Tom Huisjes and Eline Reinhoud | The Parthenon of Books: Censorship through Blasphemy Laws

32.1 Religion and Secularism

Abstract

This article analyses Marta Minujín’s Parthenon of Books as it was realised during the Documenta 14 exhibition in Kassel, Germany (2017). Many of the books used to construct the Parthenon were banned by religious institutions, which raises the question of the role of blasphemy laws and blasphemy-related censorship in today’s Western democracies, as such laws limit the freedom of expression as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). We analyse how Minujín’s artwork contributes to existing campaigns for the abolition of blasphemy laws, arguing that while its message is not limited to blasphemy-related censorship, its critical stance towards religious censorship is an undertone that cannot be denied.

June 1st, 2019

Jerrold Cuperus | Narrating Dutch Christianity: Secularism, Heritage, and Identity in Museum Catharijneconvent

32.1 Religion and Secularism

Abstract

This article analyzes how a Dutch museum for Christian heritage uses objects to construct narratives about the entanglements of Christianity and Dutch history. The exhibition “Christianity in the Netherlands” presents a specific postsecular narrative, which positions its audience in a political discourse that emphasizes the Christian tradition of the Netherlands, but is potentially exclusionary to part of its audience. This article analyzes the exhibition and argues that viewing practices, and the sacralization of art and heritage figure into the construction of a national Dutch identity which privileges a specific cultural form of Christianity.

June 1st, 2019

Manav Ratti | ‘The God of the Imagination’: Postcolonial Postsecularism and Salman Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet

32.1 Religion and Secularism

Abstract

Salman Rushdie’s novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999) invokes religion and mythology in its representation of miracles, wonder, sorcery, revelations, infernos, frontiers, metamorphoses, and other worlds as it narrates the lives—across the United States, India, and Europe—of celebrated rock singers Ormus Cama and Vina Apsara. This article analyzes how Rushdie represents elements of secularism and religion in order to gesture toward and search for inspirational, generative, and creative potentials. I argue how Rushdie’s literary representation of secularism and religion is an expression of postcolonial postsecularism, as an imaginative possibility emerging from the historical conditions and contexts—across India and western Europe—of philosophical and political secularism, religious thought and practice, and postcoloniality.

June 1st, 2019

Christopher Douglas | What Is Christian Postmodernism?

32.1 Religion and Secularism

Abstract

Christian Postmodernism is a rhetorical strategy of fundamentalist apologetics. It seeks to level the playing field of expert knowledge by developing institutions and networks of counter-expertise to produce uncertainty in fields such as evolution, Bible criticism, climate change, sex education, and others. This article analyzes a literary example of Christian Postmodernism, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ famous Left Behind series, where characters must learn to read the Bible as fundamentalists do, for its ‘plain sense’ mapping of the End Times. Christian Postmodernism characterizes the epistemic crisis among U.S. conservatives today and was crucial to the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

June 1st, 2019

Magdalena Maczyńska | From Religious Nostalgia to Eco-Postsecularism: Scriptures for Climate-Changed Futures in Fictions by Richard Jefferies, Will Self, and Octavia Butler

32.1 Religion and Secularism

Abstract

This paper offers an eco-postsecular reading of Octavia Butler’s two-part Parable series (1993-1998) and Will Self’s Book of Dave (2006), alongside a Victorian predecessor of contemporary climate fiction: Richard Jefferies’s After London; or, Wild England (1885). The futuristic visions of Jefferies, Self, and Butler illustrate the exceptional explanatory and affective power of sacred texts, and reflect on the benefits and hazards of reading, re-reading, and un-reading religious scriptures under conditions of climate pressure.

June 1st, 2019

Preface by Lynn Botelho | Old Age is Not a Modern Invention

30.1 Ageing Lines

At times, it seems that Old Age is something that only we post-moderns have had to think about, let alone deal with its physical and economic consequences, or the cultural polarization that renders the elderly as wise or foolish, rich or poor, healthy or sick, or athletic of bed-bound. We are attuned to the media battles that pit youth against age, but there is another, more disturbing conflict that sets elderly people off against each other. Perhaps this is seen most clearly in the role of money and medicine in the life of older people. We can chart a clear demographic shift between people who have money and access to elective health care procedures and those who do not.

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May 15th, 2019

Gillis J. Dorleijn | Literaire muziek. Een demonstratie van een “intermediale” lectuur voorafgegaan door enkele opmerkingen over intermedialiteit

23.2 Literatuur en Muziek

Abstract

Intermedialiteit is in. Ongetwijfeld is de enorme impact van de nieuwe media daar debet aan. Mediatheorie en -geschiedenis lopen aan de frontlinie van het culturele onderzoek. De literatuurwetenschap wil niet te zeer achterblijven en hijst met intermedialiteit de vlag van de vernieuwing. Helemaal onproblematisch is dat niet, want de term intermedialiteit mag dan hip zijn, het is doorgaans niet erg duidelijk welke lading zij dekt. Intermedialiteit loopt zo het gevaar het zoveelste modieuze containerbegrip te zijn dat het banier van de literatuurstudie siert om een jaar of tien vrolijk te staan wapperen totdat het weer vervangen wordt door een vaandel dat een nieuwe vernieuwing aankondigt. Wat zijn precies de problemen met intermedialiteit?

