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The Witch and the Hysteric: The Monstrous Medieval in Benjamin Christensen's Häxan

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ISBN: 9780692230152 Year: Pages: 84 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0074.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Performing Arts
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Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 Swedish/Danish film Häxan (known under its English title as Witchcraft Through the Ages) has entranced, entertained, shocked, and puzzled audiences for nearly a century. The film mixes documentary with fantasy, history with theatrics, religion and science, the medieval past and modern culture. This uncanny content is compounded by the film’s formal strangeness, a mixture of quasi-documentary with fictional episodes, illustrated lectures alongside docudrama recreations and dreamscapes. Is this a documentary, a horror flick, or both? In this chapbook, authors Doty and Ingham argue that the puzzle of Christensen’s Häxan might be unraveled by attending to the film’s provocative and paradoxical medievalism, its fantasmatic rendering of the witch as a medieval monster. Such monstrous medievalism, moreover, sheds considerable light on the politics of gender and culture once the witch is rendered a female figure in a time out-of-joint.

Burn after Reading: Vol. 1, Miniature Manifestos for a Post/medieval Studies + Vol. 2, The Future We Want: A Collaboration

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ISBN: 9780692204412 Year: Pages: 226 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0067.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Linguistics
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The essays, manifestos, rants, screeds, pleas, soliloquies, telegrams, broadsides, eulogies, songs, harangues, confessions, laments, and acts of poetic terrorism in these two volumes — which collectively form an academic “rave” — were culled, with some later additions, from roundtable sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in 2012 and 2013, organized by postmedieval: a journal for medieval cultural studies and the BABEL Working Group (“Burn After Reading: Miniature Manifestos for a Post/medieval Studies,” “Fuck This: On Letting Go,” and “Fuck Me: On Never Letting Go”) and George Washington University’s Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (“The Future We Want: A Collaboration”), respectively. Gathering together a rowdy multiplicity of voices from within medieval and early modern studies, these two volumes seek to extend and intensify a conversation about how to shape premodern studies, and also the humanities, in the years ahead. Authors in both volumes, in various ways, lay claim to the act(s) of manifesting, and also anti-manifesting, as a collective endeavor that works on behalf of the future without laying any belligerent claims upon it, where we might craft new spaces for the University-at-large, which is also a University that wanders, that is never just somewhere, dwelling in the partitive — of a particular place — but rather, seeks to be everywhere, always on the move, pandemic, uncontainable, and always to-come, while also being present/between us (manifest). This is not a book, but a blueprint. It is also an ephemeral gathering in the present tense.

The Afterlife of Genre: Remnants of the Trauerspiel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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ISBN: 9780615955742 Year: Pages: 76 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0061.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Media and communication
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Could there have been television without California? California without television? The one shows the other: the ostentatiously novel singularity of the place and the seemingly self-effacing transparency of the medium. Yet if television and California both promise again and again to offer us something new, young, immaculate in its transience — a pure surface that will never get caught in the ditch of time — they are also both haunted through and through: by the itinerant contents of the past that they cannot banish, by memories of the infantile-perverse utopian fantasies that taunt us in constant replay (“If you’re going to San Francisco…,” “two girls for every guy”), by the contradiction played out in the very gesture of dismissing history and leaving the dead to bury the dead. California and television, as it were, conspire in a vampirologic: the forever-young is what has been there the longest, what really “takes us back.”

Inhuman Nature

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ISBN: 9780692299302 Year: Pages: 166 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0078.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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Gathering into lively conversation scholars in medieval, early modern and object studies, Inhuman Nature explores the activity of the things, forces, and relations that enable, sustain and operate indifferently to us. Enamored by fictions of environmental sovereignty, we too often imagine “human” to be a solitary category of being. This collection of essays maps the heterogeneous and asymmetrical ecologies within which we are enmeshed, a material world that makes the human possible but also offers difficulties and resistance. Among the topics explored are the futurity that inheres in storms and wrecks, wood that resists its burning or offers art and dwelling, hymns that implant themselves like viruses, the ontology of everyday objects, the seep and flow of substance, the resistant nature of matter, the dependence of community upon making things public, and the interstices at which nature and culture become inseparable. Tinker as you will.

