The subject of forensic specialist‘s work with human remains in the aftermath of conflict
has remained largely unexplored within the existing literature. Drawing upon
anthropological fieldwork conducted from 2009–10 in three mortuary facilities overseen by
the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH),
this article analyses observations of and interviews with ICMP forensic specialists as a
means of gaining insight into their experiences with the remains of people who went
missing during the 1992–95 war in BiH. The article specifically focuses on how forensic
specialists construct and maintain their professional identities within an emotionally
charged situation. Through analysing forensic specialists encounters with human remains,
it is argued that maintaining a professional identity requires ICMP forensic specialists
to navigate between emotional attachment and engagement according to each situation.
This article offers a survey of the recently discovered scrapbooks collated over a number of decades by the Yorkshirewoman Dorothy Richardson (1748–1819). The large set of thirty-five volumes presents an important collection of press cuttings relating to the history and consequences of the French Revolution, and also contains ‘historical and miscellaneous’ material of a more eclectic nature. I argue that the texts significantly improve our understanding of Dorothy Richardson’s position as a reader, writer and researcher working in the North of England at the turn of the nineteenth century. Furthermore, her set of albums raises important questions about the relationship between commonplacing and scrapbooking practices, and the capacity of such textual curatorship to function as a form of both political engagement and autobiographical expression.
This article considers the childrens writer Alison Uttley, and, particularly, her
engagements with debates regarding science and philosophy. Uttley is a
well-known childrens author, most famous for writing the Little Grey Rabbit
series (1929–75), but very little critical attention has been paid to her. She
is also an important alumna of the University of Manchester, the second woman to
graduate in Physics (1907). In particular, the article looks at her novel A
Traveller in Time through the lens of her thinking on time, ethics, history and
science. The article draws on manuscripts in the collection of the John Rylands
Library to argue that Uttley‘s version of history and time-travel was deeply
indebted to her scientific education and her friendship with the Australian
philosopher Samuel Alexander.
Edward Verrall Lucas (1868-1938) and Francis Meynell (1891-1975) were men of
letters in the old-fashioned sense. They were indefatigable both in creating
text and bringing like matter together in new and meaningful forms. Lucas was a
journalist, anthologist and publisher. Meynell was a printer, anthologist and
publisher, and also a poet of considerable sensitivity and charm. Lucas did not
write much poetry but was passionate about its merits, and sought, through his
collections, to bring children into contact with the best of verse. Today, the
significant contributions that these men made to publishing in Britain are in
danger of becoming forgotten, relegated to the minor byways of publishing
history. This article examines the origins and connections between two hugely
successful anthologies that were inspired by a growing public interest in, and
engagement with, the English countryside.
Reading James Baldwin’s Existential Hindsight in Go Tell It
on the Mountain
This essay reads James Baldwin’s first novel, Go Tell It on the
Mountain, through the lenses of European existentialism and Black
existential thought to arrive at a new understanding of the novel itself as well
as essential stages of its development. Archival sources and close reading
reveal Baldwin’s historically and existentially informed artistic vision,
summed up in the terms hindsight and insight.
His thoughtful, uncomfortable engagement with the past leads to a recuperated
relationship to the community and constitutes existential hindsight, which
informs his inward understanding of himself—his insight. This
investigation draws on various works from Baldwin’s fiction, essays,
interviews, and correspondence to arrive at a better understanding of the
writer’s intellectual and artistic development, focusing especially on
the professed objectives behind, and major revisions of, the novel. I conclude
the essay through a close reading of the conversion scene that constitutes Part
Three of Go Tell It on the Mountain.
