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The relation between Britten’s sexuality and his music has been an abiding fascination for biographers and music scholars in recent decades. The fact that homosexuality was illegal in the UK until 1967, and that he and his long-term partner, Peter Pears, therefore had to live a homosexual life as an ‘open secret’ for most of their lives, often lends this critical emphasis a kind of heroic poignancy. This chapter contrasts Britten and Pears’s upper-middle-class experience of forbidden sexuality with that of the overwhelming majority of twentieth-century British men and women, to paint a more rounded picture of the politics of the closet. It shows how early twenty-first-century ideas about sexual ‘identity’ obscure the differences between class experience, and distort our understanding of the issue.
The decades between unification and World War I saw opera in Italy absorb multiple literary and musical influences from beyond the Alps, including exoticism and naturalism and, successively, the operas of Meyerbeer and Wagner. For the generation of the giovane scuola this was often characterised as a crisis of national musical style and identity, strongly linked to the post-Risorgimento imperative to create a compelling civic and political culture for the new nation. The religious question, and the battle between the Church and state, posed a further set of questions in developing this national identity, which can be traced through opera's engagement with foreign influences. Examining new Italian operas ranging from Franchetti's Asrael to Puccini's Tosca, this chapter will suggest that librettists and composers approaching religious themes were keenly aware of the need to create a vocabulary of religious images and sounds which the predominantly Catholic audiences across Italy could recognise, even when adopting ideas from French or German literary and musical models. Ultimately, this period was crowned with the arrival of Parsifal on Italian stages, when Catholic readings of Wagner's symbology and echoes of Palestrina promoted a particularly Italian interpretation of the opera’s meaning and musical language.
This article offers the first systematic investigation of the institution of opera censorship in Russia during the reign of Nicholas I. Drawing on new archival sources, it examines censorship legislation, the organisation of dramatic (i.e., theatre) censorship, the workings of its bureaucracy, censors’ reports and protocols and Nicholas's personal decrees on productions of specific operas, and printed and manuscript librettos. From these, it distils the patterns of state intervention in opera, revealing a remarkable fluidity – even capriciousness – of approaches. Decisions to ban or permit, and specific intrusions into the texts, were based on the censors’ adherence to or disregard for the Empire's censorship laws, Nicholas's inclinations and impulses, changes in cultural policy, practical needs of the Imperial Theatres, the shifting political climate at home and abroad, and, most of all, the national point of origin of the operatic work under review. In addition to surveying the trends, the article offers three case studies: Glinka's Zhizn’ za Tsarya (A Life for the Tsar), Verdi's Rigoletto and Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots.
Part V presents an overview of different fixers’ career trajectories in the larger context of the international news economy and shifting meta-narratives about Turkey and Syria. Fixers find opportunities to contribute to the news behind the scenes, even as their counterparts in the domestic Turkish media face political and economic hardship, and even as Syria has become an inhospitable environment for journalists. Many fixers nonetheless find it difficult to challenge dominant narratives imposed by foreign reporters and news organizations, and so end up moving on to different pursuits. Turnover of both fixers and foreign reporters is continual and counterintuitively contributes to the stability of the system of international news production. The book concludes with a discussion of emergent forms of social media–based information brokerage in newsmaking in comparison with the longer-standing tradition of local fixers assisting foreign reporters.
Faiz’s literary pursuits are difficult to disentangle from the wider political trajectory out of which he emerged and impacted. I argue that Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s ethical self-fashioning as a political subject was deeply rooted within Perso-Arabic, Indo-Persian, and Urdu literary traditions even as he became increasingly invested in internationalist solidarity. I show that Faiz’s poetry, deeply rooted in Urdu literary and ethical traditions and composed during incarceration and exile, demonstrated his revulsion for the narrow confines of territorial nationalism and the authoritarianism of the postcolonial state.
This chapter contends that Manto’s trials signify a paradoxical sociopolitical context when it came to questions of women and sexuality: middle-class women became more visible in public and more highly educated in the formal sense, but there was also a shift in expressions of sexuality. This chapter argues that a complex and critical reassessment of Manto’s ethical self-fashioning through an examination of official documents, literary materials, and debates within progressive literary circles over representations of sexuality, enhances an understanding of the larger cultural and political developments of a turbulent period when it comes to the politics of sexuality. Finally, moral discourses, particularly around sexuality, were also prevalent within progressive, communist, and socialist intellectual circles as well, giving rise to hegemonic definitions and distinctions about who constituted the ideal literary progressive.
