In the Flesh (Holly Crocker [University of South Carolina])
Melting Flesh, Living Words (Jay Zysk [University of South Florida])
The Temporal Excesses of Dead Flesh (Cynthia Turner Camp [University of Georgia])
Carnival in The Merchant of Venice (Jonathan Goldberg [Emory University])
The Curious Pleasures of the Heroic Corpse (Kathryn Schwarz [Vanderbilt University])
Scattered Remains and Paper Bodies: Margaret Cavendish and the Siege of Colchester (Frances E. Dolan [University of California, Davis])
Fleshing out the text: The Transcendent Manuscript in the Digital Age (Elaine Treharne [Stanford University])
Spirited Flesh: The Animation and Hybridization of Flesh in the Early Modern Imaginary (Emily L. King [Vanderbilt University])
Hi Mho Jhi Kudd: Thomas Stephens’s Translated Flesh, or, Coconuts in Goa (Jonathan Gil Harris [Ashoka University])
- “Exegetical History: Nazis at the Round Table” — Martin Shichtman and Laurie Finke
- “Modern and Genuine Medievalism: Guido Kisch’s Romance with the German Middle Ages” — Mitchell B. Hart
- “Defending the West: Cultural Racism and Pan-Europeanism on the Far-Right” — Daniel Wollenberg
- “Remarks on the Name Jew and Universal” — Jean-Claude Milner, trans. Robert S. Kawashima
- “The History of an Incorrect Term: Agamben, Etymology, and the Medieval History of the Holocaust” — Heather Blurton
- “One or Several Jews? The Jewish Massed Body in Old Norse Literature” — Richard Cole
- “Response: Ethics and the Voices of the Past” — Fred Evans
MediaCommons is a community network for scholars, students, and practitioners in media studies, promoting exploration of new forms of publishing within the field. MediaCommons was founded with the support of the Institute for the Future of the Book, and with assistance from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through this network, we hope to refocus scholarship in the field on the communication and discussion of new ideas in the field. . . . Our hope is that the interpenetration of these different forms of discourse will not simply shift the locus of publishing from print to screen, but will actually transform what it means to “publish,” allowing the author, the publisher, and the reader all to make the process of such discourse just as visible as its product. In so doing, new communities will be able to get involved in academic discourse, and new processes and products will emerge, leading to new forms of digital scholarship and pedagogy.
Cluster Edited by Daniel Lukes
CLUSTER EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION
Comparative Neomedievalisms: A Little Bit Medieval (Daniel Lukes [Indiana University])
Don Quixote and the Remembrance of Things Medieval (Donald D. Palmer [College of Marin and North Carolina State University])
The New Knighthood: Terrorism and the Medieval (Daniel Wollenberg [Binghamton University, SUNY])
Neomedievalisms and the Modern Subject in T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral (Krystya Michael [Graduate Center, CUNY])
Neomedievalist Feminist Dystopia (Daniel Lukes [Indiana University])
Boundless Restraint: Performance, Reparation, and the Daily Practice of Death in the Life of Daniel the Stylite (Jonah Westerman [Graduate Center, CUNY])
Confessions and the Creation of the Will: A Weird Tale (Matthew Bryan Gillis [University of Tennessee])
Heurodis Speaks (Robyn Cadwallader [Flinders University])
BOOK REVIEW ESSAY
Towards a Premodern Affective Turn (Glenn Burger [Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY])
As was noted by Arnold Van Gennep, one of the first anthropologists of the edge, “the attributes of liminality are necessarily ambiguous since [they] elude or slip through the network of classifications that normally locate states and positions in cultural space.”
~from Michael Camille, Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art
Eileen Joy, Myra Seaman, and Holly Crocker are thrilled to announce that it is time once again for the Biennial Michael Camille Essay prize, jointly sponsored by postmedieval, Palgrave Macmillan, and the BABEL Working Group.
