Finding My Feminist Anger Over the Stanford Rape Case and Sara Ahmed’s Goldsmiths’ Resignation

June 13, 2016 | Bridget Moynihan

[tw: discussions of rape, sexual assault]

Sara Ahmed’s making-visible of the willful subject’s feminist role in her widely-cited 2010 article “Feminist Killjoys (and Other Willful Subjects)” continues to resonate deeply with intersectional feminist communities, and the significance of reclaiming the feminist killjoy cannot be overestimated. [1] Recently, I have been newly reminded of a very important point that Ahmed makes regarding anger in this same article.

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Latin: A lost language for a privileged class?

June 13, 2016 | Matthew Tibble

I learnt my first piece of Latin without knowing it was Latin. I was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Hermione cast the spell ‘oculus reparo’, a slightly tenuous bit of Latin that should probably have been speculum reparo (I repair the looking glass). At the time, however, all I heard was fantastic wizardry.

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Hungry for Murder: Interrogating America’s Obsession with True Crime

May 30, 2016 | Vicki Madden

In 1798, Charles Brockden Brown published the first novel written by a professional American author: Wieland: or, The Transformation. Brown’s tale of a patriarch compelled to murder his family under the influence of religious voices was quintessentially gothic. More importantly, however, it was based on a true story. Inspired by the case of James Yates, a New York farmer who murdered his wife and four children after purportedly hearing the voice of God, Brown’s novel attained cult status among nineteenth-century readers, underscoring the American public’s appetite for murder narratives drawn from real life horrors.

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Punished or Not? The Problematic Ending of Mozart’s Don Giovanni

May 16, 2016 | Amadeus Chen

Mozart’s Don Giovanni (1787) is one of the most frequently performed operas of our time. Based on the Spanish legend of Don Juan, it also inspires philosophical and literary discussions due to Mozart’s unique musical rendering of the antagonist. The opera opens with Giovanni’s attempt to rape a noble lady Donna Anna, whose father, the Commendatore, challenges Giovanni to a duel but is killed by the latter.

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Authors, Readers and the Ethics of Imagination

May 16, 2016 | Sarah Stewart.

Roland Barthes’ influential essay ‘The Death of the Author’ presents a compelling argument against prevailing attitudes about literature that Barthes sees as ‘tyrannically centred on the author’ (260). Instead of attributing definitive meaning to what the author intended, Barthes advocates for the unity of a text being what any given reader makes of it. This reader brings their own experience and identity (whatever that might be) to author their own interpretation of the words on the page. Barthes’ liberation of text and reader by locating the ‘true place of writing’ (262) solely in the latter opens up the possibilities of meaning in texts which, he argues, should not be fixedly possessed by the person of the author.

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You are what you read? Why reading is a fundamental threat to identity

May 2, 2016 | Louise Adams.

In a moving passage of Dickens’ novel, the ill-treated David Copperfield remembers ‘sitting on my bed, reading as if for life’.[1] His words capture an experience of reading that will be familiar to many – one of freedom and fulfilment. By engaging with books we escape our immediate circumstances, broaden our horizons, and discover ourselves more fully.

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Defying The Canon: Fanfiction As The New Literature

May 2, 2016 | Anahit Behrooz.

The history of literary fandoms is long and varied. Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther is often credited as the novel which produced the first literary fandom in the modern sense. The so-called “Werther Fever” spread over Europe – capturing the imagination of even Napoleon Bonaparte – and inspired hundreds of young men to copy Werther’s fashion, travels, and purportedly even his suicide. A few decades later, Sir Walter Scott’s Waverly novels had a visible impact on Scottish tourism, while Sir Arthur Conan Doyle received hundreds of fan letters and even real crime documents addressed to Sherlock Holmes, asking how he would solve them.

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Transferable Skills: A Fool’s Gold?

April 18, 2016 | Matthew Tibble.

A recent post on the brand-new SGSAH blog highlights a growing trend amongst those seeking to acquire ‘transferable skills’, namely, finding the component parts of your everyday activities in order to apply them in new fields and make them applicable to whatever jobs you apply for. As the piece points out, correctly, transferable skills are now essential criteria for success on the increasingly diverse job market. But this transferable skills trend also encourages a tendency to forget that, at best, these skills are supplementary to targeted, job-specific knowledge or experience.

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Poetry: Who Cares?

March 21, 2016 | Adam Clay .

You might think that poetry is for schools and universities, for students and teachers, not for you and your busy job. But what if you found out that poetry also belongs where life-or-death situations happen every day, in a place with white coats, stethoscopes, and beepers? If you learnt that poetry is also for the contemporary hospital, for nurses, patients, and doctors, would you be willing to consider that poetry might be for everyone – including you?

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