The controversy over Angāre in the early 1930s has always been interpreted as a contest between religious and secular forces given the furor around the publication for being “blasphemous.” Turning to relevant legislation in the period, contextualizing debates around blasphemy in the legal and literary spheres, and analyzing responses to the text, I problematize assumptions behind seeing the controversy as one about religion vs. secularism. I argue that the text and the reception to it is best read as a crisis over ethics within the colonized, Urdu-speaking Muslim upper classes of urban North India, who were beginning to stake their raison d’etre and sense of selfhood on minority political status. This status had enormous consequences a decade later in the demand for Pakistan. This chapter shows how this early controversy was about how a class of Indian Muslims were identifying as an ethical community, not a religious one.
“Feminist Literary Ethics and Censorship,” is devoted to historically contextualizing the work of feminist Urdu poets of the 1970s and 1980s in Pakistan. It argues that the burgeoning of feminist Urdu literature in this period represents a revitalization of the progressive literary movement, which is often schematized as having come to an end by 1950s or 1960s. The chapter begins by tracing the genealogies and the long history of South Asian Muslim women’s writing in Urdu, the gender politics and patriarchal modes of Urduphone progressive intellectual spaces, and Pakistani nationalism. Then it turns to the life, work, and context of the Urduphone intellectual and feminist poet and writer Fahmida Riaz (1946–2018) who was at the vanguard of feminist politico-literary transformations in Pakistan.
A historiography of South Asian Muslim nationalism and the place of Urdu progressive literature within a broader political context of independence struggles against colonial rule in India and Pakistan.
This chapter examines the rise of China across the 1989 divide, as a year in both Chinese and global history. It focuses on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership's response to the domestic and international crises of 1989–1992. Using previously unstudied internal Chinese materials, it argues that this period - often overlooked in scholarship of contemporary China -witnessed significant and enduring changes in how the CCP intended to guide China's rise: bifurcating economic liberalization and political liberalization, building up the institution of the leadership "core," strengthening the party, opposing "peaceful evolution," and rewriting the history of the preceding decade to emphasize a battle between "bourgeois liberalization" and Deng Xiaoping's authoritarian Four Cardinal Principles. This chapter shows how the CCP came to see itself as a socialist survivor, uniquely able to exploit the benefits of openness to global capitalism while resisting the perceived dangers. The chapter concludes with a reflection on how these crucial shifts in the period 1989–1992 have profoundly shaped the Chinese system and international images of China to the present day.
Most authoritarian countries censor the press. As a response, many opposition and independent news outlets have found refuge on the Internet. Despite the global character of the Internet, news outlets are vulnerable to censorship in cyberspace. This study investigates Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks on news websites in Venezuela and details how news reporting is related to DoS attacks in an attempt to censor content. For this empirical test, I monitored 19 Venezuelan news websites from November 2017 until June 2018 and continuously retrieved their content and status codes to infer DoS attacks. Statistical analyses show that news content correlates to DoS attacks. In the Venezuelan context, these news topics appear to be not only on protest and repression but also on opposition actors or other topics that question the legitimacy of the regime. By establishing these relationships, this study deepens our understanding of how modern technologies are used as censorship tools.
Chapter 1 introduces the concept of the censor’s dilemma: the notion that censors in America may wield significant power for a limited time, but ultimately are undone by the principles of free expression embodied in the First Amendment. Because of this, reformers seek to avoid the label of “censor,” even when their goal is to suppress speech. The urge to censor comes from both the political left and the right, yet both sides claim that only their antagonists engage in censorship. Paradoxically, censors exude sanctimony and a sense of certainty, but cannot shake off the taint of illegitimacy in societies devoted to freedom of expression.
Chapter 3 examines Anthony Comstock’s legacy and the birth of the “censor’s dilemma.” Although no censor before or since has wielded such power or had the same level of influence as Comstock, his achievements were washed away by cultural and legal evolution. Even in his time, his crusades did as much to promote the popularity of “forbidden” works, and since his time, the profession of censor has been forever tarnished. The legal doctrine on which Comstock depended was reversed by the development of First Amendment law through the twentieth century, particularly the law of obscenity. To the extent that Comstock is remembered today, he is the subject of derision and scorn.
Chapter 2 follows the rise of Anthony Comstock from being a dry goods clerk and vigilante against all things he deemed immoral, to becoming the nation’s most prominent and powerful censor. He was responsible for enacting federal legislation banning obscene materials from the US Mail and served as a special agent for the Post Office, enforcing the law. He founded the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, an anti-vice organization that was emulated in numerous other states. From this position, he waged a lifelong crusade against contraceptives, free love, free thought, literature, art, and everything that offended his Puritan sensibilities. The chapter describes the key events in his long career, including his rise to prominence, his prosecution of Victoria Woodhull for revealing Reverend Henry Ward Beecher’s affair with a parishioner, his various campaigns against free thought, art, and literature, and his prosecution of birth control advocates.
