Manuel Clemens, How (Not) to Become Tolerant: Affects and Habitus in Lessing’s Nathan the Wise

Join us for this week’s CuSPP Seminar:

How (Not) to Become Tolerant: Affects and Habitus in Lessing’s Nathan the Wise

Thursday 2 May, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

The coincidences and phantasms that open Lessing’s Nathan the Wise reappear throughout the entire drama and even bring about its happy ending. While the usual interpretation of the plot maintains that the illusions held by the protagonists of the play—such as their superstitions, unrestrained affects and prejudices—are overcome via a learning process and transformed into tolerance, I maintain a different view. In my presentation I will argue, first, that these illusions are gently enlightened, rather than overcome, and, second, that this process only ostensibly leads to tolerance. As a consequence, my analysis focuses on the negotiation between tolerance and intolerance, and finally arrives at the conclusion that the maid Daja actually represents tolerance better than the protagonists, because she is the only one from whom tolerant endurance is demanded.

In my interpretation, the play represents how not to become tolerant because of the gap between the privileged notion of tolerance exemplified by the main characters, such as Nathan’s daughter Recha and the Templar who rescues her, and the disadvantage experienced by the maid Daja, whose affective life is rendered illegitimate by the development of the play. The affective life of the main protagonists follows Bourdieu’s model of a privileged habitus and Daja, a maid and supporting character, is excluded from it. My reading of Nathan the Wise reverses the conventional understanding of tolerance as something that always refers to the main characters. Instead of focusing upon how they exemplify tolerance, I focus on the process through which their tolerance is constituted (and its difficulty), which enables me to argue that it is easier for them to become ‘tolerant’ than it is for Daja.

Manuel Clemens has taught in the German program in SLLL since August 2018. He has previously taught at Rutgers University, Leuphana University. Germany, and University Iberoamericana and the University of Michoacán, Mexico. His work focuses on the vexed relationship between aesthetics, education and politics in the constitution of liberal society.

Katharina Bonzel, Criminal Justice: Televisual Policing in the Age of Disillusionment

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Criminal Justice: Televisual Policing in the Age of Disillusionment

Thursday 4 April, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

This paper argues that the popular television series The Blacklist (2013-present) marks a turn in “terror TV” (Tasker) towards criminals being the better police as trust in traditional law enforcement evaporates post 9/11. While traditional crime and procedural dramas such as NCIS still exist, terror TV such as The Blacklist represents a shift in the stability of the genre and reflects a deep sense of global precarity.

While the first decade of the new millennium saw a surge of superhero movie franchises celebrating American exceptionalism and heroic individualism, the second decade is beginning to show cracks in this facade of the classic American hero. Faced with terror abroad and at home, and transnational crime/terror organisations more advanced and better organised than any governmental agency, law enforcement agencies are deemed inadequate, hindered, even crippled, by moral, ethical and legal requirements.

The Blacklist renders the traditional forces of the law close to impotent, and displays a distinctly post-9/11 loss of trust in, and growing frustration with, traditional institutions of law enforcement and government.

Katharina Bonzel is a lecturer in screen studies in SLLL. She is the coeditor of Representations of Sports Coaches in Film: Looking to Win and her monograph National Pastimes: Cinema, Sports, and Nation will be released with the University of Nebraska Press in fall 2019.

Paul Magee, Writing is Speaking

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Writing is Speaking

Thursday 28 March, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

Why is it that when we read a passage of dense theoretical prose, say in Frederic Jameson, or encounter a “garden path” sentence (e.g. The old man the boat), or just generally want more clarity from the text in front of us, that we slow down and sound the words out? The direct answer is that ‘intonation contours and sentence rhythms provide patterns which group words into phrases and highlight new and important information’ (Slowiaczek and Clifton 1980, p. 581). Sounding the words out is a way of performatively guessing at that missing grammatical coding, the sonic one. I am interested in what such a reparative act presupposes about the nature of writing. Does it not imply that the writer conceived those words—however un-colloquial their register (Biber and Conrad 2010)—as speech in the first place? Are distinctions between orality and the literary really that firm, once we hone in on what happens in “inner speech” (Vološinov/Bakhtin 1971; Vygotsky 1961), in the moments of a clause’s initial generation? Further: what relation does poetry-writing bear to that founding indistinction between the spoken and written?

