Saturday 26 March 2011


Bar Europa, in Guatemala City


The term 'folklore' is nothing but a hypocrisy of the 'civilised' who won't take part in the game, and who want to hide their refusal to make contact under the mantle of respect for the picturesque...
Man is irrevocably a stranger to dawn. It needed our colonial way of thinking to believe that man could have remained faithful to his beginnings and that there was any place in the world where he could encounter the essence of the 'primitive'. (trans. Clare O'Farrell)
Michel Foucault, (1994) [1963]. 'Veilleur de la nuit des hommes'. In Dits et Ecrits vol. I. Paris: Gallimard, p. 232.

Close Encounters March 2011 London

 First, disobey; then write on the walls. 
(Law of 10 May 1968) I don’t like to write on walls. Write everywhere. Before writing, learn to think. I don’t know how to write but I would like to say beautiful things and I don’t know how. I don’t have time to write!!! I have something to say but I don’t know what. Freedom is the right to silence. We are all “undesirables.” We must remain “unadapted.” The forest precedes man, the desert follows him. Under the paving stones, the beach. Concrete breeds apathy. Coming soon to this location: charming ruins. Hide yourself, object! Art is dead, don’t consume its corpse. Art is dead, let’s liberate our everyday life. Art is dead, Godard can’t change that. Godard: the supreme Swiss Maoist jerk. Permanent cultural vibration. We want a wild and ephemeral music. 
 We propose a fundamental regeneration: 
concert strikes, 
sound gatherings with collective investigation. 
 Abolish copyrights: sound structures belong to everyone.


The ultimate and most important revolutionary aspiration: to see human beings liberated from their alienation... The individual will reach total consciousness as a social being, which is equivalent to the full realization as a human creature, once the chains of alienation are broken. This will be translated concretely into the reconquering of one's true nature through liberated labor, and the expression of one's own human condition through culture and art. "
Che Guevara, Marxist revolutionary [1]
Marx articulated his theory of alienation most clearly in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and The German Ideology (1846). Marx identifies three aspects of alienation, namely private property, the commodity character of labour, and the division of labour in society (Ekerwald, 1998: 17). In the concept's most prominent use, it refers to the alienation of people from aspects of their "human nature" (Gattungswesen, usually translated as 'species-essence' or 'species-being'). Marx believed that alienation is a systematic result of capitalism. His theory relies on Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity (1841), which argues that the idea of God has alienated the characteristics of the human being. Stirner would take the analysis further in The Ego and Its Own (1844), declaring that even 'humanity' is an alienating ideal for the individual, to which Marx and Engels responded in The German Ideology (1845).
Marx's Theory of Alienation is based upon his observation that in emerging industrial production under capitalism, workers inevitably lose control of their lives and selves, in not having any control of their work. Workers never become autonomous, self-realized human beings in any significant sense, except the way the bourgeois want the worker to be realized. Alienation in capitalist societies occurs because in work each contributes to the common wealth, but can only express this fundamentally social aspect of individuality through a production system that is not publicly social, but privately owned, for which each individual functions as an instrument, not as a social being.
There is a commonly noted problem of translation in grappling with ideas of alienation derived from German-language philosophical texts: the word alienation, and similar words such as estrangement, are often used to translate two quite distinct German words, Entfremdung and Entäußerung, interchangeably.

[edit] Late 1800s-1900s

Many sociologists of the late 19th and early 20th century were concerned about alienating effects of modernization. German sociologists Georg Simmel and Ferdinand Tönnies wrote critical works on individualization and urbanization. Simmel's "Philosophie des Geldes" ("Philosophy of Money") describes how relationships become more and more mediated through money. Tönnies' "Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft" ("Community and Society") is about the loss of primary relationships such as familial bonds in favour of goal oriented secondary relationships. This idea of alienation can be observed in some other contexts, although the term may not be as frequently used. In the context of an individual's relations within society, alienation can mean the unresponsiveness of the society as a whole to the individuality of each member of the society. When collective decisions are made, it is usually impossible for the unique needs of each person to be taken into account. This form of alienation was criticized by many of the Young Hegelians.[citation needed]
In a broader philosophical context, especially in existentialism and phenomenology, alienation describes the inadequacy of human being or mind in relation to the world. The human mind, as the subject of perception, relates to the world as an object of its perception, and so is distanced from the world rather than living within it. This line of thought can be found in Søren Kierkegaard, who examined the emotions and feelings of individuals when faced with life choices. Many 20th-century philosophers, both theistic and atheistic, and theologians drew many concepts from Kierkegaard, including the notions of angst, despair, and the importance of the individual. Martin Heidegger's concepts of anxiety (Angst) and mortality drew on Kierkegaard and are indebted to the way in which the latter lays out the importance of our subjective relation to truth, our existence in the face of death, the temporality of existence, and the importance of passionate affirmation of one's individual being-in-the-world.
Jean-Paul Sartre described the "thing-in-itself" which is infinite and overflowing, and claimed that any attempt to describe or understand the thing-in-itself is "reflective consciousness." Since there is no way for the reflective consciousness to subsume the pre-reflective, Sartre argued that all reflection is fated to a form of anxiety, i.e. the human condition. As well, Sartre argued that when a person tries to gain knowledge of the "Other" (meaning beings or objects that are not the self), their self consciousness has a "masochistic desire" to be limited, which is expressed metaphorically in the famous line of dialogue from the play No Exit, "Hell is other people."


Melvin Seeman was part of the surge in alienation research prominent in the middle of the 20th century when he published his paper, On the Meaning of Alienation, in the American Sociological Review in 1959 (Senekal, 2010b: 7-8). Seeman used the insights of Marx, Durkheim and others to construct what is often considered a model of alienation consisting of five aspects: powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, social isolation, and self-estrangement. Seeman later added a sixth element, cultural estrangement, although this element does not feature prominently in later discussions of Seeman's work.


Powerlessness refers to “the expectancy or probability held by the individual that his own behaviour cannot determine the occurrence of the outcomes, or reinforcements, he seeks” (Seeman, 1959: 784). Seeman argues that this is “the notion of alienation as it originated in the Marxian view of the worker’s condition in capitalist society: the worker is alienated to the extent that the prerogative and means of decision are expropriated by the ruling entrepreneurs" (Ibid.). Put more succinctly, Kalekin-Fishman (1996: 97) says, “A person suffers from alienation in the form of ‘powerlessness’ when she is conscious of the gap between what she would like to do and what she feels capable of doing”. In discussing powerlessness, Seeman also incorporated the insights of the psychologist Julian Rotter, who distinguishes between internal control and external control, which “points to differences (among persons or situations) in the degree to which success or failure is attributable to external factors (e.g. luck, chance, or powerful others), as against success or failure that is seen as the outcome of one’s personal skills or characteristics” (Seeman, 1966: 355). Powerlessness is therefore the perception that the individual does not have the means to achieve his goals.


Meaninglessness refers to “the individual’s sense of understanding events in which he is engaged” (Seeman, 1959: 786). Seeman (1959: 786) writes that meaninglessness, “is characterized by a low expectancy that satisfactory predictions about the future outcomes of behaviour can be made. Put more simply, where the first meaning of alienation refers to the sensed ability to control outcomes, this second meaning refers essentially to the sensed ability to predict behavioural outcomes.” In this respect, meaninglessness is therefore closely tied to powerlessness, Seeman (Ibid.) argues, “the view that one lives in an intelligible world might be a prerequisite to expectancies for control; and the unintelligibility of complex affairs is presumably conducive to the development of high expectancies for external control (that is, high powerlessness)”.


Normlessness or what Durkheim referred to as anomie “denotes the situation in which the social norms regulating individual conduct have broken down or are no longer effective as rules for behaviour” (Seeman, 1959: 787). This aspect refers to the inability to identify with the dominant values of society, or rather with what are perceived to be the dominant values of society. Seeman (1959: 788) adds that this aspect can manifest in a particularly negative manner, “The anomic situation [...] may be defined as one in which there is a high expectancy that socially unapproved behaviours are required to achieve given goals”. This negative manifestation is dealt with in detail by Catherine Ross and John Mirowski in a series of publications on mistrust, powerlessness, normlessness and crime. See also Senekal's (2010b: 102-123) chapter on alienation in London Fields by Martin Amis.

Social isolation

Social isolation refers to “The feeling of being segregated from one’s community” (Kalekin-Fishman, 1996: 97). Neal & Collas (2000: 114) emphasize the centrality of social isolation in the modern world, “While social isolation is typically experienced as a form of personal stress, its sources are deeply embedded in the social organization of the modern world. With increased isolation and atomization , much of our daily interactions are with those who are strangers to us and with whom we lack any ongoing social relationships.”


Self-estrangement is “the psychological state of denying one’s own interests – of seeking out extrinsically satisfying, rather than intrinsically satisfying, activities [...]”(Kalekin-Fishman, 1996: 97). The following section discusses self-estrangement in more detail

After Seeman

After the boom in alienation research that characterized the 1950s and 1960s, interest in alienation research subsided (Geyer, 1996: xii), but was maintained by the Research Committee on Alienation of the International Sociological Association (ISA), a non-profit organization dedicated to scientific study in the field of sociology and social sciences. In the 1990s, there was again an upsurge of interest in alienation, prompted by the fall of the Soviet Union, globalization, the information explosion, increasing awareness of ethnic conflicts, and post-modernism (see Geyer, 1996). Geyer believes the growing complexity of the contemporary world together with post-modernism prompted a reinterpretation of alienation that suits the contemporary living environment, as illustrated in the following reinterpretations of Seeman's original five aspects of alienation:

Post-modern powerlessness

Geyer (1996: xxiii) remarks, “a new type of powerlessness has emerged, where the core problem is no longer being unfree but rather being unable to select from among an overchoice of alternatives for action, whose consequences one often cannot even fathom.” Geyer adapts cybernetics to alienation theory, and writes (1996: xxiv) that powerlessness is the result of delayed feedback, “The more complex one’s environment, the later one is confronted with the latent, and often unintended, consequences of one’s actions. Consequently, in view of this causality-obscuring time lag, both the ‘rewards’ and ‘punishments’ for one’s actions increasingly tend to be viewed as random, often with apathy and alienation as a result.”

Post-modern meaninglessness

Geyer (1996: xxiii) believes meaninglessness should be reinterpreted as well, "With the accelerating throughput of information [...] meaningless is not a matter anymore of whether one can assign meaning to incoming information, but of whether one can develop adequate new scanning mechanisms to gather the goal-relevant information one needs, as well as more efficient selection procedures to prevent being overburdened by the information one does not need, but is bombarded with on a regular basis." Information overload or the so-called data tsunami are well-known information problems confronting contemporary man, and Geyer thus argues that meaninglessness is turned on its head.

Post-modern normlessness

Neal & Collas (2000: 122) write, “Normlessness derives partly from conditions of complexity and conflict in which individuals become unclear about the composition and enforcement of social norms. Sudden and abrupt changes occur in life conditions, and the norms that usually operate may no longer seem adequate as guidelines for conduct”. This is a particular issue after the fall of the Soviet Union, mass migrations from developing to developed countries, and the general sense of disillusionment that characterized the 1990s (Senekal, 2011). Traditional values that had already been questioned throughout especially the 1960s were met with further scepticism in the 1990s, resulting in a situation where individuals rely more often on their own judgement than on institutions of authority: "The individual not only has become more independent of the churches, but from other social institutions as well. The individual can make more personal choices in far more life situations than before” (Halman, 1998: 100). These choices are not necessarily 'negative': Halman's study found that Europeans remain relatively conservative morally, even though the authority of the Church and other institutions has eroded. See especially Langman's study of punk, porn, and resistance (2008) and Senekal's (2011) study of Afrikaans extreme metal.

Post-modern social isolation

Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, migrants from Eastern Europe and the developing countries have flocked to developed countries in search of a better living standard. This has led to entire communities becoming uprooted: no longer fully part of their homelands, but neither integrated into their adopted communities. Diaspora literature depicts the plights of these migrants, such as Hafid Bouazza in Paravion. Senekal (2010b: 41) argues, "Low-income communities or religious minorities may feel separated from mainstream society, leading to backlashes such as the civil unrest that occurred in French cities in October 2005. The fact that the riots subsequently spread to Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Greece, and Switzerland, illustrates that not only did these communities feel segregated from mainstream society, but also that they found a community in their isolation; they regarded themselves as kindred spirits."

Post-modern self-estrangement

Seeman (1959) recognized the problems inherent in constructing a definition of the 'self', but post-modernism in particular emphasized the difficulty of pin-pointing what precisely 'self' constitutes. Gergen (1996: 125) argues that the very concept of alienation should therefore be rethought, “the traditional view of self versus society is deeply problematic and should be replaced by a conception of the self as always already immersed in relatedness. On this account, the individual’s lament of ‘not belonging’ is partially a by-product of traditional discourses themselves”. If the self is relationally constituted, does it make sense to speak of self-estrangement rather than social isolation? Senekal (2010b) opted for an omission of self-estrangement in his discussion of alienation in contemporary British fiction, for this very reason. However, Costas and Fleming (2009: 354) note that although the concept of self-estrangement “has not weathered postmodern criticisms of essentialism and economic determinism well”, the concept still has value if a Lacanian reading of the self is adopted.

