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Glossary

Glossary (created by Performance and Migration class, LCM 5301, University of Ottawa, Winter 2017)

ABSOLUTE HOSPITALITY

Absolute hospitality requires that I open up my home and that I give not only to the foreigner (provided with a family name, with the social status of being a foreigner, etc.), but to the absolute, unknown, anonymous other, and that I give place to them, that I let them come, that I let them arrive, and take place in the place I offer them, without asking of them either reciprocity (entering into a pact) or even their names. [Derrida: 2000, 25]

Abyss: an immeasurably deep gulf or great space (Merriam-Webster)

“Experience of the abyss lies inside and outside the abyss. The torment of those who never escaped it: straight from the belly of the slave ship into the violet belly of the ocean depths they went […] Thus, the absolute unknown, projected by the abyss and bearing into eternity the womb abyss and the infinite abyss, in the end became knowledge” (Glissant 7-8).

ACCENT

1- “The cumulative auditory effect of those features of pronunciation which identify where a person is from, regionally or socially.” (Naficy, 2001: 22)

2 – “The emphasis which makes a particular word or syllable stand out in a stream of speech” (Crystal in Naficy, 2001: 23)

ACCENTED CINEMA

Films made by diasporic and exilic subjects. The accent emerges from the displacement of the filmmaker and its production mode. It is also partly produced by the style characterizing “accented” films, as they are usually self-reflexive, multilingual, fragmented, and include questions of identity, nostalgia, journeying, displacement, etc. (Naficy 2001:4). In addition, “accented films are in dialogue with their home and host societies and their respective national cinemas, as well as with their audiences, many of whom are similarly transnational, whose desires, aspirations, and fears they express” (Naficy 2001: 6).

This is by no means an established or cohesive cinema, since it has been in a state of preformation and emergence in disparate and dispersed pockets across the globe. It is, nevertheless, an increasingly significant cinematic formation in terms of its output, which reaches into the thousands, its variety of forms and diversity of cultures, which are staggering, and its social impact, which extends far beyond exilic and diasporic communities to include the general public as well. If the dominant cinema is considered universal and without accent, the films that diasporic and exilic subjects make are accented. (Naficy, 2001: 4)

ACCENTED FILMMAKER:

“Accented filmmakers are not just textual structures or fictions within their films; they also are empirical subjects, situated in the interstices of cultures and film practices, who exist outside and prior to their films.” (Naficy 2001: 4)

ALIEN

A foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where he or she is living.; unfamiliar and disturbing or distasteful. (Oxford Dictionary)

“The alien represents the danger of the unknown. We recuperate all that is dangerous about the unknown into the singularity of the alien form: danger is not only projected onto the outside, but the outside is contained within a figure we imagine we have already faced. But, on the other hand, the alien is a source of fascination and desire. […] We might demonstrate our willingness to accept difference and to make it our own. Being hospitable to aliens might, in this way, allow us to become human. […] What is at stake in the ambivalence of such relationships between human and alien is not whether aliens are represented as good or bad, or as ‘beyond’ or ‘within’ the human, but how they function to establish and define the boundaries of who ‘we’ are in their very proximity.“ (Ahmed 2-3)

REPRESENTATION OF THE ALIEN – “The absence and presence of the alien pushes us to recognize the limits of representation as that which exceeds ‘our’ knowledge. (…) The figure of the alien reminds us that what is ‘beyond the limit’ is subject to representation: indeed, what is beyond representation is also, at the same time, over-represented.” (Ahmed, 1)

ALIEN AND PERSONAL SAFETY – The possibility of personal safety for mobile subjects (…) requires ‘collective definitions’ of that which is ‘safe, harmless, trustworthy’ and that which is ‘bad, dangerous and hostile’. Such collective definitions provide the subject with the knowledge required to move within the world, allowing the subject to differentiate between familiar and strange, safe and dangerous, as well as to differentiate between different kinds of strangers (‘characters’). (Ahmed, 33)

ALIEN and Suspicious person: like the stranger, the suspicious person is an empty referent. It is because they have no content, no history of being seen or heard that they are themselves seen and heard as uncommon. By being seen that way, they allow the ‘common’ to take shape. (Ahmed 29)

(to) ASSIMILATE

To absorb into the cultural tradition of a population or group; to make similar (Merriam Webster).

To bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adopt or adjust (dictionary.com).

“Goorall fails in his struggle to perfect his English and to assimilate in a society that stubbornly, and cruelly, refuses to accept him” (Israel 28).

“At last people became used to see him. But they never became used to him” (Conrad 175) (p. 18 in on-line text).

