Program in Cultures, Civilization and Ideas

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 103
  • ItemOpen Access
    Remote theater Review
    (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022) Del Balzo, Angelina; Del Balzo, Angelina
  • ItemOpen Access
    Parents and children, servants and masters: Slaves, freedmen, and the family in Byzantium
    (Routledge, 2022-03-31) Leidholm, Nathan; Leidholm, Nathan
  • ItemEmbargo
    Antonio’s sad flesh
    (British Shakespeare Association, 2022-08-18) Lenthe, Victor; Lenthe, Victor
    This article examines different meanings attached to the adjective ‘sad’ in the 1590s in order to reinterpret the sexual politics of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. The play’s title character Antonio famously proclaims that he performs ‘a sad [part]’ on the world’s ‘stage’. Critics have related this apparent declaration of melancholy to Antonio’s love for Bassanio and the heartbreak he may experience when the latter marries Portia. However, by examining the word's largely forgotten physiological meanings, I show that ‘sad’ was also a non-judgmental term for a man who lacks interest in procreation. Antonio’s embrace of this label has implications both for the play’s sexual politics and for its representation of putatively non-generative market economics.
  • ItemEmbargo
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Arab conquestin Byzantine historical memory: The long view
    (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2022-04-12) Kennedy, Scott; Kennedy, Scott
    In recent decades, historians of the Arab conquest have increasingly turned away from positivist reconstructions of the events of the Arab conquest. Through thematic analysis of conquest narratives, scholars have illustrated how the early Islamic community articulated its identity. Byzantine narratives of the Arab conquest have generally not been considered from this perspective. This paper takes the long view of the Arab conquest illustrating how centuries of Byzantine writers and chroniclers articulated and rearticulated this memory, as their identity shifted along with their political and diplomatic relationships.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Siren's song: Senophon's Anabasis in Byzantium
    (De Gruyter, 2022-10-24) Kennedy, Scott; Kennedy, Scott; Rood, Tim; Tamiolaki, Melina
    Frequently known as the Attic bee or the Siren’s song, Xenophon and his Anabasis had an enduring influence in the Eastern Roman empire. Whereas a number of popular ancient authors such as Callimachus and Menander lost their canonical status or alternatively lost their cultural influence while remaining canonical (e.g., Thucydides), Xenophon’s Anabasis never ceased to fascinate Byzantine readers as it had their ancient predecessors. Over more than 1000 years while most Westerners were ignorant of the name Xenophon, Xenophon sparked not only the curiosity of Byzantine readers but also their creativity, as they reshaped the ancient text to glorify themselves and even justify some of the first rumblings of Hellenic proto-nationalism in Byzantium’s final years. ‘Where now is the Siren of Xenophon?’ exclaimed the Byzantine rhetor Manuel Holobolos in his panegyric of his emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (1262–1282), summoning the hypnotic and tempting qualities of Xenophon to bewitch his audience.1 Frequently compared in Byzantium to a bee or a Siren’s song, Xenophon had an enduring influence on Byzantine culture throughout the more than 1,000 year period of Roman history, which we conventually designate as Byzantine. This paper explores how and why Xenophon’s Siren song continued to entice Byzantine intellectuals to engage with the Anabasis. Unlike other classical texts such as Callimachus and Menander, whose magic faded and eventually disappeared in Byzantium, or Thucydides, whose use contracted between the seventh and thirteenth centuries, Xenophon’s readership never diminished between antiquity and Byzantium. Throughout Byzantine history, Xenophon sparked not only the curiosity of Byzantine readers but also their creativity, as they reshaped the ancient text to glorify themselves and even justify some of the first rumblings of Hellenic proto-nationalism in Byzantium’s final years.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Worlding in Georgi Gospodinov’s There, where we are not
    (Springer, 2022-12-27) Harper, Mihaela P.; Harper, Mihaela P.
