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Essays on Modern American Literature

Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.

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Dilara Begum Jolly’s garment factory-themed art
Melia Belli Bose

Chakma, also features peasants, both Bengali and tribal villagers, as its subjects. However, as in Abedin’s sketches, in their work, the peasants are anonymous. Moreover, Ahmed, Shakoor, Dey, Chakma, and many other artists render a utopian agrarian idyll, devoid of poverty and populated by well-fed, satisfied peasants. A career of cultural activism Jolly began her artistic career in the early 1980s, during the military dictatorship of Husain Muhammad Ershad. This era in the young nation’s history was

in Threads of globalization
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Precarity in the fashion system
Ilaria Vanni

, adaptability and capacity to work with different constellations and groups and the ability to move across the mediascape.The narrative in the previous section explains how Serpica Naro has been linked to forms of cultural activism and interpreted as an elaborate and politically effective hoax, or as an example of resistance that opens up a space of critical playfulness in counter-precarity activism. Regarding similar operations, Marco Deseriis has inscribed Serpica Naro in the genealogy of the tactical activist practice of ‘improper names’, or the multiple use of names, to

in Precarious objects
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Law reform, homosexual identity and the role of counter-culture
Lucy Robinson

2 Reporting change: law reform, homosexual identity and the role of counter-culture Revolt, my child, revolt is a quick axe cleaving dead wood in the forest, by night. The woodsman of the day is the executioner.1 Introduction When the Sexual Offences Act (SOA) of 1967 partially decriminalised homosexuality it also exposed the limits of reform. This chapter focuses on the choices made by homosexual men as new arenas of political and cultural activism instead. The Act was not a clear victory in the interests of homosexuals but was the product of pragmatic

in Gay men and the Left in post-war Britain
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Activism and design in Italy

Precarious objects is a book about activism and design. The context is the changes in work and employment from permanent to precarious arrangements in the twenty-first century in Italy. The book presents design interventions that address precarity as a defuturing force affecting political, social and material conditions. Precarious objects shows how design objects, called here ‘orientation devices’, recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life. Three microhistories illustrate activist repertoires that bring into play design, and design practices that are grounded in activism. While the vitality, experimental nature and traffic between theory and praxis of social movements in Italy have consistently attracted the interest of activists, students and researchers in diverse fields, there exists little in the area of design research. This is a study of design activism at the intersection of design theory and cultural research for researchers and students interested in design studies, cultural studies, social movements and Italian studies.

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At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.

Open Access (free)
The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62

In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.

Caroline Turner
Jen Webb

economic inequities. ‘The key point is this’, Alagappa writes: ‘contentions over national belonging, identity, the socio-political order, and protection and expansion of rights and interests have made struggle a central feature of many Asian civil societies’.7 Political activism only works when activists can successfully convince the general population that their efforts are both legitimate and of value, and there is therefore always a need to mobilise the public as well as to convince the rulers of the importance of their cause. Cultural activism has real traction in

in Art and human rights
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Clowning and mass protest
Alister Wedderburn

across borders even as they prioritise people’s immediate and specific needs. 2 The aim is not to oppose market-led globalisation by doubling down on existing local or national identities, but rather by creatively enacting new alliances and associations both locally and across borders, in ways that elude the disciplinary demands of capital. In pursuing these goals, many within the movement have looked beyond traditional methods of mass protest in favour of a playful aestheticism and theatricality: what the Trapese Collective call ‘cultural activism’ ( 2007 ; cf

in Humour, subjectivity and world politics
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Ian Goodyer

between a largely ‘aestheticised’ approach to the issue and one that was informed by a combination of cultural activism and ‘hard politics’. The former relied upon the shock effect of punk’s profanity in jolting people into an awareness of the dangerous snares that ‘common sense’ had laid for them. It was a blow against complacency, but one struck from outside, by an enlightened elite. The latter position was more pragmatic. It counselled against the danger of legitimising the symbols of fascism, since this provided a cover for race hatred. Rather than shocking people

in Crisis music