  1. ^ "Socialism and Man in Cuba" A letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of Marcha, a weekly published in Montevideo, Uruguay; published as "From Algiers, for Marcha: The Cuban Revolution Today" by Che Guevara on March 12, 1965

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Close Encounters Selected Text and Sources


The United Kingdom and the 'continental' experience: culture

To note the distinctions between the Anglosphere and other countries of Europe ('the continent', as it is often called) comes down to drawing a line separating the United Kingdom from the larger countries of the EU. To say the Anglosphere is culturally different from the European standard assumes inter alia that there is a unified European culture; which itself is not supported by historical perspective.
Consider for example wine and beer: it may appear obvious that the English are natural beer drinkers, but in fact wine was imported many centuries ago, and beer is something in common with Belgian, Dutch and German culture. Tea- and coffee-drinking show a different pattern, but with coffee becoming more popular: convergence of the UK with both the USA and France.
In the Middle Ages, England and France vied for dominance in Europe; following the Protestant Reformation, this conflict had a religious dimension. From the 17th century onward, as both countries conquered extensive empires, each country attempted to increase its colonial possessions and prevent the other from doing so. Although both countries have lost their empires and are now members of the European Union, some traces of Anglo-French rivalry remain, particularly among those Anglophones who advocate strong political and economic ties between English-speaking countries; this argument is often accompanied by attempts to draw a sharp distinction between Anglophone and Francophone cultures.
However, such a distinction fails to recognise the profound influence that each of these cultural and linguistic spheres has had on the other. After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, French remained the language of the English aristocracy for three hundred years; during that time and since, a large number of French words have entered the everyday vocabulary of the English language (e.g. agree, brave, carry, define, empire, etc.) More recently, many English words have entered the French language (bus, casting, fax, leader, missile, etc.). Globalisation has tended to increase the influence of American culture in many countries, and France is no exception; American pop music, cinema and TV programmes enjoy widespread popularity.

The United Kingdom and the 'continental' experience: political history

Proponents of the concept of Anglosphere argue that no English-speaking country ever was ruled by an absolute monarch. Hence none has ever seen the effectiveness and sheer dominance of such rulers as Peter the Great of Russia, Frederick the Great of Prussia, or King Louis XIV of France. No English-speaking country had to form political groups to struggle against anexisting absolute rule.
On the other hand, the idea that English-speaking countries share a common culture because of something they didn't have appears to be based on a logical fallacy. One might as well say that their common culture is based on the fact that they didn't have the Chinese language. The English Civil War can be quite well be considered as a struggle against attempts by English kings to establish an absolute monarchy.
Those who argue for the superiority of English political culture over the French Republican tradition sometimes suggest that the French Revolution of 1789 did not constitute an advance in civilisation. More accurately, they point instead to the Glorious Revolution of 1689.
This belittles the lasting effect of the French Revolution on the global political landscape, for example the introduction of the concept of left-wing politics, and that of human rights). It also rejects the idea that philosophers could be serious constitutional theorists. Even restricting discussion to the United Kingdom and United States, it fails to recognise the immense influence of English philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Paine and John Stuart Mill on the shape of politics. English political thought relates in a more complex way to the Enlightenment than this suggests, and that can be said both of conservative and liberal thinkers. Since the USA has a strong Enlightenment political tradition, none of this really supports the idea of commonality in the Anglosphere.

Institutional history

In general Anglospheric countries did not suffer abrupt changes in institutions, caused by the end of the ancien regime. A certain residual chauvinism against the metric system in the English-speaking countries is symptomatic.
English-speaking countries, except for the state of Louisiana, and parts of Canada, have not had legal systems based on the Napoleonic Code. The case of Scotland is considered anomalous, since its system is an older system largely independent of common law.
No English-speaking country ever had a government installed by Napoleon, though there were some Bonapartists in England. The foreign princes (Dutch and German following the Glorious Revolution) ruling in England were in theory constitutional monarchs, on sufferance.
No English-speaking country (pace Ireland) had the secret police that existed throughout Europe in the late eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century, and which were brought to a higher level under Napoleon. (This ignores some facts about British government actions, in particular in the Jacobin scares of the 1790s; it might be defended as a broad description of policy, such as the non-recognition of a minister for the Interior).
Against this one can argue that the UK and USA have in fact fundamentally divergences in a number of aspects of their institutions. These include separation of religion and politics, the constitutions and the monarchy.

Legacy of the twentieth century

The consequences of the World War I did not result in fascism or communism being adopted in the Anglosphere; there were fascist and communist sympathisers, but they never gained political power except in some very limited ways. None of the countries was occupied by the Fascist powers, if one discounts the German occupation of the Channel Islands.
The philosophical trends in Britain, with logical positivism gaining at one point the upper hand, and in the United States, with a consistent strand of interest in types of pragmatism, differ from the existentialism and later philosophical trends in continental Europe. This distinction became sharp around 1930.
Identity cards were used in the UK in World War II, but were withdrawn some years after its end. Otherwise identity documents have not been required. (This may however change since proposals are again being floated for identity cards, to combat war against terrorism and illegal immigration.)
Discussion of Anglo-American diplomacy is often formulated, from the UK side, in terms of the existence and health of the special relationship, mostly harking back to the years 1941 to 1945 of very close alliance. This could be called a 'Churchillian' formulation; talk about the Anglosphere is in some sense a reformulation to suit policy discussion from Washington's perspective.

Trends as of 2005

It is possible to point to a number of the supposed differences between the "Anglosphere" and "continental Europe" which are being eroded. There has been an increase in centralised state control in the UK, examples being the National Curriculum), and the proposed introduction of identity cards in the UK ( (actually a part of EU-wide security-cooperation (
There have been recent extension of (secret) police powers in the USA post-9/11, and deliberate US sabotage of stronger EU data-privacy rules (

Eurocentrism is a term used to describe a world view which puts European thinking, values, civilization, history, geography, art and people at the center of its perspective. The lives and cultures of peoples from Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Arab world are put on the margins, or else ignored entirely.
“Eurocentric culture,” which in the United States is a core part of white culture, needs to be distinguished from “European cultures,” that is, the particular cultural expressions of different peoples and nations which reside on the European continent. Defensive white culturalists often call criticisms of Eurocentrism, “Europe bashing.” That is nonsense. Critics are not saying, “Don’t listen to Mozart.” What they are saying is, “Mozart is to European classical music what John Coltrane is to African/American classical music: both are giants in their fields, and should be studied and valued as such.
Most aspects of Eurocentrism were brought to this continent by the European invaders and their biographers. It has been reinforced through the centuries and still dominates educational, scientific and media institutions today. In my opinion, some aspects of what is criticized as Eurocentric are wholly destructive; other aspects are destructive only when they are used to marginalize or ignore other forms of thinking and values.


Chapter 13: John M. Mackenzie, “Empire and Metropolitan Cultures,” pp. 270-93.

The cultural connection between the metropole and its corresponding colonial possessions remains a
contentious area of study. In this piece, Mackenzie argues that historians have consistently ignored
the effect that empire left on the cultures of the metropolitan state. His argument is that cultural
practices throughout Britain were, from the end of the eighteenth century on, inseparable from the
political and economic dimensions of imperialism. The importance of this scholarly contribution is that
it shows that domestic, metropolitan culture did not develop in isolation from the empire beyond its

Mackenzie contends that the possession of empire was a major catalyst in the formation of a strong
British identity in the late eighteenth century. This patriotic sense of Britishness, in turn, gave the
component nations of Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) a setting for common action. Mackenzie
claims that the forging of a distinct British identity strengthened as a result of a number of different
cultural mediums. First, the work of historical artists, beginning with the portrayal of Wolfe’s death at
Quebec in 1759, helped to disseminate heroic images of empire to the masses. The theater also
depicted events in overseas possessions. From major events such as the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the
Zulu War of 1879, and the death of General Gordon at Khartoum to social issues dealing with
interracial relationships, the stage captivated the minds of the population with the happenings of
empire. Music halls appeared as an outlet for playing jingoistic music that catalyzed an aggressive
form of British national identity. Elites further strengthened the overall supremacy of the British
peoples by sanctioning the opening of exhibitions around the country promoting social Darwinism.
These exhibitions were meant to prove the racial superiority of the British and the moral necessity of
imperial rule. As the financial importance of the empire for Britain continued to increase, cultural
mediums promoting its necessity continued to multiply. In forging a unique identity based on the
principle of superiority, the impact of empire on British culture was far-reaching. For Mackenzie, this
is a truth that has remained veiled for too long by historians who either knowingly or unwittingly
refused to recognize the importance of empire in the cultural development of the domestic state.

Mackenzie’s attempt to understand the impact of empire on domestic British culture is informative and
enjoyable. The section on the appearance of a new imperial mindset after the Indian Mutiny of 1857,
regarding the portrayal of empire and its effect on culture, is well developed and successfully argued.
Mackenzie’s work serves as a strong argument in favor of looking to empire as a way to understand
domestic British cultural development during this period.


by Sharon Martinas and the Challenging White Supremacy Workshop
KKK in DC in 1928
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Culture is a way of life. (Definition by People’s Institute of Survival and Beyond in New Orleans.) Culture is passed on from generation to generation through institutions, groups, interpersonal and individual behavior.

For institutions: Culture provides the matrix out of which institutions grow, and the “glue” which binds institutions together in systems. Culture also provides the legitimacy and justification for the perpetuation of institutions from one generation to the next. (Material provided by Diana Dunn of People’s Institute.)
For example, a local public school can survive as an individual institution because some parents choose to send their children to the school. The school exists within the system of public schools in a particular city because tax payers are willing to continue paying taxes to support that school. And the entire public school system in a country can exist from generation to generation only so long as sufficient adults in the population believe that sending their children to public school will be beneficial.
For groups and individuals: Culture provides a sense of identity — who you are—— and a sense of belonging——who you are with. It provides a sense of purpose——your reason for being in the world——and an orientation——your sense of where you are going in your life (broadly speaking).

Culture is a set of rules for behavior. You cannot ‘see’ culture because you cannot see the rules; you can only see.. .the behaviors the rules produce...Cultural rules influence people to behave similarly, in ways which help them to understand each other... For example, cultural rules shape food preferences...The essence of culture is not these behaviors themselves, but the rules that produce the behaviors.
Culture is characteristic of groups. The rules of a culture are shared by the group, not invented by the individual; the rules of the group which are passed on from one generation to the form the core of the culture...
Culture is learned...What each person learns depends upon the cultural rules of the people who raise them...Because culture is learned, it is a mistake to assume a person’s culture by the way s/he looks...Culture can be well learned by some people in the group and less well learned by others...
“Cultures borrow and share rules.. .Cultural rules change over time, and sometimes when two groups have extensive contact with one another, they influence each other in some areas... (Excerpts taken from CULTURE AS A PROCESS by Carol Brunson Phillips; February 27, 1991. Thanks to lntisar Shareef for calling my attention to this material.)


The term white as applied to people was first used by slave-owning colonialists in 17th century Maryland and Virginia to describe poor indentured servants who came from Europe. Originally, these servants had been called “Englishmen,” “Irishmen” or “Christians,” but the colonial ruling class began to use the term “white” to distinguish European servants from African ones, who were often called “Negro,” which means “black” in Spanish.
The Virginia legislature made the term “white” a legal distinction in 1691, after a series of joint rebellions by European and African servants, culminating in Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676, nearly brought down the colonial ruling powers. (Information provided by People’s Institute.) In the slave codes of 1705, especially in the “Act concerning servants and slaves,”colonial rulers gave poor ‘whites’ certain legislated privileges, such as a small plot of land or “freedom dues” (wages) after completion of their term of servitude; the right to sue their masters in court; and exemption from public whipping for punishment! At the same time, the legislature wrote the laws which provided the institutionalized foundations for chattel slavery for Africans.
From that time on, throughout U.S. history, to be “white” has meant to have access to certain forms of preferential treatment, and exemption from racial oppression, solely on the basis of European ancestry and (allegedly) “white” skin. Thus, the concepts of “white people” and “white privilege” share the same historical and institutional roots. And both terms are artificial, historical constructions to serve political purposes: creating separations among oppressed peoples on the basis of skin color and ancestral origin so that they would not unite against a common oppressor.
(For more on the historical origins of the terms ‘white’ and ‘white privilege:’ (1) Theodore William Allen, Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race. 1975 pamphlet. (2) Theodore Allen, “Introduction,” The Invention of the White Race: Racial Oppression and Social Control. Vol. 1. London: Verso Books, 1994. (3) A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., In The Matter of Color: Race & the American Legal Process: The Colonial Period. Oxford University Press, 1980, especially pages 53—57.. (4) Lerone Bennett, Jr. “The Road Not Taken,” in The Shaping of Black America. Chicago, 1975.)

White supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of establishing, maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege. (Definition by Mickey Ellinger and Sharon Martinas)

White culture is an artificial, historically constructed culture which expresses, justifies and binds together the United States white supremacy system. It is the cultural matrix and glue which binds together white—controlled institutions into systems; and white—controlled systems into the global white supremacy system. Since World War II, the white culture of the United States has been the center of the global white culture.

