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张在新

John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

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为什么要学习西方文论—多媒体视频展示  

2011-11-19 14:22:27|  分类: +文论 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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2011.12.5 增补

 为什么要学习西方文论—多媒体视频展示

(讲座提要)

张在新

北京外国语大学英语系

       内容简介

      本讲座基于张在新老师过去10年在北外英语系教授的研究生“西方当代文论”和本科生“短篇小说与西方文化”等课程的内容,主要涉及心理分析、女权、种族、性别、伤残、年龄、解构等西方现当代文论基本概念。讲座将采用多媒体视频(影视片段、电视广告)来讲解以上文论概念。

地点:北京交通大学语言与传媒学院(思源西楼610)

时间:2011年12月7日16点

视频展示(影视片段、电视广告)

1. Psychoanalysis (the Oedipus complex, fetishism): Film clips - Tree of Life, Tadpole.

2. Male Gaze (feminism, commodity): Commercials - "Vibra," "Kookai"; film clips - 1984, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Human Face (eyes and lips).

3. Feminism/Psychoanalysis (abjection): Commercial - "o.b. Tampons"; film clip - Backup Plan.

4. Racism/Colonialism (colonial othering): Commercial - "Copasetic"; film clips - Robinson Crusoe, Man to Man.

5. Homophobia: Film clips - Notes on a Scandal (contrasted with Wicker Park).

6. Gender as Performance: Film clip - Gigli.

7. (Dis)ability: Film clips - Rain Man, How to Train Your Dragon.

8. Act Your Age: Film clip - Mama Mia! ("Does Your Mother Know That You're Out?").

9. Deconstruction (transcendental signified): Film clips - Ghosts of Mississippi (murder and court scenes).

Abject

The abject is what the subject’s consciousness has to expel or disregard in order to create the proper separation between subject and object. The mother splits into two parts: she is the prototype of subsequent objects that the subject will desire or hate, but she is also the despised ground of infantile dependency and bodily need. Another way of putting this is that the abject is still unconsciously desired and thereby transformed into something undesirable, filthy, and disgusting, like the bodily processes for which it stands. Both matter and mother are abjects for the fantasy of self-creation. (Leitch 2167).

Act Your Age

When we say “act your age” we press for behavior that conforms to norms. However, the saying also expresses a common-sense understanding that age is not natural or fixed, and it implies that age requires work, i.e., physical or mental effort. As such, the saying encapsulates a fundamentally sociological view of age and provides us with the useful metaphor of performance. Age is an act, a performance in the sense of something requiring activity and labor, and age is normative. (Laz 86)

Colonial Control over Language

One of the main features of imperial oppression is control over language. The imperial education system installs a ‘standard’ version of the metropolitan language as the norm, and marginalizes all ‘variants’ as impurities… Language becomes the medium through which a hierarchical structure of power is perpetuated, and the medium through which conceptions of ‘truth’, ‘order’, and ‘reality’ becomes established. (Ashcroft, et. al. 7)

Colonial Othering

The colonizers saw themselves at the center of the world; the colonized were at the margins. The colonizers saw themselves as the embodiment of what a human being should be, the proper ‘self’; native peoples were ‘other,’ different, and therefore inferior. This practice of judging all who are different as less than fully human is called othering, and it divides the world between “us” (the “civilized”) and “them” (the “others” or “savages”). (Tyson 420)

(Dis)ability as a Social Construct

As I understand it, this social model denies that any particular attributes or functionings of individual bodies should be thought to constitute a ‘problem’ or ‘disadvantage’ apart from the social environment within which the individuals live. This social environment has both material-physical and symbolic-interactive dimensions. Moving on wheels is a ‘disadvantage’ only in a world full of stairs. Because many people expect to make ‘eye contact’ with people they talk to, as a sign of respect and engagement, some of them dislike or even fear persons whom they do not experience as making such contact. (Young xii)

Fetishism

Some men do not stop with the simple expedient of separating sexual from asexual women; they must deny the female sexual constitution altogether. ‘Fetishism,’ claims Freud, is ‘a substitute… for a particular and quite special penis,’ the penis that the mother was once thought to have. All boys struggle with acknowledging female – originally the mother’s – castration. Fetishists resolve the struggle by disavowal, or denial, creating a fetish that externally represents the maternal phallus and thus supports such disavowal. Disavowal also enters the realm of mythology, as the snakes of ‘Medusa’s Head’ condense signification on the one hand of the mature female external genitals and on the other of many penises, which in turn stand both for castration (because the one has been lost) and denial of castration (there are many penises). Medusa’s decapitated head, the castrated female genitals, evokes horror and even paralysis – a reminder of castration – in the man who looks at it, but this paralysis is also an erection, thereby asserting that the penis is still there. (Chordorow 239).

