Conflict, Chaos and the Florentine Inferno

Written by: Joshua Al-Najar. On a preliminary reading, Dante Alighieri’s Inferno seems entirely unconcerned with political realities. Its setting is a fantastical reimagining of hell, imbued with mythological creatures and terrifying landscapes: an illusory space for Dante to contend with sin’s dramatic consequences. However, behind this veneer is a deeply incisive reflection on reality, as Dante seamlessly blends his own political convictions with the Inferno’s plot. Continue reading Conflict, Chaos and the Florentine Inferno

Dionysos the Weird: Reading Bacchae through the lens of Lovecraftian horror

Written by: Justin Biggi. Euripides’ Bacchae features some of the stranger imagery the playwright employed throughout his works. Focusing on Dionysos’ return to his homeland of Thebes, the play sees Dionysos’ cousin, Pentheus, meet a grisly end at the hands of, amongst others, his own mother, driven mad with other women by Dionysos himself. Pentheus’ grisly death becomes a reminder for the audience of what happens when one attempts to go against a god’s will – especially given the fact that this is blatant punishment for Pentheus’ actions of outlawing the cult of Dionysos. Continue reading Dionysos the Weird: Reading Bacchae through the lens of Lovecraftian horror

Railways, Race, and Lions – The Tale of the Tsavo Man-Eaters

Written by: Lewis Twiby. The Uganda Railway appeared to be one of the best examples of imperial negligence by the British Empire. One of the big disasters to strike the railway was at the Tsavo River where two lions killed around thirty workers. The story of the man-eaters offers an insight into labour and colonialism in East Africa. Continue reading Railways, Race, and Lions – The Tale of the Tsavo Man-Eaters

‘Out of the Barbershop and into the Future’: Modern Medicine of New York City in 1900

Written by: Jack Bennett. Providing a window through which the harsh reality of illness and incurability on the wards of The Knick is revealed, mirroring the trichotomous nature of corruption, consumption and capitalism in the tension ridden socio-political environment of New York City and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. Continue reading ‘Out of the Barbershop and into the Future’: Modern Medicine of New York City in 1900

The Ideological Barriers faced by Renaissance Women Humanists

Written by: Joshua Al-Najar. On a preliminary reading, humanism appears to be wrought with misogynistic tendencies, providing little space for women’s engagement. Joan Kelly-Gadol points to male humanists such as Juan Luis Vives, whose misogynistic writings were informed by Aristotelian biology and the hyper-masculine nature of classical humanism. Women’s apparent biological, religious and historical inferiority inferred that ‘few see her, and none at all hear her.’ Thus, Kelly-Gadol ponders whether the presence of such exclusionary thought renders the term ‘renaissance’ incompatible with the female experience. Continue reading The Ideological Barriers faced by Renaissance Women Humanists

Total Military Politics: The Rise of Japanese Fascism

Written by: Jack Bennett. Rising ultranationalism, militarism, and state capitalism under the early reign of the Showa Emperor Hirohito, defined Japanese politics and society as ‘statist’ from the 1920s through to the 1940s. The reverberations of global events and shifting economic and political dynamics during the 1920s and 1930s directly influenced the domestic character of Japan. Continue reading Total Military Politics: The Rise of Japanese Fascism

Homosexuality in Renaissance Florence: The Ambiguities of Neoplatonic Thought

Written by: Jamie Gemmell. Renaissance Italy is popularly portrayed as a realm of carnal debauchery. One only needs to watch Tom Fontana’s Borgia (2011-2014) to understand common conceptions of Renaissance Italy as a realm of brutal acts, orgies, and affairs. Yet, is there any truth to these depictions? Continue reading Homosexuality in Renaissance Florence: The Ambiguities of Neoplatonic Thought

Impending Collapse: Holy War and the Fall of Jerusalem in 1187

Written by: Jack Bennett. October 2, 1187. On the anniversary of Muhammad’s ‘Night Journey’ from Jerusalem to Heaven, Saladin made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Following victory at the Battle of Hattin in July, Muslim forces had swept throughout the Crusader States, systematically recapturing Latin Christian settlements, and dismantling the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. This piece aims to examine the political and military factors behind the Kingdom’s disintegration. Continue reading Impending Collapse: Holy War and the Fall of Jerusalem in 1187

La Llorona: Folklore, Spirits, Colonialism, and Power

Written by: Lewis Twiby. One of the most iconic images of Latin American and Chicano folklore is that of La Llorona – The Weeping Woman. In stories she haunts waterways, weeping and crying ‘Mis hijos’ (My Children), and if you hear her wails, she will drown you. In contemporary Latin American and Chicano society she is used to scare children into behaving – misbehaving children are warned that they will be taken away by La Llorona. Continue reading La Llorona: Folklore, Spirits, Colonialism, and Power