White culture is not the only culture in the current territory of the United States. There are numerous others: many kinds of indigenous, African-American and African-Caribbean, Chicano and Latino with regional variations, a multiplicity of Asian cultures, indigenous Hawaiian, many Arabic cultures, and expressions of many European peoples.
But white culture is the dominant culture. What are some of the characteristics of this dominant culture?
In thinking about these characteristics, please recall Dr. Wade Nobles’ definition of power: “Power is the ability to define reality and to convince other people that it is their definition.” (See “Definitions,” Political Perspectives. Exer. Manual.)
1. It defines who you are, and who “others” are in relation to you. For example, a white culture term for ‘people of color’ is ‘non-white,’ i.e., non-people.
2. It shapes your attitudes, thinking, behavior and values. For example, a white woman shrinks in fear when passing an African American man on the street; yet the great’ danger to white women comes from white men in the home.
3. It consciously and unconsciously suppresses and oppresses other cultures. For example, slave owners consciously suppressed African spirituality and taught Africans Christianity to make them ‘docile.’ Or, employers fire workers for speaking Spanish in a restaurant, but promote workers who speak French.
4. It consciously and unconsciously appropriates aspects of oppressed cultures. For example: every form of African American music: gospel, blues, Iazz, rhythm and blues, and rap, has been copied by white musicians with no credit given to the creative sources of the music. Or, white New Agers become instant healers, charging hefty fees, by appropriating ancient indigenous healing practices.
5. It is normative: the standard for judging values and behavior.
6. It is assumed, unquestioned, not on the agenda: the ways things are.
7. It is hidden -- not at all obvious to the dominating or oppressing practitioners, but often painfully, obvious to peoples whose cultures have been suppressed, oppressed or appropriated.

White culture in the United States is complex. Because white supremacy is fundamental to the existence of this country, white supremacist culture is intertwined with other major cultural manifestations that make up the fabric of the U.S: the greed, competition and individualism of capitalism; male supremacist fear and hatred of the power of women; historical Christianity’s hatred and fear of sexuality, and its compulsion to divide humankind into the “saved” and the “damned;” and militarism’s glorification of war and conquest as proofs of manhood and nationhood that has roots in European culture going back thousands of years. White culture is a melting pot of greed, guys, guns and god. It is a deadly brew.
(For a comprehensive critique of European culture, see Marimba Ani, Yurugu: An African—Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior. New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1994.)


In this section, I will try to highlight some of the ways in which white culture manifests itself in our daily lives. As you read this, please remember that this is a very tentative beginning of a new effort by many white activists in the U.S. to explore the meanings of white culture. Most analysis on white culture has been done by activists and scholars of color. Their work has inspired me to begin to do my own homework.

1. White culture perpetuates the ideology that people of color are morally and mentally inferior to white people. Throughout the history of the United States, white culture has characterized people of color as ‘‘savage, ‘‘ignorant,’’ ‘‘depraved,’’ ‘‘bestial,’’ “lazy,” “dirty,” “illegal” and “criminal.”
This ideology continues unabated today. For example, white students and white workers assume that the only reason a person of color gets into college or into a good job is because of affirmative action: that is, the people of color could not have competed with the white person were the playing field “level.” In these examples, the white people cannot imagine that the people of color might be equally or more qualified than the whites for the positions they achieved.
2. White culture stereotypes figures and behaviors of peoples of color. A common method is to take some cultural attribute forced on people of color by conquest and continuing racial oppression, and making that attribute into a symbol of the whole people. For example, the film Ethnic Notions by Marvin Riggs delineates a history of white stereotypes of African Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Stereotypes such as the “minstrel,” the “mammy,” “coon" illustrate forms of assumed behavior that is carried into contemporary stereotypes of African Americans embodied in terms like “criminal,” “gang member” and “welfare mother.” Forms change; meanings stay on.
3. By defining reality as white, and convincing peoples of color that white reality is their reality, white culture actively promotes internalized racism and inter-racial tensions among peoples of color.
Internalized racism disempowers a person and a people. Inter-racial hostility prevents different peoples of color from uniting for their common purposes and against their common oppressors.
In this way, white culture expresses a successful white ruling class strategy of “divide and conquer.” Imprisoning a person’s mind is more thorough and long-lasting than imprisoning her body.

4. White culture labels the cultures of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Arab world as inferior to cultures that have evolved in Europe. Furthermore, white culture actively promotes the historical lie that the culture that evolved in ancient Greece was the “fountainhead of western civilization.”

In fact, most of the great Greek scholars and poets went to Kemet (the name for ancient Egypt), which was an African culture and civilization, to study for years before they returned to create their own forms of wisdom. And the “renaissance” of Europe did not begin in Italy, as our textbooks say, but in Spain and Portugal which, under the African and Arabic Moorish Empire of the 8th through the 15th centuries, preserved and recreated the wisdom of the ancient world, and developed the technology which allowed the Spanish and Portuguese to embark on their voyages of exploration and conquest of lands outside Europe.

Today, there is a white cultural war against African-centred research and scholarship. White academics call this scholarship ‘self serving.’ Yet few white culturalists would call traditional historical and anthropological research, “White Studies.”
5. White culture suppresses and oppresses the cultures of peoples of color as part of an ongoing system of conquest, colonialism and racial/national oppression.

For example, the movement, now a law in many states, of “English Only” is a specific form of cultural conquest of peoples from Mexico, Central and South America and Puerto Rico, which has its historical origin in the U.S.’s 1848 war against Mexico; and the 1898 invasion of Puerto Rico. “English Only” is cultural colonialism: the peoples of colonized nations are forced to speak the language of the conqueror.

6. White culture appropriates elements of the cultures of people of color in order to mask the underlying power relationships of dominant to dominated cultures.

For example: Rhythm and Blues is an African American musical creation, but one of its most famous exponents was Elvis Presley, a white working class man from the south. Many rhythm and blues artists die impoverished. Elvis is worshipped like a god.


White privilege is the other side of the coin of racial oppression. Therefore, it should not be surprising to see that the culture of white privilege is a mirror image of the culture of racial oppression.
1. White culture perpetuates the ideology that white people are morally and intellectually superior to people of color. For example, many suburban white women and men think they get into college because they are “more intelligent” than Chicanos, Native Americans or African Americans; when, in fact, they get into college because their high schools prepare them more effectively for college boards than do most high schools in urban areas.

2. White culture stereotypes figures and behavior of white people. A common method is to take some cultural attribute which is the result of hundreds of years of institutionalized white privilege in the United States, and projecting this attribute as solely the result of the person’s individual, heroic efforts.
For example, the son or daughter of a European immigrant is portrayed as having risen to wealth and power from initial poverty solely as a result of moral fortitude and hard work. But, in fact, European immigrants historically have both worked hard and received privileges from the U.S. government that people of color (whether they were immigrants, indigenous or kidnaped) have been historically denied at different times.
European immigrants (differentially for men and women) had the right to become citizens, the right to own land, the right to bring and to live with a family, the right to travel in search of work, the right to vote, the right to practice their own language and religion without interference, the right to organize mutual self—help societies and small businesses without being broken up by white mobs, the right to a public school education, the right to bring suit and testify in court, and the right to hold public office.

3. By defining reality as white, and convincing white people that it is their reality, the culture of white supremacy is portrayed as universal, applying to all humankind.

For example, a “History of Western Civilization” begins with Greece, then moves to Rome, then Europe, ending with the United States. But this is a course on Europe, (which is fine provided the course begins with the contributions of Kemet to Greece), but it is not a course on “western civilization.” Another example: ABC network tells its reporter covering the elections in South Africa to put an “Americans in South Africa” spin on the story, otherwise U.S. readers will not be interested in the story!
Or, white feminists create brilliant analyses of patriarchy coming from their European cultural experience, and then try to generalize this analysis to the relationships between men and women whose ancestral cultures originate in Africa, the Americas, Asia or Arabic world. And, we call the white women's movement, “the women’s movement.”

4. White culture provides a normative standard of behavior for one living in a system of white privilege.

These norms are usually manifested in the arrogance of white entitlement - an assumption of how a white person expects to be treated in the world.
Some examples: Getting angry when we have to wait in a line too long; speaking with authority, as if we are sure of correctness; talking as long as we wish, often interrupting others; getting outraged when our First Amendment rights to peacefully gather and protest are violated by police (when police violate similar rights by people of color every night, just for gathering in a group). Note: white feminists often call these forms of behavior ‘white male arrogance,’ but I believe it’s a feature of white culture which white women, now that we have more ‘equality’ with white men, practice often.

5. White culture creates white bonding, that is, the cross class allegiance and sense of commonality that non—ruling class oppressed white men and women have with the white ruling class, on the basis of “white skin” and European ancestry.

White bonding covers up the class exploitation of poor, working and middle class whites by the ruling class, by deflecting the problems of oppressed whites from the ruling class to people of color. White bonding prevents white women from using the potential power of their vote as women because they usually support the interests of middle class and rich white men more than the interests of men and women of color.
White bonding is at the core of the Christian right’s ‘family values’ ideology. It evokes an image of a white nuclear family in a 1950’s suburb: a suburb that practiced legal residential apartheid. White bonding is the cultural basis of racist jokes and language; it assumes of the white listener, “You know who I mean.”
White bonding is at the core of the attacks on multi—culturalism. It assumes that the only culture that should be taught in schools is white culture. White bonding calls the U.S. “America,” a term which properly applies to all the nation—states on this continent.
White bonding is one of the bases of the current anti—immigrant racism sweeping California. The bonding is a reaction to the terror that most white people feel at the prospect that the majority of California residents will soon be people of color. I doubt that anti—immigrant ideologists would be using the phrase, “drowning in a sea of immigrants” if the immigrants were coming from Canada.
In my opinion, white bonding is the most significant cultural barrier preventing oppressed whites from challenging the interrelated systems of oppression in the U.S.


The culture of white nationalism is the expression of the historical fact that the “founding fathers” intended this nation to be one of, for and by white people; and that the struggle to make it a nation “of, for and the people” goes on to this day.
1. The culture of white nationalism provides an identity, purpose, orientation and sense of belonging for people who immigrate to the United States from Europe. The term for this process is usually called assimilation. What it means is that a person of European descent agrees, consciously or unconsciously, to give up parts of her/his European ethnic heritage in exchange for becoming white, that is, accepting and expecting white privileges, and a sense of superiority over peoples of color, especially African Americans.
This assimilation process began in the 17th century, when the European colonial elite in Virginia began to call European indentured servants “white,” instead of “Christian” or “Englishmen” or “Irishmen,” in order to give them a sense of distinction and separation from servants of African ancestry. Each subsequent generation of European immigrants has gained acceptance into the white mainstream when they have begun to act in accordance with white bonding, and the majority of their organized ethnic sector have consented, by silence or action, to the oppression of peoples of color.
(For example, see David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. Verso Press, London, 1991., Chap. 7 “Irish American Workers and White Racial Formation in the Antebellum United States.”)
2. White culture appropriates elements of European ethnic cultures in order to increase the ethnic grouping’s sense of assimilation. For example, pasta became “spaghetti” and is now available in your local super market.

3. The culture of white nationalism has transformed pride and love of country (patriotism) into a glorification of the military conquest of nations of color. Historically, this military conquest has always been justified by religion: Pilgrims took the land from the “heathens.” It was “manifest destiny” for the U.S. to conquer Mexico in 1848. It was “God’s will” to make the world “safe” for democracy. God was on the side of the “smart bombs” that obliterated a hundred thousand Iraqis.

4. Under the guise of the imperial we, white nationalism assumes that the United States can interfere in every nation of color in the world, and that somehow that intervention will be beneficial to the residents of that nation. The current justification for this national arrogance is “bringing democracy” or the “free enterprise system” (i.e. capitalism) to the invaded nation.
(* The term “white nationalism” is used by the noted African American historian John Henrik Clarke. I first heard it in an interview by Dr. Kwaku Person—Lynn taped in 1991, and aired during KPFA’s African Mental Liberation Weekend of May 17, 1992.)


U.S. “history” is based on a lie. Neither children’s nor adult textbooks tell us that the United States was created by invasion, conquest, land theft, genocide and slavery: that, in its foundations, it is a white supremacy state. Instead, history writers fabricate an “America” as a land embodying the Declaration of Independence: a nation based on freedom, justice and equality for all its peoples.
The historians also ignore, or trivilialize, the continuous history of resistance by peoples of color against this unjust foundation. Young people learning about the African American freedom struggle of the 1960’s are taught that it all rested on Martin Luther King having a dream, and not the massive organization of millions of African American people and their allies.
Without a thorough understanding of the U.S. past, there is no way we can adequately understand how white supremacy works today, or to plan strategies to challenge it. Our political vision gets framed in a thirty second sound bite.


Absence and falsification of a nation’s historical memory fosters a personal and collective denial of responsibility for racial injustice and oppression, past and present. White people say, “I didn't own any slaves,” as if living in a system whose wealth was created by enslaved African labor did not directly benefit their ancestors. Liberal whites assert, “I don't see color; I just see people;” a statement of unwillingness to look at reality. Whites of conscience justify their unwillingness to protest racial injustice by complaining that, “I have no power,” when any accurate reading of history indicates that organized protest creates the power to effectively challenge racial injustice.

Denial of responsibility for racial injustice takes many forms. Among the most common are: + Blaming people of color, the targets of racial injustice, for the effects of that injustice; + Promoting “equal responsibility” theories for addressing the effects of racial oppression; + Hiding the centrality of institutional promotion and perpetuation of racial injustice (the ‘one bad apple’ mythology); + Focusing “blame” on one individual’s behavior, rather than looking at the institutional and cultural context for that behavior; + Tokenism: the effort to overturn racism in a white institution by hiring one person of color in a leadership position, while leaving the racist politics, practice and power intact; + Judging racial oppression by the intent of the oppressor rather than effect on the oppressed; + Speaking and writing with racially color—coded terms, such as “criminal,” “illegal alien,” “welfare mother,” “drug dealer,” “gang,” etc., instead of the racial epithets that were common before the end of legal apartheid in the 1960’s.
How can you tell when a white person is denying personal responsibility for racial injustice? Listen for the “but.” “I'm not a racist, but...”
How can you tell when a white person is denying collective responsibility of white people and white institutions for racial injustice? Look for the passive or inactive voice in the verbs. Such as, “The indigenous people died of many diseases.” or “The young man was made homeless...”