Chapter 4 sets forth the “Comstock Playbook,” the techniques used by the anti-vice crusader to attack his adversaries, which have been emulated by censors ever since. His strategies include exhibiting moral certainty, equating opposition to your cause with the love of vice, denouncing and discrediting adversaries, promoting xenophobia, poisoning the debate with invective, touting pseudo science, seeking publicity, exaggerating the threat to be overcome, hyping all accomplishments, and playing the martyr.
How did the Gestapo enforce laws governing criticism? Recent historiography highlights denunciation driven policing as well as the overrepresentation of Communists and Jews in cases taken to trial. A system of selective enforcement is well-established fact, but the dynamics remain unclear. Enemies of the People randomly samples two categories of “criminal opinion” to capture the changing decision-making processes behind routine investigation, interrogation, and enforcement practices. Five arguments take shape. First, a conscious policy of selective enforcement based on political reliability as defined by standing within the Nazi people’s community. Second, the system punished subversive motive rather than actions. Third, political police viewed targeted minorities as subversives, privileged minorities as supporters, and carefully investigated “politically colourless” Germans. Fourth, from 1935 to 1944, the Gestapo behaved as an ordinary detective service when investigating individual Germans. Fifth, selective enforcement involved state prosecutors and the Party through five configurations. The violence of revolution and collapse were bookends on a decade of much cooler suppression.
Not simply the persistence of Greek and Roman comedy and tragedy, drama of the modern era had its rebirth in the liturgical performances within the church. Once the miracle and morality plays were moved out of the church, literally pro-fane, their secularized forms were soon suspected of degeneration, and the antitheatrical prejudice was promulgated. To control the possibly disruptive effects of the drama, censorship was introduced to spare leaders of Church or state from being maligned on stage. The Church of England may have been protected but Gothic melodrama found its villains and victims among the monks and nuns. Methodists, Quakers, Jews, dissenters, and nonconformists were targets for theatrical ridicule or abuse. Circumventing the proscriptions of the Licensing Act (1737), Shakespeare’s history plays provided a model for representing religious conflict on stage.
A policy of selective enforcement to realign social norms with the Nazi vision of people’s community took form in 1935. As the Gestapo dismantled the underground communist party, pursuing the remnants into society at large demanded a different approach. Nazism asserted the right to control conversation under new legal theories that treated the private as political. But blanket enforcement risked undermining popular support. To compensate, offences became forgivable momentary weakness or punishable subversion depending on motive. The Gestapo developed profiles of ideological enemies and criterion identifying upstanding “racial comrades” in response. The keystone was “political reliability” extrapolated from the suspect’s partisan associations and personal reputation. The ideals of people’s community set the parameters of respectable citizenship. Certain behaviours and associations were evidence of political reliability or inherently subversive attitudes threatening this community. Selective enforcement educated or punished based on the effect of an action upon, the standing of socio-political identities within, and the contributions of an offender toward the people’s community.
The Gestapo balanced the scales of justice with the weights of people’s community from 1939 to 1942. Political police resolved twice as many cases while state prosecutors’ workload, but not conviction rates, dropped by a third. The Gestapo evaluated “political reliability” based on a range of socio-political behaviours distinguishing upstanding “racial comrades,” who embodied the values of people’s community, from subversive opponents who either rejected Nazism or embraced alien ideologies. Supporters might complain, but they sincerely apologized, cooperated, and usually conformed. Subversives advocated alternatives. At best, repeat offenders were simply chronic complainers. Private exchanges might be overlooked, but repeated public criticism was intolerable. Hinting toward a change of government was utterly unforgivable. Supporters who acted in “momentary weakness” received “psychological understanding” and educational warnings. Subversives who called for regime change, swayed other against Nazism, or were connected to targeted minorities faced the courts. Himmler’s mandate “to create and uphold the desired order” of a people’s community was finally being realized.
How do terror and popularity merge under a dictatorship? How did the Gestapo deal with critics of Nazism? Based on hundreds of secret police case files, Enemies of the People explores the day-to-day reality of political policing under Hitler. Examining the Gestapo's policy of 'selective enforcement', J. Ryan Stackhouse challenges the abiding perception of the Gestapo as policing exclusively through terror. Instead, he reveals the complex system of enforcement that defined the relationship between state and society in the Third Reich and helps to explain the Germans' abiding support for Hitler and their complicity in the regime's crimes. Stories of everyday life in Nazi Germany paint the clearest picture yet of just how differently the Gestapo handled certain groups and actions, and the routine investigation, interrogation, and enforcement practices behind this system. Enemies of the People offers penetrating insights into just how reasonable selective enforcement appeared to Germans, and draws unavoidable parallels with the contemporary threat of authoritarianism.