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Rhetoric and Identity in James Baldwin’s Revolution from Within
Davis W. Houck

Despite the proliferation of interest in James Baldwin across popular culture and the academy, few, if any, critical studies of his public oratory have been conducted. This is unfortunate and ironic—unfortunate because Baldwin was a marvelous orator, and ironic in that his preferred solution to what ailed whites and blacks as the Civil Rights movement unfolded was thoroughly rhetorical. That is, Baldwin’s racial rhetorical revolution involved a re-valuing of the historical evidence used to keep blacks enslaved both mentally and physically across countless generations. Moreover, for Baldwin the act of naming functions to chain both whites and blacks to a version of American history psychologically damaging to both. Three speeches that Baldwin delivered in 1963 amid the crucible of civil rights protest illustrate these claims.

James Baldwin Review
Sustaining literature
Claire Colebrook

Despite the supposed game-changing nature of the Anthropocene as a geological event, popular culture and literary theory have tended to intensify the supposedly intrinsic value of human agency and survival. If there is a sublimity in the articulation of the Anthropocene it has been predominantly recuperative, where the threat to human existence intensifies a seemingly necessary moral future. To think about material sublimity would be to consider the Anthropocene as an inscriptive event that precludes the lures of redemption that have accompanied the geological stratigraphy. By exploring the logic of literary sustainability, which discloses an intimate relation between survival and destruction, I argue for rethinking the supposedly prima facie value of the future of what has inscribed itself as humanity.

in Literature and sustainability
Open Access (free)
Theatre and the politics of engagement
Author: Simon Parry

This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.

Open Access (free)
Nicola McDonald

of the field of inquiry. As an introduction to the ten essays that comprise this book, I provide neither a historical overview of the genre (authorship, audience, manuscripts) nor a survey of the different theoretical approaches that help elucidate the workings of popular culture; both of these have recently received admirable treatment elsewhere.3 Instead, I offer a short polemical essay that confronts head-on the paradox that informs and ultimately circumscribes all of our thinking about Middle English popular romance. ‘Popular’ in its capacity to attract a large

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Open Access (free)
Andrew Bowie

something else. The emergence of the orientation in cultural studies towards ‘popular culture’ of all kinds is in this respect a logical response to the suspicion that works from the great traditions may now no longer (if, of course, they ever did) have a decisive influence on political and social life. This does not, however, obviate aesthetic questions, even in relation to popular culture. The danger here is that an apparent openness to what supposedly (and sometimes actually) elitist positions have unjustifiably ignored can in fact be based on another kind of failure

in The new aestheticism
Open Access (free)
Reading SimCity
Barry Atkins

other forms of text emphasise a lack of closure and celebrate narrative uncertainty, SimCity appears to offer access to a plurality of choice and individual experience within the mass product of consumer capitalism. As the use of the term ‘god-game’ to describe such game-fictions implies, there is something about such management games that can be seen as empowering and liberating – we are not the passive consumer of this product of mass popular culture, we are allowed the illusion of not only ‘human’ but ‘godly’ agency. chap5.p65 115 13/02/03, 14:23 116 More than

in More than a game
Open Access (free)
Barry Atkins

relation to computer hardware, and in wider popular culture itself. Interest here, as in the spoof ‘rockumentary’ This is Spinal Tap (1984), is in the piece of equipment with the dial that goes up to eleven. ‘Better’ equates with an often disappointed promise of excess, with an impossible ‘louder’ in the case of Spinal Tap’s amplifier, and not with the quality of the sound produced. Or, in the case of such a privileging of the newest or latest computer game-fiction, better equates with faster artificial intelligence routines, bigger levels, higher framerates, more

in More than a game
Open Access (free)
Simon Parry

, technology, education or communication. If it is important for grime MCs and dermatologists to have conversations about skin, as I believe it is, there may be a need for some undisciplined research as well as practice. Chapter 3 attempts to bring into cosmopolitics practices that might already be valued commercially or artistically but that I attempt to revalue as ways of knowing. My conclusion is not that theatrical processes for commoning sense are necessarily to be found at the margins or among the avant-garde, they may just as well be within popular culture. In some

in Science in performance
Open Access (free)
From content warning to censorship
Jack Halberstam

? Nowadays students sit at tables, they snack and look at their own screens. They take notes on smart pads or have note takers; they expect entertainment, and unless they are in the presence of an extremely charismatic lecturer, they do not want to sit for hours facing forward while the professor waxes lyrical. Times have changed. Professors rely upon media support. Large lecture courses are punctuated by keynote slide shows and PowerPoints, and examples from popular culture help to illustrate some of the claims that the professor wants to make to increasingly sceptical

in The power of vulnerability
Dystopian performatives and vertigo aesthetics in popular theatre
Simon Parry

locate speculative theatricality in particular in the ways theatrical forms hold together sensation and discursive knowledge, so knowledge that can be expressed in language. The speculative practices that emerge from my examples include conventions that bring together scientific ideas, so discourse about climate change, genetics or consciousness, with the tonal, textural and rhythmic possibilities of music, dystopian narrative and mystical or mythical figures from popular cultures. I argue that popular theatrical forms hold political potential insofar as they can gain

in Science in performance