Eurocentrism is a term used to describe a world view which puts European thinking, values, civilization, history, geography, art and people at the center of its perspective. The lives and cultures of peoples from Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Arab world are put on the margins, or else ignored entirely.

“Eurocentric culture,” which in the United States is a core part of white culture, needs to be distinguished from “European cultures,” that is, the particular cultural expressions of different peoples and nations which reside on the European continent.

Defensive white culturalists often call criticisms of Eurocentrism, “Europe bashing.” That is nonsense. Critics are not saying, “Don’t listen to Mozart.” What they are saying is, “Mozart is to European classical music what John Coltrane is to African/American classical music: both are giants in their fields, and should be studied and valued as such.

Most aspects of Eurocentrism were brought to this continent by the European invaders and their biographers. It has been reinforced through the centuries and still dominates educational, scientific and media institutions today. In my opinion, some aspects of what is criticized as Eurocentric are wholly destructive; other aspects are destructive only when they are used to marginalize or ignore other forms of thinking and values. I will try to distinguish between the two:

Examples of wholly destructive ways of thinking;

+ Power as domination over others, rather than power as creative capacity to act; + Either/or logic; as distinguished from a both/and way of thinking; + Destruction, rather than stewardship, of the earth, air and water; + Ownership, rather than stewardship of the land; i.e., land as “private property;” + Ownership of people as private property; + “Despiritualization” of the universe; + Separation of human from connectedness and responsibility in the world; + Violence toward other beings as an expression of manhood; + Belief that one’s religion must be brought to others; “it’s god’s will;” + View of time as linear, including belief in inevitable “progress;” + Belief that there is only one truth, and if you don't see it, you’re damned. + The continent of Europe, or North America, is at the center of the world.

Examples of views that are destructive only when they marginalize other views: + Knowledge can be gained from reasoning, analysis, measurement and counting; + The knower and known are separable; + Sex is an expression of love; + A purpose of families is to create and nurture the next generation of human beings; + European and European American men have created beautiful literature and art.
* *( For a comprehensive critique of Eurocentrism, see Marimba Ani, Yurugu: An African— Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior. N.J: Africa World Press, 1994)

Eurocentrism, especially when it gets mixed with the rest of white culture, and sold as a capitalist commodity, promotes a mix of culture that is homogenous, lacking and fearful of diversity. It stifles people’s minds, puts them in a box. It is extremely boring. And, like ‘white bread,’ it comes in a pretty package but has no nutritional value.
(* Inspired by "The Wonder—breading of our Country,” a chapter in the pamphlet, The Subjective Side of Politics by Margo Adair and Sharon Howell. Available from Tools for Change; P.O. Box 14141; San Francisco, Ca. 94114. Phone 415—861—6838.)


Some African centered scholars say that European cultures developed a belief in the value of violence thousands of years ago, when the earliest peoples on the European continent were struggling to survive in a hostile climate, with few sources of food and shelter. Men in these early tribes had to kill to survive and feed their families. If there were no immediate sources of food available in the forest, they would raid another tribe’s food, often killing tribal members in the process. Norse and Viking mythology which glorifies the bloody warrior, testifies to the accuracy of this analysis.
(See especially the theory of the Two Cradles of Civilization as articulated by Cheikh Anta Diop in The Cultural Unity of Black Africa. Chicago: Third World Press, 1978.)

Europe at the time of the invasion of the Americas and Africa was rife with violence. The English tortured, starved and killed thousands of Irish. Feudal landlords threw hapless peasants off their lands, sending them to the cities to beg and starve. The Catholic Church ordered the burning of thousands of women at the stake as witches in Northern Europe; and expelled the Jews and Moors from Spain during the Inquisition.
Virtually every method of brutality that the Europeans would practice on the indigenous and African peoples had already been tried out and perfected on other Europeans.

See Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race. Volume One: Racial Oppression and Social Control. New York: Verso Press, 1994; Karl Marx, excerpts from “The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism,” in Edwards, Reich and Weisskopf, eds., The Capitalist System. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972; the film “The Burning Times;” and Jan Carew, “The end of the Moorish enlightenment and the beginning of the Columbian Era,” in Race and Class: The Curse of Columbus. Vol. 33, January—March 1992, #3.).

In the United States, white rulers never hesitated to inflict violence on oppressed whites. The Pilgrim fathers burnt young women at the stake in Salem. Mine owners hired armies to gun down working class families during bitter strikes in mining towns. Landlords regularly evict tenants who fall behind in their rent. And today’s multi—national capitalists cheerfully throw millions of workers out of work while they rake in billions in profits.

But the most sustained, wide spread, and socially acceptable forms of violence have been, and still are, waged against peoples of color. The United States as a nation state was founded with violence: mass murder of millions of indigenous people, the nefarious Middle Passage during which millions of Africans died; the system of chattel slavery which lasted 300 years; and the brutal war against Mexico in which thousands of Mexican people were slaughtered by U.S. troops. The United States still invades nations of color, murdering and starving thousands.

“Socially sanctioned violence” means just that —— violence that is accepted, tacitly or actively, by the majority of a society. In the U.S., only the forms of violence against people of color have changed over the centuries, not the content or result.
For example, lynching was an acceptable form of white violence against African Americans and Chicanos until a few decades ago. Now that same role is provided by police in communities of color each night. The form is now hidden from white view; the content and result are the same. Another example: in the 19th century, white squatters stole Indian land with the consent of Congress. Today, corporations buy and pollute that land, still with the consent of Congress. Both forms of violence kill people; they just employ different forms of laws.


White culture creates and recreates carefully manipulated racialized emotions in peoples of color and in white people. For people of color, internalized racism may produce feelings of low self-esteem and a distrust of other peoples of color. The effects of pervasive, systemic racism produce emotions of suppressed and explosive rage. Most often the rage is taken out on other peoples of color. Periodically it emerges in a communal explosion, such as in the Los Angeles uprising. On a daily basis, suppressed rage can be deadly to one’s mental and physical health, producing symptoms similar to those called post traumatic stress syndrome which is common to those who have lived their lives in a war zone.
For white people, the most common emotions are a complex of guilt and sense of powerlessness; a combination of fear, hatred, contempt and fascination especially for African Americans; and an obsession with racialized sex. (The following comments make no attempt to explain these emotional phenomena from a psychological view, but merely to comment on them.)

As a political organizer, I believe that guilt is closely related to a sense of powerlessness. On the positive side, emotions of guilt demonstrate that a human being has not lost all his/her humanity: she still feels vaguely responsible for social injustice. But when she chooses not to act, maintaining that she is powerless, her guilt then emotionally paralyzes her, to the point that she cannot or will not act. (For a satirical expression of this, see Jan Adams and Rebecca Cordon’s “The Wackos at the Anti—Racism Conference” in the Exercise Manual.) I do not believe that feelings of guilt and powerlessness can be resolved by talking. You have to break the cycle and act. In an individual, “Power is the creative capacity to act.”
I believe that fear of Black men is the most important racially manipulated emotion that has held white people captive to the white supremacy system since the colonial era. Some of this fear has its historical origins in white ruling class terror of slave revolts. This fear is in some senses justified, since organized rebellions of African Americans have, since the colonial period, have been the most significant threats to the white supremacy system.
Other whites fear that African Americans would treat them as they have treated African Americans, if African Americans had the opportunity. They fear any organized action of Black people, whether a small group of men walking down the street, or an independent African American organization. There is no historical justification for this fear. It is racially manipulated.
Some of this fear is sexually based, again with its origins in the period of slavery. White males routinely raped women of African descent. After the defeat of Reconstruction, white men and women joined in lynching and castrating African American men, justifying their barbarity with the myth that Black men were raping white women. Anti—racist analysts like Jacquelyn Dowd Hall (“The Mind that Burns in Each Body,” in Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology, edited by Margaret Anderson and Patricia Hill Collins; Belmont: Wadsworth Press, 1992, pp. 397—412) see this sexual barbarism as linked to projections of white male actions onto Black males. This sexual obsession continues unabated today.
Many whites fear that Blacks will wipe out the “white race.” Dr. Frances Cress Welsing asserts in her “Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism/White Supremacy,” (The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors. Chicago: Third World Press, 1991) that whites fear the genetic annihilation of the white race. The majority of whites fear losing any form of political, economic or cultural power or privileges. The expression of these fears has been historically lethal for people of color. Enraged whites time and again have acted violently toward peoples of color. In fact, white mob violence has been a staple of white culture throughout U.S. history.


White progressive activists are not immune to any of the cultural expressions of white supremacy predominant in the rest of white society. But there are two forms which seem to be particularly deep—rooted in our history: false universals and false analogies.
False universals: A false universal is a statement which purports to speak for all people, but in reality, speaks only for some (those who are white). The classic example is: “All men are created equal,” the famous statement from the Declaration of Independence. While the statement: has inspired generations of peoples’ struggles for equality, justice and democracy; it is also an expression of the fundamental contradiction of U.S. democratic ‘ideals. The writers of the Declaration of Independence did not intend “all men” to include men of African or Native American descent. The term may not have even included all white men, but only those who owned some property. And it certainly was not meant to include any women, regardless of national origins or class background.
The use of the false universal plagues white progressive discourse to this day. We talk of the women’s movement, the environmental movement, the anti—war movement. But what we mean is the white women’s, the white environmental, and the white anti—war movement. Our false universalism allows us to ignore or trivialize the leadership role that activists of color play in the movements for women’s liberation, environmental justice, and peace and justice, at home and abroad.
False analogies: A false analogy is a comparison between two sets of experiences which emphasizes their similarities and blots out their differences. The use of false analogies, like the use of false universals, originated in the period when white colonists were fighting for independence from Britain. Protesting Britain’s Sugar Act of 1764, John Dickinson of Pennsylvania said,
“Those who are taxed without their own consent expressed by themselves or their representatives.. .are slaves. We are taxed without our consent expressed by ourselves or our representatives. We are therefore...slaves"
(quoted in A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. In the Matter of Color: Race and the American Legal Process: The Colonial Period. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. p. 375)
Ironically, the tax against which the indignant colonists were protesting was a tax on the profits from their slave trade. Thus, it is not surprising that these same rebellious colonists did not think of freeing their enslaved Africans when they freed themselves from the “slavery” of English domination.
Throughout U.S. history, white progressive activists have compared our oppression to that of slavery, or to racism against African Americans, in order to win support for our own struggles. White male workers, brutally exploited by 19th century capitalists, called themselves wage slaves. White women’s rights activists of the same period analogized their oppression to slavery.
The contemporary white womens movement, born out of the African American freedom struggles of the 1960’s, compared the oppression they experienced from sexism to the experience of being oppressed by racism. And in 1993, white gays and lesbians, struggling to end the homophobic ban on their open participation in the military, have often compared their struggle to that of African Americans who demanded an end to segregation in the same institution.
When we use these analogies, we wipe out the distinct history of white supremacy’s impact on peoples of color, especially African Americans. We do not need to use false analogies to demonstrate that non—ruling class white people suffer oppression. Our history is our legacy. Understanding our own oppressions requires us to respect the differences between our histories and the histories of the diverse peoples of color in the United States.
This lengthy piece on THE CULTURE OF WHITE SUPREMACY was written in September, 1994 by Sharon Martinas and the Challenging White Supremacy Workshop. Please consider this a draft. Your comments, criticisms and suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. Contact the CWS Workshop.