The prize is named after Michael Camille (1958-2002), the brilliant art historian whose work on medieval art exemplified playfulness, a felicitous interdisciplinary reach, a restless imagination, and a passion to bring the medieval and modern into vibrant, dialogic encounter. In addition, we wish to honor Camille for his attention to the fringes of medieval society — to the liminal, the excluded, the ‘subjugated rabble,’ and the disenfranchised, and to the socially subversive powers of medieval artists who worked on and in the margins. The prize is also named after Camille because his work was often invested in exploring ‘the prism of modernity through which the Middle Ages is constructed’ and because, as his colleague at the University of Chicago Linda Seidel said shortly after his death, he had ‘a mind like shooting stars.’
Submissions will be judged by a panel of scholars selected from postmedieval’s Editorial Board, and the winner will be announced at the 3rd Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group, to be held October 16-18 at University of California, Santa Barbara. Please send submissions, to include a cover page with all contact information — name, affiliation(s), mailing address, email address(es), title of submission, and with no identifying information on essay itself (formatted in Word and following Chicago Manual, author-date format with endnotes + list of references at end) — to the editors at email@example.com. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Eileen Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a long time now, I have been thinking about what I am going to call — for lack of a better phrase at present — generous reading. It’s this (utopic) (foolish) idea I have that, within the humanities and the university more broadly, we might actually devise a way to read the work of others — even those we might disagree with for all sorts of reasons, or from whom we might feel disciplinarily (and otherwise) estranged — with some sort of spirit of radical openness to what others are desiring to think and articulate at any given moment. I say quite purposefully — desiring to think and articulate — because I believe we put too little of a premium within our professional academic lives on actually caring about other persons’ intellectual wishes and desires (what does he, she, they, want? what are they TRYING to say/do? what do they need from me?), and instead often approach others’ work primarily from the route of how we think we might be able to utilize the “end products” of that work (positively or negatively) in our own scholarship, which scholarship (moreover) is often conceptualized along fairly narrow theoretical, methodological, temporal, disciplinary and other lines (for the important sake of “expertise,” this is sometimes, and valuably, necessary). Let me clarify before proceeding so that it does not seem as if I am claiming that most of us supposedly work within overly “narrow” intellectual and other concerns and interests. I do not believe that and would like to further believe that most of us are on the lookout most of the time for new ideas, and new provocations to thought; it’s just that, given the constraints of our lives (teaching schedules, personal lives, disciplinary boundaries that are not always easy to cross, and various other stresses and pressures), the amount of time we have to simply read other scholars’ work simply for the purpose of answering the (hopefully) joyous question — “I wonder what THIS is about?” — feels (or maybe really is) unavailable. Read more
An Interstellar Raft of the Medusa: Critical/Liberal/Arts 2 @CUNY
by EILEEN JOY
It’s been almost two months since some of us (well, many of us, actually, since we numbered close to 100)gathered at The Graduate Center, CUNY for the second installment of the BABEL Working Group’s bi-coastal symposia series, Critical/Liberal/Arts, the first of which happened at UC-Irvine this past April. The proceedings from both events will be published in a special issue of postmedieval, edited by the series organizers, Myra Seaman, Allan Mitchell, and Julie Orlemanski, in 2015, but in the meantime we are fortunate that one of the NYC’s event’s contributors, AW Strouse, has offered a review and summary of the day at the online journal Hortulus, HERE, and I now also have audio files to share, for those who could not be there, but would like to join in some of the fun of the embodied performances — by Henry Turner, the Hollow Earth Society (Wythe Marschall + Ethan Gould), Eleanor Johnson, Ammiel Alcalay, Bruce Holsinger, AW Strouse, Eirik Steinhoff, Jamie “Skye” Bianco, Michael Witmore, and Marina Zurkow + Una Chaudhuri — that resulted from this prompt:
We hazard that many of the categories used to distinguish modes of knowledge production are in practice overlapping or entwined: distance and involvement; criticism and aestheticism; sensation and reflection; detachment and attachment; interrogation and incorporation; interpretive qualification and quantified data; analysis and speculation; control and loss of control before the objects of our study. A survey of the humanities and social sciences at present turns up projects that transcend traditional rubrics and do not remain in their respective fields at all — but rather, cross out of academia and continue on to other planes of social practice. These projects represent serious commitments to tinkering, mapping, constructing, organizing, blogging, protesting, ornamenting, fantasizing, digitizing, occupying, and more. We invite accounts of practices from inside and outside of the university that might be counted among the new arts of critique, or new modes of critical creation.
