Metacritic Journal

for Comparative Studies and Theory

Subversive Art, Reading Against the Grain, 5.1 (July 2019)
ISSN 2457 – 8827
Liviu Malița Liviu Malița

Arguing for Art, Debating Censorship

Using a sociological and philosophical approach, this paper discusses the legitimacy, utility and functionality of art censorship both as a social practice and as an autonomous discourse. My intervention reconstitutes and deconstructs the legal arguments underlying the decision to censor artistic products, by investigating the most common accusations by which the law seeks to justify art censorship: immorality (pornography, obscenity), the encouragement of indecent behaviour or incitement to...   ⇨ Read more
Mengxing Fu Mengxing Fu

New Wine in Old Bottles: Contemporary Chinese Online Allegorical Ghost Stories as Political Commentary

The phenomenal popularity of the Internet literature in China and the potential for freedom of speech in China’s cyberspace have long fascinated scholars of contemporary China. This article examines the interaction between Chinese Internet literature and the ever-increasing online censorship by focusing on one type of Internet literature in China: the allegorical ghost stories. While observers of censorship in China have expressed worries about the tightening censorship in China’s cyberspace and...   ⇨ Read more
Michelle Pauken Cromer Michelle Pauken Cromer

Migrating MUJERES and Gender Bending: Charles Chaplin’s ATELIER and the Education of Spanish Women Painters in Nineteenth-Century Paris

In mid-nineteenth century Paris, when an art education was out of reach for most women artists, several male painters began opening private schools specifically catering to women. In Catholic Spain, opportunities were more restricted; therefore, leaving the country and attending these French ateliers were key to women’s training as no government-sponsored academies accepted women at the time. By means of archival and historical research, this analysis applies theories of Judith Butler to explore the careers of...   ⇨ Read more
Khanyile  Mlotshwa Khanyile Mlotshwa

Matabeleland and the Rulers’ Political Sins: Defining Subversive Art in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has a culture of protest art in theatre with a long history that goes back to the country’s independence from British colonial rule in 1980. However, a culture of subversive art in other artistic genres, such as visual arts, has emerged in recent years. This paper focuses on the fate of two art events, a theatre play and a visual arts exhibition, both closed down and banned in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city, which is also regarded as the country’s cultural capital. In 2007, The Good...   ⇨ Read more
Cristina-Elena Gogâță Cristina-Elena Gogâță

When Censorship Is Over – Ana Blandiana’s Return to Writing after the 1989 Revolution

This paper aims at retracing Ana Blandianaʼs ban from publishing, between 1988 and 1989; it also looks at the way in which the writer managed to elude censorship. Ana Blandiana was banned from publishing during the one and a half year before the end of the communist regime in Romania. The reviews of her last poetry anthology were banned, but not the anthology itself, which was published shortly after the author’s ban from publishing. Ana Blandianaʼs name was allowed to appear in literary studies about...   ⇨ Read more
Cosmin Borza Cosmin Borza

The Heroines. Re-mythicization of the First World War in the Romanian Literature

The paper analyses the most significant Romanian literary representation of First World War in which femininity is imagined as subversive to the “negative myth” of the conflagration. In the Romanian culture, this so-called “negative myth” is of such great magnitude that the literary works that anathemize the historical event responsible for the birth of Greater Romania are labelled as attacks on the nation. A discordant note to the above mentioned demythologizing tendency is struck by a series of female...   ⇨ Read more
Ousseynou Sy Ousseynou Sy

Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison’s Oraliture: Writing Fiction against the Grain

This paper attempts to demonstrate how Ellison and Morrison’s prose is interwoven with markers of oral literature, oraliture or orature. This oraliture draws upon African culture. To better deconstruct the Africanism or the different fragments of African culture in the fiction of the two writers under study, I focus on Henry Louis Gates's The Signifying Monkey and Jennings' Toni Morrison and the Idea of Africa. For example, fairy tales, the sermons of Homer Barbee and the Jazz music of Louis Armstrong, are...   ⇨ Read more
Nina Maria Roscan Nina Maria Roscan

Trauma and Memory in Maya Angelou’s Autobiographical Fiction

The purpose of this paper is to explore Maya Angelou’s depiction of trauma in her autobiographical fiction as a marginalized female experience which shapes the identity of the subject and speaks about the psychological integrity of the Black female. Memory functions as the process of psychological healing through the narrative reformulation of her life during childhood and adulthood. Angelou has deliberately expanded the conventional structure of the autobiographical genre by the fragmentary approach and the...   ⇨ Read more
Gabriela Glăvan Gabriela Glăvan

The Life and Times of Ceaușescu Jokes

Political humour, as an indispensable part of popular culture, played a complex role under communism in Romania. It was a catalyst of the general discontent towards the catastrophic effects of Ceausescu’s megalomaniac dictatorship, a forbidden, dangerous means of expressing opposition. This dynamic part of folklore captured and exposed essential aspects of life in Communism, from the permanent fear of the Securitate to the ever-growing ridicule of the presidential couple and their acolytes. Unforgiving jokes...   ⇨ Read more
Larisa Prodan Larisa Prodan

Contemporary Art in Liberal Regimes. Interventionist Art and Institutional Power

From the traditional perspective of interventionist or “regulatory,” censorship has gained along the democratic era a “polymorphous nature,” as Francesca Billiani designates it. Conceptual changes represent the base of the “new censorship,” also known as “constitutive” or “structural,” in terms conceptualized by Pierre Bourdieu. These new perspectives upon censorship depart from the ideological restrictions specific to totalitarian regimes while they are also defined by mechanisms of repressing intellectual...   ⇨ Read more
Denisa Bud Denisa Bud

The Romanian Novels of the ‘Obsessive Decade’ as Subversive Literature. A Macroanalysis (1971-1979)

This paper attempts to investigate the prevalence of the novels of the ‘obsessive decade’ in the ’70s, using the means of the quantitative studies and macroanalysis, as they are theorised by Franco Moretti and Matthew L. Jockers. We will focus on how the subversive nature of the novels of the ‘obsessive decade’ can be detected through quantitative analysis of textual structures (thematic, lexis). In the political context of the ’70s, due to the imposing of certain restrictions (we are referring to the July...   ⇨ Read more