Laura Bowie (Newcastle University)

The Rote Armee Fraktion: Memory and the Construction of Art, Film and Literature


This article explores the current popularity of memory studies in academia, by looking specifically at the basis of the methodology by critically analysing key theorists such as Maurice Halbwachs and his theory of collective memory and Pierre Nora’s Sites of Memory. These theories are then applied specifically to the portrayal of the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF) in the art of Gerhard Richer, the films of von Trotta, Schlöndorff and Edel as well as the literature of Heinrich Böll. After the trial and (contested) suicide of the core members of the gang, this period holds a particular significance in the memory of the Left in Germany. At the time, as well as in recent decades, many films and novels have been created in order to contextualise the events and to ratify the conflict between supporting the ideology of the group, whilst condoning their terrorist methods. Gerhard Richter painted and exhibited October 18, 1977 in Berlin during 1988-89, which questioned the portrayal of the RAF in the media as well as the issues of nostalgia, memory and cultural manipulation of historical events. This paper discusses theories of memory and their manifestation in works of art as well as evaluating the use of a methodology of memory studies for critical analysis of particular events in history.

Edwina fitzPatrick (Glasgow School of Art, University of the Arts London)

Into the Unknown: Navigating Spaces, Terra Incognita and the Art Archive


This paper is a navigation across time and space – travelling from 16th century colonial world maps which marked unknown territories as Terra Incognita, via 18th century cabinets of curiosities; to the unknown spaces of the Anthropocene Age, in which for the first time we humans are making a permanent geological record on the earth’s ecosystems. This includes climate change.

The recurring theme is loss and becoming lost.  I investigate what happens when someone who is lost attempts to navigate and find parallels between Terra Incognita and the art archive, and explore the points where mapping, archiving and collecting intersect. Once something is perceived to be at risk, the fear of loss and the impulse to preserve emerges. I investigate why in the Anthropocene Age we have a stronger impulse to the archive and look to the past, rather than face the unknowable effects of climate change. This is counterpointed by artists, whose hybrids practices engage with re-imaging and re-imagining today’s world, thereby moving us forward into the unknown.  ‘Becoming’ is therefore another central theme.

The art archive is explored from multiple perspectives – as an artist, an art archive user and an archivist – noting that the subject, the consumer and the archivist all have very differing agendas. I question who uses physical archives today and how we can retain our sense of curiosity. I conclude with a link to an interactive artwork, which visualises, synthesises and expands this research.

Keywords:  Art Archives, Terra Incognita, Climate Change, Anthropocene Age, Cabinets of Curiosities

Hannah Grist (University of Gloucestershire)

The Dennis Potter Heritage Project: Auto/Ethnography as Process and Product


The complex interdisciplinarity of on-going doctoral research on the Dennis Potter Heritage Project, based in the Forest of Dean, has necessitated a new, complex and innovative approach to qualitative methodology. As the researcher is a resident of the Forest of Dean and is professionally and emotionally bound up with the project, an autoethnographic approach appeared to be the most suitable. By examining previous uses of autoethnography in the existing literature and by highlighting their strengths and limitations, this paper promotes the versatility of autoethnography as both a process (a methodology) and as a final product (or as a mode of writing adopted in the finished research). This paper argues that such a methodological approach will enable a detailed and defendable understanding of the cultural phenomena born of the Dennis Potter Heritage Project.

