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Book Review: In the Heart of the Beat the Poetry of Rap by Alexs Pate

The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Pub Date: Jan 2010

Hardcover, 176 pages

Price: $24.95

ISBN: 0-8108-6008-2

ISBN-13: 978-0-8108-6008-7

Series:  African American Cultural Theory and Heritage

Review by

Pragna Paramita Mondal, Victoria College, Kolkata

Alexs Pate’s In the Heart of the Beat begins with an anecdote from his childhood days in North Philadelphia. Johnny, a boy in the neighborhood who survived a car accident, was subsequently involved in a conscious process of reorientation of speech as a means to counter his disability. What the ‘Professor’ (Johnny) and rappers share in common, however, is their sense of exigency in speech and their need to articulate and prioritize their distinct worldviews from a position of marginality and oppression. In fact, orality has been one of the defining features in Black cultural history, one that has sustained African American sanity and self-expression. In this book Pate, therefore, makes an attempt at disengaging the poetry of rap from the claims of music and hip hop beats and validates the ‘speech’ of rap by subverting the conventional notions that determine its popular consumption.

A Science Fiction in a Gothic Scaffold: a Reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Zinia Mitra, Nakshalbari College, Darjeeling, India

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Abstract

Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus is a unique blend of two genres: Gothic and science fiction. While it follows the gothic convention of tale within tales, its epistolary framework and keeps intact its unrestrained lengthy articulations, it explores at the same time the innovative marvels of modern science. The fire that Prometheus stole form Zeus to help mankind is ingeniously   replaced in the novel by the spark of electricity. The novel also puts to question some traditional social assumptions.

Carbon Footprint –A Model Structure for our Future

Michael Dan Archer, School of Art and Design, Loughborough University

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 Introduction

Michael Dan Archer, British Sculptor and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Loughborough University School of the Arts in the UK is currently working on a project with Ray Leslie, Professor of Chemistry at Nottingham University, James Davis, Nottingham Trent University, Simon Austin, Professor of Structural Engineering at Loughborough University, Tony Thorpe, Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University on a project to illustrate the volume of the Carbon Footprint of an average British family through a large sculptural tower partly based on the form of a carbon nanotube and partly on the shape of a power station cooling tower.

Theatre(s) of Resistance: Those ‘Other’ Performances in Simulation

Sambuddha Ghosh, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India

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 Abstract

The word “performance”[i] is one laden with immense—if sometimes only theoretical or even metaphysical—possibilities which stretch the known boundaries of conventional representation. “Performances” can be mimetic, and in certain cases, ones based on simulation. Ideologically motivated theatre for activism is too common for our own times, but the ramifications of present global power relations demand ephemeral forms of protest, opposition and self-expression. This article attempts to present a relatively uncharted terrain of performance studies: the Virtual Theatre, its Siblings and undertakes an enquiry into the ethos of simulated performance and the implications thereof that challenge essentialist conceptions of the Self and Personality. In addition, it also tries to unearth the hidden possibilities of such types of performance which might prove to be influential forms of ‘affirmative action’ for the future,  in trying to arrest the unrestricted growth of forces that assist globalization and its resulting cultural legacy.

Drama and the Politics of Climate Change in Nigeria: A Critical Appraisal of Greg Mbajiorgu’s Wake Up Everyone

Norbert Oyibo Eze, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka

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 Abstract

Johnny Igbonekwu observes that ‘an obvious primal instinctive human quest” is to “conquer the world” but he equally notes that man has not been able to achieve this goal, in spite of his “formidable intellectual assaults on the multifarious stupendous mysteries of the world” (Talk About Man 1). The quest for all manner of domination-economic, political, territorial, and spatial, etc, has driven man into invention and mindless application of technology which in choking nature, cause it to frequently retaliate through global warming, tsunami, landslide, erosion, and flooding of different dimensions. The constant decimation of human lives, businesses, buildings, and municipal services as well as the emergence of perturbing diseases owing to these palpable effects of natural disaster, force the issue of climate change to occupy a significant place in the world of environmental studies and research. This paper seeks to explain the place of drama in tackling the problem of climate change through a detailed analysis and interpretation of Greg Mbajiorgu’s Wake Up Everyone considered to be a giant impact assessment study and provocative wake-up call.

