Our Age of Late Antiquity
bio: Hans Kellner teaches Rhetoric and other things in the English department at UTA. He's the author of Language and Historical Representation and co-editor of A New Philosophy of History: Essays in Postmodern History with Frank Ankersmit.
abstract: The world of postmodernity resembles Byzantium in late antiquity. The power of a Bill Gates is that of condescension, as the god-like Byzantium emperor was entreated to bow to aid his subjects. The over-wrought style of a Baudrillard, who announces the death of the social, matches a fourth-century historian who describes a similar world. The darkness of these visions foresee a Dark Age of violence, superstition, and radical decentralization.
'Batter My [Flaming] Heart': Male Masochism in Religious Lyrics of Donne and Crashaw
Lisa S. Starks
bio: Lisa S. Starks is an assistant professor of English at Texas A&M University-Commerce. She has published on Renaissance drama, gender theory, and film, in book collections and in periodicals such as Theatre Journal and Post Script. Forthcoming publications include an article on Marlowe's Tamburlaine in Marlowe, History, and Sexuality: New Essays on Christopher Marlowe, ed. Paul Whitfield White (AMS), and on Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra in Literature and Psychology. Currently, she is guest editing two special issues of Post Script on Shakespeare and film and compiling a book collection on the same topic.
abstract: Donne and Crashaw, deeply implicated in the the masochistic fantasies underlying Christian mysticism, infuse the spiritual with the erotic and attempt to "remake themselves" in relation to the wounded body of Christ. They contrast, however, in their strains of Christian and erotic masochism. Although both poets desire the body of Christ as a figure of identification and an erotic object, they differ in how they deal with the ramifications of this desire and its subversive potential. Donne's masochism checks itself by transforming into a sadistic mode of aggression, which enables the poet to resituate himself into the Oedipal framework of Christianity; conversely, Crashaw's masochism transgresses these limits, exposing the "perversity" underlying dominant modes of human desire and Christian mysticism itself.
Gilles Deleuze: A Con-Text
bio: Hold a BA and MA in English from Bowling Green State University. Currently finishing PhD in Comparative Literature at SUNY Stony Brook. Primary areas of work and interest, disparate as they are, are literary and cultural theory, feminist theory, science fiction. Dissertation will be on Mexican and Latino representations of identity in novels since 1948. Hobbies are playing with web pages, keyboards and Keeshonds.
abstract: This essay was orginally begun as a sort of homage to Gilles Deleuze upon word of his death. It tries to take two major tropes from Mille Plateaux--the rhizome and the body without organs--and use them as modes of understanding different modes of organization of essays and the self. The essay itself, the internet, science fiction, metropolitan cities, etc. all serve as metaphors of this (re)organization.
Lacan's Imaginary Prisoner Game
Diaspora Performing Artists
bio: Barbara is a teacher of art history at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, B.C. where she has been teaching for twenty years. She has a PhD from Columbia University, N.Y. in Archaeology and Art History and has worked as a researcher, writer, teacher, having done fieldwork in Africa, Asia, and Central America. Barbara is also a brush painter and has studied Bharata Natyam dance and other Asian dance forms.
abstract: This paper results from my own experience with dancers in the US and Canada and as dance critic for Asian dance. The paper examines the position of diapora performers in regards to their audience, their community, and their funding. It also looks at issues of traditinal vs. experiemental programming, and orchestration. It discusses the influences on diaspora performing traditions, such as multiculturalism, the impact of mainstream western expectations, as well as the current interest in marginality, identity, and individualism.
The Bell Curve And the Future of Literacy: If This is the Answer, What is the Question?
bio: An Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication, Ralph Wahlstrom, is the Coordinator of the Writing Center at Buffalo State College of New York. His interest in literacy and disenfranchised students began in 1980 when he taught college English in the Marquette Branch Prison in Northern Michigan. He later taught at the Daqing Petroleum Institute in the People's Republic of China and designed and directed Student Support Services for Disadvantaged Students projects for thirteen years before joining the faculty at Buffalo State College where he is currently involved in research on liberatory practices in the college writing center. Dr. Wahlstrom received his Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University in 1996.
abstract: Wahlstrom traces the lineage of the Murray and Herrnstein work from the racist pseudo-science of craniology and eugenics, through a variety of flawed IQ tests, to the intentional suppression of freedom schools in the 1800's, and finally to modern examples in which public, educational, and corporate policies have served to effectively keep the haves and have-nots in their respective slots. The blend of misguided science, wrongheaded humanitarianism, and racist/elitist intention lies at the foundation of The Bell Curve and profoundly illuminates the social and political answer Murray and Herrnstein offer. Ultimately, the answers tells us more about the authors and their beliefs than about intelligence, and it raises even more important, often troubling, questions about ourselves and our culture.