AMERICAN DREAM

The ideal that every American citizen, regardless of background, should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. (Oxford American College Dictionary)

“Those places are perceived as “wrong”, because she knows that America is supposed to be the place of affluence, the place where people succeed. In her determination to succeed she never accepts that state of poverty as anything permanent. She strives for a better position in the society and is proud of gaining some influential and educated friends.” (Rokosz-Piejko 176)

BANALITY OF EVIL :

“According to this view, it would not be triumphalism that motivates the photograph, but something more closely approximating the mundanity of brutality, what Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil and which we might call the ‘digitalization of evil’ (though not the evil of digitaly). (960)

“ There is an important question raised by all of this about the relationship betweenthe camera and ethical responsiveness. It seems clear that these images were circulated,enjoyed, consumed, and communicated without there being any accompanying sense of moral outrage. How this particular banalization of evil took place, and why the photodid not alarm, or alarmed only too late, or became alarming only to those who wereoutside the scenes of war and imprisonment, are doubtless crucial to ask. One mightexpect that the photo would, at once, alert us to the abominable human suffering inthe scene, and yet the photo has no magical moral agency of this kind. In the same way,it is not the same as the torturer, even if it functions as an incitement to brutality. ” (Butler 963)

COLLECTIVE MEMORY

The memory of a group of people, passed from one generation to the next. (Oxford Dictionary)

“Collective memory will be understood here as the common landmarks of everyday life. They constitute shared social frameworks of individual recollections. […] According to Maurice Halbwachs, collective memory offers a zone of stability and normativity in the current of change that characterises modern life. The collective frameworks of memory appear as safeguards in the stream of modernity and mediate between the present and the past, between self and other. […]

Collective memory is a messy, unsystematic concept that nevertheless allows one to describe the phenomenology of human experience.” (Boym 53-54).

“All memory is individual, unreproducible—it dies with each person. What is called collective memory is not a remembering but a stipulating: that this is important, and this is the story about how it happened, with the pictures that lock the story in our minds. Ideologies create substantiating archives of images, representative images, which encapsulate common ideas of significance and trigger predictable thoughts, feelings.” (Sontag 68)

“The problem is not that people remember through photographs, but that they remember only the photographs. This remembering through photographs eclipses other forms of understanding, and remembering.”  (Sontag 70)

COMPULSIVE RETROSPECTION: „Even a „reformed” exile will continue to practice the one thing exiles do almost as a matter of instinct: compulsive retrospection. With their memories perpetually on overload, exiles see double, feel double, are double. When exiles see one place they’re also seeing-or looking for- another behind it. Everything bears two faces, everything is shifty because everything is mobile, the point being that exile, like love, is not just a condition of pain, it’s a condition of deceit.” (Aciman 13)

 

Contrafactual tourist/traveler:

“I do not travel to see things; I come to prospect unreal time in unreal cities. It is only by finding a would-be, would-have-been, wannabe home that I begin to experience the joy that others feel when they go away. It is a transposed and counterintuitive joy, joy by proxy, the vicarious, artificial joy of finding in one place things lost in another. And yet, should you dig a tiny bit deeper, it is no imaginary joy at all.” (Aciman 97)

CONTRAFACTUAL MOOD: „It is through this detour, this hope of restoring a remembered past in an imagined future that I come closest to what goes by the name of a comfort zone, call it a makeshift home, a counterfeit home. Grammarians might call this combination of past and future the imperfect conditional- otherwise known as a contrafactual mood.” (Aciman 97)

„It is only by finding a woul-be, would-have-been, wannabe home that I begin to experience the joy that others feel when they go away. It is a transposed and counterintuitive joy, joy by proxy, the vicarious, artificial joy of finding in one place things lost in another.” (Aciman 97)

CRISIS

a : an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome <a financial crisis> <the nation’s energy crisis>

b : a situation that has reached a critical phase <the environmental crisis> <the unemployment crisis> (Merriam-Webster)

“There is fear for one’s own survival, and there is anxiety about hurting the Other, and these two impulses are at war with each other, like siblings fighting. But they are at war with each other in order not to be at war, and this seems to be the point” (Butler 136-137).

CRITICAL MEMORY

Memory incorporating the negative and the bitter from the immediate past. [Spitzer: 1998, 384]

CULTURAL INTIMACY

“Social poetics that characterizes existence in a small nation and transposes upon the national community what was historically the realm of private individual and familial relationships”. (Boym, 2001: 255)

CULTURAL MISCEGENATION

An imagined blending of racially constructed cultural identities that confuses and undermines the very project of ethnographic charting. (Israel: 2000, 31)

CULTURAL INSIDERISM

A term coined by Paul Gilroy, a professor of social theory at the London School of Exonomics, cultural insiderism refers to commonalities among those of the same community that foster a sense of pride and brotherhood in the people of the community. These commonalities include but are not limited to: “ethnic, national, and linguistic belonging” (Israel 29). “The essential trademark of cultural insiderism which also supplies the key to its popularity is an absolute sense of ethnic difference” (29).

A clutch of rhetorical strategies that create a sense of cohesion among the inhabitants of a particular social location. The essential trademark of cultural insiderism which also supplies the key to its popularity is (…) an absolute sense of ethnic difference. (Nico: 2000, 29)

Denizens

“Tomas Hammar has created the neologism of ‘denizens’ for these noncitizen residents, a neologism that has the merit of showing how the concept of ‘citizen’ is no longer adequate for describing the social-political reality of modern states.” (Agamben , 94)

DIASPORA

A part of a population scattered outside of its national borders, the members of a diaspora always keep links (economic, political, cultural) with their country of origin and preserve a part of their cultural practises.