Artists, scholars, and popular media often describe James Baldwin as
revolutionary, either for his written work or for his role in the civil rights
movement. But what does it mean to be revolutionary? This article contends that
thoughtlessly calling James Baldwin revolutionary obscures and erases the
non-revolutionary strategies and approaches he employed in his contributions to
the civil rights movement and to race relations as a whole. Frequent use of
revolutionary as a synonym for “great” or
“important” creates an association suggesting that all good things
must be revolutionary, and that anything not revolutionary is insufficient,
effectively erasing an entire spectrum of social and political engagement from
view. Baldwin’s increasing relevance to our contemporary moment suggests
that his non-revolutionary tactics are just as important as the revolutionary
approaches employed by civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X or Martin Luther
The Gothic, Medical Collections and Victorian Popular Culture
As soon as the corpse became central to medical education, and as a growing number of private medical schools opened throughout Great Britain, involving the rise of the demand for dead bodies, the literary field played a significant part in the popularisation of medical knowledge, offering insights into the debates around medical practice and education. As this paper will show, the literary field dealt with medical practitioners treatment of the corpse through playing upon a Gothic rhetoric, dramatizing the tension between the cutting up, preservation and exhibition of human remains in medical collections and the objectification of the patient on the one hand, and the central part played by anatomy in medical knowledge and the therapeutic applications of dissection, on the other. Through exploring how literary texts capitalizing on the Gothic paraphernalia recorded cultural responses to medical practice in the long nineteenth century, this paper will ultimately underline the role that nineteenth-century literature played, not merely in the dissemination of medical knowledge but also in the public engagement of medicine.
In Alien3 Lt Ellen Ripley finds herself in a nightmare scenario. She has crash-landed on an abandoned prison planet, ‘Fury 161’, surrounded by a remnant of the inmate population (twenty-five prisoners, a medical officer and two administrators who have opted to remain in a care-taking capacity after the prison/refinery was closed). The prisoners are a violent group of rapists and murderers with double-y chromosome coding, who can only seem to control their excessive expressions of masculinity by fanatically embracing a fundamentalist religion. Ripley sums up the group as ‘a bunch of lifers who found God at the ass-end of space’. On one level, this setting begs for a story of male homosexuality: an all-male prison planet filled with sexual aggressors could be the recipe for a gay male porn classic. Instead, it becomes a tale of excessive masculinity manifested through heterosexual fears and desires. I want to take this discrepancy between homo-possibilities and hetero-manifestations as my point of departure to explore how Alien3s engagement with the Gothic diverts and expresses anxieties about queer masculinity, desire, and sexuality.
This essay proposes that we turn to James Baldwin’s work to assess the cost of, and think alternatives to, the cultures of traumatization whose proliferation one witnesses in contemporary U.S. academia. Beginning with some recent examples, the essay briefly places these cultures into a genealogy of onto-ethics whose contemporary forms arose with the reconfiguration of diasporic histories in the idioms of psychoanalysis and deconstructive philosophy in 1990s trauma theory. Baldwin speaks to the contemporary moment as he considers the outcome of trauma’s perpetuation in an autobiographical scene from “Notes of a Native Son.” In this scene—which restages Bigger Thomas’s murderous compulsion in Native Son—he warns us against embracing one’s traumatization as a mode of negotiating the world. In foregoing what Sarah Schulman has recently called the “duty of repair,” such traumatized engagement prevents all search for the kind of “commonness” whose early articulation can be found in Aristotle’s query after “the common good” (to koinon agathon). With Baldwin, the present essay suggests the urgency of returning to the question of “the common good”: while mindful of past critiques, which have observed in this concept’s deployment a sleight-of-hand by which hegemonic positions universalize their interests, we should work to actualize the unfinished potential of Aristotle’s idea. Baldwin’s work on diasporic modernity provides an indispensable archive for this effort.
Taking its cue from recent scholarly work on the concept of time in African American
literature, this essay argues that, while both James Baldwin and Malcolm X refuse
gradualism and insist on “the now” as the moment of civil rights’ fulfillment, Baldwin
also remains troubled by the narrowness assumed by a life, politics, or ethics limited to
the present moment. In his engagement with Malcolm’s life and legacy—most notably in One
Day, When I Was Lost, his screen adaptation of Malcolm’s autobiography—he works toward a
temporal mode that would be both punctual and expansive. What he proposes as the operative
time of chronoethics is an “untimely now”: he seeks to replace Malcolm’s unyielding
punctuality with a different nowness, one that rejects both calls for “patience,” endemic
to any politics that rests on the Enlightenment notion of “perfectibility,” and the
breathless urgency that prevents the subject from seeing anything beyond the oppressive
system he wants overthrown. Both thinkers find the promise of such untimeliness in their
sojourns beyond the United States.