All Issues

  • Zero Hour in Arno Schmidt's Triptych Leviathan; or, An Adventure Allegorist at the Crossroads

    Author:Claudia Franken

    Abstract: Arno Schmidt’s tripartite Leviathan (1949; written 1946—1948) is one of the few German narratives composed immediately after World War II. Different from the then newly-propagated Trümmerliteratur (literature among the ruins) or the literature of Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coping with the past), Schmidt’s writing condensed and “dehydrated” narrative events, weaving antiquity and his personal experience into one in order to lay bare historical lines of continuity. Relating to Pytheas of Marsilia, to an ethics based on praxis and to modern physics, he undertakes a demanding topography of “hell descents” within which he also put into doubt political and academic demands upon a cultural legacy that was, to him, ...

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • Cloud Aesthetics: An Epistemological Challenge, Aesthetics from Below, and the Question of History

    Author:Christine Blaettler

    Abstract: Clouds are often appealed to when an objection is raised to the rationalist knowledge paradigm of the clear and distinct, as formulated by René Descartes. In such cases, clouds serve to establish an anti-classically oriented, non-hierarchical and non-determinative, chaostheoretically informed counter-paradigm. Itself informed by this tendency, this essay proposes to examine clouds as an epistemological challenge, capable of exposing specific tensions in science, philosophy, and art alike. These fields negotiate questions of perception and representation, hence aesthetic problems, on the basis of which this contribution formulates an “aesthetics from below.” Such an aesthetics does not proceed from aesthetic theories, nor is it based on fuzzy concepts; rather, ...

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • Black "Crime," Public Hysteria, and the Cinema of Containment: Black Cinema Aesthetics from Willie Dynamite to The Interrupters and a/k/a Mrs. George Gilbert

    Author:Amy Abugo Ongiri

    Abstract: This essay will explore the ways in which African American visual culture has attempted to negotiate criminalization and the current situation of what Richard Iton rightfully characterizes as “hyperincarceration.” It will explore the ways in which contemporary African American visual culture is engaged in negotiating between the literal material realities and consequences of mass incarceration and aesthetic constructions of violence. While mass incarceration is increasingly becoming understood as “the New Jim Crow” for African American political organizing ...

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • Eco-graphy and the Performative Long Poem: C. S. Giscombe's Giscome Road and Nikky Finney's Rice

    Author:James McCorkle

    Abstract: C. S. Giscombe’s Giscombe Road and Nikky Finney’s Rice are arguably book-length poems that construct an environmental consciousness through the lens of Black identity. Of importance in each is the use of material culture—maps, encyclopedia entries, schematic illustrations, and photographs—to construct the texts. Finney’s work tends to use photographs as supplements to her work, that is as illustrations which are intended to humanize against the grain of anti-Blackness; however, the materials in Giscombe’s collection are parts of a whole, not supplements, but quoted texts albeit utilizing a different visual modality. While there is a distinction between their use of material culture, Finney and Giscombe nonetheless create ecographies— autobiographies that situate and map oneself in a history of ecologies.

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • NOISY SOUNDS! It's a Listening Affair: Jazz Aesthetic, Improvisation, and Womanism in M. NourbeSe Philip’s She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks

    Author:Thao Ho

    Abstract: Black writers adapted jazz music to “say the unsayable” or employed the “jazz aesthetic,” which includes improvisation, citation, and variation as a stylistic device to distance their literature from European forms of narration. These elements can also be found in M. NourbeSe Philip’s poetry collection She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1988) which rigorously challenges the way language and words are perceived. Philip denounces the Western ideology of non-ambiguity, dichotomies, ...

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • The Presencing Tendency: French and American Avant-Garde Strategiesunder the Formal Subsumption of Art

    Author:Ben Libman

    Abstract: Whether what we call the avant-garde in literature ended sometime in the last century or, conversely, persists to this day is an open question. But rather than coming down on one side or another of the issue, this essay concerns itself with what the avant-garde looks like when, in Bourdieusian terms, it feels its very position to be at stake in the field’s struggle for domination, both internally and externally, with the field of power. Either by historical coincidence or, more intriguingly, by something as nefarious as influence, ...

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • Continuities of Racial Fascism: Louis Till and Black Marxism in the Pisan Cantos

    Author:Andrew Haas

    Abstract: In Ezra Pound’s Pisan Cantos, Pound mourns the unjust execution of Louis Till, Emmett Till’s father. This essay argues that the unusually sympathetic representation of Till in the poem was made possible by Pound’s engagement with the ideas of activists for black liberation like Nancy Cunard and Langston Hughes; hence Pound, an avowed fascist, ultimately voices a critique of the “racial fascism” of the United States typical of discourses of black anti-imperialism. The essay concludes with exploring the antinomical racial logic of the Pisan Cantos, for which black political radicalism—the “Black Leninism” of Langston Hughes in particular—is revealed to be a constitutive, but repressed, ideological interlocutor.

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • The Global Archive and the Future of Poetics

    Author:Barrett Watten

    Abstract: In defining “the global archive,” this essay refers, first of all, to the historical development of exhibitions in Germany that address a global horizon, a distinct cultural project since at least the Enlightenment. After 1945, modern art, which had been removed from public view by the Nazi state, was reintroduced as a project of reeducation as much as aesthetics. Documenta, beginning in 1955, exhibited modern and later artists in the destroyed buildings of the city of Kassel, and expanded its formal and cultural address to a global scale over its fifty-year history. Documenta itself became a kind of continuous archive of its own exhibition history, a mode of formal presentation that increasingly relied on the works it presented. Here ...

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • The Global White Snake as Digital Activist Project

    Author:Liang Luo

    Abstract: There is a long oral tradition and written record for the legend of the White Snake. As a woman, her “original sin” is being a snake. She is a snake who has cultivated herself for hundreds, if not thousands, of years to attain the form of a beautiful woman. Living as a resident “alien” (yilei) in the “Human Realm” (renjian), the White Snake has always been treated with suspicion, fear, exclusion, and violent suppression/exorcism. The White Snake is an immigrant to the human world, whose serpentine identity made her a “resident alien,” the legal category given to immigrants in the United States before they receive their “Green Card” and become a “permanent resident.” The implication of being a snake woman in the human world took on new meanings when the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the existing xenophobia, ...

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

  • A Comparative Study of the Ghost Literary Motif in Snow in Midsummer by Guan Hanqing and Hamlet by Shakespeare

    Author:Cristina-Mădălina Dinu

    Abstract: In classical Chinese literature, employing the literary motif of the ghost represents both the writers’ desire to escape the pattern of didactic literature promoted by Confucianism and their attempt to revolt against the rigidity of the Confucian dogma that is far too entrenched in reality and inhibits their creativity. Written during the Yuan Dynasty (1279– 1368) by Guan Hanqing (1225–1302), Snow in Midsummer presents the injustice of Dou’E who dies for a crime she did not commit, with the girl returning to the world of the living in the form of a ghost to obtain her justice....

    vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021      Time:2021-09-22 View Citation

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