Tagore’s Educational Experiments and Right to Education Bill: a Comparison

Falguni P. Desai, V. S. Patel College of Arts and Science, Gujarat, India

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Abstract

As one of the earliest educators to think in terms of the global village and free education for all, Rabindranath Tagore’s educational pattern Loka-siksha has a distinctive understanding and suitability for education within multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural situations, amidst conditions of acknowledged economic discrepancy and political imbalance of contemporary times where education and cost are twined. The paper proposes to focus on Tagore’s philosophy on education an idea of extending equal right of education for all.

Representation of the ‘National Self’— Novelistic Portrayal of a New Cultural Identity in Gora

Dipankar Roy,Visva-Bharati, India

 Abstract

Any colonial rule involves a systematic and ruthless attack on the culture and heritage of the colonized race. This often results in a total loss or at least maiming of the sense of ‘self’ for the colonized people. The masculinist self of the colonizer labels the self of the colonized as ‘effeminate’. In reaction to this, the nationalist consciousness of the colonized people often tries to replicate the macho virility of the colonial masters in an act of fashioning a ‘nationalist self.’ In the context of Indian colonial history we see development in similar lines. But, the codification of the dominant strand of the nationalist consciousness in overt masculinist terms often have strange reverberations. This paper is about such an act of fashionning selves and its after-effects. To study the issue in the Indian colonial contexts I have chosen Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Gora as a case-study. The conception of this novel’s central character is largely modelled on the issue of an ‘ideal’ national self.  The author, however, by observing the dialogic principle consistently in the text, problematises the dominant ideas connected with the figure of ‘nationalist self’. How he does it will be my main concern in this article. Whether it is possible to arrive at a general tendency of the nature of India’s colonial encounter with the British in relation to the issue of the development of the national character will be dealt with in the concluding section of this essay.

Metaphysics and Representation: Derrida’s Views on the Truth in Painting

 Chung Chin-Yi

National University of Singapore

Volume 2, Number 1, 2010 I Download PDF Version

 DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n1.08

Abstract

This paper discusses Derrida’s deconstruction of both representational and post-representational thinking, in pointing out that they both assume a realist or representational paradigm as its assumption. It examines Rosemary Hawker’s contention that Derrida’s argument is one fundamentally concerned about the inseparability of idiom and content, and argues that indeed this was an accurate reading; Heidegger and Shapiro’s fallacy as interpreted by Derrida is precisely the trap of metaphysical and representational thinking in assuming that content is separable from form. It also examines Marcellini and Haber’s arguments that Derrida’s arguments are about the failure of the representational paradigm of thinking as there is always a surplus and excess of meaning because each rendering differs from its origin. Finally it finds out that there is no such thing as pure representation as art always renders its object with a difference, or differance.

Soyinka and Yoruba Sculpture: Masks of Deification and Symbolism

Gilbert Tarka Fai

University of Maroua, Cameroon

Volume 2, Number 1, 2010 I Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n1.05

Abstract

The Yoruba mask is a piece of sculpture that is both artistic and functional. The carved work fulfils one or more of several functions—sacred or profane, personal or communal, serious or satirical. As an object it has only its relatively insignificant quota of vital energy that is found, according to African ontology, in all matter and substance of the visible world- animal, vegetable and mineral. But the Yoruba mask also has a force that extends to the world of spirits and gods. These masks also have the dual effect of transforming the wearer and the ambivalence of serving good and evil ends. This indicates that the Yoruba mask apart from its spiritual essence is a symbol of great complexity and ambiguity. It is from this great community of sculptors and from the ambivalent quality of the mask as image and symbol that some of Wole Soyinka’s creative writings emerge. This paper argues that Wole Soyinka uses his native Yoruba sculpture, and the mask in particular, to dramatise the essential spiritual continuity of human nature through the dramatic appearance of gods and the spirits of the ancestors in the world of the living during the dance of possession.

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