theory has yielded productive methodologies with which to examine an institution such as the John Rylands Library. This paper reinterprets aspects of the Library‘s history, especially its collecting practices, using Bhabha‘s concept of hybridity. The Library‘s founder, Enriqueta Rylands, embodied hybridity and colonial talking back in her remarkable trajectory from a Catholic upbringing in Cuba, via her conversion to Nonconformity and her marriage to Manchester‘s most successful cotton manufacturer, to her usurpation of the cultural hegemony in purchasing spectacular aristocratic collections for her foundation. Hybridity was embedded in many other aspects of the Library‘s development: it was established as a public library with a board of governors but its collections were largely shaped by Enriqueta‘s tastes and interests; it was independent until 1972, while maintaining very close links to the University of Manchester; it has always fulfilled a dual remit of addressing the research needs of scholars and attracting wider audiences; and it is simultaneously a library of printed books and manuscripts, an archive repository, and a gallery of visual materials.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Open Access (free)
Biography of a Radical Newspaper
Robert Poole

The newly digitised Manchester Observer (1818–22) was England’s leading radical newspaper at the time of the Peterloo meeting of August 1819, in which it played a central role. For a time it enjoyed the highest circulation of any provincial newspaper, holding a position comparable to that of the Chartist Northern Star twenty years later and pioneering dual publication in Manchester and London. Its columns provide insights into Manchester’s notoriously secretive local government and policing and into the labour and radical movements of its turbulent times. Rich materials in the Home Office papers in the National Archives reveal much about the relationship between radicals in London and in the provinces, and show how local magistrates conspired with government to hound the radical press in the north as prosecutions in London ran into trouble. This article also sheds new light on the founding of the Manchester Guardian, which endured as the Observer’s successor more by avoiding its disasters than by following its example. Despite the imprisonment of four of its main editors and proprietors the Manchester Observer battled on for five years before sinking in calmer water for lack of news.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
An Illustration of Otherness in John Nalson’s An Impartial Collection
Helen Pierce

An Impartial Collection of the Great Affairs of State was published in London, in two volumes, between 1682 and 1683. Its author John Nalson was a fervent believer in the twin pillars of the monarchy and the Anglican Church. In An Impartial Collection he holds up the internecine conflict of the 1640s as an example not to be followed during the 1680s, a period of further religious and political upheaval. Nalson’s text is anything but neutral, and its perspective is neatly summarised in the engraved frontispiece which prefaces the first volume. This article examines how this illustration, depicting a weeping Britannia accosted by a two-faced clergyman and a devil, adapts and revises an established visual vocabulary of ‘otherness’, implying disruption to English lives and liberties with origins both foreign and domestic. Such polemical imagery relies on shock value and provocation, but also contributes to a sophisticated conversation between a range of pictorial sources, reshaping old material to new concerns, and raising important questions regarding the visual literacy and acuity of its viewers.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Abstract only
Material Gothic
Stephen Shapiro

As Gothic works knock the stuffing out their subject and splatter the remains over the page and screen, their obsessive focus on an economy of decomposing bodies in distress makes a compelling case for the attraction they exert on materialist criticism. A broad and heterogeneous spectrum of left social and cultural critique has always relied on Gothic referents to make descriptive sense of the teratology of life within societies dominated by the bourgeoisie. Marx‘s Capital begins, after all, by seeing the ‘monstrous ungeheure accumulation of commodities’ as the symptom of something gone terribly wrong in liberal political economy.1 What, though, if the Gothic codex is more than simply ornamental language or images added to the otherwise dry bones of philosophical, political, and economic writings and is itself a mode of critical inquiry into capitalist modernity that may also interrogate classical Marxisms precepts and underexplored aspects? If Marxism has depended on Gothic referents to make its point, can Gothic return the favor by thinking through obstacles and potentialities within familiar Marxist claims? In this light, we mean ‘material Gothic’ as something greater than simply a less provocative name for Marxist-inflected readings of Gothic works, and understand it as a project in which Gothic studies can inform and reshape cultural and historical materialism.

Gothic Studies
Understanding Production, Humour and Political Context through Nice Coloured Girls (1987) and The Sapphires (2012)
Benjin Pollock

How Indigenous Australian history has been portrayed and who has been empowered to define it is a complex and controversial subject in contemporary Australian society. This article critically examines these issues through two Indigenous Australian films: Nice Coloured Girls (1987) and The Sapphires (2012). These two films contrast in style, theme and purpose, but each reclaims Indigenous history on its own terms. Nice Coloured Girls offers a highly fragmented and experimental history reclaiming Indigenous female agency through the appropriation of the colonial archive. The Sapphires eschews such experimentation. It instead celebrates Indigenous socio-political links with African American culture, ‘Black is beautiful’, and the American Civil Rights movements of the 1960s. Crucially, both these films challenge notions of a singular and tragic history for Indigenous Australia. Placing the films within their wider cultural contexts, this article highlights the diversity of Indigenous Australian cinematic expression and the varied ways in which history can be reclaimed on film. However, it also shows that the content, form and accessibility of both works are inextricably linked to the industry concerns and material circumstances of the day. This is a crucial and overlooked aspect of film analysis and has implications for a more nuanced appreciation of Indigenous film as a cultural archive.