Keywords: Media, memory, autoethnography, Dennis Potter, heritage

Eva van Loenen (University of Southampton)

A Fresh Perspective on the History of Hasidic Judaism


The history of Hasidic Judaism, a mystical, ultra-orthodox Jewish movement, has not been studied extensively, yet its few scholars each have their own versions of events. In this article, I will compare and contrast the different narratives to come to a larger picture, a study that has not been attempted before. Many believe that Hasidic Judaism began with its most recent innovator, Israel ben Eliezer, also called, the Ba’al Shem Tov. Yet, already this beginning is problematic because since antiquity up until the 17th century, there had been smaller groups of Hasidic Jews, hence Hasidism was not exactly a ‘new’ division of Judaism. The movement truly gained momentum in Eastern Europe in the late eighteenth century, which is when the Ba’al Shem Tov became one of its leaders. The reasons for its exponential growth at this point in time are varied, but they are largely tied to the social, economic and political circumstances of the Eastern European Jews at the time. A renewed interest in Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah, which is a key component in eighteenth century Hasidism, probably contributed to its success as well. The unfolding history of Hasidism has been complex and tragic, yet Hasidic Judaism has managed to survive until today, in spite of its apparent incompatibility with contemporary life.

Keywords: Hasidic Judaism, history, mysticism, Ba’al Shem Tov

Samantha MacDonald (University of Glasgow)

Manufacturing Teachers – A critical reading of the teacher in ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’


This paper is a critical analysis of the construct of the teacher within ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future: A Review of Teacher Education in Scotland’ by Graham Donaldson (2011). Treating the document as policy initiation and formation, this discussion situates the policy, justifies the approach, and uses critical discourse analysis to perform a close textual study employing Fairclough’s (2000) ‘style, discourse, genre’ model of analysis. Through examining the underlying assumptions, power relationships, and ideology impacting on the construct of the teacher in the text it finds that, far from a step change, the teacher envisioned by Donaldson is contradictory and manufactured to serve the dominant ideology of the knowledge economy.

Dounia Mahlouly (University of Glasgow)

Rethinking the Public Sphere in a Digital Environment: Similarities between the Eighteenth and the Twenty-First   Centuries


This article proposes to rediscover the concept of public sphere in order to identify some characteristics of today’s digital environments. By reviewing the historical context in which Jürgen Habermas sets the emergence of the public sphere, it explores particular aspects of today’s online social interactions and considers their potential consequences on citizenship, rational thinking, social capital, and political engagement. Simultaneously, this paper presents some criticisms regarding the connective culture of the twenty-first century and analyses these critiques with regards to the example of the eighteenth century, for which new social dynamics contributed to establish a more democratic culture. By doing so, it underlines the similarities and distinctions between the emancipation of the bourgeois public sphere in the period that preceded the French Revolution and virtual social spaces, as well as their potential impact on our future political structures.

Keywords: Public sphere, Jürgen Habemas, Cyber-activism, Participative culture, connectivity

Richie McCaffery (The University of Glasgow)

Committed and Confessional’: Sorley MacLean’s poetry of World War Two


This essay is a substantial critical reading and re-appraisal of the poetry written during World War Two by major Gaelic poet, Sorley MacLean (1911-1996). The essay orienteers MacLean’s work in this period as a time of much ideological ferment, pressure and change for the poet; from the tortured love-lyrics set against the back-drop of the Spanish Civil War to his mature war poetry which sees his hatred of Fascism problematised by a realisation of a deepening humanist dilemma. MacLean’s poetry of this time is both intimately connected to a Gaelic bardic past and tradition, but it is also a personal departure for the poet and a vital part of the modernisation of Gaelic poetry as a philosophical, engaged and bitterly ironic creative medium.

Many of Scotland’s poets of MacLean’s generation viewed World War Two as a great horizon, and they envisaged it in terms of what lay beyond: the aspirations of peace within a post-War Scotland. While some poets of MacLean’s generation took many years to write about their war experiences, MacLean was formed as a serious poet by the interrogation of the breakdown of his political views within the ‘forcing bed’ of an active engagement with the war. Such poetry amply responds to questions of the new political, ideological and social horizons, the changing face of the world and a heroic belief in what may lie beyond the unknown, in the 20th Century, for MacLean this the promulgation of Gaelic through poetry and education.

