Friday, 16 November 2012

Call for papers: New perspectives on the gothic in the age of terror(ism): The horror? The horror!

New perspectives on the gothic in the age of terror(ism): The horror? The horror!

We are launching a call for papers for a special issue of Gothic Studies. The special edition will examine what happens to the Gothic as a literary and filmic genre along its main thematic lines in the post 9/11 era and its age of terror(ism):

• the staging of the Other (the irrational, the monstrous, the uncanny)
• the staging of death and violence (light vs. darkness, good vs. evil, tragic vs. abject)
• the staging of community and the social (including the border and the law)
• the instability of the modern subject

1. What ‘happens’ to these themes? How are they modified? altered? Has 9/11 and the pervasive sense of global terror changed our understanding of terror? What about the place of capitalism and the crisis? What images and protagonists has this new Gothic proposed in what can be called an ‘imagination’ of disaster?

2. What new fears are being addressed and represented by the Gothic, including visually within the cinema and in the recent proliferation of television series? What loss? What guilt?

3. What is the place of race and ethnicity in this epistemological landscape? Can the concepts of ‘mimicry’ (Bhabha) and ‘differAnce’ (Derrida) be used to revisit the theoretical foundations of the Gothic? Can we talk about a ‘racial Gothic’ as Leonardo Cassuto spoke of a ‘racial grotesque’?

4. The case of the Southern Gothic, and the encounter with what has been left at the margin, could be explored within the theoretical framework proposed by Kristeva in the Powers of Horror, by Anzaldúa in Borderlands or by Agamben in Homo Sacer. Can we also talk about a New Southern Gothic?

5. How does the Gothic engage with religion in our increasingly secular and yet religiously polarized world?

6. What happens to the question of ‘knowledge’?

7. How does the commercial success and mainstreaming of Gothic in the last decade affect its ability to figure terror and resistance to terror?

8. How has the Gothic responded to the constant state of war since 2001? What about the weaponization of various technologies, including video games? How have drones, Predators, Reapers and other mechanized death machines impacted the Gothic imagination?

9. How have Gothic texts outside of the US responded to the attack on the World Trade Center and America’s militarized and violent response? How does Canadian Gothic position itself in relation to the politics of post-9/11 America? What about Mexican or South American Gothic?

10. How have new technologies impacted the literary or visual Gothic? For example, the explosion of hand-held camera horror films, night vision sequences and closed-circuit video imagery?

Proposals (500 words) and brief CVs should be addressed to both editors of the volume by 1 June 2013.

Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet (University of Lausanne) and Marie Lienard-Yeterian (Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Political defections – storms of protest or political climate change?

Everyone remembers examples of political defections, the most prominent being Winston Churchill’s ‘ratting’ and ‘re-ratting’ between the Conservative Party and the Liberals. But, Churchill was by no means alone; nor was he the most prolific defector.  Over 100 MPs and former MPs defected to or from the Liberal Party in the century since 1910.
With so many individuals leaving their party for another, it raises the question whether defections are all one-off storms of protest, or whether collectively they are indicators of significant change in the political climate.

Defectors and the Liberal Party 1910 to 2010 – a study of interparty relations concludes that there are indeed patterns to defections. This new book by Dr Alun Wyburn-Powell is the first comprehensive study of political defections, covering a whole century and investigating 122 defections. There are common threads behind the reasons for defection and indicators suggesting who was likely to defect and who would remain loyal when faced with the same set of circumstances.
The first part of the book identifies the characteristics which distinguish defectors from loyalists – defectors were disproportionately male, wealthier, more militaristic, began their careers at a younger age and were likely to come from a minority religion. Paddy Ashdown proposed a theory for international spying, that it was the ‘toffs’ who defected. His theory is tested and found to hold true in politics too.
Overall, defection was found to be a career-enhancing move, resulting in a higher chance of ministerial office and a peerage. Defectors from the Liberal Party went fairly equally to the right and to the left, but those who went to the Conservatives were much happier than those who went to Labour. This reveals an underlying compatibility between the partners in the 2010 coalition, which took many commentators and even the parties themselves by surprise.
The second part of the book investigates all the individual defections, considering the personal and party implications. The reasons for all the defections are analysed. Conclusions are reached about the responsibility of individual leaders for the defections. The timing of the Liberal Party’s decline and revival is investigated, challenging the views of other historians.
The most prolific defector was not Churchill, but Edgar Granville, who lived to the age of 100 and had five defections to his name. Lloyd George was the leader who presided over the worst attrition rate of defectors. Each individual defection was the conclusion of an expert witness, the defector, on their party at a specific moment in time. Defection was rarely a comfortable experience, as is revealed in detail from the tales of each defector.
The foreword to the book is by Lord Andrew Adonis, former cabinet minister, author of Education, Education, Education and himself a defector from the Liberal Democrats to the Labour Party.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Ilan Danjoux to speak at the Jewish Book Festival, Vancouver

Ilan Danjoux, author of Political cartoons and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will speak at the Jewish Book Festival in Vancouver later this month. The festival, which runs between 24th and 26th November, brings together a host of eminent authors from across the globe, to discuss a broad range of issues.

Ilan Danjoux, a visiting professor of Israel Studies at the University of Calgary, will discuss issues his researched which was published last month.  Political Cartoons and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict examines whether political cartoons can predict the outbreak of violence. In his research, Danjoux examined over 1200 Israeli and Palestinian editorial cartoons to explore whether changes in their content anticipated the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in October of 2000.
Find out more about Ilan Danjoux's event, or click here for a full list of events taking place during the Jewish Book Festival.

Launch for Integration in Ireland

Integration in Ireland, the latest title in our New Ethnographies series, will be launch on 9th November, at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.

Dil Wickremasinghe, a journalist and presenter with the well respected Newstalk 106, will help to launch the book at the event, along with the authors Fiona Murphy and Mark Maguire.

To attend the launch, please contact