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Inverno / Primavera 2006 - Anno XII
Politiche del corpo
Corpi, "anime" e politica
Abu Grahib, torture e media
New Orleans, prima e dopo Katrina
I. Politiche del corpo
Sovversioni materiche. Corpi e politiche del corpo nella teoria culturale contemporanea - p. 7
This essay seeks to offer a panoramic overview of the most significant theories of the body and corporeality elaborated over the last decades. Spanning from biopolitics to gender studies, to cyborg theories and the complex debate upon post-humanism, the essay aims at tracing the perspectives from which the body is thought, constructed and charged with the multiple and contrasting significances provided by contemporaneity. Its frame of references includes the works of Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben, together with the development of feminist and post-human thought from Luce Irigaray to Beatriz Preciado, and from Donna Haraway to Luciana Parisi.
Il closet e la finestra, ovvero “What’s Love Got to Do with It”? Note su Brokeback Mountain - p.
In this article the author provides a reading of both Annie Proulx’s short story and Ang Lee’s movie. While analyzing the market- oriented tensions toward domestication, containment and mainstreaming inside and beside the movie, the author stresses its political value and suggests a gay activist appropriation of it. Refocusing the plot from the point of view of the pursuit of happiness rather than reading it as a love story, and understanding happiness through the “fix it or stand it” binary offered by the movie itself, this reading re-casts the movie as an open invitation to queer activism and social intervention.
“Mi baciò con cattiveria, da spaccarmi praticamente il labbro”. Le rappresentazioni della violenza nell’opera di Grace Paley - p. 39
Differences among ethnicities, religions, classes, genders, and ages coexist in the narrative world of Grace Paley, and her writings explore the complexity of these relationships. The fear and inability to acknowledge differences among people can cause various form of violence: racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, etc. Through an overview of the many nuances and expressions of violence - physical and non physical, personal, social, political, historical, etc. – represented in her work and an exploration of the boundaries and legitimacy of the resistance to violence, the essay illustrates Grace Paley’s way of dealing with conflicts and violence, as well as the dialectical solutions she offers. A feminist perspective is at the core of Paley’s work. In this respect, her narrators are particularly interesting: because of their position in the world, most of them - writers, women, and mothers - feel a special responsibility towards their children, and therefore never give up.
Quartetto di “J” per autrice e lettrice. Female Man di Joanna Russ - p. 52
The four principal characters of The Female Man share the same genotype and the same initial of their names, but they are hardly identical. They live in four parallel worlds, so each of them has developed her own personality according to her age, education, diet, social restrictions and environment. Employing genetics and quantum physics, Russ draws an entertaining plot together with portraits of four female characters, who are both a single and a multiple woman at once. In this regard, the four protagonists become a lively representation of what Rosi Braidotti would call the “nomadic subject”. As Sarah LeFanu has also noted, Russ likes to involve her readers by engaging them within the text itself. Salvini proposes that Russ acts like a film director, a femme auteur, who includes the reader in the production of her text. As a result, instead of identifying with the characters, the reader experiences a process similar to Brecht’s “estrangement effect”, while the book becomes both subject and political act.
II. Corpi, “anime” e politica
Mr. Bush e il divino - p. 61
In her essay in “The New York Review of Books” (Nov. 6, 2003) Joan Didion reflects on the influence of the apocalyptic best-selling series of “Left Behind” novels by Tim La- Haye, the evangelist, and Jerry B. Jenkins, his co-author, so central to current thought on the Christian conservative right. Didion is particularly interested in President George W. Bush’s relation to the evangelical Protestant subculture that produced and avidly reads these books, and in whether he sees himself as playing a leading role in the drama of the end of times.
La Crisis in Church tra media e politica - p. 76
In January, 2002, “The Boston Globe” reported a shockingly high number of child sexual abuse cases involving priests of Boston’s Roman Catholic archdiocese. Several commentators began to refer to the 2002 events as “Crisis in Church”. For different reasons and from different points of view, columnists and scholars argued that the Crisis had a political and mediatic nature. Conservatives claimed the reporting was evidence of a new wave of anti-Catholicism, supported by homosexuals and leftist movements. Others considered the crimes as the product of excessive clericalism inside the Church. Child sexual abuses in the Roman Catholic Church have been known for decades, and were the subject of many articles and books written in the 1980’s and in the 1990’s. By analysing these documents, this essay shows that if the Crisis in Church has a political nature, this nature doesn’t have a one-way explanation. What is clear is the impact of the Crisis on the U.S. political debate.
