“Strict and Most Observant Watch”: Hamlet’s Ghostly Postmodern Supervision

As written by Wendy Faunce

Since its earliest performances nearly four centuries ago, Shakespeare’s Hamlet has displayed a distinct and compelling surveillance motif. Postmodern productions continue to employ the motif and sometimes allow it to dominate both plot and characters. For example the use of security cameras in Gregory Doran’s Hamlet foregrounds this domination. These modern means of surveillance contribute a haunted, ghostly ingredient that saturates the entire production in ways very different from productions past.

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Homely, Unhomely: Uncanny Architecture and Haunted Palestinian Refugee Camps

As written by Esther Wolfe

In his essay, “The Uncanny”, Freud famously interprets a definition of the uncanny within an examination of the German “Heimlich,” or “homely,” vs. the “unheimlich,” or “unhomely.”  Using examples from the German language, Freud shows that the terms are used interchangeably to describe the uncanny—what is uncanny is both “homely” and familiar, and “unhomely” or unfamiliar. Implicitly however, Freud’s treatment of “heimlich” and “unheimlich” also provides a deeper, deconstructive orientation of the uncanny. The slippery exchange between the meaning of “heimlich” and “unheimlich” shows that what is uncanny is bound up in fundamental anxieties about the construction and instability of boundary itself. In this way, the anxiety of the uncanny is not only that it is both familiar and unfamiliar, but that it also exists in multiple dimensions, transgressing boundaries and destabilizing structures of signification.

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“Beloved” Mind Map

Today’s post will deviate just a bit from our usual set because we felt that this would be an excellent time to share with you the process that our classes and discussions go through.

The following includes pictures taken by Wendy Faunce, featuring me, Mackenzie Fluharty, and the “Mind Map” I had made on the board during class time as we had our final discussion of the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison, along with my explanation for each part pictured. The discussion began after the class read a few excerpts from Avery Gordon’s chapter on Beloved in her book Ghostly Matters.

NOTE:  This post is made upon the assumption that readers have some kind of understanding of Beloved. 

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Belief in an Age of Disbelief

Written by Jordan Meyer

In many ways, the culture of 21st-century America echoes that of the Renaissance. New and amazing scientific advancements are being made every day, and logic and reason are valued very highly. Liberal educations provide students with a well-rounded base of knowledge ranging from anthropology to zoology, and more than half of the national adult population has obtained at least some college education (U.S. Census Bureau). Why then does the supernatural still play such a prominent role in entertainment?

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