Crisicism: The Cultural Discourse of Crisis
First Issue | September 2013
Crisis of Representation, Representation of Crisis: Historical Consciousness in Contemporary Latin American Art and Literature
[Daniel Thomaz ]
Abstract | The late 1970s and the 1980s were crucial years for the emergence of a new form of historical consciousness in Latin American art and literature, especially concerned with questions of collective memory and identity. The aim of this article is twofold. The first aim is to map the main strands in the debate surrounding the relationships between history, art, and literature in this period, focusing on the current discussions on the epistemological crises that led to the rise of this new historical consciousness. The second aim is to address the question of Latin American specificity. I will take into consideration several theoretical contributions in order to outline a standpoint that not only considers Latin American specificity but also its contribution to think the articulation of art, history and politics.
Keywords | Latin America, Contemporary Art, Latin American Literature, Neobaroque, Theory of History, Historical consciousness, Democratic Transition
Abstract | The gothic and the postcolonial share common concerns of subversion and transgression; both aim to represent alternative experiences, worldviews, and different histories in literature. This essay discusses the interplay of the gothic and the postcolonial in Toni Morrison’s Beloved to address crisis. It asserts that intertwining both genres enables the unspeakable to be spoken, and allows a silenced history of slavery to be heard. I argue that the past, in a crisis like situation, enforces itself into the present and that the past can be seen to haunt the present, thereby indicating Beloved’s symbolic representation of a silenced history and repressed traumatic memories. The essay claims that the story has to be told and the memories allowed to be relived in order to come to terms with the trauma of slavery and focuses on the importance of legitimization and narration.
Keywords | trauma, memories, silenced histories, slavery, postcolonial-gothic, American literature
Abstract | The incipient therapeutic movements of the late-Victorian and Progressive eras in the US are salient to understanding the ways in which the desire to heal and be healed has at once a subtle and far-reaching influence on how crisis is understood and social transformation is carried out. Historians of late have amply documented how lay, faith, and medical healers of these eras negotiated new forms of selfhood amidst a rapidly changing political and socioeconomic order. Yet the historical portrait remains incomplete insofar as critical examination has not been paid to the “crisis resolution” specific to this re-formation: the optimistic healing narrative that the sociomedical discourse on nervous diseases engendered. Such an investigation into this veritable birth of the therapeutic helps disclose how a dominant set of psychosomatic interpretations and healing modalities could cohere alongside both the evolving structure of monopoly capitalism and the designated roles people assumed within it.
Keywords | nervous diseases, healing, mind cure, psychotherapy, emotion, capitalism, neoliberalism
Abstract | The theme of the apocalyptic is often portrayed through films and literature in a pessimistic manner. The crisis of the end of the world, unsurprisingly, is culturally and societally deemed as the ultimate manifestation of catastrophe. Science fiction and experimental films have often reflected this cultural trend, depicting the end of days according to normative behaviours and reactions to death and crisis. However, the optimistic portrayal of the apocalypse is a rarely explored narrative, and its implications for the cultural approach to crisis are of critical interest to studies in culture and crisis. J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World (1962) and Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia (2011) are two forms of art that exhibit the more positive portrayal of the crisis of apocalypse. Through their literary and visual creation of the apocalypse, they communicate an often neglected narrative of the optimistic outlook to crisis and apocalypse. This view of the ultimate crisis is, therefore, a unique and rare narrative, here explored through the protagonists of Ballard’s and Trier’s works, who invert the stereotypical and generic reception of catastrophe and crisis and instead posit a theme of the optimistic apocalypse.
Keywords | crisis, apocalypse, post-apocalypse, J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World, Lars von Trier, Melancholia
Exorcising the Ghost - or Spectres of Bin Laden
[Torsten Andreasen ]
Abstract | The article examines Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012) as a narrative treatment of a traumatic moment of crisis. The article proposes perspectives on a narrative logic and the means by which this logic is executed. It does so by using Derrida’s notion of spectrality as demonstrated in his readings of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as well as his analysis of archival spectrality (Derrida, 2006 and Derrida, 1995). This Derridean perspective allows us to see the movie as an attempt to confront the horrors of crisis and bring the ensuing disequilibrium back into balance. This process, however, entails a complicated negotiation of spectrality that aims to preserve one’s own ghostlike state while giving the enemy’s various spectral forms a body so that he may be properly laid in earth.
Keywords | crisis, trauma, spectrality, 9/11, ghosts, redemption, prevention, closure
Memory and the Yet to Come: Interview with Andreas Huyssen
[Tânia Ganito and Daniela Agostinho]
Carsten Meiner, Kristen Veel (eds.), The Cultural Life of Catastrophes and Crises
Max, Paseo Astral
[Maria Sequeira Mendes]
Cheryl Suzack, Shari M. Huhndorf, Jeanne Perrault, and Jean Barman (eds), Indigenous Women and Feminism: Politics, Activism, Culture
Henry A. Giroux, On Critical Pedagogy