On Violence

Broj 2 - Godina 4 - 06/2014

Uvodnik

The eighth issue of [sic] – a Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation is upon us, offering once again a myriad of texts, analyses, approaches and thoughts, all “hiding” behind a name borrowed from the Re-Thinking Humanities and Social Sciences conference. The conference was titled “On Violence”, and it presented a plethora of trans-disciplinary discursive multiverses, all focusing on the issue, the appeal and/or the abhorrence of violence. The current issue of our journal strongly reflects this ambivalent appeal as it tries to bring forth some of the issues problematized during the conference. ..

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Izdvojeno

The departure point of this article is that however one conceives the practice of American Studies one has to recognize that it is a disciplinary practice. In accordance with this contention the author proceeds to discuss the notion of the discipline as such before he goes on to ask and answer the question: “How do American Studies constitute themselves?” The author argues that American Studies, like other disciplines, constituted itself by objectifying an exceptional polity. The crux of his argument is that this self-constitution was founded on an act of erasure, whereby the evidence of capitalism was elided from the research agenda of the discipline. Contending that this erasure is paradoxical considering that American Studies has as its object the exemplary capitalist nation, the author proceeds to delineate the reasons for this erasure. He goes on to contend that American Studies was complicit with the capitalist system of production and that one can speak of it as being a part of an ideological apparatus. However, he proceeds by showing that the discipline of American Studies has always had to address the evidence of its object, namely the historical transformations in the United States, which have forced the discipline, at different points of the historical continuum, to revise its protocols and research agenda. In the last part of the article the author maintains that the unfolding economic crisis sets the ground for one such transformation and that the “command of money,” which has been revealed by the crisis, beckons us to undertake a new interdisciplinary networking, this time with economics. In the conclusion of the paper the author argues that the challenges of the present moment force the discipline to attend to postdisciplinary developments which have been proposed as ways with which to address the intractability of the present mutation of capitalism. At the very end of the article the author articulates and identifies the political position which is implied in his reading of American Studies as a disciplinary practice....

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In this essay, I argue that the pedagogical, or, more generally, heuristic potential of HBO’s crime drama The Wire (2002/2008) is related to the specific institutional developments in post-network television, the show’s didactic intention, and its focus on the delineation of the economic process, or what has been called its “openly class-based” politics. I will dedicate most time to the latter, as it represents a particularly welcome intervention for American Studies, a discipline in which the problem of class has usually been either marginalized, or articulated in terms of the historically hegemonic disciplinary paradigm, that of identityKeywords: The Wire, American studies, cognitive mapping, capitalism, TV, HBOIn this essay, I would like to approach HBO’s crime drama The Wire (2002-2008) based on my experience of teaching the show in an American Studies class in Croatia. The course in which I try to work with it, Cultural Aspects of American Neoliberalism, deals with the gradual departure in the US from the legacy of the New Deal, with a special focus on the cultural articulations of economic inequality from the 1970s onwards. Using The Wire in the classroom is nothing new. It has been taught for years now in different courses, mostly in the US. A quick web search will show that it has appeared in curricula in film studies, media studies, urban studies, ethics, communication, criminal justice, sociology, social anthropology, and social work. The inclusion of the series in these various academic fields seems to confirm what I have learned from experience: the show offers plenty of teachable material. Moreover, the variety of pedagogical uses of The Wire speaks to the series’ ability to serve many different disciplinary interests, both in the US and abroad. Here, I would like to make a point precisely out of the apparent potential of The Wire to provide a common ground for the recognition of a diverse array of particular social positions and experiences....

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This paper unveils the revolutionary potential incarnated in the post-9/11 transformed figure of the cinematic zombie. It is my contention that zombies, through their cinematic (r)evolution, came to embody Deleuze and Guattari’s vision of the nomad war machine. Zombie films are used as a vehicle for addressing the tension between the hegemonic fear of the violent multitude in revolt and the counter-hegemonic liberatory potential of the rising masses. It is impossible to achieve a final resolution between these contradicting tendencies since the narrative structure of zombie films remains open-ended. The characteristics of the zombies and the meaning ascribed to them transform over time but they also maintain a continuity with a difference with the previous expressions of the monstrous. The monstrous characteristics which have pertained since George A. Romero’s paradigm shift in the 1960s (the zombifying contagion, violence and swarm attacks), joined with the new features appearing in the American zombie cinema of the new millennium, formulate a response to the manifest and latent violence of the State apparatus....

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The texts before you were, in their shorter version, originally presented at the inaugural symposium of the Croatian Association for American Studies (Hrvatsko udruženje za američke studije), established in 2010 with the aim of bringing together researchers and academics in Croatian institutions of higher education that teach, research and are working towards their degrees in different fields comprising American Studies. The first and hopefully not the last symposium showcased a considerable number of Croatian Americanists, while hosting also a few guests from abroad, among them one of the keynote speakers, Professor Douglas Ambrose of Hamilton College, USA. The other plenary address was delivered by Professor Stipe Grgas of the University of Zagreb whose work has been a mainstay of American Studies in Croatia and beyond. While Ambrose, as a historian of the early America and the antebellum society, revisits the importance of religion for the fateful conflict between the North and the South, especially as it is presented by some more recent views, Grgas delves deep into the very core of the disciplinary rationale finding there an interesting, even if unselfconscious, occlusion and evasion pertaining to the role of capitalism and the capitalist economy in the installment and development of American Studies. Thus both scholars, each tackling a different aspect of America, show how older approaches are continuously reinvigorated by the influx of new ideas and new interdisciplinary interventions. This gives the feel of a discipline constantly on the move and in the mood of reshaping itself. In this section, the reshaping is done by means of two major socio-cultural phenomena of long duration, religion and capitalism....

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