“The representation of life in exile and diaspora, on the other hand, tends to stress claustrophobia and temporality, and it is cathected to sites of confinement and control and to narratives of panic pursuit.” (Naficy 2001:5)

Displaced Persons

“ “Displaced persons,” exiles, those who are deported, expelled, rootless, nomads, all share two sources of sighs, two nostalgias: their dead ones and their language. On the one hand, they would like to return, at least on a pilgrimage, to the places where their buried dead have their last resting place (the last resting place of family here situates the ethos, the key habitation for defining home, the city or country where relatives, father, mother, grandparents are at rest in a rest that is the place of immobility from which to measure all the journeys and all the distancings). On the other hand, exiles, the deported, the expelled, the rootless, the stateless, lawless nomads absolute foreigners, often continue to recognize what is called the mother tongue, as their ultimate homeland, and even their last resting place” (Derrida 87-89).

ENCOUNTER

“The term encounter suggests a meeting, but a meeting which surprise and conflict… “Identity itself is constituted in the “more than one” of the encounter: designation of an “I” or “we” requires an encounter with others. These others cannot be simply relegated to the outside: given that the subject comes into existence as an entity only through encounters with others, then the subject’s existence cannot be separated from the other who are encountered. As such, the encounter itself is ontologically prior to the question of ontology…The encounters we might yet have with other others hence surprise the subject, but they also reopen the prior histories of encounter that violate and fix others in regimes of difference”  (Ahmed, 8)

“The encounter is premised on the absence of a knowledge that would allow one to control the encounter, or to predict its outcome. As a resulat, encounters constitutes the space of the familial (…), but in doing so, they shift the boundaries of what is familiar. Encounters involve both fixation, and the impossibility of fixation. (Ahmed 8)

“Encounters are meetings, then, which are not simply in the present: each encounter repoens past encounters. Encounters involve, not only the surprise of being faced by an other who cannot be located in the present, they also involve conflict”(Ahmed 8)

ENCOUNTERS IN THE CONTEXT OF COLONIALISM : “Colonialism as an encounter involves, not only the territorial domination of one culture by another, but also forms of discursive appropriation: other cultures become appropriated into the imaginary globality of the colonising nation. The encounters that characterise colonialism are not simply one-sided or monological: encounters involve at least two cultures who, in their meeting, transform the conditions of the encounter itself.” (Ahmed 11)

 

ESTRANGEMENT

The fact of no longer being on friendly terms or part of a social group. (Oxford English Dictionary)

To be alienated from something, to lose connection to that which was once familiar. “The loss of something left behind forever”; “the modern period”; “an affectation, a display of modish attitudes.” (Said 2000, 7)

ETHICS

Moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity (Oxford Dictionary).

“My ethical relation of love for the other stems from the fact that the self cannot survive by itself alone, cannot find meaning within its own being-in-the-world…. To expose myself to the vulnerability of the face is to put my ontological right to existence into question. In ethics, the other’s right to exist has primacy over my own, a primacy epitomized in the ethical edict: you shall not kill, you shall not jeopardize the life of the other.” (Butler 132)

“Ethics, concern for the being of the other-than-one-self, non-indifference toward the death of the other, and hence, the possibility of dying for the other […] would be the expansion of that ontological contraction that is expressed by the verb to be, dis-inter-estedness breaking the obstinacy of being, opening the order of the human, of grace, and of sacrifice.” (Levinas 202)

 

Ethical Relationship

“Ethics, concern for the being of the other-than-one-self, non-indifference toward the death of the other and hence, the possibility of dying for the other…”

“This human inversion of the in-itself and for-itself (of every man for himself) into an ethical self, into a priority of the for-the-other- this replacement of the for-itself of ontological persistence by an I henceforth unique certainly, but unique because of its closeness for a responsibility for the other man -inescapable and non-transferable, this radical turnabout would take place in what I call an encounter with the face of the other.” (Levinas, Emmanuel, Entre nous: on thinking -of-the-other; 202).

 

EXILE

Anyone separated from his or her country or home voluntarily or by force of circumstances; expulsion from one’s native land by authoritative decree (dictionary.com).

“A person who lives away from their native country, either from choice or compulsion” (Oxford Dictionary). -

“Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native space, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. […] The achievements of exile are permanently undermined by the loss of something left behind forever. […] Exile originated in the age-old practice of banishment. Once banished, the exile lives an anomalous life and miserable life, with the stigma of being an outsider”. (Said 2000: 137, 145)

“ This is what makes one think the ‘exile’ is, perhaps, not the most apt term to describe the condition of a writer forced (by the state, by fear, by poverty, by boredom) to abandon his country. ‘Exile’ covers, at best, the very moment of departure, of expulsion; what follows is both too comfortable and too autonomous to be called by this name, which so strongly suggests a comprehensible grief” (Brodsky 1995, 27).

