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pISSN : 2092-6081 / eISSN : 2383-9899

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2015, Vol.8, No.3

  • 1.

    “The Case of the Mysterious Koreans”: The Meaning of Life, American Orientalism and the Korean War in the Age of the World Target

    Daniel Y. KIM | 2015, 8(3) | pp.7~31 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This article examines the coverage of the Korean War in the popular American magazine Life, focusing on its depiction of Koreans. In these depictions, Koreans figure as an epistemological enigma: as ambiguously friendly/hostile, loyal/disloyal, and as worthy/unworthy of life. But in journalism’s attempted management of that inscrutability we glimpse a crucial element of the shift in epistemes that defined the emergence of what cultural theorist Rey Chow has described as the Age of the World Target: an epoch in which the “countries of East Asia, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East took on the significance of ‘target fields’ — as fields of information retrieval and dissemination that were necessary to the United States’ continual political and ideological hegemony.” To understand this emergent episteme, however, it is also necessary to engage with the work of cultural critic Christina Klein, who has described the post-1945 period as one in which middlebrow cultural works like Life reveal a U.S. Cold War ideology oriented as much by a desire to integrate subjects of the decolonizing world into the American sphere of influence as by an impulse to contain the Soviet menace.
  • 2.

    When Private Life Became Political: German Politicians, Sex Scandals, and Mass Media, 1880–1914

    Frank BÖSCH | 2015, 8(3) | pp.33~66 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    In contrast to the United States or Great Britain, Germany is known as a country in which private and sexual behaviour of politicians was and is seldom published. This article, which is based on broad research of newspaper and archival sources, shows how the rise of the mass press since the 1880s led to an increase in sex scandals in imperial Germany, too, although censorship and the control of the press were still quite strict. Such reports about private matters provoked intense debates in different public spheres — such as parliaments, pubs, and courtrooms. Scandals about adultery, homosexuality, and sexual relations with women in colonies in Africa called public norms into questions. This way, media created a new kind of public knowledge about sexuality. The process by which political and public spheres changed is clearly linked to press campaigns. While private questions became more political, politicians presented themselves in a more private context in order to win back trust. However, many scandals were not initiated by tabloids but by political papers or by leading politicians themselves. Therefore, this article points out a change in the political communication due to the rise of the mass press and the increased political competition. In many cases, especially concerning adultery, the reactions were surprisingly tolerant and at least liberal and social democratic papers partly accepted homosexual conduct, while forced relations with African women were no longer tolerated. At the same time, these campaigns succeeded in attacking the conservative elite’s reputation and politics — such as those of the Emperor and his aristocratic advisors as well as of famous colonialists and leading politicians.
  • 3.

    Shorthand Transcription and the Meiji Political Novel

    Seth JACOBOWITZ | 2015, 8(3) | pp.67~83 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This paper offers an analysis of Yano Ryūkei’s political novel Sēbe Meishi Keikoku Bidan (Illustrious Statesman of Thebes, 1883–1884). This best-selling text, which was set in ancient Thebes and strove to represent the possibilities of political transformation espoused by the People’s Rights Movement, was also a striking demonstration of the possibilities of shorthand for re-conceptualizing the relations of political thought and literature. Yano employed a mixed style based on classical Japanese grammar, for which enlisted the participation of two shorthand reporters to transcribe the two volumes of the text. Although his novel was unable to become a template for the mainstream of modern Japanese, it is precisely here and in Yano’s later writings on language and script reform that the phonetic foundations of the Meiji episteme come more clearly into focus. Accordingly, it is my primary aim to explore Yano’s advocacy of shorthand and its contributions to the transformation of modern Japanese literature, language, and script. However, I also wish to gesture toward some of the broader shifts toward phonetics that spread to China and Korea by the 1890s that are indicative of a regional shift in the relationship to Chinese literacy.
  • 4.

    Performing the Political in Lust, Caution

    Liang LUO | 2015, 8(3) | pp.85~109 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Examining three dramatic scenes of performance in Ang Lee’s 2007 film Lust, Caution, based on Eileen Chang’s short story of the same name, this essay proposes to read Lee’s film as an epilogue to a long-running narrative highlighting the intersection of performance and politics in twenty-century China. It argues, through a close examination of Lee’s creative use of such elements as popular music, political theater, and leftist cinema from the 1930s, that nationalism and revolution staged an intriguing comeback in Lust, Caution, intensified, rather than negated, by its intricate intertwinement with sexuality and ethics. In particular, the two popular film songs from the 1930s with lyrics penned by Tian Han quoted in the film, and their fascinating afterlives in contemporary popular culture represented by Leehom Wang, highlight the power of performance in shaping a complex range of gender, ethical, and political identities. The intersection of performance, politics, and popularity works magic throughout the film. It enables Lee’s film to go beyond Chang’s story in reinvigorating the political through the performative and the popular.
  • 5.

