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An Interview with Raoul Peck
Leah Mirakhor

I Am Not Your Negro (2016) takes its direction from the notes for a book entitled “Remember this House” that James Baldwin left unfinished, a book about his three friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.— their murders, and their intertwining legacies. The film examines the prophetic shadow Baldwin’s work casts on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American politics and culture. Peck compiles archival material from Baldwin’s interviews on The Dick Cavett Show, his 1965 Cambridge lecture, and a series of banal images indexing the American dream. Juxtaposed against this mythology is footage of Dorothy Counts walking to school, the assassination of black leaders and activists, KKK rallies, and the different formations of the contemporary carceral state. Our conversation examines Peck’s role as a filmmaker and his relationship with the Baldwin estate. Additionally, we discussed a series of aesthetic choices he fought to include in the film’s final cut, directing Samuel L. Jackson as the voice for the film, the similarities and shifts he wanted to document in American culture since the 1960s, and some of the criticism he has received for not emphasizing more Baldwin’s sexuality.

James Baldwin Review
Abstract only
Hawthorne, Ligotti, and the Absent Center of the Nation-State
Donald L. Anderson

Although composed before 9/11, Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s My Kinsman, Major Molineux and Thomas Ligotti‘s The Shadow at the Bottom of the World are both prescient in their critique of the impulse of American communities following 9/11 to monumentalise and concretise the nation-state and in particular the remains at Ground Zero. In this essay I discuss Ground Zero as a suggestive trope for the illusiveness of the nation as an imagined community. These complementary Gothic short stories operate as allegory and offer a way of reading how patriotic communities cohered around what remained at Ground Zero and (re)produced it as a site of patriotic performance. A new Gothic trait in our age of terror(ism) is the anxiety over the absence of a stable centre that anchors national continuity. This article places these short stories in conversation with Benedict Anderson,,Étienne Balibar and other theorists who engage critiques of nation-building in order to draw out what is Gothic about the nation-state and to further substantiate how 9/11 revealed the nation-state as a principally Gothic phenomenon.

Gothic Studies
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
Ordinary Intimacies in Emerson, Du Bois, and Baldwin
Prentiss Clark

This essay reads James Baldwin in conversation with two unexpected interlocutors from the American nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Ralph Waldo Emerson and W. E. B. Du Bois. What draws these historically distant and intellectually different thinkers together, their differences making their convergences all the more resonant and provocative, is a shared mode of attention they bring to the social crises of their eras. It is a mode of attention foregrounding how the often unobserved particulars and emotional registers of human life vitally shape civic existence; more specifically, a mode of attention provoking us to see how “a larger, juster, and fuller future,” in Du Bois’s words, is a matter of the ordinary intimacies and estrangements in which we exist, human connections in all their expressions and suppressions. Emerson names them “facts [. . .] harder to read.” They are “the finer manifestations,” in Du Bois’s terms, “of social life, which history can but mention and which statistics can not count”; “All these things,” Baldwin says, “[. . .] which no chart can tell us.” In effect, from the 1830s to the 1980s these thinkers bear witness to what politics, legislation, and even all our knowledges can address only partially, and to the potentially transformative compensations we might realize in the way we conduct our daily lives. The immediate relevance and urgency this essay finds in their work exists not in proposed political actions, programs for reform, or systematic theories of social justice but in the way their words revitalize the ethical question “How shall I live?” Accumulative and suggestive rather than systematically comparative or polemical, this essay attempts to engage with Emerson, Du Bois, and Baldwin intimately, to proceed in the spirit of their commitment to questioning received disciplines, languages, and ways of inhabiting the world.

James Baldwin Review
Olivia Umurerwa Rutazibwa

-year undergraduate students reading International Development Studies and International Relations at the University of Portsmouth. My module on ‘Rethinking Aid and Development’ explores the implications of decolonial engagement with ideas and practices of international solidarity. Students have said: ‘We should be assigned readings like this from year one.’ So I ask the question here: ‘What if we were to start our humanitarian conversation with Sabaratnam?’ Of course, other works have questioned the value of international intervention. But it is necessary to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector
Miriam Bradley

violence. Despite the same broad objective, two distinct labels are used – ‘civilian protection’ and ‘staff security’ – and each designates a distinct set of policies and practices. Starting from the perspective that the reasons for such a distinction are not self-evident, the current article seeks to draw attention to the differences between staff-security and civilian-protection strategies, and to stimulate a conversation about the extent to which the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Why Building Back Better Means More than Structural Safety
Bill Flinn

feeling of fragile security of tenure has changed. These poor neighbourhoods can be found all along the coastal strip that runs from San José to the south of the city near the airport, to Anibong north of downtown. Much of this zone was declared a ‘no build zone’, although some areas are reclassified as ‘no dwelling zone’, and eviction and relocation now loom real. Although most barangay residents will list safety as their top priority, observation and conversation with the residents suggest a more complicated picture. The basic Build Back Safer messages (promoted

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Mel Bunce

one problem: the video wasn’t real. It was the creation of 34-year-old director Lars Klevberg, and it was filmed in Malta with child actors, using a set from the movie Gladiator . Klevberg said he wanted the video to start a conversation about the impact of war on children. Critics said he had gone too far: that the video created confusion and cynicism, which undermined attempts to address conflict in Syria ( Salyer, 2014 ). ‘Syrian hero boy’ was not an isolated incident. When audiences look online for information about humanitarian crises, they

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Matthew Hunt, Sharon O’Brien, Patrick Cadwell and Dónal P. O’Mathúna

paradigm of conversation, transnational exchange and narrative plurality’ ( Footitt, 2017 : 521). The second insight we draw for humanitarian ethics relates to questions of justice and fairness. In humanitarian ethics, emphasis is placed on the availability and distribution of assistance and resources during crisis. Less attention has been given to epistemic justice and power asymmetries in the ‘credibility economy’ ( Fricker, 2007 ) that exists in a humanitarian

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

control can lead to loss of life. It should only be used in situations where despite all efforts the population continues to resist an alternative approach’ ( UNHCR, n.d.a ). So-called ‘night raids’ are a similar phenomenon. In conversation, a former Norwegian Refugee Council camp manager in DR Congo described to me how night raids were used to facilitate aid delivery to a war-affected population. In the camp, located outside Goma, there had been unrest

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs