This article defends the view that Gothic Studies should encourage research on contemporary gothic youth cultures from a Cultural Studies point of view. This is justified on two grounds: research on these youth cultures is a unique chance to consider gothic as a living cultural practice and not just as textual analysis mostly disengaged from the present; on the other hand, these subcultures are currently under attack by the media and moral minorities, especially in the USA, and Gothic Studies could - maybe should - help correct this regrettable situation born of prejudice against, and ignorance about, Gothic itself. The article reviews the embarrassing position of the Gothic Studies researcher today as regards gothic youth cultures and calls for the reinforcement of the poor knowledge we have of the evolution of these cultures in the last 20 years.
Representations of Rwanda have been shaped by the display of bodies and bones at Tutsi
genocide memorial sites. This phenomenon is most often only studied from the perspective
of moral dimensions. This article aims in contrast to cover the issues related to the
treatment of human remains in Rwanda for commemorative purposes from a historical
perspective. To this end, it is based on the archives of the commissions in charge of
genocide memory in Rwanda, as well as interviews with key memorial actors. This study
shows the evolution of memorial practices since 1994 and the hypermateriality of bodies in
their use as symbols, as well as their demobilisation for the purposes of reconciliation
James Baldwin, the Religious Right, and the Moral
In the 1980s, James Baldwin recognized that a major transformation had occurred in the
socio-political functions of religion. His critique adapted accordingly, focusing on the
ways in which religion—particularly white evangelical Christianity—had morphed into a
movement deeply enmeshed with mass media, conservativepolitics, and late capitalism.
Religion in the Reagan era was leveraged, sold, and consumed in ways never before seen,
from charismatic televangelists, to Christian-themed amusement parks, to mega-churches.
The new movement was often characterized as the “religious right” or the “Moral Majority”
and was central to both Reagan’s political coalition as well as the broader culture wars.
For Baldwin, this development had wide-ranging ramifications for society and the
individual. This article draws on Baldwin’s final major essay, “To Crush the Serpent”
(1987), to examine the author’s evolving thoughts on religion, salvation, and
transgression in the context of the Reagan era.
James Baldwin has frequently been written about in terms of his relationship to geographical locations such as Harlem, Paris, St. Paul-de-Vence, Istanbul, and “the transatlantic,” but his longstanding connection to the American South, a region that served as a vexed and ambiguous spiritual battleground for him throughout his life and career, has been little discussed, even though Baldwin referred to himself as “in all but no technical legal fact, a Southerner.” This article argues that the South has been seriously underconsidered as a major factor in Baldwin’s psyche and career and that were it not for the challenge to witness the Southern Civil Rights movement made to Baldwin in the late 1950s, he might never have left Paris and become the writer and thinker into which he developed. It closely examines Baldwin’s fictional and nonfictional engagements with the American South during two distinct periods of his career, from his first visit to the region in 1957 through the watershed year of 1963, and from 1963 through the publication of Baldwin’s retrospective memoir No Name in the Street in 1972, and it charts Baldwin’s complex and often contradictory negotiations with the construction of identity in white and black Southerners and the South’s tendency to deny and censor its historical legacy of racial violence. A few years before his death, Baldwin wrote that “[t]he spirit of the South is the spirit of America,” and this essay investigates how the essential question he asked about the region—whether it’s a bellwether for America’s moral redemption or moral decline—remains a dangerous and open one.
Post-9/11 Aesthetics of Uncertainty in PlayDead‘s Limbo (2010)
This paper explores the Gothic videogame Limbo (PlayDead, 2010) in terms of an aesthetic and conceptual precariousness and preoccupation with uncertainty that, I suggest, are particularly associated with the traumatic legacy of 9/11. It engages with Judith Butler s post-9/11 reflections in her work Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (2004) on the loss of presumed safety and security in the First World. From here, she expresses the potential for shared experiences of vulnerability to inaugurate an ethics of relationality, without recourse to investment in systems of security. I then contrast this with an alternative critical trajectory that emphasises the use-value of such systems over a desire for moral purity. This critical framework is considered in relation to the treatment of vulnerability in Limbo, through its construction of a dialogic relationship between its diegetic game-world and the formal structure of its game-system. The former is found to articulate a pervasive experience of uncertainty, whilst the latter provides a sense of security. I draw upon psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott‘s theories of play and creative living to argue that the tension between game-world and game-system in Limbo creates a model of how uncertainty can be dwelt with, through a precarious balance between the use of systems of security and disengagement from them.
Since the early 1990s, armed actors have invaded territories in the Chocó and Antioquia
departments of Colombia, inhabited by Afro-Colombians and Indians whose collective rights
in these territories had recently been legally recognised. Based on long-term fieldwork
among the Emberá Katío, this article examines social, cosmological and ritual alterations
and re-organisation around violent death. Following a national policy of post-conflict
reparations, public exhumations and identifications of human remains reveal new local
modes of understanding and administration. In particular, suicide, hitherto completely
unknown to the Emberá, broke out in a multitude of cases, mostly among the youth. Local
discourse attributes this phenomenon to the number of stray corpses resulting from the
violence, who are transformed into murderous spirits which shamans can no longer control.
The analysis focusses on the unprecedented articulation of a renewed eschatology, the
intricate effects of an internal political reorganisation and the simultaneous inroad into
their space of new forms of armed insurrectional violence. Thus the article will shed
light on the emergence of a new transitional moral economy of death among the Emberá.
has been greatly exaggerated, then you will doubt that
those changes are likely to pose any existential challenge to the humanitarian international, be
it in terms of the efficacy of what relief groups do in the field or in terms of the political
and moral legitimacy they can aspire to enjoy. But if, on the contrary, you believe that we are living in the last days of a doomed system
– established in the aftermath of World War II and dominated by the US – then the
humanitarian international is no more likely to survive (or to put the matter more
a majority of humanitarian
practitioners, we can define it as a commitment to three things: the equal moral worth of all
human lives (i.e. non-discrimination on principle), the moral priority of the claims of
individuals over the authority claims of any collective entity – from nations to churches
to classes to families – and a belief that as a moral commitment (one
that transcends any sociological or political boundary) there is a just and legitimate reason to
intervene in any and all circumstances where human beings suffer (even if
dubbed ‘humanitarian exceptionalism’, the idea that aid workers should
be protected at all times and in all places by virtue of the uniqueness of their
function and moral standing. In the same year, arguably the apex of the heroisation of
humanitarian workers, the UN launched the #HumanitarianHero campaign on 19 August to
celebrate World Humanitarian Day ( Neuman,
2017 ). MSF published a multi-author review of its experience in risk management in 2016 ( Neuman and Weissman, 2016 ). In particular, the
about unintended consequences. Equally, there is a long history of how humanitarian
endeavours have played a role in sustaining or exacerbating conflicts, where
humanitarians intervened with the best moral and ethical intentions and principles but
in the end were arguably pivotal in prolonging suffering, a pertinent example being the
then ‘innovative’ humanitarian interventions in the secessionist war in
Biafra that ended 50 years ago and has been a milestone in re-thinking humanitarian