Poetic Subjectivity, Its Imagination and Others: Toward an Ethical Postmodern Imagination
bio: Meaghan Roberts is a Ph.D. Candidate in Studies in Literature at the University of Texas at Dallas, currently preparing to take her qualifying exams and wishing she still had time to write poems. Her areas of study and interest include Postmodern and Poststructural theory, philosophy of the Linguistic Turn, French Feminist philosophy, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetics, expecially those which lead to and result from the Symbolist movement. This paper represents the kernel of her soon-to-be dissertation on ethics and poetics.
abstract: In contrast to, and as a cure for, the modes of ethics and desire which dominate the Western Tradition, here exemplified by Lacan, this paper attempts to support and explain an alternative (feminist) ethics articulated by Luce Irigaray, Richard Kearney, and implicit in the work of Paul Ricoeur in which the Other (at whatever level of experience) need not be assumed to be a threat. From that context, this paper further attempts to demonstrate this ethics as at work in the structures of two of Jorie Graham's poems. Of course, the primary object of this paper being an ethics, it is also largely concerned with a new possible form of life.
bio: Neil is an Associate Professor at Texas Christian University teaching theory, rhetoric, and comparative literature. He has published on Italo Calvino, Stanislaw Lem, Soren Kierkegaard, William Carlos Williams, cyberpunk, film theory, postmodern anarchism and other figures and questions.
abstract: When Wittgenstein said "words are deeds" he resurrected a notion forgotten since Enlightnment obfuscations of the relation of language to the world. But the postmodern disjunction of words from deeds, what Barthes called semioclasm, fails to disrupt an ethical imperative. Scholars, especially those trained in the latest poststructural arguments, are in a position to reject a withdrawal into "words, words, words." Spinning a web of direct analysis and indirect improvisation around this problem, from Assyrian art to Shakespeare's Hamlet, this essay asks us to address the ethical imperative.
abstract: The home is the natural habitat for human beings. If we were to be put into a zoo, the zookeeper would most likely build a home to display us in our natural environment. All I do is paint this natural environment of the home as a landscape, calling into question its "naturalness." And naturally our homes are full of crass commodities. I think of a human virtue, and then substitute a commodity for the quality or virtue.
Rev. of Manifesto of a Tenured Radical by Cary Nelson
bio: Greg is currently writing a dissertation at the University of Iowa on serial killer novels. He also studies early American literature and culture, critical theory and genre fiction, and the cheery state of the academic job market. When that gets him too depressed, he goes off to his other love, tai chi.
abstract: This extended review of Cary Nelson's Manifesto of a Tenured Radical examines Nelson's work in the light of two conceptual frames: warriorship and the jeremiad. It carefully reviews Nelson's assertions and puts them into context as far as the current academic marketplace, at times by matching Nelson's formulations against the reviewer's personal experience. Largely positive, this review calls for a wide reading of Manifesto as an entry into a public debate on the changing nature of academia.
Rev. of "Sexuality and Cyberspace: Performing the Digital Body"
bio: Jennifer Bay is a doctoral student in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her interests include feminist theory, computers and composition, histories of rhetoric, and theories of technology.
abstract: This special issue of Women & Performance, "Sexuality and Cyberspace: Performing the Digital Body," maps out some of the intersections between cyberspace, the body, and sexuality. Each of the contributors attempts to theorize and question multiple methods through which the body has been appropriated or colonized by emerging digital cultures, as well as outside of purely electronic environments. The journal also emphasizes the notion of performance as a means of activism that can affect the materiality of our current structures of sexuality and gender both on and off-line.
"In Memorium Gilles Deleuze"
bio: Thomas Rickert is a PhD candidate in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Arlington, with concentrations in rhetoric and critical theory. He is preparing to write a dissertation on the writings of Slavoj Zizek.
abstract: Music and theory collide on the recent two-CD collection, In Memoriam Gilles Deleuze, released on the Mille Plateaux label. Over 30 artists are out to deterritorialize your musical landscape, bringing the freshest sounds in electronic and ambient to give homage and take inspiration from the writings of Deleuze.