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Freedom on the front line

By Peter Aspden
Published: December 17 2010 19:19 | Last updated: December 17 2010 19:19
In Mr Smith Goes to Washington, currently playing at the British Film Institute as part of its Frank Capra season, James Stewart plays an ingenuous and, in truth, rather dim US senator who is set up by conspirators to do their dirty work for them. He is asked by the press if he has brought any big ideas to Congress. “Well yes,” he replies shyly, “a big summer camp where boys can learn about ‘nature and American ideals’.” How would it be financed? Why, the grateful boys would gradually pay the nation back, in “nickels and dimes”, if need be.
Although this sounds spookily similar to the UK’s present higher education policy, be assured that those were different times. Capra’s films were admired for their high-minded idealism (more often than not held by lowly figures). Yet they were also derided, even at the time, for their off-the-scale cornball factor.
The montage in which Mr Smith tours Washington for the first time, all stars and stripes and lofty nouns, appears faintly ridiculous, not least to Jean Arthur’s hard-bitten secretary, who explains that she arrived in the city with “big, blue question marks” in her eyes, only for them to turn into “big, green dollar signs”.
When Mr Smith decides to take on the forces of darkness, he is mocked further. He is “David without a slingshot”. But he defies the odds and does the decent thing. And he wins. And the whole cinema-viewing world raised a silent cheer to the power of goodness.
Except it wasn’t quite the whole world.
Such was the popularity of Mr Smith with the American public that it was regarded as a cultural masterclass for those parts of the globe that were slow in learning to appreciate the supremacy of American values. During the cold war weekly screenings of the film were held in Cairo, until a field officer asked his superiors to put a stop to them, as the backlash they provoked far outweighed their positive effects. It was a vivid example of how tricky cultural diplomacy can be.
Western powers have moved a long way since the stuttering homilies of Jimmy Stewart were regarded as a powerful propaganda tool. More subtle weapons are used in today’s battle of ideas. According to recent WikiLeaks revelations, it is television comedies such as Friends and Desperate Housewives that are highly rated by diplomats for attracting young foreigners to the American way of life.
We could deconstruct those programmes to tease out the threads that make them such effective ambassadors but we would be overlooking some of their more obvious charms: Jennifer Aniston, Eva Longoria, shiny hair, bright dental work, good jokes, and a moral universe that, though rattled, remains cheerfully intact.
There is nothing here about the founding fathers or the primacy of individual liberty. But there are plenty of evidently free people, choosing to live their lives as they wish, in attractive circumstances. American life is desirable here, not because of the values it espouses but because of its very modernity. That is the dividend of hegemony. Richer countries make for shinier hair.
. . .
They make for great art too. When the CIA championed abstract expressionism during the cold war, it was to hammer home the point that America’s artists could do whatever they liked. Those works also happened to be among the most vital and highly prized of the century. The Soviet Union retaliated with orchestras and dance troupes ever better-drilled and steeped in tradition. They, too, were magnificent. But they didn’t thrillingly push artistic boundaries forward in the way that a Jackson Pollock action painting did.
It is a dilemma for public policy makers: the most effective cultural ambassadors are rarely those with the most explicit messages. The international tours of the “jambassadors”, some of the great jazz musicians of the postwar years, were popular and highly acclaimed. But the musicians themselves, like the abstract expressionists, just wanted to weave new patterns for their art forms, not make fatuous statements of cultural superiority. Louis Armstrong, resentful at being used to illustrate the progress of the “Negro Race”, pointedly refused to go to the Soviet Union.
As long as the US remains a cultural hegemon, it will continue to make art that will be attractive to the whole world. No one outside the Tea Party wants to hear lectures about the US Constitution but everyone loves a sexy movie star. How to harness that power? Well, you can’t. That’s the pesky thing about freedom.
A coda: just three years after making Mr Smith, Frank Capra was forced to make his political views more explicit, as he attempted to persuade his fellow Americans of the necessity of going to war in a series of propaganda films. In the first of these, Prelude to War, showing at the BFI on Saturday, we see the startling footage of the Nazi officer (not, as commonly held, Hermann Goering) who boasts that he pulls out his revolver whenever he hears the word “culture”. As he delivers the infamous phrase, he really does pull out his revolver.
Poor Mr Smith. He didn’t have a clue.
‘Rediscovering Frank Capra’ is at the British Film Institute, London
Abstracts on Englishness

Anna Gruetzner Robins [Monday, 2 - 3.30: panel 1]

Walter Sickert: Art and Nation

Walter Sickert (1860-1942) is the essential, perhaps even the pre-eminent, English modernist. But does Englishness adequately reflect Sickert's identity? The facts are that Sickert had a successful exhibition in Paris, attracted the attention of French critics, and makes frequent mention of French art in his own writings. There is little point in overlaying an outworn modernist paradigm that privileges French art on Sickert's career, but neither should his Englishness be the sole determinant of his identity. Englishness and Frenchness are narrow, excluding and exclusive categories reflecting the intense debates around art and nation that circulated in the artist's lifetime. Sickert's personal biography - born in Munich, family emigrated to Britain, moved to France, considered taking out French citizenship, fluent in five languages, exhibited extensively abroad - suggests a fluid set of artistic and national identities that appear to challenge an essentialist positioning of his work based on Englishness. Throughout his career Sickert was an active participant in exhibition forums in Britain and abroad. In the 1890s , British critics thought his art was tainted with a French influence. Between 1900 and 1910 when he was a significant contributor to Paris exhibition culture, French critics detected 'English' characteristics in his art. The testing ground for my analysis is the critical reception of Sickert, but the focus of the enquiry will be issues of identity. I do not propose to focus on Sickert's own shifting self-ascription but to look at the art criticism as a mirror of larger issues.These critical responses will be treated as a floating signifier, a holding space for diverse and conflicting expressions of Englishness and 'un-Englishness'.


Grischka Petri [Monday, 2 - 3.30: panel 1]

Whistler and the Internationalisation of the Art Markets in the 1880s and 1890s

The 'Internationalism of the Arts' at the fin de siècle has its commercial aspects. The art markets underwent a process of internationalisation with American demand serving as an important catalyst. Finding himself in the middle of this process, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), an American artist then resident in London and Paris, turns out to be an interesting case study.

In the second half of the 1880s, Whistler became President of the Society of British Artists, taking efforts to give the society a more internationalist character, e.g. inviting foreign artists to exhibit. After he was dismissed as president, Whistler organised the cultural exchange from the other direction and now concentrated on exhibiting on the Continent, e.g. in Brussels, Munich, and Paris, where he was warmly received in Symbolist circles. He accumulated considerable cultural capital in France, culminating in the purchase of the portrait of the artist's mother by the French government in 1891, which also changed his image in England.

However, the 'internationalist optimism' manifested itself mainly in commercial terms. Where institutions turned out to be conservative, the international markets offered opportunities to the cosmopolitan. After the Civil War, American demand for European art (in particular for French paintings) grew rapidly. American collectors bought mainly in Paris - a fact also discussed by English artists and critics such as William Laidlay. Whistler continually showed his work in Paris during the 1880s and 1890s. He publicly compared the 'French reputation' of his work to the perceived philistinism of the English. By associating himself with 'French quality', Whistler met a particular demand from a certain type of art collectors of his home country. In short, he generated an artistic reputation in Paris which he used to sell his work in New York. He thus benefited commercially from his 'Continental' reputation.

The conference subject of 'Internationalism and the Arts' is investigated from the angle of a particular artist's response to the internationalisation of his markets, taking account of opportunities and limitations.


Pamela Fletcher [Monday, 2 - 3.30: panel 1]

Cosmopolitan Connoisseurs: The Commercial Art Gallery and Its Publics

The institution of the modern commercial art gallery emerged in London in the mid-nineteenth century, and the gallery system rapidly became a dominant force in the exhibition and sale of contemporary art. This expansion of the late Victorian art market has generally been attributed to a new class of mercantile patrons and their commitment to the work of living British artists. Intriguingly, however, many of the earliest commercial galleries in London were premised on a cosmopolitan appeal. By the 1870s and 1880s many of London's most prestigious galleries had tied their public identities to contemporary international art, including the French Gallery, the German Gallery, the Scandinavian Gallery, and the Belgian Gallery.

In this paper, I will examine the development of these new spaces for the consumption of modern art and their accompanying rhetoric of cosmopolitan connoisseurship, arguing that their cosmopolitan appeal was central to their ability to carve out a reputable niche in the art market. While the great public exhibition venues based their appeal on the ideal of a national art, commercial galleries used multiple strategies to fashion a different kind of identity and audience. Some made explicitly political claims for their international exhibitions, arguing that art could be a unifying cultural force. Others positioned themselves more visibly within a rhetoric of competitive nationalism, locating their enterprises within a discourse of the "British School" and its Continental rivals. And still others employed a more commercial language of fashionability to entice audiences to see the "latest things from Paris." Taken together, however, it is clear that the constitution of a cosmopolitan public for contemporary art was a key strategy in the commercialization and expansion of the late Victorian art world. As the proliferating private spaces of commercial galleries fragmented the ideal of a cohesive national public for art, they worked to identify their audiences with a larger cosmopolitan community, creating elite sub-publics in imagined communion with an international audience bound by taste.


Margaret MacDonald [Monday, 3.30 - 5: panel 2]

The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, 1898-1901

The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers (ISSPG) was established in 1897 by a group of artists led by James Guthrie, E. A. Walton and John Lavery.

Using archives of the University of Glasgow, Tate and V&A, this paper will explore the significance of an important but little known artistic movement of the fin-de-siècle. It reflects on-going research in the Centre for Whistler Studies into the history of the ISSPG from 1897-1917.

James McNeill Whistler was elected first president of the ISSPG, Auguste Rodin the second. It was cosmopolitan in its outlook - one of its original aims was 'the non-recognition of nationality in Art' - and artists from many different countries were invited to join an Honorary Council. The first exhibition was held in May 1898 at the Prince's Skating Club in Knightsbridge, with work on show from Italy, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Germany, France and America. I will focus on the first three exhibitions of the society, from 1898-1901, discussing the selection and display of works, the personalities and economics involved, and in particular, the involvement of print-makers, specifically targeted by Whistler.


Grace Brockington [Monday, 3.30 - 5: panel 2]

Women's Art Clubs and their Internationalist Aspirations

The fin de siècle saw a massive growth in international organisations, including those which promoted cultural exchange between European countries. This paper focuses on two such bodies, both of which distinguished themselves by being for women only. One was the Women's International Art Club, the other, the Ladies' Lyceum Club. Their pairing in this paper raises various issues. One concerns the scope and limitations of internationalism. What did the international element of these societies actually consist of? To what did they aspire, and to extent did they achieve it? Another is the question of gender. Was there any connection, real or perceived, between women and internationalism at this time? A third issue concerns the specifically cultural nature of the organisations. Why create an international art club? How does the implied association between art and the international affect our understanding of aesthetic developments c. 1900?The Women's International and the Lyceum adopted different strategies for developing an international network. This paper puts their aspirations in the context of contemporary debate about global organisation, emphasising the flaws in the available models of internationalism, but also contemporary critiques of those models. It argues that while the Women's International was anglocentric in its exhibiting policy, the Lyceum deliberately decentred its administration, insisting in the autonomy of the various branches of its global network of clubs. Both contributed towards a growing international women's movement, building a European-wide support network for professional women. In the case of the Lyceum, this network also supported a belief in women's superior qualities as peace makers. The Lyceum's programme of artistic exchange followed a pacifist agenda, which constructed a clear connection between cultural internationalism, and political cooperation between countries. In the decade before 1914, such rapprochement became increasingly urgent. Though ultimately futile, the Lyceum's pre-emptive programme of cultural exchange with Germany complicates received histories of Anglo-German enmity and unrelenting nationalism.


Rachel Sloan [Monday, 3.30 - 5: panel 2]

Lost in Translation: The French Rossetti

The reception of the Pre-Raphaelites in France has provoked steadily increasing scholarly interest over the past twenty years. However, the influence and critical fate of one of the key Pre-Raphaelites, the painter-poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, on the other side of the Channel, has yet to be adequately examined. One reason for this oversight may be the fact that, unlike his compatriots Edward Burne-Jones and George Frederic Watts, Rossetti's paintings were never exhibited in France, either during his lifetime or in the two decades after his death in 1882, when the Symbolist movement was in full flower. Yet reproductive prints and photographs after his pictures appear to have been readily available (and keenly collected by avant-garde poets) in Paris by the 1890s, and several leading Symbolist poets tried their hands at translating his poems.

The adage 'traduire, c'est trahir' (to translate is to betray) acquires a particular resonance in the case of the creation of a 'French Rossetti'; the problems inherent in translating literature from one language into another were, in his case, multiplied by the translation of his vibrantly coloured canvases into black-and-white reproductions. This paper will examine the transformation of the double work that exerted the strongest fascination in French Symbolist circles, the painting and poem The Blessed Damozel. The poem was first translated into French by Emile Blémont in 1872, with different versions by Gabriel Sarrazin and Clémence Couve (the last of which featured an introduction by the founder of the Salon de la Rose + Croix, Joséphin Péladan) in 1886 and 1887, with little or no reference to the painting. Claude Debussy set a heavily edited version of Sarrazin's translation as a cantata in 1888, finally publishing the score in 1893 with a cover design by the Nabi painter Maurice Denis, thus reuniting poem and painting and fusing them with music in a new total work of art in a manner which was both wildly unfaithful to the letter of the original and, I will argue, faithful to its spirit.


Myriam Boussahba-Bravard [Monday, 5.30 - 7: panel 3]

The International: A Review of the World's Progress, Britain 1907-1909

This monthly political periodical was launched in December 1907 in Britain, France and Germany by Dr Rudolf Broda. Throughout its chaotic life it was to have several other short-lived editions in Madrid , Prague and even for a shorter time in Russia. Examining the Documents du progrès and Dokumente des Forschritts shows what features the three main editions did and did not share. This gives some synchronic information on the construction of readership, commercial enterprise and vision of 'internationalism' in and for three different countries.

Dr Rudolf Broda (1880-1932) was a professor , jurist and sociologist who lived in Paris and lectured at the Collège libre des sciences sociales. As an Austrian German, a socialist and a trilingual person, he benefited from contacts and sympathies from the various communities to which he belonged. His personal linguistic gifts must have been essential when it came to reading periodicals, contacting the potential writers and editing their work.

The London edition is the main focus of this study while the French edition will be used to highlight common grounds and specificities between the two. In each national edition the contents, writers and hierarchy of articles draws a picture of 'internationalism' meaning in fact "Europe" and an international map based on European concerns. Whether this international geography was expected or assumed by the editors, they conveyed the resulting picture: a well-informed progressive community of academics and political actors who testified, analysed, wrote and read about social reform for the sake of their European or/and national readers. Perhaps even more interestingly, the making of both and each edition projects the definition of the sophisticated well-informed national readership as it was or as 'it should have been' according to the periodical.