Paul Magee is author of Stone Postcard (John Leonard Press 2014), Cube Root of Book (John Leonard Press 2006) and the prose ethnography From Here to Tierra del Fuego (University of Illinois Press, 2000). He is Associate Professor of Poetry at the University of Canberra.

Genèse: Gemma King at the French Film Festival

Genèse: Gemma King at the French Film Festival

This Thursday March 21, CuSPP member Dr Gemma King will give a Q&A following the screening of Philippe Lesage’s French-Canadian film Genèse, at Palace Electric Cinemas for the French Film Festival. The evening includes live music, wine and cheese and is organised by the High Commission of Canada. Book your tickets here and join us for a conversation about French-language film: https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/highlights/canberra.

 

Gemma King at French Film Festival Genesis Poster

Christie Margrave, Eco-regional Identities in the 19th-Century French Caribbean Novel: Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina and Bergeaud’s Stella

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Eco-regional Identities in the 19th-Century French Caribbean Novel: Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina and Bergeaud’s Stella

Thursday 21 March, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

 

Caribbean literature ‘has continuously addressed, rather than belatedly discovered, its commitment to the environment’. Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina (1806) and Bergeaud’s Stella (1859) prove this. These novels portray a Caribbean landscape severely altered by plantation economy and industrial change. They call for conservation of landscape and the establishment of a new identity based on an eco-conscious society. Traversay argues for new identities based on the conservation of land for the purposes of fulfilling colonial needs, whilst Bergeaud argues that restoring a suppressed voice amid forests, mountains and rivers fosters a new identity which leads to the foundation of a free society. Examining these understudied novels through the lens of postcolonial ecocriticism allows us to understand how Francophone colonial authors perceived the history of the land to be inseparable from socio-political history on both a regional and an international level. Ultimately, both novels foreground landscape as a participant in the changing nature of France and her colonies, and allow us to map the colonial metropole’s relationship to non-metropolitan space.

 

Christie Margrave joined the ANU as a Lecturer in French in February 2019. She previously worked as a Lecturer at Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff Universities in Wales. Her monograph Writing the Landscape: Exposing Nature in French Women’s Fiction, 1789-1815 is in press with Legenda. Her new research project aims to shed light on the French novel of the late 18th-early 19th centuries by reading it through an environmental lens, contributing to the burgeoning field of ecocriticism, especially in ecofeminism, eco-postcolonialism and ecotheology.

Ally Wolfe, Happily Never Later

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Happily Never After

Thursday 14 March, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

 

Young Adult (YA) fiction is having a dystopian moment: exploring a future that faces destruction. Dystopian literature explores a time when hard choices must be made, and YA dystopian literature does this with teenagers at the fore, preoccupied with solving the problems of their harsh societies, but with limited options. By reading YA dystopian fiction through a Queer Theory lens we gain an understanding of the futures we expect young adults to believe in. Queer Theory allows us to examine Young Adult protagonists who disrupt the future as it is ‘meant’ to play out.

This paper will discuss works in which children are compelled to fight other children and adults in order to achieve the goals of adults, and will explore two different understandings of the future. The Hunger Games trilogy (2008-2010) by Suzanne Collins has Katniss fulfil the cycle of reproduction in her epilogue, foreshadowing a better future in which our protagonist has had children. On the other hand, Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn Chronicles (1987-2015) does not so closely follow this pattern of reward and continuation of the future through procreation. By considering child protagonists in dystopian societies, we trouble the idea of the innocent child and bring the legal strangeness of this category to trial. This paper will look at the endings of these works, and see how they bring about a recursive, unending future.

