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Activism and design in Italy
Author: Ilaria Vanni

Precarious objects is a book about activism and design. The context is the changes in work and employment from permanent to precarious arrangements in the twenty-first century in Italy. The book presents design interventions that address precarity as a defuturing force affecting political, social and material conditions. Precarious objects shows how design objects, called here ‘orientation devices’, recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life. Three microhistories illustrate activist repertoires that bring into play design, and design practices that are grounded in activism. While the vitality, experimental nature and traffic between theory and praxis of social movements in Italy have consistently attracted the interest of activists, students and researchers in diverse fields, there exists little in the area of design research. This is a study of design activism at the intersection of design theory and cultural research for researchers and students interested in design studies, cultural studies, social movements and Italian studies.

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Neil Cornwell

into what purports to be interplanetary flight, and the rise and fall of a civilisation, in Dostoevsky’s late story The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (followed by a Futurist poetic touch from Vladimir Maiakovsky). Particulars of such supposed cosmic (or astral) travel may have been, in part at least, ‘borrowed’ by his successors from Dostoevsky. However this may be, such things are seen to be taken very much further, in twentieth-century English horror and science fiction writing, in key works by William Hope Hodgson and Olaf Stapledon. In

in Odoevsky’s four pathways into modern fiction
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Le Dernier combat and Le Cinquième élément
Susan Hayward

In terms of production, these two science fiction films could not be further apart. The first film was shot on a shoestring (a budget of FF3.5 million; approximately $5 million) and attracted an audience in France of 236,189. 1 The latter film had a massive budget ($90 million) and attracted 7,696,667 spectators (again in France). Yet both unashamedly show their means of

in The films of Luc Besson
Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey

. The final essay in this section connects with the questions of institutional understandings of quality, authorship and audience that have been developed by the other contributors. Jonathan Bignell’s essay shows how, in the early years of the science-fiction drama series Doctor Who (BBC 1963-96), negotiations around quality guided the planning and production of the programme, and informed the understanding of audience feedback about it. Adopting a specific focus on the Doctor’s notorious opponents, the Daleks, Bignell shows how their realisation drew on a tradition

in Popular television drama
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Colin Gardner

and the Gentleman ), the prison film ( The Criminal ), science fiction ( The Damned ) and the anti-war film ( King and Country ). Like Resnais, Losey’s innovations were initially carried out from within traditional genre frameworks, for as he explained to Michel Ciment, ‘I think it’s much better that way; it’s a way of educating the audience rather than alienating it. And I think the public can be educated in matters of

in Joseph Losey
Arabs, Israelis, and the limits of military force
Author: Jeremy Pressman

The Arab–Israeli conflict has been at the centre of international affairs for decades. Despite repeated political efforts, the confrontation and casualties continue, especially in fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. This new assessment emphasizes the role that military force plays in blocking a diplomatic resolution. Many Arabs and Israelis believe that the only way to survive or to be secure is through the development, threat, and use of military force and violence. This idea is deeply flawed and results in missed diplomatic opportunities and growing insecurity. Coercion cannot force rivals to sign a peace agreement to end a long-running conflict. Sometimes negotiations and mutual concessions are the key to improving the fate of a country or national movement. Using short historical case studies from the 1950s through to today, the book explores and pushes back against the dominant belief that military force leads to triumph while negotiations and concessions lead to defeat and further unwelcome challenges. In The sword is not enough, we learn both what makes this idea so compelling to Arab and Israeli leaders and how it eventually may get dislodged.

A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.

Author: Sean R. Roberts

This book explores the reasons and justifications for the Chinese state’s campaign to erase Uyghur identity, focusing, in particular, on how China’s manipulation of the US-led Global War on Terror (GWOT) has facilitated this cultural genocide. It is the first book to address this issue in depth, and serves as an important rebuttal to Chinese state claims that this campaign is a benign effort to combat an existential extremist threat. While the book suggests that the motivation for this state-led campaign is primarily China’s gradual settler colonization of the Uyghur homeland, the text focuses on the narrative of the Uyghur terrorist threat that has provided international cover and justification for the campaign and has shaped its ‘biopolitical’ nature. It describes how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was able to successfully implicate Uyghurs in GWOT and, despite a lack of evidence, brand them internationally as a serious terrorist threat within the first year of the war. In recounting these developments, the book offers a critique of existing literature on the Uyghur terrorist threat and questions the extent of this threat to the PRC. Finding no evidence for the existence of such a threat when the Chinese state first declared its existence in 2001, the book argues that a nominal Uyghur militant threat only emerged after over a decade of PRC suppression of Uyghur dissent in the name of counterterrorism, facilitating a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ that has served to justify further state repression and ultimately cultural genocide.

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Elizabeth Ezra

advertisements, erotic or ‘stag’ films, historical epics, melodramas, science fiction, and, with the help of his brother Gaston, Westerns and action-adventures. The extent of this variety belies the exclusive association of Méliès with fantasy, and the sharp-edged wit that characterizes most of his films certainly undermines any impression of naive innocence devoid of worldly concerns. Many of Méliès’s films overtly or implicitly

in Georges Méliès
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Brigitte Rollet

slightly away from post-May ‘68 agendas to more consensual 1980s’ topics and filmic genres. Twenty years after making a documentary which is still hailed as the feminist documentary par excellence, she came back with her latest film so far – La Belle Verte, released in France in September 1996 – to 1970s’ preoccupations such as ecology and the defence of the environment via a science fiction tale, with a typically 1990s’ flavour. Although she shares similarities with other French female filmmakers who started their career in the

in Coline Serreau