The detailed study of the London edition will also be compared with contemporary British periodicals and their own definition of 'national concerns' and 'internationalism'. As the period was fraught with anxieties about certain European countries (especially Germany), with a mounting criticism of colonial practices (albeit not of imperialism as such) and with controversies about social reform within each country, this periodical documented "change" which it equated with 'progress' as the French English and German titles stated. How well and how long each national edition fared may also shed light on British perceptions of Britain versus 'a Eurocentric international' at the turn of the last century.


Neil Stewart [Monday, 5.30 - 7: panel 3]

Modern Views. The Czech Journal Moderní revue in the Context of Fin de Siècle Internationalism

The journal Moderní revue has for a long time been regarded as no more than a marginal element of Czech modernism by literary histories, especially by those written in Communist times. Published in Prague between 1894 and 1925 and edited by Arnošt Procházka (1869-1925) and Jirí Karásek (1871-1951), Moderní revue is often characterised as the mouthpiece of a group of avowedly "decadent" eccentrics and literary amateurs, isolated from the more substantial artistic movements and trends of the time.

My suggested contribution argues that this was not the case. Not only did the internationally acclaimed symbolist poet Otokar Brezina publish his early work in Moderní revue, the journal was also an important factor for the internationalisation of Czech literature itself. Procházka, Karásek and their followers were opposed to the artistic dogmas of realism as well as to the patriotic tone prevalent in Bohemian art around 1900. At a time when the tensions between the Czech and the German population of the Habsburg empire erupted in massive street fighting in Prague, the writers around Moderní revue did not join in the general political propaganda but offered their readers a programme of literary criticism and translations designed to overcome what they saw as the main problem of Bohemian culture: its European isolation and bourgeois provincialism. Czech translations of Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Ibsen, Verlaine, Wilde, Pater, Przybyszewski and, of course, Huysmans' A rebours appeared here for the first time, while the layout with its many illustrations was modelled on the great French and English journals of the time: "La Plume", "Mercure de France", and "The Yellow Book".

A single issue of Moderní revue worthy of special attention (and one that I will focus on my presentation) is the one dedicated to Oscar Wilde in 1895 on the occasion of his trial. It contains original translations and criticism of his work along with a defence of homosexuality by Oskar Panizza. Daringly outspoken as it is, this issue of Moderní revue may well be without parallel in the European literature of its day.


Wolfgang Sonne [Tuesday, 9.30 - 11: panel 4]

Andersen and Hébrard's World Centre of Communication: Celebration of Internationalism and International Style

Capital city planning around 1900 was in general characterised by nationalistic separatism and hegemonial colonialism. The plan for Washington in 1902 aimed at representing the US as a world leading Republic, plans for Berlin in 1910 searched for expression of military supremecy of the German Reich, the plan for New Delhi in 1913 aimed at installing lasting British hegemony over India using urban design and architectural style as deliberate means, while at the same time the capital of the Empire underwent substantial changes towards a monumental "Imperial London".

Against this context of antagonist ambitions the World Centre of Communication forms a remarkable contrast. Its major goal was to encourage international scientific exchange to promote international peace. Already its genesis was the result of an international and interdisciplinary process: initiated by the American sculptor Hendrik Christian Andersen who had Norwegian origins and lived in Rome, the monumental city for 1 million inhabitants was designed by the French Beaux-Arts architect Ernest Hébrard. It was published in two monumental volumes in 1913 and 1918 with contributions by French, British and Italian scientists. Furthermore it was distributed to all major heads of states, embassies and international libraries, and it was also promoted by Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine's Union des Associations Internationales.

Based on archivial sources from the Museo Andersen, this paper will explore both the ideology of internationalism which inspired this project and the artistic means which were meant to represent and enable international cultural exchange. A high-energetic symbolistic classicism for sculptures combined with exuberant Beaux-Arts classicism in architecture and large-scale geometric layout in urban design - all prepared by the series of World exhibitions - were the major artistic tools which aimed at creating an international culture as the peak of human development. Compared to its actually wide-spread dissemination, Beaux-Arts classicism can be interpreted as the first international style of the 20th century, and the World Centre as the emblematic artistic incarnation of internationalist ambitions in this era.


Stacey Loughrey Sloboda [Tuesday, 9.30 - 11: panel 4]

Grammars of Ornament: Internationalism and Modernity in British Design

In the decades following the Great Exhibition of All Nations at the Crystal Palace in 1851, British design underwent major stylistic and theoretical transformations that brought it within the aegis of an international consciousness. Rendered mute in the face of overwhelming evidence that nearly every country in the world had a more advanced stylistic language of design, British designers sought to create an international grammar of design principles and sources. Along with a systematic program of exhibiting designs and ornaments from Europe and beyond in the metropolis, the late nineteenth century saw the publication of numerous illustrated books and design manuals of world ornament. Comprised of thousands of pictorial examples of decorative motifs, color harmonies, and patterns from Asia, Africa, Oceania, and medieval and renaissance Europe, these books were an attempt to categorize the design history of the world into an easily legible system of classification that could be readily poached by European designers interested in creating a new international language of design. These designers and authors looked to the material past of pan-European culture and to an imagined contemporary visual culture of various non-Western civilizations in order to create global artistic language. That stylistic imitations of Chinese, Indian, and African forms and patterns constituted an imaginative Western solution to the formal problems of new industrial materials testifies to the extent to which British designers formulated a new concept of internationalism in the service of artistic inspiration. These artistic gestures occurred in the context of Germanic aesthetics, most notably those of Semper and Riegl, that explored the history of art as a stylistic history of global ornament. Thus, both artists and philosophers were interested in the stylistic potential for modern art that a global (if still selective) study of the history of art could provide. Likewise, the European study and appropriation of non-Western art reveals the ambiguous nature of colonial contact in the arts. Focusing on illustrated design manuals, this paper examines the artistic, philosophical, and political implications of a self-conscience internationalism in design, forged by British designers and fueled by German-speaking critics around the turn of the century, which created a pan-European sense of artistic heritage at the same time that it attempted to secure the global character of modern design. Included among these are James Fergusson, The Illustrated Handbook of Architecture (1855); Owen Jones, The Grammar of Ornament (1856), Christopher Dresser, Principles of Decorative Design (1870); G.C.M. Birdwood, The Industrial Arts of India (1880) and Portfolio of Indian Art (1881); John Sedding, Art and Handicraft (1894); F. Edward Hulme, The Birth and Development of Ornament (1894), Walter Crane, The Bases of Design (1898). 2 Gottfried Semper, Der Stil in den technischen und tektonischen Künsten (1860-63); Alois Riegl, Ältere orientalische Teppiche (1891), and Stilfragen (1893).


Judy Neiswander [Tuesday, 9.30 - 11: panel 4]

Cosmopolitan Design and the British Home, 1870-1914

For most of the twentieth century, popular media on the subject of interior design has been both hermetic and self-referential - the latest colours, the best new products, the 'ultimate' kitchen re-do are the only topics addressed in reference to the home. Television make-over programs and the army of 'shelter' magazines discuss the domestic interior exclusively in terms of formal values, divorced from the kind of life that is lived there. At the end of the 19th century this was not the case. Indeed, in the popular literature written about interior decoration - handbooks for 'those about to furnish,' articles in ladies magazines, in journals for the architectural profession and the decorating trades - the optimal interior, as a setting for the Good Life, was a subject of heated debate.

In the run-up to World War I, two vigorously defended points of view emerged. One group felt strongly that 'the British child should be raised by the British hearth' and that furnishings based upon the best of historic English traditions would provide the proper environment for nurturing the next generation of citizens. Others felt equally strongly that 'cosmopolitan' design, which distilled the best of all cultures, was superior. This illustrated paper will explore the issue of 'Cosmopolitan design' as it was articulated in the literature on interior decoration written between 1870 and the First World War - what was it? Who embraced it? Did it prevail in the interiors advocated? It will also set this concept within the context of the international Arts & Crafts movement and its manifestations in Britain and on the continent.


Andrzej Szczerski [Tuesday, 11.30 - 1: panel 5]

"The Arts & Crafts Movement and Central Europe - between 'national' and 'international' "

In my paper I would like to look at the cultural contacts between Great Britain and Central Europe (including Austria-Hungary and former lands of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) at the turn of the last century. In particular I shall look at the reception of the British Arts & Crafts Movement in design and architecture. The key point is the crucial role the A&C played in the foundation of national styles in Poland, Hungary, Bohemia and Slovakia. In those countries the British example inspired artists to discover the vernacular and folk art, which were perceived as the sources of national culture. The social message of the A&C played essential role in the national style ideology, too. In the same time the references to British art helped to frame the idea of 'national style' in the international context and present it as the European phenomenon.

But the exchange was twofold. Some British protagonist of the Arts & Crafts Movement, as well as British periodical 'The Studio', were aware of and acknowledged the design revival in Central Europe. Yet they mainly focused on the discovery of true handicraft on the 'fringes' of Europe, which inspired Central European national styles. Walter Crane and Charles R. Ashbee traveled in Bohemia and Hungary to experience, what Crane called, "Ruskinian" utopia - forgotten villages, where the pace of life has not changed since the Middle Ages. Thus e.g. Transylvanian peasant communities could become an inspiration for the contemporary British society and the developed world. The 'provincial' was elevated to the status of the 'universal'.

The British-Central European exchange demonstrates various relations between 'national' and 'international' c. 1900. It also helps to understand the current idea of art as the common and unifying factor in the life of individuals and nations.


Alba Irollo [Tuesday, 11.30 - 1: panel 5]

"Walter Crane's Bible, "an artistic compendium" of the Fin de Siècle"

At the turn of the last century, Britain lead the way in the field of publishing, mostly of illustrated books. The Kelmscott Press, created by William Morris, left its mark, and after Morris's death in 1896, Walter Crane became the most eminent book illustrator in Europe. There was enormous demand for his work, and thanks to translations, his essays enjoyed a wide circulation. In 1895, he became involved in the ambitious project of creating an illustrated Bible. Starting in the Netherlands, but conceived as an international collaboration, it was co-ordinated by a Limited Society composed of artists, editors and art merchants and forming a network all over Europe. 26 artists from all over Europe and America, some of world importance, contributed the 100 plates to illustrate the Bible, while Crane made all the typographic decorations. The resulting Bible appears as a beautiful book in Modern Style / Art Nouveau, the style of the Fin de Siècle. It was shown for the first time in London in 1901 and promoted by "The Illustrated London News".

The Limited Society of the Illustrated Bible worked for fifteen years (1895-1911) as a bridge between Great Britain, the homeland of illustrated books, and the rest of Europe. The Bible had several editions: it was published in Dutch, English, Latin, German, Italian and American (each has the same plates, only the text changes), but today it is unknown. This presentation draws on original archival material to uncover its history, and establish its importance as an international collaboration in publishing and illustration.


Rosalind P. Blakesley [Tuesday, 11.30 - 1: panel 5]

"The Pre-Raphaelites in Russia"

There has of late been much scholarly interest in the reception of the work of the Pre-Raphaelites outside Britain, and in the role which the ideas and practice of figures such as Gabriel Dante Rossetti played within that expansion. Russia, though, has received relatively little attention, largely because of the linguistic and logistical obstacles which Western scholars working in Russia face. This paper aims to address the imbalance by focusing on the way in which some of the ideas of the Pre-Raphaelites were introduced into Russia, and appropriated or paralleled in Russian art. One must be cautious in assessing the Russian reception of the Pre-Raphaelites, for in Russia the term has been used far more loosely than in Britain, stretching to encompass artists such as Aubrey Beardsley and even J. W. M. Turner. Here, the focus will be on members of the 'second generation' of Pre-Raphaelites, namely Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and Walter Crane. By tracing conduits of their ideas into Russia through the activities of specific artists, critics and publications at the turn of the century, the paper will shed new light on a rich and influential aspect of British-Russian artistic exchange.


Drew Milne [Tuesday, 2 - 3.30: panel 6]

Nijinsky's Faune and the International Modernism of the Ballets Russes in Paris and London

This paper considers the reception of Nijinsky's L'Après-Midi d'un Faune and the challenges posed by Nijinsky's dancing and choreography to academic ballet tradition and perceptions of performance culture. Against the view which sees Faune's break with ballet's classicism as a key moment in European modernism, the argument explores awkwardnesses in understanding the Ballets Russes as a modernist institution. The Diaghilev formula for a late symbolist theatre, a Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk comes into crisis in Nijinsky's Faune. There are strains between different elements: Mallarmé's poetic analogue; Debussy's music; Bakst's costumes and scenic design; Nijinsky's choreography and dancing; Baron de Meyer's photographic bookwork. How far does Nijinksy's Faune establish the autonomy of its choreographed forms to suggest a performance event resistant to assimilation within performance history? Ballet, like silent cinema, is perhaps less dependent on language for its reception across international and inter-cultural contexts, and thus more easily translated into an international phenomenon. Nijinsky's Faune generated public controversy when it was performed in Paris, and to a lesser degree when it was performed in London. Different contexts offer an intriguing case study for accounts of the reception of late nineteenth century poetics and aesthetics. This discussion suggests ways in which currents across different art forms are collaboratively bound up with performance culture, and that this performance culture should be more central to understandings of modernism.