III. Tortura e media
Introduzione a Richard Grusin - p.
“Affetto”, medialità e Abu Ghraib - p. 93
There is general agreement that the photographs depicting torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib by US soldiers reveal actions completely beyond the pale of acceptable civilized behavior. Most accounts of these photographs focus on the symbolic or ideological nature of the photographs as representations of the injustice, if not the obscenity, of the US prosecution of the war in Iraq and US power generally. While not disagreeing with these accounts, Grusin suggests that there is another element of the photographs that has been minimized or ignored —the way in which they produce an affective, bodily response, a response prior to, and structurally independent of, their cognitive or ideological import. This response is heightened, Grusin argues, not because the acts depicted in the photographs are so alien from our everyday experience, but because the “mediality” of the photographs —the way in which the images were captured and shared across global, digital media networks— is of a piece with our own everyday experiences of digital photography, emailing, and browsing the web.
Risposte a Richard Grusin - p. 107
Lo specchio osceno del conflitto - p. 118
The cultural shock produced by the Abu Ghraib and the NowThat’sFuckedUp website images should be inscribed in a mediasphere that no longer seems to discriminate the rhetoric, spaces, routines and rituals of warfare and peace. By addressing the mediality of those images, Grusin’s paper brings attention to the dialectic between the body public and the body private, the (out)spoken and the silenced, that governs us as social subjects. Rather than to the alleged pornographic nature of such images, Cleto points to the obscenity inherent in “privates” imagery as the framework for their disturbing nature, and for the embarrassment or outrage they provoked. In its obscenity, the Abu Ghraib and NTFU website slideshow highlight the tension between decency and information, display and decorum that the contemporary society of the spectacle stages, calling into question the legitimization and responsibilities of information agencies – including the cultural institutions we belong to.
Nella prigione del gender: Lynndie, Jessica e le altre - p.
Gender issues have played an unprecedented role during the Second Gulf War. For the first time in American history, the US Army is placing a substantial number of women in support units. Despite a rule that prohibits female soldiers from being deployed alongside ground combat forces, the absence of well-defined front lines means that women are constantly on the battlefield. The new role of women has provided American media with the most covered story lines of the first years of war: the rescue of Jessica Lynch by the U.S. Special Forces and Lynndie England’s involvement in the Abu Ghraib photographs that brought Americans’ torture of prisoners up for public discussion. The two women couldn’t have less in common. Lynch was the “prissy tomboy” held up as an icon of the strength and courage of the American patriot, while England became “the leash lady” that sparked outrage around the world because of her sexually abusive behaviour towards naked Iraqi prisoners. Yet, despite the differences, their stories highlight the way in which gender politics shapes both the media coverage of war and the soldiers’ self-representations.
Creole gumbo: la vita segreta di New Orleans - p. 135
Written in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this essay presents the reader with a highly contrasted view of the city’s past and present. By offering a survey of the history of New Orleans, and insisting on the multi-ethnic and multiracial nature of its demographic and cultural texture (French, Spaniards, Creoles, Afro-Americans, American Indians, Cajuns, Germans, Italians, etc., the author argues that the sense of economic, social, and political displacement caused by the storm’s devastation is to be read in the light of the many problems and contradictions that have always loomed large in the history of “The Big Easy”. An insight into the tradition of the Mardi Gras – the main cultural institution of New Orleans – and its many souls (the official parade, the counter-official Zulu Parade, etc.) illustrates the unique as well as problematical social syncretism of the city. As for the road to rebirth, big questions remain for New Orleans: a city drained of resources, infrastructure and people.
Come nasce un premio Pulitzer: Middlesex di Jeffrey Eugenides - p. 144
Awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex (2002) claims to be ‘middlesex’ Calliope Stephanides’ first-person memoirs. The novel elaborates on the complex relationship between narrative and genetics, and on a gendered idea of literary hybridization. Calliope’s autobiography, telling the story of a him become her, lies in the very middle of the nature-nurture debate. It thus mirrors an articulate, ‘metamorphic’ concept of postmodern literature as the product of cultural heterogeneity and a poetics of metanarrative, contamination, intertextuality, etc. Two of Eugenides’s formal strategies are questioned in the essay: the first-person narrator, fluctuating between textuality and subjectivity, and the overall narrative structure, a pastiche of genres and a study of the ‘novelistic genome’.