Humanities Bulletin <p>Call for Papers - Vol. 3, No. 1 (May 2020)<br>Submission Deadline: April 20, 2020.</p> London Academic Publishing en-US Humanities Bulletin 2517-4266 Explanation-by-norms <p>Philosophers’ search for the best way to explain human actions has led many to accept a core psychological model that can be supplemented by other forms of action explanation when needed. Rather than settling for this model – where everything ultimately hinges on psychological explanation – this paper argues for a pluralistic view. It does not claim that the psychological view is wrong, only that it is not as universally applicable as it is often taken to be. Explanation-by-norms is suggested as an important form of explanation in its own right. It explains actions by revealing how they conform to norms and patterns and become intelligible in light of them. Explanation-by-norms is shown to be especially salient in the case of slips.</p> Cathrine V. Felix Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 9 21 Virtue Ethics and Meaningful Work: A Contemporary Buddhist Approach <p>This study adds to the existing literature on meaningful work by presenting a contemporary virtue-focused Buddhist view. While a virtue-ethics interpretation of Buddhism is now widely accepted and has been applied to several issues, not much has been written about meaningful work using a Buddhist-Aristotelian comparative framework. To develop a Buddhist approach, I draw heavily on the works of Buddhist scholars, particularly in the West who use a virtue framework in interpreting Buddhism. The aims of my essay are dual. The first is to articulate a straightforward application of Buddhism to the contemporary ethical discussion of meaningful work. The second is to discuss the similarities, clarify the differences, and demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses relative to each other of the Buddhist and the Western virtue theories. In my analysis, I argue that while Buddhism is not an alternative to Western virtue theory, it offers significant contributions to the latter’s approach to meaningful work and even corrective to some of its limitations. Integration of Buddhism in our theorizing of meaningful work from a virtue-ethics perspective helps us to better understand ourselves and the virtues that we cultivate in the workplace and develop a holistic and cross-cultural conceptualization that is relevant to our global economy.</p> Ferdinand Tablan Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 22 38 Same-Sex Marriage not an Equal Rights Issue, Yet <p>The present paper takes its point of departure from “McDonough’s Logical Argument” (hereafter MLA) that “gays” have traditionally had the same marital rights as “straights”, namely to marry one eligible person of the opposite gender. The present paper argues that, although it might not seem so at first glance, MLA is consistent with full legal rights being accorded to “Same Sex Marriage” (SSM). That is, MLA takes no stand on the substantive issue whether SSM should be legalized, but is merely an attempt to make a purely logical point about the “individuation” (the precise specification) of the right to marry. An illuminating social science fiction example is provided to show that MLA is neutral on the legalization of SSM. The paper argues that philosophical argument per se is largely impotent on these kinds of issues, and that the justification for legalizing SSM is to be found, rather, in the democratic process.</p> Richard McDonough Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 39 53 Religion as A Form of Life: Some Remarks on Wittgenstein’s Concept of “Religion” <p>Wittgenstein’s remarks on religion and religious language has some bearings on the current discussions on place of the religion in the secular societies. Early Wittgenstein represents a restrictive concept of religion as the religious language remains beyond the limits of ordinary experience and senses. In the Investigations religious life regarded as one form of life among other life experiences and hence the religious expression may as well constitutes a particular language game in itself. Wittgenstenians are divided on implications of this new conception of religion later works of Wittgenstein indicates.<br>In this article I will analyze the implications of Wittgenstein’s concept of religion and religious language in the context of his later works. The question about the religion as a form of life needs to be answered as follows: Is religious language, according to Wittgenstein, a closed discourse that only within particular religious language game becomes meaningful? Or does Wittgenstein take religion in the sense of religious experience or just a set of beliefs? These questions are important to re-evaluate the legal, moral discussion about the place of religion in the modern public life.</p> Osman Bilen Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 54 61 Post-Truth: I lie, therefore I exist <p>Mythos and Logos always come into contact sharing a common opinion, which tends to be stronger than that which is supposed and admitted. Indeed, everything indicates that the perennial battle of antagony, that is Mythos ? Logos, is to establish and to impose the truth, and he who in the end is invincible is the common sense that remains immune to faith and reason; he who only shows himself to be vulnerable, thus succumbs to passion. In the same way, Mythos and Logos also begin to wilt and to give in, just as is proven by the unrestrained subjectivism of postmodernity and its hegemonic post-truth, in which one’s own opinion has become sacred and the art of lying is based on words that ‘feel’ like the truth, but have no ‘real’ basis.