Film Studies
Julius Caesar
Maria Wyke

In studio publicity, trade papers, reviews, articles, and educational materials, Joseph L. Mankiewiczs Julius Caesar (1953) was described and accepted as a faithful and mostly pleasing adaptation of Shakespearean drama to the Hollywood screen. As Variety accurately predicted, it achieved four Oscar nominations, one award for art direction and set decoration, high grosses, a hit soundtrack album, and several subsequent revivals. With the content more or less given, contemporary discussion focussed closely on how the verbal had been visualised, on how theatre had been turned into cinema – in short, on the film‘s style. It is with contemporary and subsequent readings of the film‘s style that this article is concerned, where, following David Bordwell, style is taken to mean ‘a films systematic and significant use of techniques of the medium’. But whereas Bordwell analyses film style directly in terms of an aesthetic history he considers to be distinct from the history of the film industry, its technology, or a films relation to society, I explore interpretations of one film‘s style that are heavily invested with socio-political meaning. If, in Bordwell‘s organic metaphor, style is the flesh of film, these readings of style explicitly dress that flesh in socio-political clothing. This analysis of Julius Caesar, then, is not another contribution to debates about adaptation, theatre on film, or Shakespeare on screen, but about the politics of film style.

Film Studies
James Baldwin and Ray Charles in “The Hallelujah Chorus”
Ed Pavlić

Based on a recent, archival discovery of the script, “But Amen is the Price” is the first substantive writing about James Baldwin’s collaboration with Ray Charles, Cicely Tyson, and others in a performance of musical and dramatic pieces. Titled by Baldwin, “The Hallelujah Chorus” was performed in two shows at Carnegie Hall in New York City on 1 July 1973. The essay explores how the script and presentation of the material, at least in Baldwin’s mind, represented a call for people to more fully involve themselves in their own and in each other’s lives. In lyrical interludes and dramatic excerpts from his classic work, “Sonny’s Blues,” Baldwin addressed divisions between neighbors, brothers, and strangers, as well as people’s dissociations from themselves in contemporary American life. In solo and ensemble songs, both instrumental and vocal, Ray Charles’s music evinced an alternative to the tradition of Americans’ evasion of each other. Charles’s sound meant to signify the history and possibility of people’s attainment of presence in intimate, social, and political venues of experience. After situating the performance in Baldwin’s personal life and public worldview at the time and detailing the structure and content of the performance itself, “But Amen is the Price” discusses the largely negative critical response as a symptom faced by much of Baldwin’s other work during the era, responses that attempted to guard “aesthetics” generally—be they literary, dramatic, or musical—as class-blind, race-neutral, and apolitical. The essay presents “The Hallelujah Chorus” as a key moment in Baldwin’s search for a musical/literary form, a way to address, as he put it, “the person and the people,” in open contention with the social and political pressures of the time.

James Baldwin Review
An Interview with Rainer Schlösser, Spokesperson of the Association of the Red Cross Museums in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der deutschen Rotkreuz-Museen)
Sönke Kunkel

should mention that the museum is also a collecting institution. That’s something that many people tend to overlook: as a museum, we collect, store, and archive parts of the material and written record of the Red Cross. So we also have a library which serves researchers. SK: Ah, that’s interesting. So you’re involved in a wide spectrum of activities. Still I am wondering somewhat about, let’s say, the general significance of the institution of the Red Cross museum. Isn’t there something old-fashioned and outdated about museums in this world of online communication

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Valérie Gorin and Sönke Kunkel

figure to overcome the politics of borders ( Johnson, 2011 ; Malkki, 1996 ; Rajaram, 2002 ), or the contribution of visual media to ideologies embedded in humanitarian narratives, from the human rights framework to colonialism, nationalism, and imperialism ( Briggs, 2003 ; Dogra, 2012 ; Lydon, 2016 ; Sliwinski, 2011 ). In this special issue, we build on such scholarship by inquiring into the role that specific media such as photography, film, graphic materials, or museums

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
How Can Humanitarian Analysis, Early Warning and Response Be Improved?
Aditya Sarkar, Benjamin J. Spatz, Alex de Waal, Christopher Newton, and Daniel Maxwell

several severe complex emergencies (North-east Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). 4 Our research from those cases 5 finds that a dominant logic of elite political behaviour is the political marketplace (PM). This applies where transactional politics (the day-to-day use of coercion/violence or material incentives among members of the elite) trumps the functioning of formal rules and institutions. Such transactional

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs