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Medium 9780253203175

Bogdanov’s Inner Message

Alexander Bogdanov Indiana University Press ePub

Loren R. Graham

 

Alexander Bogdanov’s novels Red Star and Engineer Menni were popular illustrations of his theories of politics and philosophy.1 Red Star portrayed developed socialism on the planet Mars and it opposed socialist humanity and cooperation to capitalist cruelty and individualism. The hero, Leonid, held out the hope that socialism could soon be created in Russia. Published almost ten years before the Russian Revolution of 1917, the book was popular among Russian radicals both before and after that date. Engineer Menni, published five years later, in 1913, was based on the success of the earlier work and portrayed the history of Mars during the period of capitalism that preceded the events narrated in Red Star. Let us look more closely at these novels, first Red Star and then Engineer Menni, in an attempt to understand more fully Bogdanov’s intentions.

The primary ideological goal of Red Star, the encouragement of revolution, is clear. However, the novel contains a secondary message which has not been noticed, yet which is striking and prescient. Indeed, the novel is an example of how the readers of a utopia may consider it a success yet not understand what the author meant when he wrote it.

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Medium 9780253209306

Behold Francesca Who Speaks So Well (Inferno V)

Dante Alighieri Indiana University Press ePub

Behold Francesca Who Speaks So Well (Inferno V)

MARK MUSA

The majority of scholars who have treated the figure of Francesca have presented her in a highly favorable light. To such an extent is this true, in some cases, that they seem to suggest that the attractiveness of her personality is great enough to atone for her sin.1 Since they treat her only on the surface, this favorable picture is surely understandable, as is their tone of affection, respect and compassion. For on the surface she is truly one of the most charming creatures to appear (though hers was such a brief appearance) in world literature.

What her words most clearly reveal is the good breeding of the speaker: hers is an aristocratic nature, now fired by ardent memories, now tempered by sweetness and feminine grace. Toward the Pilgrim she shows the quintessence of courtesy and graciousness—as is already revealed in her opening words, “O animal grazioso …” (88), themselves an echo of the Pilgrim’s address to the pair of lovers “O anime affiannate …” (80); indeed, it was surely her gratitude for the Pilgrim’s tender greeting that inspired her gracious response. And in the wish suggested by her offer “noi pregheremmo … della tua pace,” her graciousness seems to be inspired by true magnanimity: it is precisely that “peace” which she craves so ardently (and which is surely reflected in her description of the waters of the river Po: “dove ’I Po discende / per aver pace”), a peace which she will never know, that she would like to have assured for the Pilgrim. And how ready she is to comply with his requests; to his summons (81), “Venite a noi parlar,” she answers.

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Medium 9780253356796

2. Fitful Decolonization: Xala and the Poetics of Double Fetishism

Akinwumi Adesokan Indiana University Press ePub

Among the films of the late Ousmane Sembene, Xala (1974) has attracted probably the most extensive commentary. It is hard to imagine even a brief commentary or a notice, let alone a full-length essay about the filmmaker, which does not make the film a point of reference, usually seeing it as a decisive instance of his artistic politics, which a critic has recently termed “anti-neocolonialism.”1 Produced after a decade in which many African countries had attained political independence, this rich and mordantly uncompromising film is at once an unusual family drama and a satire, an allegorical fable of the emergent elite, the much-vilified “comprador bourgeoisie” whom Frantz Fanon had famously critiqued in The Wretched of the Earth only a decade earlier. The film is an important moment in the history of decolonization in the twentieth century, especially its relationship to the politics of tricontinentalism.

Scholars of African cinema and postcolonial studies have often seen Xala as a critique of the impotence of the ruling class that emerged at the end of colonialism. However, in this chapter I focus on the interplay in the film of aspects of the postcolonial asymmetry, and I see the xala (temporary sexual impotence)2 as a form of discourse which commentaries on the film usually do not engage. I argue that there is in Xala an unresolved tension between the filmmaker’s attack on that elite and the use of the cultural idiom of xala as temporary impotence. Available studies of the film, mostly dedicated to Sembene’s materialist critique of the double fetishism of imported commodities and marabout or animist supernaturalism, have not paid sufficient attention to the paradox of the power of the powerless, in this case women and the poor. Adding this important dimension, I examine an unresolved and irresolvable tension in the film between the filmmaker’s attack on the postcolonial elite and his complex use of the cultural idiom of xala. In order to problematize this tension, I discuss in detail the “marginal” stories in the film, especially the contradictions of class which the more spectacular story of El Hadji Abdou Kader Beye’s fall from grace have tended to overshadow, in a manner analogous to the way different kinds of identity and subjectivity are habitually neglected in the era of decolonization. In playing up these overshadowed narratives, I respond to James’s injunction in his analysis of Pan-Africanism that to vanquish elitism is to focus on the contradictions of class relations. These contradictions make it impossible for the beggars in the film to ally with the women in a polygamous marriage, and they are also embedded in the economic structure which makes the film possible. Sembene’s figuration of the impotence of the elite and the curability of xala is thus a case of “double fetishism” (of European consumer goods and an African mode of sexual censure), and from this figuration we can deduce that decolonization did not fully succeed in part because the aesthetic, cultural, and economic forms of the critique of double fetishism were intertwined. The filmmaker’s choice to make two Xalas (film and novel) available is also a response to this inseparability of aesthetic and economic questions.

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Medium 9780253021274

9 Polygyny, Divorce, Widowhood, and Death of a Woman

Vladimir Nalivkin Indiana University Press ePub

RELIGION ALLOWS a Muslim man to have no more than four wives at the same time. The number of wives he can have over time, according to Sharia, is unlimited. For instance, if he already has four wives but for some reason wants to marry a fifth one, he must first divorce one of his current wives, and then religion does not prevent him from replacing her with a new one. A woman who becomes a widow or divorces her husband can also remarry an unlimited number of times.

The eldest, senior wife is considered the mistress of the house; she is responsible for the overall supervision and management of the household economy and the performance of the work she decides to do; the rest of the work must be performed by the younger wives on her order. The latter call her byovyo (bibi, elder sister, aunt, mistress) and must treat her with the respect they would show an older close relative. (We will see below that in most cases these rules are not followed.) If the first wife dies or is divorced, her position is usually taken not by the next one in line but by the one that the husband loves most.

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Medium 9780253008053

12. Dreams and Dialogues: Wiesel's Holocaust Memories

Edited by Steven T Katz and Alan Rosen Indiana University Press ePub

WIESEL'S HOLOCAUST MEMORIES

ELLEN S. FINE

I WILL BEGIN MY reflections about Wiesel's memories by recounting some early memories of him. A few summers ago I had an interview with an extraordinary eighty-five-year-old woman, Gaby Cohen, a French woman of Alsatian origin who lives in Paris.1 We see each other every year when I go to Paris. She is a close friend of Wiesel's and has become a dear friend of mine as well. She was known to Wiesel right after the war as Niny Wolf. Niny was what was called an éducatrice, an educator and counselor in charge of the boys at the maisons d'enfants, homes or orphanages in France to which surviving children from the camps as well as hidden children who had lost their parents were sent in June 1945. These homes were set up by l'Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (l'OSE), a Jewish rescue organization originally founded in Russia, and established in France in the 1930s to help refugees and specifically children.

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Medium 9780253329561

Chapter Twelve

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Phoenix tossed notebooks, microfilms, bits of bark and stone into the vaporizer. Footprints of rebellion. He listened with regret to the hiss as each tell-tale item withered to a memory of molecules. Down in the guts of Oregon City devices would sort the vapors and reuse them for making plastic kidneys or glowrods or spoons. He searched the apartment for other incriminating evidence. Guides to meditation, maps of the coast, stick-figure illustrations of Teeg’s yoga positions—all went into the shaft. Hiss, hiss. Soon the only remaining clues were the holos of Whale’s Mouth Bay, tiny cubes intricate with the shapes of beach and cliff and grasses. He squeezed them until the points dug into his palm. Once he destroyed them he would have no way of bringing the wilds to life. And what if the city spun its webs of comforts around him again, lulled him in the hammock of its pleasures, until he grew to dread the outside?

Why not just leave the holos in the projector until the last moment? It was early in the year for typhoons. But you never knew about weather. Cantankerous, the weather. Any day, a storm could roar across the Pacific, tearing at the Enclosure’s skin, and the crew might be called out to mend a float or weld a cracked tube, and if the call arrived while he was away from the apartment, there would be no time for returning home to vaporize the cubes. And he must leave no tracks. If the crew simply vanished, apparently gobbled up by the sea, the health patrollers would lose no sleep. There were always too many bodies crowding the Enclosure. Security would simply recruit new troubleshooters. But if the H.P. came along, found the holos, and recognized the Oregon coast, they would have gliders waiting in Whale’s Mouth Bay when the crew arrived. Welcome to quarantine, ladies and gentlemen.

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Medium 9780253008053

10. The Storyteller in History: Shoah Memory and the Idea of the Novel

Edited by Steven T Katz and Alan Rosen Indiana University Press ePub

SHOAH MEMORY AND THE IDEA OF THE NOVEL

SARA R. HOROWITZ

IN HIS MEMOIR And the Sea Is Never Full, reflecting on the unlikely circumstances that led to a long and complicated friendship with French president François Mitterrand, Elie Wiesel reflected that “what we imagine in fairytales comes to pass.”1 If we think of fairy tales not as the sweet children's stories of recent vintage, but as part of an older, more serious tradition of storytelling, this quotation can serve as an epigram for the place of the storyteller in mediating the memory of the Shoah for those who come later. Storytelling, the telling and retelling of wondrous, but also terrible and terrifying, stories, has evolved over time to negotiate profound issues, such as hardship and radical loss, homecoming and exile, spiritual ecstasy and spiritual despair. Mother to the contemporary novel, storytelling also has a deep place in shaping the memory of a people. For this reason, storytelling offers a fruitful place to being to explore the idea of the novel in Holocaust memory.

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Medium 9780253016140

1 The Responsible Reporter

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

THE BODIES BEGAN COMING UP FROM DEEP WITHIN THE BOWELS of the earth days after the first explosion at the Centralia coal mine on March 25, 1947. Members of the Illinois prairie community of Centralia began hearing about how an explosive charge meant to dislodge coal had ignited the unstable coal dust permeating the air more than five hundred feet below ground at the mine south of town in Wamac. The wives of the miners whose fate was not yet known gathered at the washhouse – the place where during the workweek their husbands changed out of their grimy, coal-streaked clothes at the end of their shifts. Avoiding the rescue teams wearing their oxygen tanks and “other awkward paraphernalia of disaster,” the women gravitated toward sitting beneath their loved ones’ clothing, settling in for the long wait to learn about their men’s fate.1

Friends and relatives of the trapped men gathered outside in the cold near the mouth of the mine hoping to hear any news. One was a young Illinois college student named Bill Niepoetter, who worried about his father, Henry, and three other relatives. “One rescue worker would come up and say, ‘It’s bad, there are not going to be any survivors,’” Niepoetter said. “The next one would come up and say, ‘It’s not going to be as bad.’ We had no notion.” Helplessness set in as Niepoetter viewed rescue workers emerging from the mine without any survivors. “They’d come up and you could see from their faces that this was not going to be a good week,” he said. Those miners not killed outright by the blast were poisoned by the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide left behind in the atmosphere. Ambulances from Centralia and nearby towns idled their engines in the cold night air in an attempt by the men inside to keep warm as they waited to be called upon to transport the deceased to the local Greyhound bus station, which officials had converted into a temporary morgue. As a shiny limousine drove away from the mine, taking with it one of the 111 men killed in the disaster, a friend of the deceased, standing with others in the crowd, remarked, “I bet it’s the only time he ever rode in a Cadillac.” Four days after the blast, Niepoetter, who had gone to his grandmother’s house, learned that his father had been one of the victims. He had already made arrangements for a funeral. “Good thing I did – they sold a lot of caskets,” he said, recalling that for several days funeral processions made their solemn way down the road leading to the cemetery.2

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Medium 9780253372048

14. A large number of repetitions of similar trials

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF
Medium 9780253008053

5. Wiesel in the Context of Neo-Hasidism

Edited by Steven T Katz and Alan Rosen Indiana University Press ePub

ARTHUR GREEN

IN PLACING ELIE WIESEL'S work in the context of “neo-Hasidism,” I use that term in its very broadest sense.1 Neo-Hasidism here refers to the notion that Hasidism has a message wider than the borders of the traditional hasidic community, that Jews and others who do not live the lives of Hasidim and who have no intention of doing so might still be spiritually nourished by the stories, teachings, music of Hasidism—indeed by the telling of the narrative of hasidic history itself. In addition to the role the living hasidic community has played—and continues to play, far beyond onetime expectations—in the life of the Jewish people, there is a second influence of Hasidism that is relevant to us here. That is the story of the image of Hasidism and the tremendous role it has had in the religious, artistic, and intellectual creativity of non-hasidic Jews throughout the twentieth century, reflected in literature (one need only think of Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Isaac Bashevis Singer, the two most important knowledgeably Jewish authors of the century), but also in religious thought, music, dance, theater, film, and painting. I take all of this as part of neo-Hasidism, that is to say, Hasidism for non-Hasidim.

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Medium 9780253010575

2 He Butchered His Wife Because of Witchcraft and Adultery: Crime Tabloids, Moral Panic, and the Remaking of the Moroccan Cop

Jonathan Smolin Indiana University Press ePub

Crime Tabloids, Moral Panic, and the Remaking of the Moroccan Cop

In September 1993, only months after the Tabit Affair, people walking down the city boulevards discovered a jarring new form of media awaiting them at the newsstands. Sitting next to the daily press and weekly magazines, which had returned to their stoic reporting style soon after Tabit’s trial, were large color tabloids spread out on the sidewalks boasting covers with grisly crime-scene photographs and shocking bold headlines. The words “He Butchered His Wife Because of Witchcraft and Adultery,” for example, were placed below a horrific color image of the female victim’s bloodied and mutilated face. “He Stabbed His Friend to Death for Three Cents” appeared above a large color photograph of the killer pointing a knife toward a man, demonstrating for the police—and public—exactly how he committed the murder. The bold headline “Murder, American Style” introduced a large color image of the victim, a middle-aged man on his back after rigor mortis set in. “The Police Put Their Hands on Wide Prostitution Network” was printed next to a photograph of seven seemingly respectable women, all in traditional Moroccan clothes, under arrest. Never before had the Moroccan public seen real-world daily violence and moral degradation spread out on the cover of a newspaper, let alone with such dramatic color photographs and bold sensational headlines. For decades, crime was a topic hidden from the public eye. Now, all of a sudden, it was splashed on the front pages of these tabloids for anyone walking by the newsstands to see.

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Medium 9780253329561

Chapter Nineteen

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

“It’s simply exhaustion,” Marie pronounced over Zuni’s fretful body.

The wildergoers were all crowded inside her chamber in the morning, eager to learn why the city-builder had come into the wilds and whether she could be trusted to keep the secret of Jonah Colony. Each had reason to be grateful to her, for help in getting jobs or schooling, for years of kindness. But she was an architect of the Enclosure! What could possibly drive her outside? Seeing her twitch and mumble, however, with her famously neat bun of hair now a wreck of whiteness on the pillow, they saved their questions.

Watching her from the foot of the sleepcushion, Teeg felt like a bear in the fairytale, gaping at Goldilocks. What improbable visitor is this, dozing in our midst?

Tests had shown low blood-sugar, but no concentrations of toxins. Hinta prescribed rest and broth, then like the others she returned to the labor which Sol’s death had interrupted.

While Teeg nursed Zuni through the next day of shock, Phoenix kept stopping by the door to peek in. Teeg would gesture for him to stop gawking and come in, for God’s sake, but always he held back, awestruck, like a pilgrim at a shrine. You’d think he was paying a visit to Michelangelo. The worshipful look that had always come over him whenever they spoke of the architect exasperated Teeg, for whom Zuni was no legendary figure, but merely a person, crotchety and fond of teasing, a surrogate mother with a face shaped like a wedge of pie, eyes buried in creases from her habit of squinting, and a mind that made light-year leaps.

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Chapter Eight

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

“What sort of test is it?” Phoenix asked nervously, licking the narco-flavored paint from his lips.

“It’s called an ingathering.” Teeg lay face-down, back arched so that her upper trunk was lifted off the floor. “It’s a form of collective trance. Pioneered by the Quakers centuries ago.”

They were in Teeg’s apartment, where she was demonstrating yoga positions for him, and he was doing his best to avoid staring at her. She wore a body-colored shimmersuit—“The next best thing,” as she had informed him one day, “to nakedness.” Phoenix sat muffled in several meters of gown, feeling like a cheap present extravagantly wrapped. He had come to her place straight from work, so he was still bedaubed and bewigged and befrocked in the public manner. “All right, I fall into this trance. Then what happens?”

If you achieve the trance,” she corrected him, her back arching further, vertebrae popping, “you drift toward the center.”

“Where’s the center?”

“It’s not a place. It’s an experience. Kind of a stillness, a brightness. In the ingathering we all gravitate there. If everyone’s perfectly clear, we merge together in the—well, the shining.”

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Medium 9780253356413

4 Educating the Prince: The Yale New Statutes Manuscript and Lancastrian Mirrors for Princes

Rosemarie McGerr Indiana University Press ePub

Decorated with the arms of both of Edward of Lancaster’s parents, offering portraits of his royal English forebears, and including the introductory treatises and index to the statutes, the Yale Nova statuta Angliae would have been a particularly appropriate copy of the Statutes of the Realm for the young prince. There is also evidence to suggest that members of the Lancastrian court close to Prince Edward expected he would have access to a copy of the Nova statuta Angliae for study. To begin with, the texts that we know were written to advise the prince suggest that learning about the laws of England is central to good kingship. Some of these mirrors for princes make reference to specific statutes, which the prince could consult if he had a copy of the Nova statuta in his possession. Even more important is the fact that one of the works of advice written for Prince Edward makes direct reference to the prince’s need to own a personal copy of the statutes for study, in order to become the kind of king who carries out the ideals of kingship inscribed in the Bible. According to this argument, one might well consider the Nova statuta itself a mirror for princes – especially in the form found in the Yale Law School manuscript, with its portraits of English kings and support texts. Reading the Yale Nova statuta Angliae in the context of Lancastrian mirrors for princes makes clear that this manuscript indeed has much in common with other forms of instruction in kingship associated with the Lancastrian court in the middle of the fifteenth century.

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Medium 9780253019622

Appendix B. Research Your Shtetl! / H. Aleksandrov, Translated by Jordan Finkin

Edited by Andreas Kilcher and Gabriella Indiana University Press ePub

Research Your Shtetl!

H. ALEKSANDROV
TRANSLATED BY JORDAN FINKIN

H. Aleksandrov, Forsht ayer shtetl! (Minsk: Institut far vaysruslendisher kultur, Yidisher sektor, Sotsyal-ekonomishe komisye—Byuro far kantkentenish, 1928)

The literary critic and historian Hillel Aleksandrov (1890–1967) was active in the Jewish section of the Institute for Belarusian Culture. Produced at about the same time as YIVO’s What Is Jewish Ethnography?, Aleksandrov’s pamphlet offers a distinctly Marxist take on the practice of Jewish ethnography.1 Instead of the YIVO folkloric and philological focus, Aleksandrov’s text is concerned with social forces and the evolving socioeconomic relationships in the communities being studied, taking the shtetl as the primary research object.

(1)Every socioeconomic investigation in the area of local folklore must observe two factors: first, it must be timely; that is, connected to certain problems in the surrounding reality as far as they appear in everyday life. Second, it must at the same time offer well worked-through material that can be used for further scientific investigations that will bear a more general, nonspecialized local character. Both factors are suitable for the dual goal of current local folklore: the goal of production on the one hand, and scientific research on the other.

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