This article looks at ideas and practices around female virginity in Brazil and South Africa. In South Africa, virginity testing of girls as young as six occurs. In Brazil, speculation about female virginity can have a devastating impact on young women's lives. In both contexts the intactness of the vagina becomes a symbol of a woman's worth as well as a reflection of national well-being or decline. I use feminist psychoanalytic theory to connect such valuations and practices to a perceived (...) threat to the symbolic order of language, culture and law. I argue that during times of social upheaval the vagina comes to represent the abject, or a threat to the subject, and is policed in order for dominant meanings to remain intact. As women's experiences in both contexts demonstrate, these meanings are implicated in a violent economy of women's body parts, which render women symbolically homeless. Yet in Brazil, women subvert these valuations in an ongoing struggle for subjectivity, which involves the creative appropriation of soap operas, and the conversion of suffering into pleasure. (shrink)
This essay discusses how ontological commitments within modern Western culture are no less problematic than those within traditional African cultures. Each posits unobservable entities to explain the experiential world, and neither has ready access to those posits held as grounding or as otherwise determining what is experienced. It looks at the conceptions of persons in Western and African traditions and suggests that each tradition can learn from the other.
This paper deals with an analysis of debris produced during the polishing of diamond. The debris is carefully collected 'as ejected' to shorten the history of the freshly removed material. Using high-resolution electron microscopy as well as electron-energy-loss spectroscopy, the structure of the material is revealed and analysed in terms of density, percentage of sp 2 hybridized carbon, and oxygen content. Debris from polishing in the so-called hard and soft directions were involved in this investigation. Overall the structure of all (...) debris is amorphous carbon. The material appears to be composed of small clusters, some nanometres in diameter, in which the graphite basal planes can be recognized. Very few and very small nanometre-sized diamond particles were found in the debris from polishing in the hard direction. The results support a polishing mechanism based on a mechanically induced transformation of diamond to graphite, after which material removal easily occurs. The well-known anisotropy observed in polishing can be explained satisfactorily on the basis of this model. Finally, in appendices, the art of polishing and the role of the black powder during preparation of the scaife are discussed. (shrink)
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notion of becoming-animal offers a mode of interaction that goes beyond the symbolic language and conceptual thought that are often used in the western philosophical tradition to circumscribe the limits and define the nature of an ethical engagement. They fail, however, to provide a robust account of how becoming may yield an ethical exchange between the human being and the animal other. In order for this process to generate such an outcome, it must be accompanied (...) by commitment to and care for the animal. Primatologist Barbara Smuts brings this becoming to the flesh in ways that enable a committed, caring and collaborative ethical interaction between species. (shrink)
Science, Richard Holmes suc- ISBN 9780375422225. Paper, Harper, ceeds admirably in pursing the London, 2009. £9.99, C$21.95. ISBN latter meaning, though he has 9780007149537. Vintage, New York, ambitions also to explore the 2010. $17.95. ISBN 9781400031870. former. Holmes, a biographer of Shelley, Coleridge, and Dr. Johnson, has woven together several tales of English scientists who ventured to exotic lands, flung themselves into love affairs, and wrote sonnets to science. The likes of Joseph Banks, William and Caroline Herschel, Mungo Park, and (...) Humphry Davy displayed, in the calmer English manner, the kind of personalities that discovered the “beauty,” if not exactly the “terror,” of science. Holmes dishes up the faux terror in his chapter on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, although the wilder opinions of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who passes through his pages in a drug-induced ramble, are unsettling enough. The lives of the individuals whose accomplishments Holmes depicts are bracketed by James Cook’s ﬁ rst voyage to the South Paciﬁ c and Darwin’s Beagle adventure. With dexterity and considerable but unobtrusive scholarship, Holmes goes far to reveal “the scientiﬁ c process by which a mind of acknowledged power actually proceeds in the path of successful enquiry.” That last line comes from David Brewster’s Life of Sir Isaac Newton. The minds Holmes depicts, however, stand deep in the shadow of the standard by which Brewster gauged scientiﬁ c power. Joseph Banks, botanist and long-time president of the Royal Society, serves Holmes as his Virgil, helping to link together the lives of his other protagonists. Banks gained his scientiﬁ c reputation as a botanist on Cook’s ﬁ rst voyage, though Holmes only touches lightly on the botanical work. He rather lingers, as a deft biographer might, over the scientist’s. (shrink)
In the last two decades the idea of African Philosophy has undergone significant change and scrutiny. Some critics have maintained that the idea of a system of philosophical thought tied to African traditions is incoherent. In African Philosophy Lee Brown has collected new essays by top scholars in the field that in various ways respond to these criticisms and defend the notion of African Philosophy. The essays address both epistemological and metaphysical issues that are specific to the traditional conceptual languages (...) of sub-Saharan Africa. The primary focus of the collection is on traditional African conceptions of topics like mind, person, personal identity, truth, knowledge, understanding, objectivity, destiny, free will, causation, and reality. The contributors--who include Leke Adeofe, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Lee Brown, Segun Gbadegesin, D.A. Masolo, Albert Mosley, Ifeanyi Menkiti, and Kwasi Wiredu--incorporate concerns from various African philosophical traditions, including Akan, Azande, Bokis, Igno, Luo, and Yoruba. African Philosophy ultimately tries to bring a more rigorous conception of African philosophy into fruitful contact with Western philosophical concerns, specifically in the philosophies of psychology, mind, science, and language, as well as in metaphysics and epistemology. It will appeal to both scholars and students. (shrink)