    Blade Runner and the Right to Life

    Eli Park SORENSEN | 2015, 8(3) | pp.111~129 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This article takes a closer look at the notions of “human” and “rights” in connection with a discussion of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality, and the film Blade Runner. Foucault develops a series of arguments about what he describes as “The ‘right’ to life, to one’s body, to health, to happiness, to the satisfactions of needs, and beyond all the oppressions or ‘alienations,’ the ‘right’ to rediscover what one is and all that one can be.” This right to life is likewise one of the main themes in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Blade Runner, which tells the story of a group of replicants — or human-like robots — returning to earth in search of more life. On earth, however, they are outlawed, and most of the film’s plot essentially consists of Deckard, the main character, hunting down and killing the replicants. In my article, I argue that Blade Runner is a film that explores what one could call the culmination of biopower, the imagination of a life whose absolute perfection at the same time becomes the expression of absolute monstrosity, i.e. a threat to life that legitimizes the death penalty. Questioning and discussing the notions of “human” and “rights” in a sci-fi context, Blade Runner develops some of the implications of Foucault’s ideas about “an animal whose politics places his existence as a living being in question.”
  • 6.

    A Cure for Humanity: The Transhumanisation of Culture

    Michael HAUSKELLER | 2015, 8(3) | pp.131~147 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This paper examines the increasing integration of the radical human enhancement project into the cultural mainstream. The tacit identification of enhancement with therapy is no longer contested, but widely accepted. Transhumanism leads the way by pointing out the deficiencies of our nature and presenting radical human enhancement as the urgently needed cure. The paper traces this particular self-conception, which I call the enhancement-therapy identity thesis, and how it is reflected in our culture. I look at what I consider the two main arguments in support of the identity thesis, namely the moral argument, which was made by John Harris, and the biological argument, which was made by Allen Buchanan. According to the moral argument, there is no relevant moral distinction between repairing a dysfunction and enhancing a function, so that if the former is a duty, then the latter is too. According to the biological argument we have been so poorly constructed by nature that we can only survive by radically enhancing ourselves. The analysis of these two arguments is followed by examples of public discourse that rely on or otherwise make use of the enhancement-therapy identity thesis. The chosen examples cover the four main areas of human enhancement: emotional enhancement, cognitive enhancement, moral enhancement, and life extension. In each of these cases I identify a diagnosis relating to the supposedly intrinsically pathological human condition and a proposed cure that consists in the successful execution of some form of capacity enhancement. I conclude with a brief reflection on the change in our normative attitude that the endorsement of the enhancement-therapy identity thesis induces.
  • 7.

    Heterogeneity and Injustice: A Sketch for a Lyotardian Approach to Animal Ethics

    Gerard KUPERUS | 2015, 8(3) | pp.149~168 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    While most approaches to animal ethics emphasize the equality of non-human and human animals, this paper recognizes the animal not as an equal, but as an absolute other. In order “to sketch” the argument for such a new approach, the essay relies on Jean-François Lyotard’s notion of the “differend” and makes explicit use of his analysis of the phrase-affect. The “differend” is typically used for understanding the oppression of individuals or groups who have lost the ability to defend themselves. With the phrase-affect Lyotard opposes the animal phônè (the signaling of the body) to human logos. He emphasizes that against our emphasis of logos, we have to recognize that meaning does not only reside in human language. To deny meaning to phônè constitutes a “differend” — a situation in which an individual or group (in this case the non-human animal) is systematically denied rights and cannot phrase the injustice experienced. Through the phrase-affect this essay, thus, applies Lyotard’s analysis of the victim of a “differend” to the non-human animal. Although he never developed such an analysis, Lyotard does mention that the animal constitutes the “paradigm of a victim.” More broadly he argues that we need to cultivate sensitivity for otherness and for the “differend.” The essay argues that a human rights approach can be made precisely through such a strategy, in which we do not emphasize equality, but the absolute otherness as a basis for respect and ethics. The result of this approach is that we recognize the right of the animal to exist as an autonomous being.
  • 8.

    Koreanizing Marriage Migrant Women: A Critical Review of Damunhwa Gobuyeoljeon

    Shin, Yoo Jin | 2015, 8(3) | pp.169~193 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    During the first decade of the 21st century, the increase of interethnic marriages between Korean men and Southeast Asian women was a sensational phenomenon in Korea, where there was a strong sentiment of ethnic nationalism. Instantly, these so-called “multicultural families” — damunhwa gajok in Korean — have represented the multiculturalism of Korea, and they received nationwide attention. Recently, the pre-existing images of marriage migrant women have changed into more complex images on television. The documentary series on Korea’s Education Broadcasting System (EBS), titled Damunhwa Gobuyeoljeon, illustrate those shifting images. The paper critically examines this television documentary series following the principal concepts of discursive psychology. As a result, the program’s demographic features show that the program has reinforced the representation of multicultural families in terms of gender, class, and ethnicity. Shifting representations of marriage migrant women in each episode reflect the ways in which the show creates, negotiates, and represents an idealistic standard of the foreign daughter-in-law. The paper argues that hyo (filial piety) ideology has predominantly influenced the ways that the program interprets participants’ characteristics and behaviors throughout the episodes.