It’s nearly impossible to turn away from the tumultuous events in Cairo, and to make sense of rights and freedoms on the line from an international vantage. We’ve been following the feeds at the Guardian and most recently reading PEN International’s statement, released this morning, and thinking about the March of Millions planned for Tuesday. In trying to stay present with the coverage and assessing where to begin to solidify our understanding of a nation’s culture and a movement for its people, we came across the music of Umm Kulthum, whose fallahah (peasant) perspective imbued her life and work, offering insight into the cultural and political studies that Egypt faced only a generation or two before.
Kulthum, the “voice of Egypt” (also “the Star of the East” and the “Nightingale of the Nile”), was one of the most celebrated performers of the twentieth-century Arab world. The idiom she created from local culture and traditions helped her to develop a populist musical practice that was heralded as a crowning example of a new, yet authentically Arab-Egyptian culture, during tumultuous changes mid-century.
Perhaps most pressingly, Kulthum’s music and public persona helped to contribute to the artistic, societal, and political forces . . .
Read more »
In 1919, the (literally) round table at New York’s Algonquin Hotel first became fodder for the goings-about-town sections of literary journals and New York City dailies, as Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, and others (shoutout to Edna Ferber!) barbed wits while whittling their way through Prohibition, personal failures and successes (“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”) and other trappings of the times. In April 1974, in tribute to those well-quoted luminaries, three contemporary critics (John Leonard, Nona Balakian, and Ivan Sandrof) decided to extend their conversation about contemporary literature to the national level and thus, the National Book Critics Circle was formed.
Now, our foray, thirty-seven years after the fact:
Hearty congrats to Susie Linfield, author of The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence, a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism! In a banner year (Two university presses with nominees in the Criticism category! Independent publishers spread throughout the list!) for the NBCC, we couldn’t be more delighted to celebrate what Artforum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, the Nation, and many others have already acknowledged: Linfield’s . . .
Read more »
Certainly one of the most involved discussions at the recent annual meeting of the Modern Language Association was the continued emergence and changing role of the digital humanities. From blockbuster panels and papers on an array of topics to summaries in the Chronicle of Higher Ed and Twitter feed responses, we’ve just barely scratched the surface of some of the conversations that might introduce a digital humanities newbie to the wealth of exchanges that happened this past weekend, alongside a couple of new announcements made in the conference’s wake.
What follows is an assortment of clips that have come through our wires, marking our own foray into readings that extend beyond ThatCamp basics and Chicago’s own list in this burgeoning interest area. By no means exhaustive, this is a collection of moments that caught our attention, as the internet flickered in the days following our return from M(LA).
If you don’t know what the digital humanities is, you haven’t looked very hard.—Matthew Kirschenbaum, author of Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination, which won the MLA’s First Book Award in 2009
I know from experience that there are plenty of people in the profession who know little about . . .
Read more »