“Signifies not only alienation, isolation, and transcendental homelessness but also, more pressingly, cultural terror over the limits of speech and identity” (Israel 39)

“Like the nomad, the exile is someone who has no home to go back to. He has lost his home; it’s no longer there; there is no going back (…). An exile is not resigned to homelessness; perpetual transience feels as unnatural to him as it would to any tourist who’s lost his return ticket. An exile wants a home, not a provisional rest stop. But having lost his home, he hasn’t the foggiest notion how to go about finding a new one.” (Aciman 95)

„Exiles see two or more places at the same time not just because they’re addicted to a lost past. There is a very real, active component to seeing in this particularly heightened retrospective manner: an exile is continuously prospecting  for a future home –forever looking at alien land as land that could conceivably become his.” (Aciman 13)

„An exile is not just someone who has lost his home; it is someone who can’t find another, who can’t think of another. Some no longer even know what home means.” (Aciman 21)

 

On intellectual in exile

“So, while it is true to say that exile is the condition that characterizes the intellectual as someone who stands as marginal figure outside the comforts of privilege, power, being-at-homeness… it is also very important to stress that that condition carries with it certain rewards and even privileges.

One of course is the pleasure of being surprised, of never taking anything for granted, of learning to make do in circumstances of shaky instability that would confound of terrify most other people…

Because the exile sees things in terms both of what has been left behind and what is actual here and now, he or she has a double perspective, never seeing things in isolation…”  Said, Edward. “Intellectual Exile: Expatriates and Marginals”. Grand Street, No. 47 (Autumn, 1993), pp. 112-124.

EXPATRIATE

An expatriate is a person, temporarily or permanently residing in a foreign country for various personal reasons., – “Expatriates voluntarily live in an alien country, usually for personal or social reasons. Expatriates may share in the solitude and estrangement of exile, but they do not suffer under its rigid proscriptions”. (Said)

“THE FACE”

“Face” describes the human back, the craning of the neck, the raising of the shoulder blades like “springs”. […] The face is to be found in the back and the neck, but it is not quite a face. The sounds that come from or through the face are agonized, suffering. So we can see already that the “face” seems to consist in a series of displacements such that a face is figured as a back which, in turn, is figured as a scene of agonized vocalization. [Butler: 2004, 133]

FLANEUR: an idle man-about-town (Merriam Webster) -

Flaneur has a rich set of meanings, however for Walter Benjamin it is a figure to explain modern urban experience and to describe modern alienation in the postmodern area. – “(…) an unknown man who arranges his walk through London in such way that he always remains in the middle of the crowd. This unknown man is the flaneur. (…) On the one hand there is a man of leisure. He sits in his alcove as in a box in the theatre; when he wants to take a closer look at the marketplace, he has opera glasses at hand. On the other hand there is the anonymus consumer who enters a café and will shortly leave it again, attracted by the magnet of the mass which constantly has him in its range”. (Benjamin, Walter. Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism. 48-49)

“ The street becomes a dwelling for the flaneur; he is as much at home among the facrades of houses as a citizen is in his four walls. To him the shiny, enamelled signs of businesses are at least as good a wall ornament as an oil painting is to a bourgeois in his salon. The walls are the desk against which he presses his notebooks; news-stands are his libraries and the terraces of cafes are the balconies from which he looks down on his household after his work is done” (Benjamin, Walter. Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism,  37).

“If the flaneur is thus turned into an unwilling detective, it does him a lot of good socially, for it accredits his idleness. He only seems to be indolent, for behind this indolence there is the watchfulness of an observer who does not take his eyes off a miscreant” (Benjamin, Walter.Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism,  40-41).

“The flâneur is someone abandoned in the crowd. In this he shares the situation of the commodity. He is not aware of this special situation, but this does not diminish its effect on him and it permeate him blissfully like a narcotic that can composite him for many humiliations”. (Benjamin, Walter. Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism, 55).

(to) FORGET:

To lose the remembrance of, to be unable to think of or recall, to give up hope for or expectation of, to disregard intentionally; to cease remembering or noticing. (Merriam Webster)

“We were told to forget; and we forgot quicker than anybody ever could imagine. In a friendly way we were reminded that the new country could become a new home; and after four weeks in France of six weeks in America, we pretended to be Frenchmen or American. […]

Even among ourselves we don’t speak about this past.” (Arendt 111)

FOREIGNER

A person, not native to the location they currently reside.  “[…] as odd as he is subtle, and who is none other than the alter ego of national man …” (Kristeva: 1991, 133).

Frame

“We can think of the frame, as active, as jettisoning and presenting, and as doing both at once, in silence, without a visible sign of its operation and yet effectively.”

