James Baldwin Review (JBR) is an annual journal that brings together a
wide array of peer‐reviewed critical and creative non-fiction on the life, writings,
and legacy of James Baldwin. In addition to these cutting-edge contributions,
each issue contains a review of recent Baldwin scholarship and an award-winning
graduate student essay. James Baldwin Review publishes essays that
invigorate scholarship on James Baldwin; catalyze explorations of the literary,
political, and cultural influence of Baldwin’s writing and political activism;
and deepen our understanding and appreciation of this complex and luminary
Theorising from the Epicentres of Our Agency, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa
Bibi Burger, Motlatsi Khosi, and Lavinia Brydon
In this co-authored review-reflection, we discuss the African Feminisms 2019 conference, offering a snapshot of the vital and emboldening African feminist work being conducted by researchers, cultural producers and creative practitioners at all levels of their careers, as well as a sense of the emotional labour that this work entails. We note the particular, shocking event that took place in South Africa just prior to the conference informed the papers, performances and ensuing discussions. We also note that the conference and many of its attendees advocated for a variety of approaches (and more than one feminism) when seeking to challenge power.
Exclusions and Exchanges in the History of European Horror Cinema
British horror cinema is often excluded from critical work dealing with European
horror cinema or, as it is frequently referred to, Eurohorror. This article argues
that such exclusion is unwarranted. From the 1950s onwards there have been many
exchanges between British and continental European-based horror production. These
have involved not just international co-production deals but also creative per-
sonnel moving from country to country. In addition, British horror films have exerted
influence on European horror cinema and vice versa. At the same time, the exclusion
of British horror from the Eurohorror category reveals limitations in that category,
particularly its idealisation of continental European horror production.
Miscellaneous Remarks on Godards Conceptual Processes Apropos of Sauve qui
peut (la vie)
Jean-Luc Godard‘s Sauve qui peut (la vie) holds a uniquely pivotal position in the
directors oeuvre and provides the occasion for a case study in how he conceives and
develops his works. Amongst the salient features of this process are Godard‘s
invention of the ‘video-scenario’ format, enabling him to couch his ideas in visual
rather than verbal form from the very moment of their inception; his desire to “look
at things a bit scientifically”; and a use of commissioned and pre-existing music
which lies at the very heart of his creative method.
Critics and Critical Practice at the Monthly Film Bulletin
Richard Lowell MacDonald
This article focuses on the Monthly Film Bulletin, a magazine devoted to what is
often regarded as the lowliest and most ephemeral form of film criticism: the film
review. Studying the Bulletins publication history, with a particular emphasis on the
1970s, the article challenges the dismissal of journalistically motivated film
criticism in academic discourse. It argues that the historical interest of the
Bulletins late period lies in its hybrid identity, a journal of record in which both
accurate information and personal evaluation coexisted as values, and in which a
polyphony of individual critical voices creatively worked through a routinised
reviewing practice and a generic discursive format.
The Awakening (2011) and Development Practices in the British Film
This article reveals how screenwriter Stephen Volk‘s idea for a sequel to The
Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton) became, over the course of fifteen years, the British
horror film The Awakening (2011, Nick Murphy). It examines practitioner interviews to
reflect on creative labour in the British film industry, while also reorientating the
analysis of British horror film to the practices of pre-production, specifically
development. The research reveals that female protagonist Florence Cathcart was a
major problem for the project and demonstrates how the Florence character changed
throughout the development process. Repeatedly rewritten and ultimately restrained by
successive male personnel, her character reveals persistent, problematic perceptions
of gender in British horror filmmaking.
This article considers the recurring motif of the female driver in a selection of films by Alfred Hitchcock. By placing these screen representations of female drivers within the context of prevailing attitudes found throughout twentieth-century American society, the discussion seeks to evaluate Hitchcock’s creative deployment of potent cultural issues in his work. In this pursuit, the article identifies certain disparities in the portrayals of female drivers, resulting in both positive and negative depictions, which can be related to the director’s broader ambivalence towards femininity throughout his oeuvre.
Chris Baldick and Robert Mighall have argued rather convincingly that ‘Gothic
Criticism’ is in need of an overhaul. I revisit their controversial article
through an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s parody of the Gothic and of scholarship,
‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ In this tale of creative criticism, Wilde’s hero,
Cyril Graham, invents the character of Willie Hughes to prove a theory about
Shakespeare’s sonnets. Contrary to Baldick and Mighall, I argue that Gothic
criticism might do well to take its cue from its object of study. Plunging deep
into the abyss, abandoning pretentions of knowing fact from fiction, natural
from supernatural, I whole-heartedly - momentarily - consider the ‘Willie Hughes
theory’ and ‘I will take up the theory where Cyril Graham left it and I will
prove to the world that he was right’.
This essay draws on James Baldwin’s ideas on race, immigration, and American identity to examine the experience of contemporary African immigrants in the United States. More Africans have come to the U.S. since 1965 than through the Middle Passage, and only now is their experience gaining the full creative and critical attention it merits. Since becoming American entails adopting the racial norms and sentiments of the U.S., I explore how African immigrants contend with the process of racialization that is part and parcel of the American experience. Drawing on Baldwin’s idea of blackness as an ethical category, I also consider the limits of the concept of Afropolitanism to characterize the new wave of African immigrants in the U.S.
life and live out the fascistic dream. That doesn’t mean to say the threat of violence ever truly dissipates from the relationship. Once the power over life is normalised, the spectre of violence is in fact omnipresent. It has to be that way or else the still existent capacity to resist might result in a reversal of fortunes. In the absence of violence there is an absence of fear. And in the absence of fear life can live affirmatively, creatively, resistively in the primary and ontological sense of these terms, with all the public and joyful expressions of difference