THE WAR AND NATURAL
THE MORON AS AN ENEMY FORCE
Congenitally incapable of adjusting themselves to an advanced social order, the
degenerate inevitably become its enemies – particularly those ‘high-grade defectives’ who are the natural fomenters of social unrest.1
‘Undesirable’ community groups, especially those which can be framed as
potentially destructive to society at large, are often described through the
employment of military or natural catastrophe metaphors. In such cases, the
group is put forth as a primary and imminent threat
it as pretentious while Assayas’ arthouse
following may find it just plain tacky. ( 2002 : 32) 1
In his later reassessment, however, he
suggested that the film wasn’t simply a catastrophe but rather
‘a film made in the catastrophic mode’, arguing provocatively
‘that a cinema truly attuned to our times can make sense only if it
partakes of catastrophe, of a collapse of
Theatres of catastrophe after Auschwitz
The two place names featured in this chapter’s title call to mind atrocities
of the Second World War, specifically the Holocaust and the dropping
of the atomic bomb in Japan – catastrophic events that are distinguished
even within the twentieth century’s catalogue of horrors involving mass
death.1 The genocide of up to six million European and Soviet Jews,
along with the murder of other groups (e.g., Sinti and Roma, people with
disabilities, gay people, and political prisoners), by the Nazis between
The Captain catastrophe and
the politics of authority
The government of England has been making a large experiment, in which
the whole English people take a profound interest, personal as well as national.
That experiment has just concluded with a result absolute, decided, and overwhelming. The object of the experiment is therefore obtained: it has settled
all the questions it was to decide – one way. The experiment has cost at the
least £350,000, and some 500 human lives. That is no doubt an experiment on
a sufficiently grand scale to warrant the deep
very conspicuously amongst the concerns of moral or political philosophers in general.
It was a human catastrophe which may be thought, for all that, to pose some troubling questions for anyone committed to radical and progressive change, and it is certainly not a good reason for ignoring these questions that troubling is what they are. The words of the Polish sociologist Anna Pawelczynska, herself a former prisoner at Auschwitz, are to the point here:
People living within the orbit of European civilization today defend themselves from the
Cognitive justice, engagement and an ethic of care in learning
Steve Garlick and Julie Matthews
University responsibility in a world of
environmental catastrophe: cognitive justice,
engagement and an ethic of care in learning
Steve Garlick and Julie Matthews
ducation, the area to which we usually first turn for human transformation,
has failed us when it comes to environmental matters (Orr, 1992). Much of the
environmental mismanagement we see around us today comes from the decisions
and actions of ‘educated’ people and, despite talk of the need for an ‘education
revolution’, governments are unwilling to address the real question of ‘what
Dominic Mitchell's BAFTA award-winning three-part series In the Flesh was first broadcast on BBC3 in March 2013, with a second six-part series following in May 2014. This chapter argues that the series participates in the contemporary mass-cultural deployment of the zombie as a means of exposing and exploring the impact of neoliberal economics on the social and cultural organisation of the world and, in turn, the models of subjectivity available to its inhabitants. In its deployment of mad science, its depiction of the dungeons of Big Pharma's contemporary torture-house and the bleak wildness of the rain-lashed northern moors, in its broken urban estates and hellfire-preaching villages, In the Flesh undertakes a highly gothic queering of neoliberal England. Thus it interrogates both the contemporary state of the nation and the rights, responsibilities and subjectivity of us all.
There have been vigorous debates about the condition and prospects of auteur cinema in France over the last decade, debates that seem mostly to have gone unreported in anglophone criticism of francophone cinema. But these have been paralleled by a revival of international debate about the status of the auteur: in their extended chapter on auteur cinema added to the second edition of Cook's The Cinema Book, Pam Cook and Mieke Bernink observe that this was definitely underway by 1995. This book summarises the development of auteurism as a field up to the 1990s, drawing particularly on Wright Wexman's historical overview. Georges Méliès was the first auteur. Following the advent of structuralism and structuralist approaches to narrative and communication in the mid 1960s, a type of auteurism was born that preserved a focus on authorship. The book presents an account of the development of Olivier Assayas' career, and explores this idea of what one might call 'catastrophe cinema'. Jacques Audiard's work reflects several dominant preoccupations of contemporary French cinema, such as an engagement with realism (the phenomenon of the 'new new wave') and the interrogation of the construction of (cultural) memory. The book then discusses the films of the Dardenne brothers and their documentaries. Michael Haneke's films can be read as a series of polemical correctives to the morally questionable viewing practices. An introduction to Ozon's films that revolve around the centrality of queer desire to his cinema, and the continual performative transformations of identity worked within it, is presented.
out of their homes, especially in densely built-up areas.
This military strategy has been extremely effective in regaining most opposition strongholds at the expense of civilian suffering and humanitarian catastrophe. Moreover, this strategy, especially the forced displacement part, could have serious long-term consequences, such as forced displacement and demographic engineering, that could be almost impossible to reverse in post-conflict Syria.
All data used in this paper are publicly accessible. The authors declare that they have no
The escalation of systematic, if random, violence in the contemporary world frames the
concerns of the article, which seeks to read Baldwin for the present. It works by a
measure of indirection, arriving at Baldwin after a detour which introduces Chinua Achebe.
The Baldwin–Achebe relationship is familiar fare. However, here I explore not the shared
congruence between their first novels, but rather focus on their later works, in which the
reflexes of terror lie close to the surface. I use Achebe’s final novel, Anthills of the
Savanah, as a way into Baldwin’s “difficult” last book, The Evidence of Things Not Seen,
suggesting that both these works can speak directly to our own historical present. Both
Baldwin and Achebe, I argue, chose to assume the role of witness to the evolving
manifestations of catastrophe, which they came to believe enveloped the final years of
their lives. In order to seek redemption they each determined to craft a prose—the product
of a very particular historical conjuncture—which could bring out into the open the
prevailing undercurrents of violence and terror.