Recent Submissions

  • Simulating the Apocalypse: Theology and Structure of the Left Behind Games

    Jacobs, Stephen (University of Heidelberg, 2015)
    This article is a structural analysis of Left Behind, a real-time strategy computer game that is loosely based on the best selling series of novels written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Both the books and the game are popular cultural expressions of a Christian theology that posits an apocalyptic future in which humanity will be finally judged. Drawing on both narratology and ludology, the paper suggests that the Left Behind Game is neither truly a narrative nor a game. Instead a maze like structure can be identified. This structure allows the player a number of choices within the game play, but only one pathway allows the player to successfully navigate the game. Furthermore, there is only a single successful resolution. The paper concludes that this game structure is homologous to the theological structure of the apocalyptic belief system.
  • Introduction: Therapeutic Culture

    Apperley, Alan; Jacobs, Stephen; Jones, Mark (Liköping University, 2014)
  • Inner Peace and Global Harmony: Individual Wellbeing and Global Solutions in the Art of Living

    Jacobs, Stephen (Liköping University, 2014-09-30)
    This paper explores the discourse in the Art of Living (AOL), a Hindu derived transnational meditation movement, which suggests that solutions to global problems are best addressed at the individual level. Ethnographic fieldwork, qualitative interviews and an analysis of published material suggest that the primary concern of the AOL is the reduction of stress and anxiety for the individual practitioner. This reduction of stress not only means that the individual practitioner develops ‘inner peace’, but also contributes to global harmony. AOL is an exemplar of ‘therapeutic solutions’, which are characterized by disillusionment with established institutions and a quest for inner meaning. AOL articulates this therapeutic solution, not only in terms of narcissistic needs, but links this quest for inner meaning to wider social and global concerns
  • National Renewal in the discourse of Neoliberal Transition in Britain and Chile

    Mansel, Jon; Urbina, Maria; Watkins, Heather (Routledge, 2019-03)
    The term neoliberalism became associated with processes of economic and social restructuring in various parts of the world during the latter years of the twentieth century. While the importance of these processes is undisputed, the extent to which neoliberalism constitutes a coherent and consistent ideology, or merely a contingent and contextual set of broadly related policies, remains a source of contention. In this article we explore this question through a comparative analysis of the political discourse of neoliberal transition in Britain and Chile. Drawing on the model of historical comparison developed by Antonio Gramsci, we argue that these two countries represent paradigm cases of the constitutional and authoritarian routes to neoliberalism. However, by focusing on the discourses of national renewal in the speeches and writings of Margaret Thatcher and Augusto Pinochet, we argue that both cases rest on a particular articulation of the themes of coercion and consent. As such, we suggest that while each paradigm articulates these themes in distinct ways, it is the relationship between the two that is essential to the political ideology of neoliberalism, as the coercive construction of consensus in Chile and the consensual construction of coercion in Britain.
  • One or the Other

    Kossoff, Adam (Adam Kossoff, 2017-09)
    One Or The Other is an exploration of the paradoxical relationship between the homeland and the creation of a nation state in Israel. The film argues that the long distance nationalism of Western diasporic communities has had more influence than responsibility and the creation of the Palestinian Other is a product of the blindness of nationalism. Combining home movies and images of contemporary Israel, it simultaneously presents different historical periods; time and place being central to the theme of home and the homelands.
  • Class, Youth and Dirty Jobs: The Working-Class and Post-War Britain in Pete Townshend's Quadrophenia

    Gildart, Keith; Townshend, Pete; Thurschwell, Pamela (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  • The Sexual Signification of the Gun in Western Film and Television

    Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (McFarland, 2016)
    After a century of reinvention and reinterpretation, Western movies continue to contribute to the cultural understanding of the United States. Western archetypes remain important emblems of the American experience, relating a complex and coded narrative about heroism and morality, masculinity and femininity, westward expansion and technological progress, and assimilation and settlement. In this collection of new essays, 21 contributors from around the globe examine the "cowboy cool" iconography of film and television Westerns-from bounty hunters in buckskin jackets to the seedy saloons and lonely deserts.
  • Revisionist Vampires: Transcoding, Intertextuality and Neo-Victorianism in the Film Adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

    Pheasant-Kelly, Frances; Russell, Natalie (Rodopi, 2016)
    Neo-Victorian Villains is the first edited collection to examine the afterlives of such Victorian villains as Dracula, Svengali, Dorian Gray and Jekyll and Hyde, exploring their representation in neo-Victorian drama and fiction. In addition, Neo-Victorian Villains examines a number of supposedly villainous types, from the spirit medium and the femme fatale to the imperial ‘native’ and the ventriloquist, and traces their development from Victorian times today. Chapters analyse recent theatre, films and television – from Ripper Street to Marvel superhero movies – as well as classic Hollywood depictions of Victorian villains. In a wide-ranging opening chapter, Benjamin Poore assesses the legacy of nineteenth-century ideas of villains and villainy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
  • U-Turn (2016, 10')