South Station Hoard: Imagining, Creating and Empowering Violent Remains

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ISBN: 9780692346563 Year: Pages: 172 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0085.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Arts in general
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This collaborative arts research project compares the landmark discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork discovered in 2009, with an imagined hoard from present day pre-adolescent girls. The collaborators constructed a subterranean installation, generated speculative historical documents, collected and embellished social networking “artifacts,” and photographed the entire process. In addition to dealing with the notion of a medieval hoard as a signifier of a medieval warrior as both hero and anti-hero, this artbook, or work of futurist archaeology, addresses contemporary issues relating to gender, youth culture, bullying, adolescent development, iconicity, status symbols, and additional contemporary tween issues.

Queer Insists (for José Esteban Muñoz)

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ISBN: 9780692344736 Year: Pages: 76 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0082.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Social Sciences
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Queer Insists is a memorial essay, a work of mourning, written for the queer theorist and performance scholar José Esteban Muñoz (1967-2013) shortly after his untimely death in December 2013. In a series of fragments, not unlike Roland Barthes’s Mourning Diary, Michael O’Rourke shares memories of Muñoz, the stories and reflections of his friends in the wake of his passing, and readings of his work from Disidentifications to Cruising Utopia and beyond. O’Rourke argues that, for Muñoz, queer does not exist, per se, but rather insists, soliciting us from the future to-come. Muñoz reached towards teleopoietic worlds as he invented a queer theory we have yet to find, but are invited to glimpse. Among the Muñozian themes this chapbook discusses are hope, utopia, affect, punk rock, heresy, the undercommons, temporality, hauntology, forgetting, loss, ephemera, partage, sense, incommensurability, the event and democracy. In reading Muñoz as a Rogue Theorist, this book borrows many of the gifts we have received (and have yet to receive) from him, marking the force and luminescence of his thought, and insisting upon the rare and precious singularity of his work. Muñoz bequeaths to us a queer studies without condition which it is our duty to foster and to bear as we carry it and him into the unknowable futures of an indiscipline

In a Trance: On Paleo Art

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ISBN: 9780692321287 Year: Pages: 156 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0081.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: History of arts
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In a Trance is just the sort of genre-defying work we at Peanut and punctum and, as it happens, Jeffrey Skoblow, revel in. It is a book-length essay by a fiction writer. It is a fictional essay by a literary scholar. It is a gallant assay by a smart man who thinks while he walks, and he walks a lot. The book is a meta-meditation on Paleolithic cave drawings and the humans who ponder them. It is fact-based and entrancing just as the cave drawings are actual (existing in time — loosely — and space — more definitively) and mesmerizing. Skoblow is devising stories as “we” (humans) have always devised stories though in a less familiar mode, along a less travelled path. The essay draws on (!) the careful/thoughtful/whimsical notebooks kept by Skoblow over a dozen years. The notebooks record/illuminate/complicate his visits to twelve Paleolithic art sites as well as his deep, eccentric reading of texts concerned in some way with the subject of cave drawings by an array of scientists, anthropologists, archeologists, art historians, and other sundry enthusiasts and experts, so-called and otherwise.

Weaponising Speculation

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ISBN: 9780615956664 Year: Pages: 140 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0077.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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This book contains the proceedings from Weaponising Speculation, a two-day conference and exhibition that took place in Dublin in March 2013. Weaponising Speculation was organised by D.U.S.T. (Dublin Unit for Speculative Thought) and aimed to be an exploration of the various expressions of DIY theory operative in the elsewheres, the shafts and tunnels of the para-academy. The topics covered all come under the welcoming embrace of speculation, spanning a broad range: from art, philosophy, nature, fiction, and computation to spiders, culinary cosmology, and Oscar the Grouch. The book itself aims to be more than just a collection of essays and catalogue of artworks, but also a documentation of the event as a whole. An object that both those present at the event and those who missed it would want to own — bringing something new to both sets of readers

