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

Historian Mark Noll’s magisterial America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln was an immediate sensation when it appeared in 2002. Jon Butler, the Howard R. Lamar Professor of American Studies, History, and Religious Studies at Yale University, declared “America’s God delineates the Americanization of an Old World Protestantism with a breadth, learning, and sophistication unmatched by any other historian.” Noll describes this process of “Americanization” as consisting of a “shift away from European theological traditions, descended directly from the Protestant Reformation, toward a Protestant evangelical theology decisively shaped by its engagement with Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary America.” And Noll concludes that this American “Protestant evangelicalism differed from the religion of the Protestant Reformation as much as sixteenth-century Reformation Protestantism differed from the Roman Catholic theology from which it emerged.”This paper will argue that, notwithstanding Noll’s considerable achievement, his identification of an “American” synthesis minimizes (although it never denies) the profound sectional variations of that synthesis. In doing so, Noll downplays the ways in which two competing social formations, grounded in fundamentally different systems of social relations, prevented the synthesis from fully uniting “Americans.” The different understandings of the synthesis, like the different understandings of its central texts – the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution – reflected the chasm that separated white Northerners and white Southerners and made both groups see themselves as the true defenders of “America’s God.” Noll’s work thus both enriches our understanding of the how most white Americans differed from their European contemporaries, and simultaneously demonstrates the fundamental divide within American national identity, a divide so pronounced that only a long and bloody war could settle the question of which of the two competing national projects was “God’s America.”...

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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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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 the last years, Serbia has witnessed coming into being of various media forms that all provide social, political and cultural criticism through acrid comedy, parody and satire. The paper centers on sarcasm as one of the key aggressive rhetorical devices used in the language of popular satirical portal Njuz.net, with an overview of the structural and functional characteristics of sarcasm in contemporary communication. The paper explores how language aggressiveness manages to create an affirmative context in which the domineering structures of the official discourse are undermined by marginalized alternative discourses, as well as how such content, disseminated mainly through social networks and blogs and charged with verbal aggression and intertextual allusiveness stemming from deeper political, historical and social issues, succeeds in providing a narrative of kinship among those who often see it as the last recourse to sanity.Keywords: sarcasm, violence, language, popular culture, Njuz.net ...

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