    This article proposes that rather than a concern with safeguarding a national identity, Georgi Gospodinov’s poetry collection There, where we are not (2016) exposes the relationship of self and world as coextensive and mutually constitutive. His poems undertake the remaking of the world as they reconfigure the self with language at the heart of this undertaking—words and meanings in flux, at play in bringing forth selves through a plurality of multitemporal, decentered worlds. Heeding Pheng Cheah’s critique that the “world” in world literature discourse has received little attention, I take up Jean-Luc Nancy’s notion of the “singular plural” to illuminate and further the argument that Gospodinov’s collection worlds by juggling a multiplicity of specific geographic locations and attending to the plural singularity of a moment, of an event or rather of a non-event. In a section titled, The Sundays of the world, “there where we are not” becomes a plurality of worlds, singular and shared, uninhabited and teeming with life, worlds observed and observing, worlds that have familiar names—Berlin, Vienna, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome, Kraków, Sofia—and yet each makes up “a world crammed full of absences.” Ultimately, the collection neither recedes into the national nor dissipates into the global but seeks out a path in-between through which to world laterally, anew. © 2022, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Herodotus and history
    (Cambridge University Press, 2022-06-17) Bruzzone, Rachel; Bruzzone, Rachel
  • ItemOpen Access
    Introduction: war and its narratives
    (Sciendo, 2021) Bruzzone, Rachel; Bruzzone, Rachel
  • ItemOpen Access
    How practical is critique? From matters of concern to matters of commitment
    (Wayne State University Press, 2021) Coker, William; Coker, William
    Recent critical discourse on “critique” tends to betray a certain discomfort with critique’s Enlightenment origins and its corresponding alignment with notions of autonomous subjectivity and universality. Especially since Bruno Latour’s broadside against critical “anti-fetishism,” supporters have been at pains to distance critique from the image of a self-satisfied vanguard chiding the unenlightened. This paper stages a defense of critique that reclaims its Enlightenment lineage in order to assemble, in Mark Hulliung’s words, an “autocritique of Enlightenment.” Reading Kant and Marx via Kojin Karatani and Slavoj Žižek, I trace a line of thought in which critique foregrounds the intersection between theory and practice. It is at that intersection that the fetish appears. In contrast to Latour and some of critique’s defenders, I consider the fetish not a blind spot that immobilizes but a point of contact representing a practical commitment. Even Kant himself performs a “fetishistic disavowal” of sorts: I know very well that there is no empirical ground for metaphysical commitments, but nevertheless I will make them because it is the only way to live autonomously and foster others’ autonomy. In the symbolic order of capitalism, such “faith without belief” loses its intentional character, crystallizing in commodity fetishism as “the religion of everyday life.” Yet it also informs the Romantic view of the literary work as the site for a dialectic of truth and illusion, and Adorno’s thesis that a “fetish character” inhabits artworks no less intrinsically than commodities. This fetish character makes the literary text, like ideology, a particularly fitting object of critique. Herein lies the parallel between literary reading and the critique of ideology, and the reason why critique need not subordinate one to the other in order to be properly critical.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Woman Hater by Frances Burney, and: The Belle’s Strategem by Hannah Cowley
    (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021-08-17) Del Balzo, Angelina; Del Balzo, Angelina
  • ItemOpen Access
    A tale of two skeletons? Greco-Turkish cultural memory, sacred space, and the mystery of the identity of the occupants of a now lost ciborium Byzantine tomb at Trebizond
    (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2021-04-22) Kennedy, Scott; Kennedy, Scott
    The body of almost every Roman or Byzantine emperor has been lost.This piece draws attention to two skeletons, recovered from a Muslim türbe at Trabzon during World War I by the Russian excavator Feodor Uspensky. Using local oral tradition, Uspensky identified the two bodies he recovered as the Byzantine emperor of Trebizond Alexios IV (1417–1429) and a local Turkish hero Hoşoğlan. Since Uspensky, his identifications have not been challenged nor scientifically examined. This paper argues that Uspensky did not recover just one but two imperial skeletons. It first dissects his identifications, showing how competition for sacred space between Greeks and Turks in the Ottoman period led each community to identify the tomb’s occupants with foundational figures in their communities. After dissecting Uspensky’s identifications, this paper then makes the case that both occupants of this tomb were unidentified members of the Grand Komnenoi family, urging for scientific examination of what may be the only bones of a Byzantine emperor.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A new form of fandom: how free agency brought about Rotisserie League Baseball
    (Routledge, 2021-03-10) Ploeg, Andrew Jonathan; Ploeg, Andrew Jonathan
