Recalling the insurrectionary violence that descended upon the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, reflecting on the baser instincts left unchecked in America by an absence of common communication and a paradigmatic shift in our media apparatuses, Justin A. Joyce introduces the seventh volume of James Baldwin Review.
James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.
This essay uses Edward Said’s theory of affiliation to consider the relationship between James Baldwin and contemporary artists Teju Cole and Glenn Ligon, both of whom explicitly engage with their predecessor’s writing in their own work. Specifically, Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the Village” (1953) serves a through-line for this discussion, as it is invoked in Cole’s essay “Black Body” and Ligon’s visual series, also titled Stranger in the Village. In juxtaposing these three artists, I argue that they express the dialectical energy of affiliation by articulating ongoing concerns of race relations in America while distinguishing themselves from Baldwin in terms of periodization, medium-specificity, and their broader relationship to Western art practice. In their adoption of Baldwin, Cole and Ligon also imagine a way beyond his historical anxieties and writing-based practice, even as they continue to reinscribe their own work with his arguments about the African-American experience. This essay is an intermedial study that reads fiction, nonfiction, language-based conceptual art and mixed media, as well as contemporary politics and social media in order consider the nuances of the African-American experience from the postwar period to our contemporary moment. Concerns about visuality/visibility in the public sphere, narrative voice, and self-representation, as well as access to cultural artifacts and aesthetic engagement, all emerge in my discussion of this constellation of artists. As a result, this essay identifies an emblematic, though not exclusive, strand of African-American intellectual thinking that has never before been brought together. It also demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Baldwin’s thinking for the contemporary political scene in this country.
order to explore the obstacles faced by black and Asian writers, this chapter initially takes the example of Joe Pemberton’s novel Forever and Ever Amen (2000), discussed in an earlier essay published in 2008, before considering how such problems are amplified and complicated for poets, whose work is by definition a noncommercial literary form. This chapter considers the prospects for the next generation of British black and British Asian poets in the light of significant changes that are affecting the publishing industry, including the rise of social media, the
through the carefully laid out safety nets of international culture. The Goth scene would seem to represent both gothic modes. Firstly, the scene, its style and its music are globally spread, and Goths from all over the world connect with one another via websites and social media. Secondly, as Goth self-fashions itself as the dark side of global consumer culture, it subverts the globalised commerce and media it
Drawing on materials from the medieval period to the twenty-first century, Reading: a cultural practice explores how concepts of reading change according to historical and social context. Combining a history of reading with insights drawn from critical theory, the book argues that reading is always implicated in ideology, and that reading is especially linked to religious and educational structures. Examining a variety of texts and genres, including books of hours, Victorian fiction, the art and literature of the Bloomsbury Group, and contemporary social media sites, the opening chapters give an overview of the history of reading from the classical period onwards. The discussion then focuses on the following key concepts: close reading, the common reader, reading and postmodernism, reading and technology. The book uses these areas to set in motion a larger discussion about the relationship between professional and non-professional forms of reading. Standing up for the reader’s right to read in any way that they like, the book argues that academia’s obsession with textual interpretation bears little relationship to the way that most non-academic readers engage with written language. As well as analysing pivotal moments in the history of reading, the book puts pre-twentieth-century concepts of reading into dialogue with insights derived from post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction. This means that as well as providing a history of reading, the book analyses such major preoccupations in reading theory as reading’s relation to visual culture, how reading is taught in schools, and feminist and queer reading practices.
Edmond Berkeley and Salon , and more broadly figure in critiques of industrialism itself in all its noise and clamour). However, they are currently being remade, sometimes in radically new as well as in familiar forms, and are expressed as matters of urgency, in registers comprehending anger, sadness – and even despair; reflecting this perhaps are tales of social media and its role in provoking youth suicide. Of the many books that Amazon throws up for me to pith (since we are hollowing out), those invoked here are chosen because they take a
to reduce overall migration. Patel, meanwhile, splashed ‘promise delivered’ across her cheery, upbeat social media postings. While this may help some of the strategic dilemmas – solidifying support for the Leaver coalition despite getting Brexit done, for instance – it also creates new tensions. Leaving the EU and the new points-based system means that the UK has the most limited geographical reach of labour it has ever had. In April 2020, British farms helped coordinate special charter flights of Romanian workers ‘amid a continuing recruitment crisis in the
This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.
the work of the many critics and writers who continue to value irony as a powerful mode of negativity. 11 As my final thought, I want to return to the swoon as a potential crux point for how we might understand some of the effects of the language of social media, language which might seem to share some of the ‘narcissism, irony and nihilism’ that Foster Wallace diagnoses in image-fiction. Irreverent and self-referring as online swooning may be, I don't think its expressiveness is entirely ‘exhausted’ in the way that Foster