I first read about the work of the Observatório de Favelas in the great book Radical Cities by Justin McGuirk (Verso, 2014). This organization in the vast and sprawling favela Complexo da Maré in Rio De Janeiro was founded by the social geographer Jailson de Souza e Silva. Besides being a place for research about life in the favelas, the organization also houses the Escola Popular de Comunicação Crítica (ESPOCC).
Recently Charlie Johns edited an extremely interesting book that works through the argument that neurosis is the dominant condition of our society today.
Food is a key theme in cultural studies, but often the approach focuses on the negative or problematic aspects of it: anorexia and other eating disorders, obesity and fat studies, outdoor eating rituals and social distinction, the critique of deeply rooted national preferences as a form of modern “mythology” (in the sense of Roland Barthes), the commercialization of snootiness, and the relationship between alimentary habits and climate change.
Anthropocene, posthumanism, biopolitics… Terms such as these have not only become very popular in academic circles, but they are also increasingly used in public debates, catalogues of exhibitions and policy documents. Sometimes a term suddenly becomes a fashionable buzzword, only to go out of fashion as quickly as it gained attention, but there are also terms that people keep on using because they help us to understand something important about contemporary society.
An archaic theme plays out in the interior world of a wealthy nuclear family. The superficiality and formality with which the members of the family relate to one another, in speech and interaction, creates a sense of unreality, planting a seed of doubt in the viewer’s mind as to the plane on which the drama unfolds.
James I. Porter’s “Disfigurations: Erich Auerbach’s Theory of Figura” (Critical Inquiry, vol. 44-1, 2017, pp., 80-113) is one of the best essays I’ve read in recent months.
What Is Curiosity? How Do We Question? What Are We Doing Here? What Do We Want to Know? The award-winning Canadian writer Alberto Manguel explores these, and thirteen other equally poignant questions in his book Curiosity, published by Yale University Press (2015).