</p> Juan Jorge Almonacid Sierra Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 62 75 Revisiting Science and Literature: Chateaubriand’s Ecological Discourse <p>Seemingly, science and literature don't have anything in common. Actually, fields such as medicine and ecology have maintained a close relationship with literature, this perhaps because they share the same humanistic values. This article examines this relationship, and relies on Chateaubriand's works as a writer and his deeds as a politician to explain how the ecology of forests inherited from a long aristocratic tradition which continued to exist during the French Revolution, and allowed the reforestation of France from 1827 on.</p> Marie-Christine Garneau de L’Isle-Adam Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 76 86 Listen to the Voices: Immigrant Fiction Re-Considered <p>This essay invites a broad overview of immigrant fiction in an era that mocks the social mobility and easy assimilation promised by the American Dream. Attentive reading of immigrant fiction enables us to understand challenges and barriers – topics that recur in immigrant fiction across ethnicity/country of origin. I argue for revision of the traditional paradigm that in the immigrant novel a “hero”/protagonist arrives, after some bumps in the road and modification of expectations, at the desired destination. Today, immigrants face formidable barriers: entry may be denied, the immigrant may be expelled; even if the immigrant can stay, assimilation may be unhappy due to economic stress, social isolation, un(or under)employment, discrimination, or emotional suffering. Immigrant stories reflect lived experience: difficulties with language acquisition and acculturation; inter-generational tension; patriarchal domination often associated with domestic violence; difficulties in assimilation.</p> Sara Schotland Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 87 101 Absurd Things and People as Objects in Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s When I Was a Work of Art <p>More frequently than one thinks consumerism comes up repeatedly as the main thesis in postmodern literature. When I Was a Work of Art is a 2002 French novel that explores the loss of humanist values in a contemporary dysfunctional society. In this generic world every physical presence, including the human body, has been appropriated by the consumerism and transformed into merchandise. Famous for his witty characters and engaging plots, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt focuses on deep sociological reflections and introspective analysis of the everyday modern man.<br>This short novel is also a poetical art because it questions the ultimate work of art imagined by a sculptor and its consequences, thus catching the attention through its Faustian theme and auto fictional writing. Zeus Lama wants to sculpt a human body and to create a work of art alive. He finds an easy prey in Adam, on the verge of committing suicide. The notoriously eccentric artist is determined to exceed his own fame and to create something unheard of. Consequently É.-E. Schmitt’s creative reality is continuously split between the two characters in the novel: the sculptor, looking for an outstanding creative experience, and Adam, who struggles to regain his civil rights and his identity.</p> Irina Armianu Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 102 108 Prior’s Blindness: Magical Realism in Kushner’s Angels in America <p>This paper is primarily concerned with examining Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America through the lens of “magical realism”: the literary synthesis/coexistence of realism with elements of fantasy or the unknown. Because the play is saturated with moments that confuse normative reality with the “supernatural” world of angels and ghosts, I argue that the genre of magical realism can offer rich perspectives on how marginalized ideologies challenge dominant ideologies presented throughout Angels. Angels is set in the 1980s – a time of great redefinition for homosexuals and of AIDS as a disease – and consequently addresses related cultural situations and challenges. I focus on the character of Prior Walter, a homosexual, AIDS-infected “prophet” who becomes a provocative locus for simultaneously “imagined” and “real” spiritual activity in Angels. Through Prior’s progressive spiritual encounters throughout Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, I argue that Kushner uses Prior to model a discursive, metaphorical, and literal movement away from narrow, exclusive perspectives of the unknown (what I call the “marginalized spiritual”) and toward an acceptance of that unknown. Many of the critically-noted binaries in the play can be explained in this light, and although I remain focused on the issues related to Prior (i.e. spirituality and religion), I finally suggest that the complex reception of Angels can be more effectively reconciled through a magical realist approach.