    Kossoff, Adam (BFI, 2016-07)
    Upside down stop-frame images follow a rhythmic path through Epping Forest on the edge of East London, revealing the beauty and textures of a topsy-turvy forest. The film recalls the attempt by the British government to privatise all the UK forests, but then had to do a U-turn due to large public pressure. Official Selection BFI London Film Festival 2016 - Experimenta Strand
  • How They Hate Us... (2016, 26')

    Kossoff, Adam (Montreal World Film Festival, 2016-07)
    In How They Hate Us (2016, 26’) Mohammad Bakri reads Kafka’s short story, Jackals and Arabs written in 1917. The film was made in response to the decision by the Israeli courts that Franz Kafka’s manuscripts had been left to the Israeli National Library and the claim that his work naturally belonged to the state of Israel. The film uses the long take as a reflexive and political aesthetic: the long take exposes and ‘deterritorialises’ the interior of cinematic language, and at its best, or maybe at its longest, the long take works through “a continuum of reversible intensities” (1975, Deleuze and Guattari), and as a form of ‘demontage’ or ‘remontage’.
  • Editorial Note

    Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (University of Lisbon, 2017)
    Messengers from the Stars is an international, peer-reviewed journal, offering academic articles, reviews, and providing an outlet for a wide range of creative work inspired by science fiction and fantasy. It aims at promoting science fiction and fantasy in the humanities while, at the same time, providing a forum for discussion on all aspects of science fiction and fantasy by welcoming innovative approaches and critical methodologies to the critical and creative landscape
  • Assessing the Usability for Arabic Language Websites

    Arif, Mohammed; Gupta, Aman; School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford, Greater Manchester, UK; College of Business, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide, Daytona Beach, FL, USA (2014-07)
  • “Sleepers”: Representations of Sleep in Contemporary Art and Media

    Penzin, Alexei (Institute of Philosophy, Moscow, 2016-12)
  • Surveillance in Zero Dark Thirty: Terrorism, Space and Identity

    Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
    This chapter examines strategies for surveillance in the film Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012) and considers the ways in which these reflect changes in real-world monitoring of both public and terrorist activities since 9/11. The film is particularly relevant to a consideration of surveillance and space because it charts the ten year search for Osama bin Laden across various locations, a mission that is accomplished through a combination of strategic physical and technological observation. Indeed, its visual style and narrative trajectory are dictated by surveillance, the film thereby epitomising its prevalence in contemporary visual culture since 9/11. The claim here is that the forms of surveillance exercised within the film embody a combination of the models articulated by Michel Foucault (1991) and Thomas Mathiesen (1997), which consider, respectively, how the few view the many and how the many watch the few. The film’s expression of surveillance is likewise concerned with the physical space between the observed and the observer, albeit this is often in terms of geographically greater or more technologically controlled distances. As in the real world situation, predictive profiling is also important, and, while the filmic version of bin Laden’s capture further rests on the seemingly intuitive conclusions of its female protagonist, Maya, this is reflective of the input of women CIA analysts in the search for him (Bergen, 2013: 77). Because it is a production based on real events, an analysis of the film offers opportunities to consider the implementation of real-world surveillance, the multiple forms that this can take, and its potential inadequacies as well as its increasing significance in combating terrorism.
  • Yoga jam: remixing Kirtan in the Art of Living

    Jacobs, Stephen (University of Toronto Press, 2017-03-17)
    Yoga Jam are a group of musicians in the United Kingdom who are active members of the Art of Living, a transnational Hindu-derived meditation group. Yoga Jam organize events—also referred to as yoga raves and yoga remixes—that combine Hindu devotional songs (bhajans) and chants (mantras) with modern Western popular musical genres, such as soul, rock, and particularly electronic dance music. This hybrid music is often played in a clublike setting, and dancing is interspersed with yoga and meditation. Yoga jams are creative fusions of what at first sight seem to be two incompatible phenomena—modern electronic dance music culture and ancient yogic traditions. However, yoga jams make sense if the Durkheimian distinction between the sacred and the profane is challenged, and if tradition and modernity are not understood as existing in a sort of inverse relationship. This paper argues that yoga raves are authenticated through the somatic experience of the modern popular cultural phenomenon of clubbing combined with therapeutic yoga practices and validated by identifying this experience with a reimagined Vedic tradition.

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