(Buttler, Judith, (2007), 953)

Point of view from which the photo is taken. It encompasses the physical point of view, but also ideological or political points of view. For Butler, “we can think of the frame, then, as active, as jettisoning and presenting, and as doing both at once, in silence, without visible sign of its operation and yet effectively”.  The frame determines the limits of representability. (953)

GRIEVABILITY: whether the loss of human life is representable or not, and if so how it is represented. Grief depends on the humanity of the subject whose life was lost, and this is determined by a certain set of societal norms. If a subject is seen as less than human, the loss of his life is not grievable and will be left out of the frame. (Butler 953)

ICONOGRAPHY OF SUFFERING:

“The iconography of suffering has a long pedigree. The sufferings most often deemed worthy of representation are those understood to be the product of wrath, divine or human. (34) One horror has its place in a complex subject—figures in a landscape – that displays the artist’s skill of eye and hand.(…) But there is shame as well as shock in looking at the close-up of a real horror. Perhaps the only people with the right to look at images of suffering of this extreme order are those who could do something to alleviate it—say, the surgeons at the military hospital where the photograph was taken—or those who could learn from it. The rest of us are voyeurs, whether or not we mean to be. In each instance, the gruesome invites us to be either spectators or cowards, unable to look.” (Sontag 67)

 

“Certain photographs—emblems of suffering, such as the snapshot of the little boy in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943, his hands raised, being herded to the transport to a death camp—can be used like memento mori, as objects of contemplation to deepen one’s sense of reality; as secular icons, if you will.” (Sontag 93)

INBETWEEN(NESS)

Refers to a state in which many exiles find themselves, in which they belong neither to their culture of origin nor to the culture of the new place they live in. This allows them to have a double perspective. However, for Said, “that state of inbetweenness can itself become a rigid ideological position, a sort of dwelling whose falseness is covered over in time and to which one can all too easily become accustomed.” (Said, Expatriates 120-121)

HISTORY

“History is the subject of a construction whose site is not homogeneous, empty time, but time filled full by now-time [Jetztzeit]” (Benjamin 395) In a nutshell, it is today’s views on historical events that make history.

HISTORICISM

“Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal nexus among various moments in history.” (Benjamin 397) Historicism means that those links may not be clear at the present moment and are made only later by historians, and these historical links influence the present.

HISTORICITY:

historical accuracy “…includes, on the one hand, the re-telling of what we know about the past and, on the other, the re-creation of a history for events that have never been properly recorded. […] This concept is common to most Francophone countries that are experiencing a process of revival and a redefinition of national identity. In this process, the people celebrate their heritage by both affirming what is known about the past and filling in shameful gaps in our knowledge to create a new history specific to the former colonies.” (Salhi 28)

HOME

A familiar or usual setting:  congenial environment; also : the focus of one’s domestic attention <home is where the heart is> (Merriam-Webster)

“To feel at home is to know that things are in their places and so are you; it is a state of mind that doesn’t depend on an actual location. The object of longing, then, is not really a place called home but this sense of intimacy with the world; it is not the past in general, but the imaginary moment when we had time and didn’t know the temptation of nostalgia” (Boym 2001:251).

„Home is what sets the course to our travels. Home is what we leave behind, knowing we’ll recover it at the end of the journey. Home is also what makes going away safe. To quote T.D. Eliot, „The end is where we start from.””  (Aciman 94)

There are two kinds of homes: the home of our childhood and origin, which is a given, a fate, for better or for worse, and the home of our adulthood, which is achieved only through an act of possession, hard-earned, patient, imbued with time, a possession made of our choice, agency, the labor of understanding, and gradual arrival. (Hoffmann, 60)

Home for nomads

“Nomads roam the world, but their wandering is stirred not by curiosity but buy practical survival. Nomads do not know where travel ends, inasmuch as none remembers where it started. There can be no voyage out, because there is no voyage back foreseen. The is no one place to travel back to. Travelling becomes the home, and errancy punctuates everything, from where nomads play, wash heir clothes, and seek food, to where thet sleep at night and to to die. If a nomad pitches his tent in te exact same spot where he’d pitched it before, my guess is that it is either by coincidence or for the sake of convenience. The idea of returning to a particular place or of holding one place wortlier than other for reasons that have nothing to do with material concerns seems a luxury if not a contradiction in terms. Namads are indifferent to such things.” (Aciman, 94).

 

HOMELAND

It is the land of ancestors or the country from which one is native and which is dear to us, the nation or the political community to what belongs. It is the country for which we feel tightly and emotionally bound by history, language, culture, traditions, habits of life. “This is not simply “forgetting or reality” but a psychotic substitution of actual experiences with a dark conspiratorial vision: the creation of a delusionary homeland.” (Boym 2001:43)

HOSPITALITY

Hospitality implies letting the other in to oneself, to one’s own space-it is invasive of the integrity of the self, or the domain of the self (Still: 2010, 13). (However foreign to one another, both host and visitor have to put themselves in each other’s power, trust that the other means them no harm, and become […] each hostage to the other.) (Kerr: 2016, 338)

HUMAN:

A human being; relating to or characteristic of humankind; of or characteristic of people as opposed to God or animals or machines, especially in being susceptible to weaknesses; showing the better qualities of humankind, such as kindness. (Oxford Dictionary)

“Some humans take their humanness for granted, and others struggle to gain access to the term. The term ‘human’ is constantly producing a doubling that exposes the ideality and coercive character of the norm: some humans qualify as human; some humans do not, and when I use the term in the second of these utterances, I do nothing more that assert a discursive life for a human who is not the same as the norm that determines what and who will count as a human life, and what and who will not.” (Butler 954)

HUMANIZATION & DEHUMANIZATION

Make something more human or civilised; give something a human character (Oxford Dictionary).