</p> Tanner J. Underwood Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 109 122 Gordimer, Race, and the Impossibility of Communication Action in Apartheid South Africa <p>Drawing from Bakhtin and Habermas, I will show how the different voices in Gordimer's novel seem to be enacting a democratic public sphere in which no voice is granted authority over others – a public sphere which carries the promise of countering the social and political hierarchies established by the racist South African regime. The promise, however, turns out to be an illusion. As I will demonstrate, the possibility of an Enlightenment bourgeois public sphere which the novel seems to be gesturing at is being irreparably undermined by racism. In a country where the Enlightenment aspiration to universalism and equality before the law are glaringly contravened by racism, Rosa Burger is painfully aware of her inability to fully access the predicament of the blacks. As such, Burger’s daughter remains only Burger’s daughter, and the children of Soweto the children of Soweto; at no point in the novel do they truly intermingle. Despite the fact that both are fighting racism – and the novel is devoted to the “coming-of-age” of both kinds of children – Rosa Burger remains only the daughter of a Bürger at the end of the novel, not the daughter of South Africa, much less to say the daughter of Black South Africa. She has finally “come into her own,” but the “self” she manages to realize is at best that of a disillusioned bourgeois individual (that of a disillusioned Bürger, so to speak) – a “self” that recalls Hegel’s “beautiful soul.” To appropriate György Lukács’s language, Bürger’s Daughter could be described as “modern bourgeois literature bear[ing] witness against bourgeois society.”</p> Sinkwan Cheng Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 123 144 A Wetness in Dry Places: Sex and Taboo in Abubakar Ibrahim’s Season of Crimson Blossoms <p>Contemporary critique of trope of sexual liberation in African literature is mostly replete with analysis of prostitution narratives, giving rise to an assumption and monolithic view of what sexual freedom or self-determination could mean. Such narratives, however, often do not yield arguments related to the critical capital of the salacious, since prostitution primarily involves transactional sex and not necessarily an inordinate sexual affair. This study privileges a generic divergence whereby analysis is hinged on the literary appreciation of salaciousness. Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s Season of Crimson Blossoms departs from prostitution plot to a pornographic depiction of sexual obscenity: the venereal affair between Binta Zubairu, a 55 year old widow and grandmother, and Hassan Reza, a 25 year old street gang leader. The study investigates the existential tragedy of sexual freedom by examining the extent to which sexual relationship that is considered a taboo in a given social milieu is a recipe for self-realisation. Using a feminist view of existentialism, I demonstrate how the individual will to rise above the conventional, by escaping from being a sexually deprived human to becoming one who responds to the body’s need for unbridled sexual pleasure, constitutes George Lukács and Arthur Miller’s ideas of modern tragedy.</p> Daniel Chukwuemeka Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 145 157 “What On Earth Did They Think They Were Doing?” ? Slavery and the White Mistresses in Valerie Martin’s Property <p>Taking as its main corpus Valerie Martin’s neo-slave narrative, Property, this paper portrays a violent relationship based on racial domination between a white mistress, Manon Gaudet, and her black slave woman, Sarah. This work highlights the subversive aspect of Property in unsettling the conventional historical accounts which neglected white women’s active involvement in the institution of slavery in the Antebellum South. Instead of looking at the American white mistresses as delicate upper-class women who are themselves victims of the white male patriarchy, this paper, instead, portrays them as violent perpetrators who engaged in subjugating and dehumanising the black subject.<br>Despite the overriding narrative voice of the white mistress, I argue that the novel does not stop short at portraying Sarah as a victim of slavery. It becomes a contrapuntal historical narrative which highlights the struggle of this slave woman to free herself from bondage through her transgressive modes to resist both racial and gender paradigms. In so doing, Sarah becomes a foregrounding voice who responds back to her white mistress who remains metaphorically and literally a bonded woman because she refuses to free herself from the slaveholding culture and thought.</p> Houda Hamdi Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 158 167 The Freedom of Womanhood: Oriana’s Eroticism in Amadis of Gaul <p>Amadis of Gaul is a medieval romance written in the early 14th century and edited by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo for its publication two centuries later. Montalvo, apart from emending the first three books, was the author of the fourth one. This neo-Arthurian1 work, as Tierney described it (1999, 1221) very much like many other works of its genre, fed itself upon romantic, classical Roman and Greek stories whose central axis stood on the journey of the hero for spiritual quest2 (Savary 1984, 108). It also became an important source of inspiration for the well-known masterpiece Don Quijote de la Mancha, whose countless references to the hero of Gaul officially confirmed Amadis as the quintessence of chivalry novels in the history of literature.<br>The focus of this analysis is going to be drawn to some extracts taken from Amadis of Gaul, more specifically, the desperate letter that princess Oriana writes to Amadis, along with special mention to some other extracts in which certain aspects of their relationship will be dissected in this essay. The main purpose of this research is to reveal the underlying meaning to the traditionally conceived role of women in this type of literary genre.