Presenters have been encouraged to avoid post-critical hype and anti-critique retrenchment. Polarizing these issues has helped generate powerful critiques-of-critique as well as strong defenses of traditional critical frameworks (such as Marxism, feminism, queer studies, race studies, postcolonial studies, post-structuralism, and the like). But we are interested in exploring theories and practices beyond the polemic. To wit: What are the new scenes or spaces of critical invention? What different faces might critique have? What does it feel like? What does it do? How does historical consciousness play a role in generating new forms, tools, or ideas? What does it mean to be “uncritical”? Is there an erotic hermeneutics, pace Sontag, or an eros of critique? How do we engage criticism and art and techne against the actuarial interests of the corporate university? Can we “afford” to nurture speculative creation, or pure science, in an age of austerity? Do delight, rapture, or the drift of daydreams have a role in criticism? Is there value in maintaining what separates the injunctions to critique and to create? How might our practices cross-pollinate the sciences and the fine arts? Or politics and aesthetics? Or the future and the past? Read more
Edited by Eileen A. Joy
Brooklyn, NY: punctum books, 2013. 372 pages, illus. ISBN-13: 978-0615906508. OPEN-ACCESS e-book and $17.00 [€15.00/£14.00] in print: paperbound/5 X 8 in.
There are many different kinds of intelligence, and there will always be a few writers who don’t need to read Shakespeare in college, or game designers who don’t need economics courses to get rich. But a terrible narrowing of the mind and of mental experience is ongoing in our country, sometimes waved on by the very scientists who ought most of all to respect the mind’s powers. The philosopher Guillaume LeBlanc argues that philosophy should now understand itself as work performed on behalf of particular cultures and ecologies, producing a new ethos of the philosopher for whom the question of belonging to an ordinary world has become, not something to bracket or transcend, but centrally important. Understanding how ordinariness is produced, and critiquing self-evidence, remain crucial activities of cultural analysis, as does the defense of expertise; but it is not simply a matter of intellectuals going public. It is also a matter of experts deciphering the relationship of their work to the arts of thriving and surviving, and feeding the results of their analyses back into their work. And it is time to fight, not just for this or that way of thinking, but for the experience of mind itself, and its cultivation — for (the pleasures of) knowing, reasoning, investigating, analyzing, debating, loving, desiring, and reflecting.
~ L.O. Aranye Fradenburg, “Living the Liberal Arts,” Staying Alive
Staying Alive: A Survival Manual for the Liberal Arts fiercely defends the liberal arts in and from an age of neoliberal capital and techno-corporatization run amok, arguing that the public university’s purpose is not vocational training, but rather the cultivation of what Fradenburg calls “artfulness,” including the art of making knowledge. In addition to sustained critical and creative thinking, the humanities develop the mind’s capacities for real-time improvisational communication and interpretation, without which we can neither thrive nor survive. Humanist pedagogy and research use play, experimentation and intersubjective exchange to foster forms of artfulness critical to the future of our species. From perception to reality-testing to concept-formation and logic, the arts and humanities teach us to see, hear and respond more keenly, and to imagine, or “model,” new futures and possibilities. Innovation of all kinds, technological or artistic, depends on the enhancement of the skills proper to staying alive. Read more
I was very lucky to be invited recently by George Washington University — more specifically, GW’s new Digital Humanities Institute [Alex Huang], GW’s Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute [Jeffrey Cohen], and the Gelman Library [Geneva Henry and Karim Boughida] — to give a talk on the state(s) and future(s) of open-access publishing, and in order to make this talk more accessible, I am sharing it here [in augmented form]!
A Time for Radical Hope: Freedom, Responsibility, Publishing, and Building New Publics
Professional Challenges. Amateur Solutions.
~The Bruce High Quality Foundation
For what may we hope? Kant put this question in the first-person singular along with two others — What can I know? What ought I to do? — that he thought essentially marked the human condition. With two centuries of philosophical reflection, it seems that these questions are best transposed to the first-person plural. And with that same hindsight, rather than attempt an a priori inquiry, I would like to consider hope as it might arise at one of the limits of human existence [such as the collapse of an entire culture]. . . . What makes hope [in the face of such a collapse] radical is that it is directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is. Radical hope anticipates a good for which those who have the hope as yet lack the appropriate concepts with which to understand it.