To deprive of human qualities, personality, or spirit (Merriam Webster).

“Levinas has made clear that the face is not exclusively a human face, and yet it s a condition for humanization. On the other hand, there is the use of the face, within the media, in order to effect a dehumanization. It would seem that personification does not always humanize. […] I hope to show, personification sometimes performs its own dehumanisation. How do we come to know the difference between the inhuman but humanizing face, for Levinas, and the dehumanization that can also take place through the face?” (Butler 141)

DEREALIZATION OF LOSS – The derealization of loss – the insensitivity to human suffering and death – becomes the mechanism through which dehumanization is accomplished. This derealization takes place neither inside nor outside the image, but through the very framing by which the image is contained. (Butler: 2004, 148)

HUMAN RIGHTS:

Fundamental rights, especially those believed to belong to an individual and in whose exercise a government may not interfere, as the rights to speak, associate, work, etc.  (dictionary.com)

“Here the paradox is that precisely the figure that should have embodied human rights more than any other – namely, the refugee – marked instead the radical crisis of the concept. The conception of human rights based on the supposed existence of a human being as such, Arendt tells us, proves to be untenable as soon as those who profess it find themselves confronted for the first time with people who have really lost every quality and every specific relation except for the pure fact of being human. In the system of the nation state, so-called sacred and inalienable human rights are revealed to be without any protection precisely when it is no longer possible to conceive of them as rights of the citizens of a state.“ (Agamben 92)

Human rights is a “set of unalienable rights theoretically given to all human beings. However, these rights seem to not protect people when they are no longer conceived of as citizens of a state”. (Agamben 92)

 

Language

The words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community  (Merriam Webster).

“[T]he foreigner is first of all foreign to the legal language in which the duty of hospitality is formulated, the right to asylum, its limits, norms, policing, etc. He has to ask for hospitality in a language which by definition is not his own, the one imposed on him by the master of the house, the host, the king, the lord, the authorities, the nation, the State, the father, etc. This personage imposes on him translation into their own language, and that’s the first act of violence” (Derrida 15).

Linguistic difference: the realisation that there is diversity within one’s own language, that there are no universal norms. (Majumdar 6)

MIGRATION

“Migration is a word that encompasses a lot. What we can say is that whether it is thought of in terms of individuals (immigrant, expatriate, temporary worker, exile, refugee, itinerant, cosmopolitan nomad, etcetera) or collectives (colonial settlement, diaspora, slave or convict transportation, trafficking, displacement), migration is, at its heart, about encounters with foreignness – with foreign people, and with foreign places.” (Cox, Emma. Theatre and Migration, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014: 3) “A migrant can be a person who leaves one home and makes another, or one with multiple homes, or none, or a person who eschews geographical fixity altogether. Migrants can be individuals, families or political communities. They may move by choice or by compulsion. They may be made welcome or shunned. And each of these contingencies can bleed into another.” ( 7)

NATION-STATE:

“Nation-state means a state that makes nativity or birth [nascita] (that is, naked human life) the foundation of its own sovereignty.” (Agamben, 93)

NATIONALISM

A sense of pride towards belonging to a nation or a state.

“Nationalism is an assertion of belonging in and to a place, a people, a heritage. It affirms the home created by a community of language, culture, and customs; and by so doing, it sends off exile, fights to prevent ravages” (Said 2000, 6).

Nomad:

1. A member of a people that travels from place to place to find fresh pasture for its animals and has no permanent home.

1.1 A person who does not stay long in the same place; a wanderer. (Oxford English Dictionary)

Nomads roam the world, but their wandering is stirred not by curiosity but by practical survival. Nomads do not know where travel ends, inasmuch as none remembers where it started. There can be no voyage out, because there is no voyage back foreseen. There is no one place to travel back to. Traveling becomes the home, and errancy punctuates everything, from where nomads pray, wash their clothes, and seek food, to where they sleep at night and go to die. [Aciman: 2012, 94]

New nomadism: new nomadism exists in a decentered world. It rewrites displacement as a favoured position, giving the wanderer a new way of being and a new sense of selfhood. (Hoffman 57)

 

NONFIGURABLE OPERATION OF POWER

“(…) It is precisely a nonfigurable operation of power that works to delimit the domain of representability itself. That it is nonfigurable does not mean it cannot be shown. But what is shown when it comes into view is the staging apparatus itself, the maps that exclude certain regions, the directives of the army, the positioning of the cameras, the communication of the punishments that lay in wait if protocol is breached.” (Butler, 953)