Katherine Cockin [Tuesday, 2 - 3.30: panel 6]

Art Theatre, Englishness and International Exchange: Edith Craig, J. T. Grein and The Pioneer Players 1911-25

The Pioneer Players theatre society, noted for its support of the women's suffrage movement and its challenges to the restrictive powers of the Lord Chamberlain, was also responsible for the production in London of numerous significant plays in translation. From 1915 the Pioneer Players attempted to establish itself as an 'art theatre' and with a fraction of the membership and funds of the Stage Society, it succeeded in bringing challenging dramatic experiments to London during the First World War. The Pioneer Players brought to the English stage the work of dramatists from Russia, France, Spain, Italy and Holland, such as plays by Nikolai Evreinov, Leonid Andreiev, Paul Claudel, Jose Echegeray, Salvatore di Giacomo, Gerolamo Rovetta, and Herman Heijermanns. Reviewed in the national press and by such critics as Desmond McCarthy and Virginia Woolf, the work of the Pioneer Players is that of London's forgotten art theatre. In 1914, Christopher St John's translation of Paphnutius was performed by the Pioneer Players in the first modern production of a play by the tenth-century nun, Hrotsvit, said to the be first female dramatist. The significance of this act of scholarship and recovery is clear unlike the performance context: the other challenging and topical plays about prostitution in the society's programme. Other plays produced during the First World War engaged with the cultural panic about female sexuality, exemplified by a dramatisation of Pierre Louys' 'The Girl and The Puppet'. This paper will explore the range of plays produced in translation by the Pioneer Players theatre society, establishing some of the political, diplomatic and cultural networks arising from this activity. Edith Craig's role in the society as its director will be considered in the context of art theatre as it was developing outside England and, in some cases, with the involvement of her brother, Edward Gordon Craig.


Tore Rem [Tuesday, 3.30 - 5: panel 7]

Ibsenism, insularity and internationalism

The early British reception of Ibsen is characterised by massive hostility, but also by considerable openness. Years before the first breakthrough of the Ibsen campaign - the production of A Doll's House in 1889 - the struggle for Ibsen involved a number of people and groups who were later to become influential in British literary life. Ibsen became a cause, and his works, and the appropriations of his works, challenged not just the status quo, but also British attitudes towards the North, the Continent, and foreignness more generally. Implicitly, Ibsen therefore helped mobilise various notions of Englishness.

Even if a more general understanding of the early reception of Ibsen in Britain, and his international status, will inform this paper, it will focus on a particular relationship which was brought up in the Ibsen debate. This is the use of Shakespeare as comparison and contrast. Several central participants in these debates compared the great, canonical and English playwright with the radical, uncanonised and Norwegian dramatist. Related to such a comparison was an understanding of Northernness, Europeanism, and internationalism, and a discussion of the allegedly suburban and provincial traits in Ibsen.


James Mansell [Tuesday, 3.30 - 5: panel 7]

'John Foulds: Manchester Modernist'

Born in Manchester in 1880, the son of a Hallé orchestra bassoonist, John Foulds grew up during the 'English Musical Renaissance,' that proliferation of nationalist composing from Stanford and Parry to Elgar and Vaughan Williams which established a distinctly English-sounding music at a time when composers all over Europe were turning to national folk idioms for inspiration. Although neglected in his lifetime and largely forgotten today, Foulds stands out for his rejection of this trend: 'Real music is not national - not even international,' he argues, '- but supranational'. By the time he had himself joined the Hallé as a cellist in 1900, Foulds had already begun to develop his unique compositional voice. His early attempts at experimentation show a deep affiliation with the late Romantic European masters, but include very early use of quarter tones (usually associated with the inter-war avant-garde), which he used alongside ancient and oriental modes (as Debussy was doing in France) to pursue an expansion of late Romantic style unlike any other in Britain at this time. This paper will consider the contexts of both the genesis of this musical modernism and Foulds' internationalism, which eventually led him to work for several years in Paris, before moving to Calcutta to work for the All-India Radio. These will include Foulds' musical upbringing in Manchester, his work with composers and musicians from across Europe while a member of the Hallé, and his interest in Eastern mysticism. It will also examine several musical examples in detail in order to demonstrate how music can be used as a source in cultural history, and more specifically, the relationship between musical and non-musical ideas in the fin-de-siècle climate of political and cultural upheaval.


Daniel Laqua [Wednesday, 9.30-11.00: panel 8]

'Small-Nations Internationalism' and the Totality of Knowledge: the Work of Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine

This presentation examines the work of two key protagonists of Belgian internationalism, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, who - in addition to many other activities - founded the International Institute of Bibliography (1895) and the Union of International Associations (1910). As part of these projects, they campaigned for international bibliographic standards and developed the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC), whilst also promoting closer cooperation among international non-governmental organisations and demanding the establishment of an 'intellectual League of Nations' after World War I. In discussing the efforts of Otlet and La Fontaine, I will highlight how 'internationalism' could nourish a comprehensive view of the world, combining sciences, the arts and politics. Their plans for a Cité Mondiale - elaborated from 1912 onwards - built upon this wide-ranging interpretation of internationalism.

Fitting such universal aspirations, Otlet's and La Fontaine's bibliographic work was meant to classify and represent the 'totality of human knowledge'. The work of the International Institute of Bibliography was markedly different from a contemporary British undertaking, the Royal Society's International Catalogue of Scientific Literature. Whilst some may therefore emphasise the ambitious or quasi-utopian nature of Otlet's and La Fontaine's undertakings, their projects highlight that political, professional, academic and artistic internationalism were deeply intertwined. In dealing with this specific manifestation of fin-de-siècle internationalism, I will also consider the interplay between national and international frameworks of action. Small nations such as Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands were important centres of internationalism, and national networks could be used for internationalist purposes, as the work of Otlet and La Fontaine demonstrates.


Anne Leonard [Wednesday, 9.30-11.00: panel 8]

Internationalist in spite of themselves: Britain and Belgium at the fin-de-siècle

Why Britain and Belgium? Between 1870 and 1914 Britain served as a valued buffer, first culturally between France and Belgium, later militarily between Germany and Belgium. Especially notable in the cultural realm were the ties between Britain and Les XX, the avant-garde art movement based in Brussels from 1883 to 1893. Two members of Les XX, James Ensor and Willy Finch, had English parents; the foreign artists invited to exhibit at the group's annual salons included Walter Crane, Edward Burne-Jones, and William Morris; and abundant evidence attests to the profound influence of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood on Fernand Khnopff, among other examples.

All the same, this paper will argue that some of the artistic initiatives which appeared internationalist at face value actually reinforced nationalist rivalries. Khnopff's contributions as the special Brussels correspondent to the London-based periodical The Studio are frequently cited as an example of cross-Channel cultural outreach, for instance, yet as I will show, Belgian chauvinism is hardly absent from his articles.

Conversely, internationalism in the given context often emerged as an unintended by-product of impulses that were nationalistic in origin. For example, the founding articles of Les XX embodied strongly nationalist principles: no non-Belgian was to be allowed membership in the group. (Only three exceptions were made throughout Les XX's ten years of existence.) Still, Les XX embraced the British Arts and Crafts movement, with the result that Belgium did more than any other Continental country to promulgate it. International attention and prestige ensued, paradoxically for a reformist movement rooted in local craft tradition.

Perhaps the greatest irony involves the militant rhetoric used by Les XX to mobilize their avant-garde campaign. This vocabulary of combat, appropriated from Richard Wagner's revolutionary activities in 1848, served nonetheless to unite avant-gardists, Wagnerists, and socialists across national boundaries, including in Britain.


Marysa Demoor [Wednesday, 9.30-11.00: panel 8]

The British-Belgian cultural connection at the turn of the century: Laurence Binyon as a middleman

In this paper I want to look at the poet and orientalist Laurence Binyon (1869 -1943) as a crucial link between the Flemish artistic scene and British art at the fin de siècle. His contacts with Flemish and Belgian authors, artists and art connoisseurs proves there to have been an intensive exchange of ideas between Flanders and Great Britain in the late nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth century.

So far, there has been comparatively little interest in the Flemish influence on British art among British and American art and literary historians. But the Belgian turn-of-the-century artistic production was well-known in Britain. At the end of the nineteenth century it was especially figures like Félicien Rops, Fernand Khnoppf, Maurice Maeterlinck and Constantin Meunier who were known and admired in Britain. Their impact on the British cultural scene at the beginning of the twentieth century is not to be underestimated.

This paper proposes to start from the unedited correspondence of Laurence Binyon so as to allow a reconstruction of the networks in which Binyon played such an important part. The correspondence contains letters to and from eminent artists and writers in Flanders and Great Britain. Binyon was a prominent figure in pre-war Britain. He also loved Flanders and visited it repeatedly, staying with his numerous Belgian friends. Binyon wrote about Flanders, its art and its medieval inheritance (Western Flanders 1898) but he also knew the contemporary artistic scene very well as a result of his intense friendships with Olivier Destrée, Emile Verhaeren, Constantin Meunier and Raphael Petrucci.

Binyon's contacts did not only secure a better distribution of Flemish and Belgian art (both medieval/Renaissance and contemporary art) in Britain, they also allowed for that artistic production to influence the British field of cultural production at the beginning of the twentieth century. This, at least, is what I hope to demonstrate.


Hannes Schweiger [Wednesday, 11.30 - 1: panel 9]

Between the lines. George Bernard Shaw as cultural and political mediator

In my paper I will explore George Bernard Shaw's efforts to strengthen cultural as well as political links between Britain on the one hand and Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire on the other hand in order to counter the growing antagonism between these countries in the wake of World War I. In his writings Shaw emphasised that Britain and the German-speaking world had close relationships and were mutually indebted to each other. Shaw thus tried to act as a mediating voice and to surpass the narrow boundaries of nationalist ideologies. Not only did he participate in political, economical and cultural debates in Britain, but he made himself heard in the German-speaking world as well and commented on the significance of Wagner for British culture, on the differences between German and British socialism and on the misleading arguments by Max Nordau on so-called decadent art, to name only very few of the topics which he discussed in his articles in German and Austrian newspapers and magazines. In 1906 Shaw and Harry Graf Kessler tried to strengthen the British-German ties by publishing letters in British and German newspapers which protested against the rising antagonism between the two countries and which were to be signed by eminent writers and intellectuals. The English letter was drafted by Shaw, who used the opportunity for a harsh critique of English foreign policy. With his writings he moved between the lines and at times was attacked from both sides. My paper will highlight Shaw's role as a mediator between Britain and the German-speaking world at the backdrop of the cultural and political relationship between Britain and the German-speaking world at the fin de siècle.


John Trygve Has-Ellison [Wednesday, 11.30 - 1: panel 9]

German Nobles and the Reception of Artistic Modernism

The modern history of the European nobility has recently developed into an exciting field of enquiry, but rarely if ever has their been acknowledgement of the noble contribution to Europe's modernist artistic heritage. Historically, nobles far more than the bourgeoisie could be considered part of an international and cosmopolitan cultural milieu. The artistic internationalism of the Central European nobility was based on both early modern supranational affinities within the greater European order, and a nineteenth century accommodation with the bourgeois ideal of self-cultivation. These attachments led many nobles to reject parochial and volkisch tendencies in the arts, and embrace a common European cultural identity, whether conservative, juste milieu, or avant-garde. This paper is meant to partially address the aforementioned scholarly gap by examining the relationship of German nobles to European trends in the visual, theatrical, and written arts. Whether a traditional courtier (Nicholas Count Seebach), mediators between old and new (Alexander Baron Gleichen-Russwurm, Hugo Baron Habermann, Eberhard Baron Bodenhausen), or the avant-garde (Götz Baron Seckendorff, Otto Baron Taube, Harry Count Kessler), these men were both noble cosmopolitans and artistic internationalists. As part of a two-way exchange between German-speaking Europe and the western European nations, they acted as innovators, mediators, and interpreters of cosmopolitan modernist culture. Drawing on both the new noble history and cultural histories of the fin-de-siècle, this essay demonstrates that nobles not only participated in the modernist artistic culture of fin-de-siècle Europe, but were instrumental in mediating its reception in the sometimes hostile environment of Imperial Germany.


Petra Rau [Wednesday, 2 - 3.30: panel 10]

'German Swords and English Backbone': The Cosmopolitan Argument in Forster's Howards End

The fin de siècle witnesses a remarkable shift in attitudes in Anglo-German relations, from the amicable mid-Victorian cousinship - epitomised in Queen Victoria's marriage and foreign policy - to post-Bismarckian tension. In the course of this political and cultural development, 'the German cousin' metamorphoses into 'the beastly Hun', a rapacious and belligerent imperial and economic rival. The rhetorical sabre rattling between the King and the Kaiser in the first decade of the twentieth century is maybe also aggravated by a post-Victorian crisis of national identity: G.B. Shaw railed in John Bull's Other Island (1907) against "the modern hybrids that now monopolise England: hypocrites, humbugs, Germans, Jews, Yankees, foreigners, Park Laners, [and] cosmopolitan riffraff", and C.F.G. Masterman pronounceed grave ills in The Condition of England (1909). Amidst all this gloom and doom E. M. Forster published his remarkably optimistic novel Howards End (1910).

Howards End is probably the last novel to argue for an Anglo-German rapprochement before the stream of propaganda fiction pours out of Wellington House from 1915 onwards. Predictably, Forster's unconventional Schlegel sisters, of German provenance, are denounced by the pragmatic Wilcox family as 'cosmopolitans', but the novel's key scenes and its closure demonstrate that these foreigners are actually necessary for England to survive and maintain at least some of its most cherished traditions. Forster also reminds the reader of the cultural and intellectual gain the encounter with the continent has brought England: German music and philosophy as well as Italian painting and architecture. As in his earlier Italian novels, the encounter with a cultural other serves partly as an investigation of Englishness. In Howards End, Forster projects the stereotypically pejorative Teutonic traits (ruthless technological progress, imperial exploitation, bullying chauvinism, vulgarity and lack of humour) onto the 'quintessentially' English Wilcoxes in order to examine the extent of this alleged otherness.