</p> Mercedes García Palma Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 168 174 The Perfectly Unadjusted Woman: Reading Adaptation in “Tulips” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” <p>Sylvia Plath and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s openness on the restraints of the domestic sphere appear in their autobiographical and creative texts. Both authors employ the figure of an unadjusted woman as their narrator, a figure forced into docility and obedience; she denies her passions and forgoes isolation at the hands of patriarchal figures. Deemed ‘mad’ and ‘unnatural,’ the transplanting of this woman into seclusion intersects the work of the nineteenth-century gothic writers with twentieth-century feminist poetry. In “Tulips,” intrusion appears as the uncanny presence of a gift – red flowers. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the walls, grotesquely yellow and fungal, disturb the narrator. In advancing the perfectly unadjusted woman, Plath reframes the domestic gothic in the twentieth-century while consciously utilizing classic gothic tropes, images, and themes. She redefines isolation as an escape from not only motherhood but also from her career as a writer. Oppression, isolation, and flight link Gilman and Plath’s domestic gothic texts, and the parallels found in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “Tulips” demonstrate the advancement of the unadjusted woman into the twentieth-century imagination. This advancement complicates and redefines the oppressed woman’s adaptation from patriarchal confines, subverting the expectations of motherhood for imaginative thought.</p> Carolyn S. Gonzalez Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 175 184 Novel in Between: the Necessity of Semi-Periphery for Peripheral Literature in World Literature <p>Diasporic narratives live a nomadic existence, wandering in the in-between space of core and periphery, with the final destination to be somewhere, at best, closest to the core and, due to the transnational cultural different, what we may call Semi-Periphery. Mandanipour combines the semiotics of words and forms to showcase the unattainability of the core literature for a diasporic process of thinking, subjects, and forms, all of which still function under erasure and censorship.<br>This paper is going to study the resistance of a diasporic narrative, which both defies and is defied by the standard sets of the core of world literature. It focuses on the resistance is shown by the simultaneously present mechanics of typing and process of thinking in Shahriar Mandanipour’s Censoring of an Iranian Love Story: A Novel.</p> Tina Takapoui Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 185 193 Artistic Anxiety and the Pressure to Perform in Michael Cunningham’s The Hours <p>Though they are not conventional visual artists, the characters in Michael Cunningham’s The Hours each engage in creative acts – Virginia writes stories, Laura makes a home for her family, Clarissa orchestrates a party – but these creative acts are ultimately unfulfilling for each of them. These creative acts are not simply unfulfilling, however; they also, more significantly, cause deep-seated anxiety as the women consciously or subconsciously recognize the divide between their “undisputed origin” (Trinh Minh-ha 1998, 649), their true selves, and the roles that they are expected to perform: successful author able to craft the perfect story, supportive wife and mother able to create a perfect cake and birthday celebration, and pleasant hostess able to create a warm, effortless, memorable party. The identity crises that these women experience are due in part, then, to societal expectations that press them to simulate, in the Baudrillardian sense, their lives to the point where the difference between their authentic selves and their performed selves becomes dangerously indistinguishable. These simulations are further reinforced by new names and corresponding identities that men have given them by way of nickname or marriage and are so devastating that they lead some even to suicide.</p> Elizabeth Lamszus Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 194 206 Redemption and Forgiveness in the Film Dead Man Walking <p>The film Dead Man Walking focuses on the transformation of death row inmate Matthew Poncelet, who is about to be executed for a rape and two murders. Poncelet initially is unrepentant and unwilling to confess. However, under the guidance of Sister Helen Prejean, Poncelet undergoes a spiritual conversion and repents for his crime. He sees that Sister Helen loves him, so he learns to love himself. His anger toward the families of his victims evolves into understanding and remorse. His genuine remorse, confession, and settling of accounts lead to his redemption. The change in Poncelet’s attitude manifests director and screenwriter Tim Robbins’s theme that even villainous criminals are capable of reform and thus should not be executed; furthermore, the killing of murderers – no matter how heinous their deeds – constitutes cruel and inhumane vengeance that does nothing to heal the pain and suffering of the victims’ families.