NOSTALGIA

The state of being homesick. Nostalgia stresses nostos, emphasizing the return to that mythical place somewhere on the island of Utopia, with classical porticos, where the “greater patria” has to be rebuilt. This nostalgia is reconstructive and collective. The second type puts the emphasis on algia, and does not pretend to rebuild the mythical place called home; it is “enamoured of distance, not of the referent itself” (Stewart 1984: 145). This nostalgia is ironic, fragmentary and singular. If utopian nostalgia sees exile, in all the literal and metaphorical senses of the world, as a definite fall from grace that should be corrected, ironic nostalgia accepts (if it does not enjoy) the paradoxes of exile and displacement. (Boym 1998: 241)

A positive and/or negative feeling when someone thinks about things that happened in the past;  “…inexorable, insidious awareness of your own dependence on your past, like an illness that grows ever harder to bear..” (Tarkovsky 206)

NOSTALGIC MEMORY

As a “retrospective mirage” constructed through hindsight, nostalgic memory thus serves an important comparative and, by implication, animating purpose. It sets up the positive from within the “world of yesterday” as a model for creative inspiration, and possible emulation, within the “world of the here and now”. And, by establishing a link between a “self-in-present” and an image of a “self-in-past”, nostalgic memory also plays a significant role in the reconstruction and continuity of individual and collective identity [Spitzer: 1998, 378]

Parallax

„Parallax is not just a disturbance in vision. It’s a derealizing and paralyzing disturbance in the soul – cognitive, metaphysical, intellectual, and ultimately aesthetic. It is not just about displacement, or of feeling adrift both in time and space, it is a fundamental misalignment between who we are, might have been, could still be, can’t accept we’ve become, or may never be.” (Aciman 189)

Photograph

Sontag’s analysis of the difference between photographs and images (such as Goya’s etchings): “Goya’s images are a synthesis. They claim: things like this happened. In contrast, a single photograph or filmstrip claims to represent exactly what was before the camera’s lens. A photograph is supposed not to evoke but to show” (Sontag 38).  “Everyone is a literalist when it comes to photographs” (Sontag 38). “To photographic corroboration of the atrocities committed by one’s own side, the standard response is that the pictures are a fabrication, that no such atrocity ever took place, those were bodies the other side had brought in trucks from the city morgue and placed about the street, or that, yes, it happened and it was the other side who did it, to themselves” (Sontag 11-12).

PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE VICTIMS OF WAR:

“.. photographs of the victims of war are themselves a species of rhetoric. They reiterate. They simplify. They agitate. They create the illusion of consensus.” (Sontag p.8)

“The photographs are a means of making „real” (or „more real”) matters that the privileged and the merely safe might prefer to ignore.” (Sontag 9) „They show how war evacuates, shatters, breaks apart, levels the built world.” „They show a particular way of waging war, a way at that time routinely described as „barbaric”, in which civilians are the target.” (Sontag 10)

“Photographs of mutilated bodies certainly can be used the way (..) to vivify the condemnation of war, and may bring home, for a spell, a portion of its reality to those who have no experience of war at all… „ (Sontag 12)

“… morally alert photographers and ideologues of photography have become increasingly concerned with the issue of exploitation of sentiment (pity, compassion, indignation) in war photography and of rote ways of provoking feeling. „ (Sontag 63)

“Photographs of the suffering and martyrdom of a people are more than reminders of death, of failure, of victimization. They invoke the miracle of survival. To aim at the perpetuation of memories means, inevitably, that one has undertaken the task of continually renewing, of creating, memories—aided, above all, by the impress of iconic photographs. “ (Sontag 69)

“The imaginary proximity to the suffering inflicted on others that is granted by images suggests a link between the faraway sufferers—seen close-up on the television screen— and the privileged viewer that is simply untrue, that is yet one more mystification of our real relations to power. So far as we feel sympathy, we feel we are not accomplices to what caused the suffering. Our sympathy proclaims our innocence as well as our impotence.” (Sontag 80)

“It is not a defect that we are not seared, that we do not suffer enough, when we see these images. Neither is the photograph supposed to repair our ignorance about the history and causes of the suffering it picks out and frames.” (Sontag 91)

PERMANENT RESIDENT:

An individual who has status in a country usually less than citizenship but more than just a visitor. (Duhaime’s Law Dictionary)

“None of them, they tell me, would ever think of returning to Europe. Many have sent their children to the United States to college or for professional training, and some have relatives in North America or in other South American countries whom they visit occasionally. Still, they feel themselves established in Bolivia, permanent residents, fixtures in the landscape. Like the “Confiterfa Elis” that they frequent, they have maintained much of the old world within them: its memories, its tastes, aspects of its culture. Yet in a very real sense, they are no longer of that old world. Nostalgia for their homeland, for Europe, if it still arises within them on occasion, is recognized as nostalgia for an irreplaceable loss. But they describe the feeling in more accepting terms – as more akin to leave-taking and final separation than to a yearning for return.” (Spitzer 394)