Peter Widdowson famously read Howards End as a socially limited condition-of-England novel; in this paper I argue that Forster offers a narrative that defines Englishness as a product of benign assimilation and cultural hybridity and therefore as necessarily -- and traditionally -- cosmopolitan. Viewed thus, the perceived crises of Englishness have their root maybe not in some foreign threat or the advance of globalised modernity but in the fact that that foreign influences are increasingly resisted and spurned.


Matthew Potter [Wednesday, 2 - 3.30: panel 10]

Art and Internationalism: Cambridge University and the intellectual bridge to Germany

Focusing on a time when British artists, critics and theorists were finding new ways (armed with Symbolist, Post-Impressionist and other 'avant-garde' theories) to reinvigorate an already long-established reliance upon the French school, my paper will offer an alternative survey of the rich and varied forms of Germanist enthusiasm that were vibrant and promising but now largely forgotten.

The relationships which existed in the fin-de-siècle between the British art elites and Germany were many, but one area of especial interest given the parameters of the conference, is that of the British liberal academia of the 1890s. The work of Charles Waldstein (1856-1927), a Cambridge Professor in Classics and Slade Professor of Art in 1895 and 1904, offers an intriguing case of internationalism and the arts. His progressive theories on art education, the need for a return to a Concert of Europe style of international politics (with the League of Nations), and his belief in the existence of a pan-European Anglo-Saxon brotherhood combine to make Waldstein a prime representative of the peculiarities of his age.

The breadth of such a cultural phenomenon as I am describing can be measured by the examples of other key Germanist figures also at the University at the end of the nineteenth century. Sidney Colvin (1845-1927) for example, a prior incumbent of the Cambridge Slade chair of Art in 1873, was perhaps instrumental in paving the way to Waldstein's influential term of office. Colvin was responsible for an education programme couched in the idealism of German philosophy. My paper will explore ways of understanding the lectures and writings of men such as Waldstein, and Colvin before him, and suggest that they contributed to and were simultaneously products of the cosmopolitan fin-de-siècle environment they worked in, nurtured by the internationalist and inclusive intellectualism of the age.


written and designed by Grace Brockington & Ralph Kingston , 2005-6

as suggested by CARMEN JULIA:


Third Text is an international scholarly journal providing critical perspectives on art and visual culture. It examines the theoretical and historical ground by which the West legitimises its position as the ultimate arbiter of what is significant within this field. Third Text provides a forum for the discussion and reappraisal of the theory and practice of art, art history and criticism, and the work of artists hitherto marginalised through racial, gender, religious and cultural differences. Dealing with the diversity of art practice within the visual arts. Third Text addresses the complex cultural realities that emerge when different world views meet, and the challenge this poses to eurocentric and ethnocentric aesthetic criteria. Third Text develops new discourses and radical interdisciplinary scholarships that go beyond the confines of eurocentricity.

Black Umbrella


Black Umbrella was established in 1984 in London. Even when the postwar modern art scene had become international, the West continued to maintain total control on it, in terms of who should be recognised as modernism’s historical players. Consequently, artists from other than the West were either marginalised arbitrarily or excluded from the history of art that claimed to be representing the whole world. The aim of Black Umbrella has been to confront this situation by promoting independent research work and scholarship, and undertaking publicationsthat would instead present a true picture of art from all over the world.Our main publication the art and visual culture journal,Third Text, began in 1987, and was published by us until 2001, when its publication and world distribution were undertaken, on our behalf, by Routledge,Taylor & Francis,UK.

There is always a certain level of marginality in the cultural field, particularly in those practices that question received wisdom, in other words in the most experimental and critical practices. Tercer Texto sets out to intellectually inquire into what is happening in the world regardless of geographical, social or cultural provenance. This is not an easy task since culture of this type is usually inaccessible and requires a great deal of research and access to little-known sources. The antithesis of this discourse is to be found in culture at its most visible, which is usually the most consumed. This is not unique to global cities in the developed nations; it also occurs in every city, even the poorest, that seeks to emulate the developed world or become part of it. The illusion, sometimes mistaken for dialogue, that by consuming their cultures it is possible to come to resemble the developed countries, brings about drastic changes in consumption that make local cultural expressions less visible. These local expressions are vital if we are to interpret and contextualise our reality. This situation is even more complex if we consider the Latin-American context, where at times we are more aware of what is going on culturally in Europe or the United States than of what is happening in the neighbouring countries of Latin America.
Tercer Texto is a sister journal to Third Text, which means that this Spanish language version consists partly of texts originally published in Third Text translated into Spanish. However Tercer Texto also brings together original articles and has its own editorial and advisory committees. Tercer Texto therefore aspires to generate new possibilities for reflection while taking into account the invaluable experience generated by Third Text, allowing a dialogue to take place between the two journals.
Tercer Texto is an online academic journal in Spanish, which focuses particularly on the discourse around theory, criticism and culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, as well as that of the centres (and peripheries) of Europe and North America.

Rasheed Araeen
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Rasheed Araeen (Festivaletteratura 2010, Mantua).

Rasheed Araeen (1935) is a London-based conceptual artist, sculptor, painter, writer, and curator. He graduated in civil engineering from the University of Karachi in 1962, and has been working as a visual artist since his arrival in London from Pakistan in 1964.

Art career

He began working as an artist without any formal training, producing sculptures influenced by Minimalism and by his engineering experience. In 1972 he joined the Black Panther Movement. Six years later he founded and began editing the journal Black Phoenix, which in 1989, was transformed into Third Text, one of the most important journals dealing with art, the Third World, Postcolonialism, and ethnicity. He is one of the pivotal figures in establishing a black voice in the British arts through his activities as a publisher, writer, and artist. His work demonstrates a concern with the problems of establishing an identity for the third-world artists.

He belongs to an early generation of non-Western artists to live in the West. His artistic activity has been complemented since 1987 by the groundbreaking publication of Third Text. Third World Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture. In the first decade of its publication, the main aim was to reveal "the institutional closures of the art world and the artists they included, the second began the enquiry into the emergent phenomenon first signaled by the notorious show Magiciens de la terre of the assimilation of the exotic other into the new world art," as Sean Cubitt summarized the goals in the Third Text Reader in 2002. In 1999 Araeen spoke about his own journal Third Text as an attempt to "demolish the boundaries that separate art and art criticism". Writing was tantamount to raising his voice against the hegemonic discourse of the art world. This discourse had confined him to an ethnic stereotype that prevented him from becoming an artist in his own right.

Rasheed Araeen has been among the first cultural practitioners to voice since the early 70s the need of artists of African, Latin American and Asian origins to be represented in British cultural institutions. His visionary and idealistic approach allowed him to shape his ideas through a number of different media. He, in fact, curated exhibitions; initiated and published a number of journals (among which, besides the afore mentioned Third Text, there is the 1978 Black Phoenix); produced art installations and community-based artistic projects.

In 2001 he was invited by the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria to publish his institutional critique of the present art museum in the publication "The Museum as Arena". Araeen published the outcome of his private correspondence with the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, which had asked him to join an exhibition in 1980 (this correspondence was also published in Rasheed Araeen, Making Myself Visible). His proposal was declined when the other ten artists refused to show their work alongside his. Their opposition not only manifested cultural conflicts, but was also meant to defend the purity of the gallery space where Araeen had proposed to perform the slaughter and consumption of a goat (according to a Muslim ritual). Along with the actual performance, he had announced that he would display and tear up "the pages of a contemporary art history book". Thus, the offence directed against the aesthetics of the art gallery was complemented with a rejection of the official story of modernist art and avant-garde history.
[edit] Works

From Third Text, Kala Press [incorporating Black Phoenix], London 1987:

* Conversation with Aubrey Williams, Third Text #2, Winter 1987
* From Primitivism to Ethnic Arts / & / Why Third Text?, Third Text #1, Autumn 1987
* Gravity and [Dis] Grace, Third Text #22, Spring 1993
* Our Bauhaus Others' Mudhouse [the "magiciens de la terre" issue], Third Text #6, Spring 1989

* A Discussion with other artists and curators of Manifesta 1, in Witte de With, Cahier #5, Witte de With center for contemporary art, Rotterdam 1.

[edit] References

* Making Myself Visible (London: Kala Press, 1984)
* From Modernism to Postmodernism: Rasheed Araeen: a Restrospective, exh. cat., essays by P. Bickers, J. Roberts, and D. Phillipi (Birmingham: Ikon Gal., 1987)
* From Two Worlds (London: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1986)
* Global Visions: Towards a New Internationalism in the Visual Arts (London: Kala Press, 1994)
* Rasheed Araeen, exh. cat., essay by P. Overy (London: S. London A. G., 1994)

Stefan Zweig
Born November 28, 1881(1881-11-28)
Schottenring 14, Innere Stadt
Vienna, Austria [1]
Died February 22, 1942(1942-02-22) (aged 60)
Petrópolis, Brazil
Parents Moritz Zweig (1845–1926)
Ida Brettauer (1854–1938)
Relatives Alfred Zweig (1879–1977)
Stefan Zweig (November 28, 1881 – February 22, 1942) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most famous writers in the world.[2]
Zweig was the son of Moritz Zweig (1845–1926), a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, and Ida Brettauer (1854–1938), from a Jewish banking family. Joseph Brettauer did business for twenty years in Ancona, Italy, where his second daughter Ida was born and grew up, too. Zweig studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and in 1904 earned a doctoral degree with a thesis on "The Philosophy of Hippolyte Taine". Religion did not play a central role in his education. "My mother and father were Jewish only through accident of birth", Zweig said later in an interview. Yet he did not renounce his Jewish faith and wrote repeatedly on Jewish themes. Although his essays were published in the Neue Freie Presse, whose literary editor was the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, Zweig was not attracted to Herzl's Jewish nationalism.
Stefan Zweig was related to the Czech writer Egon Hostovský. Hostovský described Zweig as "a very distant relative";[3] some sources describe them as cousins.
In the First World War Zweig served in the Archives of the Ministry of War, and soon acquired a pacifist stand like his friend Romain Rolland, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1915. Zweig remained pacifist all his life and advocated the unification of Europe. Like Rolland, he wrote many biographies. His Erasmus of Rotterdam he called a "concealed self-portrayal" in The World of Yesterday.
Zweig fled Austria in 1934, following Hitler's rise to power in Germany. He then lived in England (in London and from 1939 in Bath) before moving to the United States in 1940. In 1941 he went to Brazil, where in 1942 he and his second wife Charlotte Elisabeth Altmann committed suicide together in Petrópolis.[4][5] He had been despairing at the future of Europe and its culture. "I think it better to conclude in good time and in erect bearing a life in which intellectual labour meant the purest joy and personal freedom the highest good on Earth", he wrote.
Zweig was a very prominent writer in the 1920s and 1930s. He was extremely popular in the USA, South America and Europe, and remains so in continental Europe;[2] however, he was largely ignored by the British public,[6] and his fame in America has since dwindled. Since the 1990s there has been an effort on the part of several publishers (notably Pushkin Press and New York Review of Books) to get Zweig back into print in English.[7]
Criticism over his oeuvre is severely divided between some English-speaking critics, who despise his literary style as poor, lightweight and superficial,[6] and some of those more attached to the European tradition, who praise his humanism, simplicity and effective style.[8]
Zweig is best known for his novellas (notably The Royal Game, Amok, Letter from an Unknown Womanfilmed in 1948 by Max Ophuls), novels (Beware of Pity, Confusion of Feelings, and the posthumously published The Post Office Girl) and biographies (notably Erasmus of Rotterdam, Conqueror of the Seas: The Story of Magellan, and Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles and also posthumously published, Balzac). At one time his works were published in English under the pseudonym 'Stephen Branch' (a translation of his real name) when anti-German sentiment was running high. His biography of Queen Marie-Antoinette was later adapted for a Hollywood movie, starring the actress Norma Shearer in the title role.
Zweig enjoyed a close association with Richard Strauss, and provided the libretto for Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman). Strauss famously defied the Nazi regime by refusing to sanction the removal of Zweig's name from the program[9] for the work's première on June 24, 1935 in Dresden. As a result, Goebbels refused to attend as planned, and the opera was banned after three performances. Zweig later collaborated with Joseph Gregor, to provide Strauss with the libretto for one other opera, Daphne, in 1937. At least[10] one other work by Zweig received a musical setting: the pianist and composer Henry Jolles, who like Zweig had fled to Brazil to escape the Nazis, composed a song, "Último poema de Stefan Zweig",[11] based on "Letztes Gedicht", which Zweig wrote on the occasion of his 60th birthday in November 1941.[12]
There are important Zweig collections at the British Library and at the State University of New York at Fredonia. The British Library's Zweig Music Collection was donated to the library by his heirs in May 1986. It specialises in autograph music manuscripts, including works by Bach, Haydn, Wagner, and Mahler. It has been described as "one of the world's greatest collections of autograph manuscripts".[13] One particularly precious item is Mozart's "Verzeichnüß aller meiner Werke"[14] – that is, the composer's own handwritten thematic catalogue of his works.