</p> Eric Sterling Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 207 216 The Tambora – Frankenstein Myth: The Monster Inspired <p>The link between the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 and Mary Shelley’s composition of Frankenstein has attained mythic status. The myth uses a scientific frame to promote the idea that the Tambora event led to Mary Shelley’s invention of the Frankenstein story because the eruption so altered the climate of Europe (lowering the temperatures, creating rainy electrical storms, producing frosts and floods, and generally darkening the landscape) that Shelley dreamt up the idea for her monstrous horror tale as a result. She was then imprisoned indoors by the volcanically-induced bad summer weather of 1816 and thus encouraged to craft the story into a full length gothic novel. This paper outlines the structure of this Tambora – Frankenstein myth and then attempts to investigate its roles, goals, and meanings as ascribed by various (mostly ‘pop science’ scholars) and journalists. An attempt is then made to elucidate the problems, failings, and miscalculations of the Myth.</p> Alan Marshall Kanang Kantamurapoj Nanthawan Kaenkaew Mark Felix Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 217 235 Spiraling out of Control: Modern Architecture, the Emigration Decade, and the Filming of Lubetkin’s Penguin Pool <p>In 1936, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York commissioned the Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy to make a film, called The New Architecture of the London Zoo, about the now-iconic Penguin Pool (1934), with its spiraling concrete forms, and other zoo buildings designed by the Russian architect Berthold Lubetkin. Along with Moholy-Nagy, Lubetkin was part of a large community of Jewish émigré artists and architects living and working in interwar London. Lubetkin, ever argumentative, was apprehensive about the project, concerned that Moholy-Nagy’s overriding interest in “pure visual perception” would misguide the film. The finished product enraged the architect, and he responded abruptly and brusquely, that the film offered little reflection on the buildings or their historical and cultural contexts. The remark revealed the core of his concerns – architecture’s social principles. Although the penguins were cute, Lubetkin insisted his intention was always “to build socialistically,” and Moholy-Nagy’s film had missed the point. Through Lubetkin’s Penguin Pool and Moholy-Nagy’s film, this essay will offer some thoughts on 1930s England, abstract art, modern architecture, and the Jewish émigré, in order to understand why Lubetkin might have responded so abrasively, and to widen our understanding of the Penguin Pool.</p> Deborah Lewittes Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 236 255 Portrait with Landscape <p>Discussing the historical commonalities of portrait and landscape, this paper analyses how the cross-cultural and multi-sensory aspects, which Mitchell developed in his nine theses on landscape, applies to the portrait. Suggesting a stronger inclusion of different cultural practices/traditions and artistic positions in the discourse on landscape, I present my own practice-based research on portraiture as a possibility of how landscape could open up new perspectives in the light of other cultural practices and artistic expressions to deepen and expand Mitchell’s intercultural and multisensory perspective on landscape. In particular, I argue that the combination of portrait and landscape through the positions of contemporary artists can make a significant contribution to the discourse on landscape. I therefore conclude my contribution by presenting the work of other contemporary artists who have combined aspects of portrait and landscape in their work, providing opportunities for both reflection and social change.</p> Angelika Boeck Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 256 275 A Suggested Reform in the Syllabuses of Philology and Philosophy <p>As happened in the conflict between von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff and Nietzsche, even today there are philologists who do not believe that philosophy is a respectable science. One of them is Tom Shippey, a scholar of English and Germanic philology. In this paper I want to argue two things: 1) that in the golden age of philology, the major philologists were directly influenced by the philosophers; 2) that in a reform of the faculty of Arts and Humanities it would be possible to improve the syllabus of Philology linking it to philosophical texts, and to improve the syllabus of Philosophy by immersing it in the history of philosophy and its texts.</p> Franco Manni Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 276 284 “You Have Forever Changed My Life”: The Need for Academic Rigor in Teaching Humanities in a Global Society <p>Teaching Humanities to an increasingly globalized, diverse and non-traditional student body needs to inculcate and develop what Kysilka has called thinking skills, to equip students to approach material and concepts that may seem challenging and unfamiliar. Educators may benefit from employing the approaches Gardner has developed in his theory of Multiple Intelligences, to maximally engage students with widely differing academic exposures and skills. Reader Response journaling allows students to explore and engage with unfamiliar texts. Twenty-first-century educators need to be prepared to assess student success less by testing content acquisition and theory repetition than by evaluating student development of analytical strengths and mastery of the skills of analytical performance.</p> Alexis Brooks de Vita Novella Brooks de Vita Copyright (c) 0 2019-11-30 2019-11-30 2 2 285 297