 Gender as Performance

The distinction between expression and performativeness is crucial. If gender attributes and acts, the various ways in which a body shows or produces its cultural signification, are performative, then there is no preexisting identity by which an act or attribute might be measured; there would be no true or false, real or distorted acts of gender, and the postulation of a true gender identity would be revealed as a regulatory fiction. (Butler 180)

Homophobia

While the word homophobia is generally used to refer to an individual’s pathological dread of same-sex love, I used the term above to refer to institutionalized discrimination (discrimination that is built into a culture’s laws and customs) against gay people. (Tyson 320)

Male Gaze in Film

For Laura Mulvey, traditional films present men as active, controlling subjects and treat women as passive objects of desire for men in both the story and in the audience, and do not allow women to be desiring sexual subjects in their own right. Such films objectify women in relation to ‘the controlling male gaze’, presenting ‘woman as image’ (or ‘spectacle’) and man as ‘bearer of the look’. Men do the looking; women are there to be looked at. (Chandler 1998)

 According to Mulvey, the visual techniques of cinema afford viewers two contradictory pleasures. First, through the process Freud terms scopophilia (pleasure in looking), we enjoy making others the object of a controlling gaze. Second, through a process of identification that parallels Lacan’s famous mirror stage, we derive pleasure from identifying with an ideal image on the screen. Both have their origins in infantile processes by which we learned to separate ourselves from others. As described to this point, the two processes seem to structure the visual pleasure of men and women in the same way. However, Mulvey argues that because the male viewer cannot bear the burden of sexual objectification, he (the viewer is specifically male) deflects the tension by splitting his gaze between spectacle and narrative. A woman on-screen typically functions as the primary erotic object for both screen characters and audience members, becoming the object of the dominant, male gaze; as such, she exists outside the narrative illusions of time and space the film creates. At the same time, spectators identify with the male protagonist, who acts within the parameters of time and space—the diegesis—created by the film’s story line. (Leitch 2180)

The Oedipus Complex

It is important to note that oedipal attachments, sibling rivalry, and the like are considered developmental stages. In other words, we all go through these experiences, and they are a natural and healthy part of maturing and establishing our own identities. It is when we fail to outgrow these conflicts that we have trouble. Here’s an example common to many women. If I remain in competition with my mother for my father’s love (a competition that can go on in my unconscious long after one or both parents are dead), I will probably be most attracted to men who already have girlfriends or wives because their attachment to another woman will allow me to replay my competition with my mother and “this time” win. Of course, I might not win the man this time, and even if I do, once I’ve won him I’ll lose interest in him. Although I probably don’t realize it consciously, his desirability lies in his attachment to someone else. Once he’s mine, he’s not so exciting anymore. On the other hand, if as a child I felt that I won my father’s affection from my mother (which he may have given me as a way of punishing or avoiding my mother), then I may be attracted to men who already have girlfriends or wives (and who don’t seem likely to leave them) because I feel I need to be punished for “stealing” Dad from my mother. Of course, another way to punish myself for stealing Dad from my mother (or for wanting to steal him or, if he sexually molested me, for feeling that it was somehow my fault) is to be unable to respond sexually to my mate.

A common way in which men replay unresolved oedipal attachments involves what is often called the “good-girl/bad-girl” attitude toward women. If I remain in competition (usually unconscious) with my father for my mother’s love, I am very liable to deal with my guilt by categorizing women as either “like Mom” (“good girls”) or “not like Mom” (“bad girls”) and then by being able to enjoy sex only with women who are “not like Mom.” In other words, because I unconsciously associate sexual desire with desire for my mother, sexual desire makes me feel guilty and dirty, and for this reason I can enjoy it only with “bad girls,” who are themselves guilty and dirty and whom I don’t associate with Mom. This view often creates a seduce-and-abandon pattern of behavior toward women. When I seduce a “bad girl,” I must abandon her (sooner or later) because I cannot allow myself to be permanently attached to someone so unworthy of marriage, that is, unworthy of being classified with my mother. When I seduce a “good girl,” two things happen: (1) she becomes a “bad girl” and, like other “bad girls,” unworthy of my permanent commitment, and (2) I feel so guilty for “soiling” her (which is like “soiling” Mom) that I must abandon her to avoid my guilt. The point is that, for both women and men, only by recognizing the psychological motivations for our destructive behavior can we hope to begin to change that behavior. (Tyson 14-5)

Transcendental Signified

Believing that signification is both arbitrary and conventional, Derrida now begins his process of turning Western philosophy on its head: He boldly asserts that the entire history of Western metaphysics from Plato to the present is founded on a classic, fundamental error. The great error is in searching for what Derrida calls a transcendental signified, an external point of reference upon which one may build a concept or philosophy. Once found, this transcendental signified would provide ultimate meaning because it would be the origin of origins, reflecting itself and, as ‘Derrida says, providing a ‘reassuring end to the reference from sign to sign.’  (Bressler 120).

主要参考文献

Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. The Empire Writes Back. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1991.

Chandler, Daniel (1998): “Notes on ‘The Gaze’ [WWW document]. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/gaze/gaze.html. October 18, 2008.

Chodorow, Nancy J. “Freud on Women.” The Cambridge Companion to Freud.  Ed. Jerome Neu. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. 224-48.

Culler, Jonathan. On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1982.

Laz, Cheryl Laz “Act Your Age.” Sociological Forum, Vol. 13, No. 1 (1998): 85-113.

Leitch, Vincent, ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001.

Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User-friendly Guide. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Young, Iris Marian. “Foreword.” Embodying Disability Theory. Ed. Mairian Corker and Tom Shakespeare. London: Continuum, 2002.

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