Minóy

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ISBN: 9780692234273 Year: Pages: 104 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0072.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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Minóy is a rescue operation with several life rafts. Minóy-the-book provides an introduction and overview to the important noise music artist Minóy — the pseudonym of American electronic art musician and sound artist Stanley Keith Bowsza (1951-2010). Minóy’s audio compositions, often conjuring up an enigmatic world of almost dreadful depth, earned him a key position in the homemade independent cassette culture scene of the 1980s. Minóy-the-CD (available HERE) makes available nine of Minóy’s audio compositions that span the years 1985 to 1993. These were drawn from recently discovered archival material and selected by the editor and artistic director of the project, Joseph Nechvatal, in collaboration with composer Phillip B. Klingler (PBK). Klingler (co-producer and sound engineer) houses the Minóy archive and has re-mastered the tracks, most of which have never been heard before (it was thought that Minóy stopped recording in 1992). Minóy-the-book contains two written monograms of Minóy, one by close friend Amber Sabri and one by artist and art theoretician Joseph Nechvatal. There are three additional essays by Nechvatal, the first of which, “The Obscurity of Minóy,” recounts the history of the recovery of the audio material from obscurity. In the subsequent essays (“The Aesthetics of an Obscure Monster Sacré” and “Hyper Noise Aesthetics”), Nechvatal reflects on the artistic benefits of obscurity and situates Minóy’s deep droning palimpsest soundscapes within an original aesthetic-theoretical context of an obscure monster sacré, and also examines Minóy’s legacy in terms of current aesthetic responses to the surveillance state, couching Minóy’s mysterious and excessive compositions in terms of a general art of noise. In total, Minóy’s work undergoes a critical intricacy in terms of a contemporary art practice engaged in the fragile balance between production of, and resistance to, perceptibility. Nechvatal brings a subversive reading to Minóy’s work by presenting it as a form of hyper-noise artistic gazing, based in the flipping of figure and ground. The book also contains sixty black and white portrait images from the Minóy as Haint as King Lear series that photographer Maya Eidolon (Amber Sabri) created before his death in collaboration with Minóy (then known as Haint) and Stuart Hass (Minóy’s lifetime partner).

Crush

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ISBN: 9780615978956 Year: Pages: 120 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0063.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Social Sciences
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In Crush, a stunning collection of erotic poems and queer meditations delineating Stockton’ and Gilson’s mutual crushing on each other, but also all of the ways in which, sweetly and also sadly, affection ameliorates the anguishes that, despite our deepest devotions, are never constant, Stockton and Gilson write, In Aranye Fradenburg’s words, Shakespeare’s sonnets describe “the love you feel for inappropriate objects: for someone thirty years older, thirty years younger. The kind of love that makes a fool, a pervert, a stalker out of you.” Let’s start here, for much of this description applies to Petrarchan conventions as well. Let’s start here, with this affective entrance into the poems and the impossibility of dispossessing the other’s voice in the manufacture of one’s own machine. Let’s start here, with a vision of poems as indexes of crushes rendered inappropriate, unhealthy by some gradation of difference and level of intensity. With the question of what distinguishes a crush from love if both turn you into a different self. Under oak trees and sunlight, in coffee shops and locker rooms, steam rooms and seminar rooms, and in conversation with Milton, Shakespeare, Frank O’Hara, Narcissus, Allen Ginsberg, Jacques Derrida, Aranye Fradenburg, Mary Magdalene, Freud, Oscar Wilde, José Esteban Muñoz, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Elton John, and Prince, among other poets, harlots, saints, and scholars, Stockton and Gilson explore the ways in which friendship, desire, falling, swerving, possession, holding, faggoting, falling, longing, poeming, and crushing open the self to queerly utopic, if also difficult, deflections — other, more improbable modes of being, as Foucault might have said.

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