21st century writing | 21st century approaches

Current Issue

Responding to the Chance of Space in Marshland

Posted by on Mar 31, 2016

Doreen Massey, writing in her visionary book For Space, sets out a rallying cry for the building of interrelationships in the spaces of the contemporary world: ‘In this other spatiality, different temporalities and different voices must work out means of accommodation. The chance of space must be responded to’. In...

 

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Current Issue

Medieval Jesus Fan Fiction

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016

This article will examine a late-thirteenth-century text, the Enfaunces de Jesu Crist [Childhood of Jesus Christ], in the context of the recently developed field of fan studies. The text was edited in 1985 by Maureen Boulton, and is written in the Anglo-Norman dialect of French spoken by the élite members of society in England following the Norman Conquest.

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Current Issue

Crossing the Line: Characters’ Re/actions as a Driving Force of Narrative

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016

I have not come across many people who don’t believe that we define ourselves through actions. We are what we do; we are the sum of our actions. Whether we take an existentialist approach to subjectivity and claim that we are fully responsible for every action, whether we take a Structuralist stance and believe that our subconscious mind...

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Current Issue

On the Political Aesthetics of Metadata

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016

In the twenty-first century, the term “metadata” has appeared in the popular news press with increasing frequency. For instance, recent arguments made by proponents of mass surveillance have focused on the fact that the content of messages may be irrelevant for spy agencies; such organizations are instead more interested in knowing...

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Recent Posts

Queerversity: Desire and Sexuality in China Miéville’s Fiction

Queerversity: Desire and Sexuality in China Miéville’s Fiction

Oct 30, 2015

Antke Engel, who works in the field of gender studies and queer theory, points out that gender difference and heteronormativity are organised by two mechanisms of power, normalisation and hierarchisation. Binary constructs have a crucial function in these processes. They influence concepts of identity and self-identification but are undermined by ...

Everybody Wants Some: Sexual Energy and the American Avant-garde

Everybody Wants Some: Sexual Energy and the American Avant-garde

Oct 30, 2015

Despite the ideals of freedom espoused by Americans a prudish attitude toward sex and sexuality pervades public discourse. From victim blaming to  slut shaming, America is simultaneously enthralled and enraged by sex. This complex attitude has been one of the driving forces of avant-garde thought throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries...

Photographing the Flag

Photographing the Flag

Oct 30, 2015

In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag examines the history and development of representing war in photographs. Returning to the earliest images of conflict, she writes: ‘Not to be pained by these pictures, not to recoil from them, not to strive to abolish what caused this havoc, this carnage – these would be the reactions of a moral monster’ (2003: 7). ...

Fake Flesh: Black Mirror and Ex Machina

Fake Flesh: Black Mirror and Ex Machina

Oct 30, 2015

When human flesh first touches synthetic flesh in the Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back” (2013), the human recoils, but keeps touching all the same: “You’re so smooth—how are you so smooth?” whispers Martha (Hayley Atwell) to the android simulacra of her dead partner, Ash (Domnhall Gleeson). The android body is framed as both supernatural and technological, ...

Kendrick Lamar and the Dialectics of Performing Hip Hop

Kendrick Lamar and the Dialectics of Performing Hip Hop

Sep 7, 2015

In his recent performance at the 2015 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards in June, Los Angeles rapper Kendrick Lamar performed the song ‘Alright’ while standing defiantly upon a defaced police car, an impossibly large United States flag fluttering behind him. The obvious political nature of both the staging and song choice (with lyrics like ‘we hate po-po/Wanna ...

9/11 Fiction and the Death of Irony

9/11 Fiction and the Death of Irony

Sep 7, 2015

A week after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the editor of Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, was quoted as saying that ‘the end of the age of irony’ had arrived, while Roger Rosenblatt, of Time, wrote: ‘One good thing could come from this horror: it could spell the end of the age of irony’. The affirmation that irony had died seemed to be confirmed in those first weeks, with many other commentators ...

Loud Fictions: Noise in the Contemporary American Novel

Loud Fictions: Noise in the Contemporary American Novel

Sep 7, 2015

In his 1946 essay, ‘Silence,’ the English novelist Aldous Huxley described the twentieth century as ‘the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire – we hold history’s record for them all’ (149). Writers of the early twentieth century saw noise as a symptom and consequence of modernity and modernist writing, as Josh Epstein notes, was ‘infiltrated’ by ‘the sounds of air-raid sirens, trains, typewriters,

Peak Oil in the Popular Imagination

Peak Oil in the Popular Imagination

Sep 7, 2015

In the 21st century, we remain beholden to the oil economy. Oil shapes our geopolitics, our economic forecasts, the global transportation of our commodities, and impacts upon the costs of day-to-day living. Since the invention of the internal combustion engine, the petroleum industry has risen to such prominence that we cannot understand modern capitalism outside of its history as petro-capitalism ...