    One of the most radically transformative shifts in sport history occurred between 1970 and 1975 with the dissolution of the reserve clause in Major League Baseball. In just five years, the legal proceedings of Curt Flood, Jim ‘Catfish’ Hunter, Andy Messersmith, and Dave McNally ruptured a system that had been in place since 1879 and brought about free agency, revolutionizing the economic relations between baseball players and team owners. Skyrocketing player salaries and increased roster turnover in the ensuing years, however, also transformed the dynamics between fans, their local teams, and their favourite players, relationships that historically had been built on roster continuity. Free agency elicited a heightened awareness of the imminent instability of teams, undermining fans’ traditional team allegiance and opening a space for a new mode of expression of their loyalty. This space facilitated the emergence of Rotisserie League Baseball, a forerunner of fantasy baseball and arguably the first fully-fledged fantasy sport. In other words, the advent of free agency constituted a watershed moment in baseball history that modified conceptions of fan loyalty, control, and ownership, paving the way for the birth of fantasy sport.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Roots of the July 1936 Coup: The Rebirth of Military Interventionism in the Spanish Infantry Academy, 1893–19271
    (Routledge, 2021-08-27) Chamberlin, Foster; Chamberlin, Foster
    The coup attempt of July 1936 that began the Spanish Civil War differed from its predecessors in that the rebel officers sought to remake both the Spanish state and society. The roots of this new brand of military interventionism have been traced to Spain’s colonial wars in Morocco, but this article argues that they extended further back to the rebel officers’ training at Spain’s Infantry Academy, where, in the wake of defeat in the Spanish-American War, Regenerationist reformers within the academy recast the moral training that cadets received so that they felt it was the army’s duty to lead a transformation of Spanish society to return it to the imagined glories of Spain’s past.1
  • ItemOpen Access
    Literature, economics, and a turn to content
    (Duke University Press, 2021-05) Fessenbecker, Patrick; Yazell, Bryan; Fessenbecker, Patrick
    In much of the recent scholarship on economics and literature, the depth of insight is inversely proportional to the status claimed for literature as such. For example, Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro’s Cents and Sensibility argues that economists need to read literary works for their great moral wisdom, and they fault literary scholars for ignoring this appeal and for failing to understand basic economics. But as this survey of recent publications demonstrates, the conjunction of these critiques is odd: literary critics have been skeptical of claims about genuine value precisely because they have attended so closely to the markets structuring cultural production. What ultimately stands out in recent scholarship on economics and literature is its turn away from complex accounts of the nature of literary form and its turn toward considerations of the representation of economic life.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ian James. The technique of thought: Nancy, Laruelle, Malabou, and Stiegler after nat-uralism
    (University of Chicago Press, 2021) Stockwell, Cory; Stockwell, Cory
  • ItemOpen Access
    Inheriting war in Thucydides
    (Classical Association of the Middle West and South, 2021) Bruzzone, Rachel; Bruzzone, Rachel
    This article argues that Thucydides represents the story of the Eurypontid Spartan kings, Archidamus and Agis, as a coherent, meaningful narrative spanning his text. Early on, Archidamus worries that his generation might leave war to their children as a kind of inheritance. His son Agis then does inherit the war, more literally than any other figure. The consequences of this malign bequest become clear as Agis comes to violate the traditional value system represented by his father. Formal naming of both men throughout their stories encourages the reader to view their appearances not as a series of isolated events but as a single narrative depicting the corruption of their family.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Genealogies of fantasy sport
    (Routledge, 2021) Ploeg, Andrew J.; Ruihley, Brody J.; Ploeg, Andrew J.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The role of literary fiction in facilitating social science research
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2021-11-03) Yazell, Bryan; Petersen, Klaus; Marx, Paul; Fessenbecker, Patrick; Fessenbecker, Patrick
    Scholars in literature departments and the social sciences share a broadly similar interest in understanding human development, societal norms, and political institutions. However, although literature scholars are likely to reference sources or concepts from the social sciences in their published work, the line of influence is much less likely to appear the other way around. This unequal engagement provides the occasion for this paper, which seeks to clarify the ways social scientists might draw influence from literary fiction in the development of their own work as academics: selecting research topics, teaching, and drawing inspiration for projects. A qualitative survey sent to 13,784 social science researchers at 25 different universities asked participants to describe the influence, if any, reading works of literary fiction plays in their academic work or development. The 875 responses to this survey provide numerous insights into the nature of interdisciplinary engagement between these disciplines. First, the survey reveals a skepticism among early-career researchers regarding literature’s social insights compared to their more senior colleagues. Second, a significant number of respondents recognized literary fiction as playing some part in shaping their research interests and expanding their comprehension of subjects relevant to their academic scholarship. Finally, the survey generated a list of literary fiction authors and texts that respondents acknowledged as especially useful for understanding topics relevant to the study of the social sciences. Taken together, the results of the survey provide a fuller account of how researchers engage with literary fiction than can be found in the pages of academic journals, where strict disciplinary conventions might discourage out-of-the-field engagement.