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December 24th, 2018

Exposition 31.2 Fact and Fiction

Blog

As you may have noticed, this issue of FRAME did not include the usual exposition, listing recent books connected to our theme. This was because this issue is so full of amazing articles, we had to cut a few pages! However, we did compile a lovely exposition, and it would be a shame not to share it, so here it is…

d’Ancona, Matthew
Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back
Ebury Press, 2017
ISBN 978-1-7850-3687-3

Welcome to the Post-Truth era—a time in which the art of the lie is shaking the very foundations of democracy and the world as we know it. The Brexit vote, Donald Trump’s victory, the rejection of climate change science, the vilification of immigrants, all have been based on the power to evoke feelings and not facts. So what does it all mean and how can we champion truth in a time of lies and “alternative facts”? In this eye-opening and timely book, Post-Truth is distinguished from a long tradition of political lies, exaggeration, and spin. What is new is not the mendacity of politicians but the public’s response to it and the ability of new technologies and social media to manipulate, polarize, and entrench opinion. Where trust has evaporated, conspiracy theories thrive, the authority of the media wilt, and emotions matter more than facts. Now, one of the UK’s most respected political journalists, Matthew d’Ancona, investigates how we got here, why quiet resignation is not an option and how we can and must fight back.

Fuller, Steve
Post-Truth: Knowledge as a Power Game
Anthem Press, 2018
ISBN 978-1-7830-8694-8

“Post-truth” was Oxford Dictionaries’ 2016 word of the year. While the term was coined by its disparagers in the light of the Brexit and US presidential campaigns, the roots of post-truth lie deep in the history of Western social and political theory. Post-Truth reaches back to Plato, ranging across theology and philosophy, to focus on the Machiavellian tradition in classical sociology, as exemplified by Vilfredo Pareto, who offered the original modern account of post-truth in terms of the “circulation of elites.” The defining feature of “post-truth” is a strong distinction between appearance and reality which is never quite resolved and so the strongest appearance ends up passing for reality. The only question is whether more is gained by rapid changes in appearance or by stabilizing one such appearance. Post-Truth plays out what this means for both politics and science.

Gilmore, Leigh
Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives
Columbia UP, 2017
ISBN 978-0-2311-7715-3

Why are women so often considered unreliable witnesses to their own experiences? How are women discredited in legal courts and in courts of public opinion? Why is women’s testimony so often mired in controversies fueled by histories of slavery and colonialism? How do new feminist witnesses enter testimonial networks and disrupt doubt? Tainted Witness examines how gender, race, and doubt stick to women witnesses as their testimony circulates in search of an adequate witness. Judgment falls unequally upon women who bear witness, as well-known conflicts about testimonial authority in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries reveal. Women’s testimonial accounts demonstrate both the symbolic potency of women’s bodies and speech in the public sphere and the relative lack of institutional security and control to which they can lay claim. Each testimonial act follows in the wake of a long and invidious association of race and gender with lying that can be found to this day within legal courts and everyday practices of judgment, defining these locations as willfully unknowing and hostile to complex accounts of harm. Bringing together feminist, literary, and legal frameworks, Leigh Gilmore provides provocative readings of what happens when women’s testimony is discredited. She demonstrates how testimony crosses jurisdictions, publics, and the unsteady line between truth and fiction in search of justice.

Mickwitz, Nina
Documentary Comics: Graphic Truth-Telling in a Skeptical Age
Palgrave Macmillan, 2016
ISBN 978-1-349-55895-7

Can comics be documentary, and can documentary take the form of, and thus be, comics? Examining comics as documentary, this book challenges the persistent assumption that ties documentary to recording technologies, and instead engages an understanding of the category in terms of narrative, performativity, and witnessing. Through a cluster of early twenty-first century comics, Nina Mickwitz argues that these comics share a documentary ambition to visually narrate and represent aspects and events of the real world.

Schaberg, Christopher
The Work of Literature in an Age of Post-Truth
Bloomsbury, 2018
ISBN 978-1-5013-3429-0

What is the role of literary studies in an age of Twitter threads and viral news? If the study of literature today is not just about turning to classic texts with age-old questions, neither is it a rejection of close reading or critical inquiry. Through the lived experience of a humanities professor in a rapidly changing world, this book explores how the careful study of literature and culture may be precisely what we need to navigate our dizzying epoch of post-truth politics and ecological urgency.

Wiese, Doro
The Powers of the False: Reading, Writing, Thinking beyond Truth and Fiction
Northwestern UP, 2014
ISBN 978-0-8101-3004-3

Can literature make it possible to represent histories that are otherwise ineffable? Making use of the Deleuzian concept of “the powers of the false,” Doro Wiese offers readings of three novels that deal with the Shoah, with colonialism, and with racialized identities. She argues that Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated, Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish, and Richard Powers’s The Time of Our Singing are novels in which a space for unvoiced, silent, or silenced difference is created. Seen through the lens of Deleuze and his collaborators’ philosophy, literature is a means for mediating knowledge and affects about historical events. Going beyond any simple dichotomy between true and untrue accounts of what “really” happened in the past, literature’s powers of the false incite readers to long for a narrative space in which p

December 5th, 2018

Lauren Hoogen Stoevenbeld | Living a Dream: History and Fiction in Danilo Kiš’ “A Tomb for Boris Davidovich” and “The Encyclopedia of the Dead”

31.2 Fact and Fiction

Abstract

In this article I compare two stories by Yugoslavian author Danilo Kiš, “A Tomb for Boris Davidovich” and “The Encyclopedia of the Dead,” which address the problems and possibilities of writing a truthful history. Although the stories seem to contradict each other, I will argue that in fact they do not. Instead, when read together through frameworks of historiography and cultural memory studies, these stories show how literature can reflect on the past in meaningful ways outside of the means of scholarly historical writing, and in doing so offer a better understanding of the status of fiction about true events, in a time in which this is increasingly contested.

December 1st, 2018

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