The digital environment in which the humanities are now firmly immersed has opened the door to innovative ways for students to interact with traditional formats such as archival and print material, and to develop a deep and personal understanding of topics and issues. Libraries, museums and archives are in the unique position of facilitating the creation of digital initiatives in the classroom by offering up their collections as “learning laboratories,” and by sharing their expertise in technology, information, and digital literacy as well as data management. Through active collaboration with course instructors, they can build bridges between their collections and the digital skills students need in order to embrace the new learning paradigm and to help lead them into the future. This paper outlines an archival-digital pilot launched in 2015 at the University of Ottawa, Canada. It situates the project in its historical context; details its early and subsequent iterations; and surveys the assumptions, challenges, surprises, and pleasures of introducing students to archival sources and to acquiring digital skills.
In his article “Changing the Rhythm of Design Capitalism and the Total Aestheticization of the World” Márton Szentpéteri intends to highlight the most important stages of the accelerating total aestheticization of the world resulting at the contemporary period of neoliberal design culture. In the age of design capitalism, the hegemony of consumption culture is being constantly maintained by a culture industry substantially expressed by and embodied in design. The paper claims that the eminent reason of the crisis of democracy today is rooted in the global society of the designed spectacle with its one-dimensional citizens loosing almost all abilities to recognize and consequently defend their rights and to decrease their alienation from real needs, responsibilities and sensibilities. Democracy is fading due to neoliberal globalization – especially in the case of the commercialization of the public sector. However, the particular role of design in this process has hitherto been neglected or underestimated. Against the trend of fading democracy, different sorts of design activism experimenting with disobedient objects and strategies of critical design point towards a much-awaited rebirth of art in terms of its compensatory power against damages of our lifeworld generated by the modernization process with globalisation in the lead. These endeavours are in harmony with the return of art in terms of emergency aesthetics. This rebirth can also be reinforced by the defence of the values of liberal learning being so much threatened amid a global higher education crisis, and especially by understanding design education in the frameworks of liberal learning rather than vocational training.
Chinese Shakespearean criticism from Marxist perspectives is highly original in Chinese Shakespeare studies. Scholars such as Mao Dun, Yang Hui, Zhao Li, Fang Ping, Yang Zhouhan, Bian Zhilin, Meng Xianqiang, Sun Jiaxiu, Zhang Siyang and Wang Yuanhua adopt the basic principles and methods of Marxism to elaborate on Shakespeare’s works and have made great achievements. With ideas changed in different political climates, they have engaged in Shakespeare studies for over eight decades since the 1930s. At the beginning of the revolutionary age, they advocated revolutionary literature, followed Russian Shakespearean criticism from the Marxist perspective, and established the mode of class analysis and highlighted realism. Before and after the Cultural Revolution, they were concerned about class, reality and people. They also showed the “left-wing” inclination, taking literature as a tool to serve politics. Since the 1980s, they have been free from politics and entered the pure academic realm, analysing Shakespearean dramas with Marxist aesthetic theories and transforming from sociological criticism to literary criticism.
In his article “A Distant View of Close Reading: On Irony and Terrorism around 1977,” György Fogarasi investigates the contemporary critical potentials of close reading in the light of recent developments in computation assisted analysis. While rhetorical reading has come to appear outdated in a “digital” era equipped with widgets for massive archival analysis (an era, namely, more keen on “distant,” rather than “close,” reading), Paul de Man’s insights concerning irony might prove useful in trying to account for the difficulties we must face in a world increasingly permeated with dissimulative forms of threat and violence. The article draws on three major texts from 1977: de Man’s draft on “Literature Z,” his lecture on “The Concept of Irony,” and the first and second Geneva Protocols. The reading of these texts purports to demonstrate the relevance of de Man’s theory of irony with respect to the epistemology of “terrorism,” but it also serves as an occasion to reflect upon questions of distance, speed, range, scale, or frequency, and the chances of “rhythmanalysis.”
In his article “Drums of Doubt: On the Rhythmical Origins of Poetic and Scientific Exploration” Caius Dobrescu argues that even though the sciences and arts of doubt have never been connected to the notion of rhythm, doubt is a form of energy, and more specifically, a form of vibration. It implies an exploratory movement that constantly expands and recoils in a space essentially experienced as uncharted territory. Poetry acquires cognitive attributes through oscillatory rhythmic patterns that are explorative and adaptive. In order to test this hypothesis, the essay focuses on the nature and functioning of free verse. This modern prosodic mutation brings about a dovetailing of the rhythmic spectrum, but also, and more significantly, a change in the very manner of understanding and experiencing rhythm. Oscillatory rhythms are broadly associable with entrainment indexes that point to the adaptation of inner physiological and behavioral rhythms to oscillatory environment stimuli. Free verse emerges from the experience of regaining an original explorative, adaptive, and orientation-oriented condition of consciousness.
This article examines two huaju performances of Shakespeare—The Tragedy of Coriolanus (2007) and King Lear (2006), which are good examples of cultural exchanges between East and West, integrating Shakespeare into contemporary Chinese culture and politics. The two works provide distinctive approaches to the issues of identity in intercultural discourse. At the core of both productions lies the fundamental question: “Who am I?” At stake are the artists’ personal and cultural identities as processes of globalisation intensify. These performances not only exemplify the intercultural productivity of Shakespearean texts, but more critically, illustrate how Shakespeare and intercultural discourses are internalized and reconfigured by the nation and culture that consume and re-produce them. Chinese adaptations of Coriolanus and King Lear demonstrate how (intercultural) identity is constructed through the subjectivity and iconicity of Shakespeare’s characters and the performativity of Shakespeare’s texts.
In his article “Embracing Noise and Error”, Bálint L. Bálint argues that human society is going through a profound change as mathematical models are used to predict human behavior both on a personal level and on the level of the entire society. An inherent component of mathematical models is the concept of error or noise, which describes the level of unpredictability of a system by the specific mathematical model. The author reveals the educational origin of the abstract world that can be described by pure mathematics and can be considered an ideal world without errors. While the human perception of the world is different from the abstractions we were taught, the mathematical models need to integrate the error factor to deal with the unpredictability of reality. While scientific thinking developed the statistic-probabilistic model to define the limits of predictability, here we present that in a flow of time driven by entropy, stochastic variability is an in-built characteristic of the material world and represents ultimately the singularity of each individual moment in time and the chance for our freedom of choice.
In his article “Genetics and ethics: ‘Do not go alone’”! András Falus presents genomics as a network science triggering an entirely new trend in contemporary biology. Based on the advent of molecular biology the complete sequence of human and other genomes has been determined and since all information is available on internet-based databanks, the huge mass of data is being analysed by advanced methods of informatics. The author is focusing on the upcoming ethical aspect of genetics and genomics, then, in the second part of the article he answers the questions of the editor concerning the genetic approach to ethics and ethical approach to genetics.