Ally Wolfe is a PhD candidate in SLLL and has taught in Gender Studies at ANU. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Dean’s Scholar) in English Literature and History, as well as a BA (Honours) in English Literature at the University of Wollongong. Her research examines young adult fiction, gendered and generic norms, and dystopian fiction. 

Tina Dixson (TPR), What does it mean to be a queer refugee woman?

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What does it mean to be a queer refugee woman? Collective self-discovery of lived experiences through trauma and agency

Thursday 7 March, 12pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

(Please note change of usual seminar time from 1pm to 12 midday)

Queer refugees occupy a marginal space within refugee narratives. They appear to be more tolerable for the hosting country as their queerness signifies modernity, yet they are excluded from the refugee community itself symbolising the clash of cultures. There is no space of belonging in the queer community either due to potential racism. Additionally, narratives are mostly male-centric.

My research is focused on the lived experiences of queer refugee women. Taking the point of departure in my personal story and moving to stories of other women, I view them through the lens of trauma theory and concepts of agency. Placing particular focus on the life after, I question whether the discovery and embrace of the multiplicity of new refugee identity still remains ongoing for them and whether in a new (presumably) safe home, queer refugee women may be still coming to terms with oppression, discrimination or violence.

Tina Dixson is a PhD candidate in SLLL. Tina has a strong record of engaging with the UN human rights treaties such as CEDAW and the UN programmes such as UNHCR through participating in the development of the Global Compact on Refugees. Tina is also a co-founder of the Queer Sisterhood Project, a peer-run support and advocacy group for queer refugee women in Australia.

Professor Jacky Bratton on Jane Scott, The Lost Amazon of the Strand

Jane Scott, The Lost Amazon of the Strand

Thursday 14th February, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

202 years ago in February 1817 Jane Scott’s gothic melodrama Camilla the Amazon was staged, at her own theatre in London’s Strand, the Sans Pareil – a house that four years later became the Adelphi, and is still in business. In the same year her contemporary, the other Jane –  Jane Austen –  published her comically gothic work, Northanger Abbey. Why does the world not know that Jane Scott came first? Austen was a quiet, middle-class spinster living in Hampshire, unknown in her own lifetime; Scott was a successful London entrepreneur, an actress and a theatre manager as well as a prolific writer. Her theatre is a foundation stone of the modern West End.

I launched this paradox in an article called “Genius comes in all disguises” twenty years ago. Little happened. Then the cause of the actress/manager was taken up by Gilli Bush-Bailey, and together we have written and talked and taught students about her ironic melodramas, her groundbreaking contemporary comedies, the manic edge of her burlesques, and the way in which her works anticipate and have been waiting for post-modern understanding of the pre-Victorian. In 2017 Scott’s comedy Whackham and Windham received its first professional outing for 200 years. Maybe her time has come.

This lecture will present a whistle-stop tour of Jane’s life and work, her extraordinary energy and creativity and the many new things she brought to writing for the popular stage.

Jacky Bratton is Professor Emerita of the University of London and an Honorary Fellow of Royal Holloway, University of London. Her most recent books are The Making of the West End Stage, New Readings in Theatre History and The Victorian Clown, all published by Cambridge University Press. She is still tying up the ends of a career-long preoccupation with the cultural worlds of the nineteenth century, especially those below the radar of ‘the legitimate’, and the high cultural waterline that has succeeded that old definition of what is respectable. Her subjects have mostly been women and children, and often not respectable at all.

Kathryn Hind, ‘Ugly Feelings and Passivity in Tallent & Enright’

 

Ugly feelings and passivity in the novels of Gabriel Tallent and Anne Enright

Thursday 7 February, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

Kathryn Hind completed her undergrad with Honours at the University of Canberra, where her thesis was a multimedia piece on reading as construction. In 2013, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, UK. She began her first novel, Hitch, while on the course, and it will be published in June this year by Penguin Random House. Along with publication in Australian literary journals and some short story prize wins and short-listings, Kathryn has a poem published on an ACTION bus.