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Showing and Telling: Film heritage institutes and their performance of public accountability

Nico de Klerk, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, Austria

March 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-203-6
Availability: In stock
328pp. ¦ $50 £38 €45

Showing and Telling is the first academic work to explore how publicly funded film heritage institutes account for their mandate in their public activities. It does that by inspecting and evaluating public presentations and visitor information about these presentations. The research was done by juxtaposing two complementary approaches. The first is grounded in the author’s experience as a collection researcher and curator and makes a case for the richness of archival objects usually ignored for their lack of aesthetic qualities. The second is a survey of the public activities of 24 institutes worldwide, based on their websites, in February 2014; the latter constitutes a unique source. This original work uncovers the disconnect between the curatorial activities of these institutes and their missions. A central finding is that publicly funded film heritage institutes give their public an inadequate sense of cinema history. By and large they offer a mainstream-oriented repertoire of presentations, overwhelmingly consisting of feature fiction; they show a disproportionate amount of recent and new works, often through commercial distribution; their screenings consist of an unexplained melee of technological formats (sometimes substandard); and their presentations monotonously frame film as art, although their professed aesthetics are mostly of a cinephile nature and rest on received opinion. Specific materials, early cinema in particular, and specialist knowledge, both historical and methodological, are largely restricted to their network of peer communities. Wholesome transfer of full knowledge, in word and image, to the public is not a major concern. Showing and Telling concludes with recommendations for curatorial activities. Firstly, with a conceptual apparatus that allows a more complete understanding of film heritage and its histories. Secondly, with a plea for rethinking the institutes’ gatekeeper function and for developing more varied, imaginative, and informative public presentations, both on site and online, that reflect the range of their collections and their histories.

Art Movements and The Discourse of Acknowledgements and Distinctions

Themba Tsotsi

March 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-060-5
Availability: In stock
184pp. ¦ $30 £25 €28

This is a work of critical theory in the deconstructionist tradition. It investigates the impact and role of visual art practice in cultural dispensation. Its central argument is that conceptions of ‘leadership’ and of ‘being a subject’ (or subjugation) play a formative role in the manner with which cultural ideas are appropriated and spread out in organic interactions within the community. The arguments advanced in this work demonstrate that leadership conceptions are disseminated as ‘signs’ (a conceptual term for how ideas and their significance are understood in the context of cultural dispensation) and that signs have historical roots and connotations. Using deconstructionist techniques like différance, this work concretises the critical in the discourse which states that ‘signs’ in the cultural dispensation are in constant interaction with each other in terms of defining their historic, epistemic and contemporary ‘meaning’. The Discourse of Acknowledgements and Distinctions introduces three concepts that account for themselves through the infinite propensities of social contexts and the ‘signs’ that anchor them for referral. These are the notions of Cerebrinity, Hysteridence and Remembrance. The use of psychoanalysis – and of the perspectives of Kristeva, Jung and Freud - distinguishes this book from other works of critical theory that deal with art and art movements. The book aims to illuminate on the propensity of the community to participate in its own subjugation in the context of Modernity. It is concise and incorporates critical theory perspectives by writers like Baudrillard, Lyotard, Kristeva and Spivak. It can be appreciated by art students interested in the intersection between visual art, critical theory and psychoanalysis.

Landmarks in the History of Science

Great Scientific Discoveries From a Global-Historical Perspective

Basil Evangelidis

February 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-200-5
Availability: In stock
204pp. ¦ $50 £38 €45

Landmarks in the History of Science is a concise history of science from a global and macro-historical standpoint. It is an account of grand theoretical revolutions, such as heliocentrism, atomism, and relativity. But, more importantly, it is also a story of the methodological transitions to the experimental, mathematical, constructivist and instrumental practices of science. It begins with Ancient Greek science, as one of the first self-conscious, comprehensive and well-documented scientific endeavors at the global level. The numerous contributions of the Greeks, in philosophy, mathematics, geometry, geography and astronomy, momentous as they were, were fruits of leisure rather than industry. It then examines the history of science in China and China’s exchanges with India and Islam. A systematic and collaborative scientific effort is the hallmark of Chinese science. The contributions of the Chinese in medicine, printing, manufacturing and navigation invariably predate and outshine those of western contemporaries. Attention then shifts to the age of oceanic discoveries, which created the inexorable presuppositions for the genesis of global trade and a world system. From the inner organs of the organisms to the outer regions of Earth, Renaissance science was ubiquitous. The importance of inter-cultural scientific syncretism is highlighted, with the Iberian Peninsula as meeting point and crossroad of mutual affection between Arab, Jewish and European culture. Discoveries and inventions in metallurgy, electromagnetism and the science of petroleum set the scientific basis for the industrial revolution. The logic of the industrial revolution dictates developments in information technologies that culminate with the invention of modern computers. A dedicated chapter on the history of modern scientific conceptions of the universe showcases the subtle links in the fabric of seminal ideas in physics and astronomy. The book concludes with some reflections on the relationship between philosophy and the history of science. Following Kuhn and Latour, this discussion centers on the characteristics of continuities, ruptures and paradigmatic transitions in science.

Free Will, Neuroethics, Psychology and Theology

Geran F. Dodson, University of North Georgia

February 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-153-4
Availability: In stock
170pp. ¦ $60 £50 €57

The topic of human free will has received more attention in the past several years due to the important discoveries of neuroscience but no consensus of opinion is evident in related disciplines. The traditional approach to understanding free will in philosophy employs conceptual analysis to determine whether humans have freedom of choice. Theology affirms that every person has free choice although God is somehow behind all human decisions. Evolutionary psychology points to human behavior as the product of biological processes and antecedent events. And neuroethics attempts to define what it means to be a thinking moral agent by investigating how neurons in the brain and chemical interactions combine to produce conscious actions. An assessment and evaluation of these various positions is given in light of the evidence. The issue of whether a person can be held morally responsible for their actions hinges on whether those actions originate from free will or are the result of determinism. Theology makes assumptions of the existence of an absolute deity that has a hand in human decision making, but there is no agreement regarding the nature of that intervention. Recent scientific discoveries confront traditionally held religious beliefs and necessitate the creation of a new theology and articles of faith.

The Bottom Line: Unfortunate Side Effects of Capitalist Culture

Arthur McGovern, Nichols College

January 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-159-6
Availability: In stock
212pp. ¦ $50 £38 €45

This monograph explores the role of culture in modern societies and the side effects that result when that role is distorted. The basic premise of this book is that many of the dominant cultural characteristics of modern life, like the ideologies and values associated with materialism and consumer capitalism, are cultural phenomena with influences that are in many ways problematic and in some ways downright detrimental to our sustained societal well-being. I argue in this book that the globalized capitalist economic system has become increasingly efficient in terms of scale and scope, but has also become less humane in many regards; less connected to human needs and concerns. Of particular concern is the encroachment of economic interests into areas of human society that traditionally have been free from profit motives, or at least only minimally influenced by them; areas such as scientific research, the justice system, and even family relationships. I suggest that there is a slow but steady intrusion into these areas of human life that were once considered off-limits to naked economic incentives and calculations. This intrusion puts the idea of America as a free and democratic society increasingly at risk when private economic stakeholders meddle in the political and cultural areas of society in ever more insidious ways to further their own enrichment at the expense of the public. Furthermore, the vast capitalist economic system is in many ways increasingly disconnected or disembedded from the contexts and regulations of traditional social relations as in the past.

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