~Jonathan Lear, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devestation
The Bruce High Quality Foundation is an anonymous collective and unaccredited art school, formed in 2004 by graduates of Cooper Union art school in New York City, who wanted to “foster an alternative to everything,” especially in New York City’s rarefied art world. Bruce High Quality is their whimsically invented figure-head: a sculptor who supposedly perished, along with all of his works, in the 9/11 attacks, and whose memory and legacy the collective seeks to maintain. One of their first interventions, or acts of institutional critique, happened in 2005 when the Whitney Museum wanted to honor the legacy of the illustrator Robert Smithson by constructing an actual “floating island” based on one of his drawings, “Floating Island to Travel Around Manhattan Island.” The constructed island, complete with living trees, was pulled by a tugboat around New York Harbor. The Bruce High Quality Foundation responded to the event with their own performance, titled“The Gate: Not the Idea of the Thing but the Thing Itself,” in which members of the collective pursued the Smithson island in a small skiff carrying a model of one of the orange gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude that had been displayed in Central Park earlier that year. In 2007, they donned football gear and “tackled” public sculptures. They also produced a film in 2008 in which zombies take over the Guggenheim, and the Bruce High Quality Foundation fights them with the actual art collections (for example, decapitating the zombies with Brancusi sculptures while the art critics hide and cower in the museum’s cafeteria). In 2010, and despite the Bruce High Quality Foundation’s efforts to remain anonymous and iconoclastic, they were included in theWhitney’s 2010 Biennale. We’ll call this the “coming full circle” narrative, from inside the institution (Cooper Union) to its radical Outside and then back in again (the Whitney). Read more
Myra Seaman, Holly Crocker and I are thrilled to announce that postmedieval is launching today our second online, open Crowd Review, of Louise D’Arcens’ special issue on “Comic Medievalisms,” which features the following essays:
I’m thrilled to report that BABEL has finally wrestled into shape the overall structure, approved sessions, and featured speakers (representing bioinspired engineering, media studies, architecture/design, medieval studies, early modern studies, film studies, new (feminist/queer) materialisms, oceanic studies, labor activism, multimedia art, drama/performance studies, geopolitics, and the environmental humanities) for our 3rd biennial meeting,“on the beach: precariousness, risk, forms of life, affinity, and play at the edge of the world,” to be held at the University of California from October 16-18, 2014. Everyone can see the Call for Presentations for open sessions, including featured speaker list and also details of other approved sessions here:
We have decided to structure the conference via 3 thematic threads, to which all speakers + sessions have been linked:
Day 1: Precariousness + Risk + Shipwreck + Storm
Day 2: Forms of Life + Materials and Matter-ing + Aesthetics
Day 3: Play + Enjoyment + Affinity + Hope
The more detailed description of the conference’s themes can be found HERE. The summer “planning retreat”group, who I want to publicly thank here — Liza Blake, Jen Boyle, Lowell Duckert, Laurie Finke, Jonathan Hsy, Kathleen Kelly, Karen Overbey, Myra Seaman, Daniel Remein, and Maggie Williams, with help off-site also by Christine Neufeld and Nedda Mehidizadeh — worked extremely hard [and sure, also drank a lot of lime gimlets and listened to Lowell sing a lot of Eagles songs, and also burned some books by V.C. Andrews and Ayn Rand to keep warm: we were in Massachusetts in *early* summer, after all] to create as much of an UNconference structure as possible, and we were aided, beautifully, by all of the creative proposals we received. This conference, I really believe, is going to be a “wild ride.”
For those interested in submitting an individual proposal for any of the open sessions (linked to above), please send your query and/or short proposal (of no more than 300 words) directly to that session’s organizer(s) at the email address(es) given on the CFP NO LATER THAN APRIL 1, 2014. We will not be able to consider random, individual proposals; all proposals must be designed to meet the theme(s) and frameworks set by session organizers. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Eileen Joy here: email@example.com.