Arun Sood (University of Glasgow)

Dreaming of the Self: Thomas De Quincey and the Development of the Confessional Mode


In the original preface to The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey makes the claim that his mode of confessional writing is unprecedented and original. In his own words, Confessions contains 'an impassioned prose ranging under no precedents that I am aware of in any literature' (De Quincey 1985, p.3.)  While such a claim may seem self-aggrandising and unjustifiable, a closer analysis of De Quincey's work proves that he played an important role in the development of confessional writing. By examining The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater in more depth, I intend to explore the manner in which De Quincey refashioned the confessional mode with his emphasis on dreams and opium visions. In addition to this, I also hope to illustrate how he anticipated the modernist form of 'aesthetic autobiographies' (Nalbathian 1997, p.1) that was to come to prominence in the first half of twentieth century.

While undoubtedly constructed from autobiographical materials, De Quincey's Confessions is an autobiography that holds a uniqueness. In its artistic use of detail and flourishes of poetic montage, the distinction between fact and fiction is often permeable throughout the work. In order to claim the absolute originality of Confessions, it seems De Quincey deliberately avoided previous models of the confessional mode. For De Quincey, the confession was no longer an account of sins or lived experience, as was the case for St. Augustine of Hippo’s Confessiones.  Instead, it became a 'record of human passion' (De Quincey 1985, p.2) in which the narrative attempts to depict human nature in a far broader manner; with the moral high ground being abandoned in favour of 'breaking through that delicate and honourable reserve, which, for the most part, restrains us from the public exposure of our own errors and infirmities' (De Quincey 1985, p.1).

Keywords: De Quincey/Dreams/Confessional/Autobiography/Romanticism

Ben Trubody (University of Gloucestershire)

A New Approach to the Public Understanding of Science: The Public Consumption of Science and the Role of Worldview


Key to any open democratic society is to have public understanding and discourse on science. Yet even in an era with the greatest scientific advancements we still have pseudoscientific and alternative practices that appear to reject the orthodox methodologies of mainstream science. Generally the belief is that if people knew enough facts about science then these practices would die out. My paper argues that to view this as the solution to ‘pseudoscience’ is to have a particular representation of science in mind. I argue that as a public understanding of science is aimed at thinking ‘about’ science rather than training for ‘doing’ science we can treat science as a cultural object, an idea that competes in a marketplace of ideas. Here we treat ‘science’ as a product that can be marketed. In thinking about science as a product to be bought or rejected we can use tools from marketing research and social-psychology to analyse why variants of science exist. Here I use Rule-Developing Experimentation and cognitive heuristics to look at why a public understanding of science cannot just be about knowing facts. This way of looking at the public consumption of science could give us a new horizon in Public Understanding of Science Studies.

Keywords: Public Understanding of Science, Psychology, Philosophy, Cognitive Heuristics, Marketing

Grace Halden (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Textual nuclear war based on the memory of Hiroshima


The aim of this paper is to examine how the memories of the 1945 nuclear attack on Hiroshima has been reposed and performed in modern fiction. Although Jacques Derrida termed nuclear war a ‘non-event’, I argue that the memory of Hiroshima and the wealth of nuclear science fiction made the ‘non-event’ familiar. This article offers a fresh interpretation of nuclear history with reference to how nuclear concerns have significantly influenced literature and presented an understanding of the ‘non-event.’

Knowledge of the 1945 atomic bombing was the only exposure many members of the public had to the nuclear threat and the ramifications of nuclear technology; consequently authors relied on historical and emotive facts from Hiroshima to inform their war stories. Science fiction seeks to represent the ‘non-event’ and craft a reality out of it. The genre partly exists to offer preparatory texts to help ensure the ‘non-event’ remains ‘fabulously textual’ and the literary apocalypse does not become a reality (Derrida 1984, p.23). If part of the memory of Hiroshima acts as a warning ‘Never again’ and ‘No More Hiroshimas’ then fictional texts representing nuclear war, nuclear apocalypse and nuclear extinction expose the fear of ‘more Hiroshimas.’

Keywords: Derrida, future, nuclear, Hiroshima, fiction