PLACE

Physical environment; an indefinite region or expanse; a distinct condition, position, or state of mind. (Merriam Webster)

“Place is a segment of space that people imbue with special meaning and value. […] It refers not only to a physical entity, however, but also to our relations to it and our social relations within it. Most of us take for granted our place in the world and come face-to-face with it only when we are threatened with displacement.” (Naficy 152)

POETICS OF RELATION – “Rhyzomatic thought is the principle behind what I call the Poetics of Relation, in which each and every identity is extended through a relationship with the Other.” (Glissant, 11)

POSTMEMORY:

“Postmemory describes the relationship of the second generation to powerful, often tramatic, experiences that preceded their births but that were nevertheless transmitted tot hem so deeply as to seem to constitute memories in their own right.” (103)

“Postmemory shares the layering of these other “posts” and their belatedness, aligning itself with the practice of citation and mediation that characterize them, marking a particular end-of-century/turn-of-century moment of looking backward rather than ahead and of defining the present in relation to a troubled past rather than initiating new paradigms. Like them, it reflects an uneasy oscillation between continuity and rupture. And yet postmemory is not a movement, method, or idea; I see it, rather, as a structure of inter- and trans-generational transmission of traumatic knowledge and experience. It is a consequence of traumatic recall but (unlike posttraumatic stress disorder) at a generational remove.” (106)

“Postmemory describes the relationship that the generation after those who witnessed cultural or collective trauma bears to the experiences of those who came before, experiences that they “remember” only by means of the stories, images, and behaviors among which they grew up.” (106)

“But these experiences were transmitted to them so deeply and affectively as to seem to constitute memories in their own right. Postmemory’s connection to the past is thus not actually mediated by recall but by imaginative investment, projection, and creation. To grow up with such overwhelming inherited memories, to be dominated by narratives that preceded one’s birth or one’s consciousness, is to risk having one’s own stories and experiences displaced, even evacuated, by those of a previous generation. It is to be shaped, however indirectly, by traumatic events that still defy narrative reconstruction and exceed comprehension. These events happened in the past, but their effects continue into the present. This is, I believe, the experience of postmemory and the process of its generation.” (107)  ”These “not memories” communicated in “flashes of imagery” and “broken refrains,” transmitted through “the language of the body,” are precisely the stuff of postmemory.” (109)

Collective memory: collective memory refers to “the “living connection” between proximate generations” (Hirsch 109). We can sum it up as the memory shared by multiple generations. This collective memory can be divided into two types. The first one is the communicative memory, which is factual and transmitted to descendants for three to four generations. The second one is cultural memory, which is a form of memory that is institutionalized in various ways once the bearers enter old age (Hirsch 110).

COMMUNICATIVE MEMORY: “Communicative memory is “biographical” and “factual” and is located within a generation of contemporaries who witness an event as adults and who can pass on their bodily and affective connection to that event to their descendants.” (Hirsch 110)

EXPERIENCE OF POSTMEMORY – “Postmemory’s connection to the past is (…) not actually mediated by recall but by imaginative investment, projection, and creation. To grow up with such overwhelming inherited memories, to be dominated by narratives that preceded one’s birth or one’s consciousness, is to risk having one’s own stories and experiences displaced, even evacuated, by those of a previous generation. It is to be shaped, however indirectly, by traumatic events that still defy narrative reconstruction and exceed comprehension. These events happened in the past, but their effects continue into the present”. (Hirsch, 107)

REFUGEE

A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. (Oxford English Dictionary)

Becuase of the “creation of the twentieth-century state. The word ‘refugee’ has become a political one, suggesting large herds of innocent and bewildered people requiring urgent international assistance” (Said 2000, 6).

““A refugee used to be a person driven to seek refuge because of some act committed or some political opinion held. Well, it is true we have had to seek refuge; but we committed no acts and most of us never dream of having any radical opinion.  With us the meaning of the term “refugee” has changed.  Now “refugee” are those of us who have been so unfortunate as to arrive in a new country without means and have to be helped by Refugee Committees.” (Arendt, 110)

Formerly a person that had to seek refuge somewhere because of an act they had committed or a radical opinion they held, now generalized to every person that was unfortunate enough to have to go to another country without the necessary means. (Arendt 110) The refugee has lost the will of assimilating at all costs in a new national identity. (Agamben 90)

REPRESENTABILITY

[…] This field is structured by state permission; as a result, we cannot understand this field of representability simply by examining its explicit contents, since it is constituted fundamentally by what is cast out and maintained outside the frame within which representations appear. [Butler: 2007, 953]

RESPONSIBILITY

Responsibility is the action of feeling responsible for what is not one’s deed, for the “Other” and for what does not necessarily matter to directly to oneself. (Levinas 95)

The essential, primary, and fundamental structure of subjectivity. (…) I describe subjectivity in ethical terms. (…) The very node of the subjective is knotted in ethics understood as responsibility. I understand responsibility as responsibility for the Other, thus as responsibility for what is not my deed, or for what does not even matter to me, is met by me as face. (Levinas: 1985, 95) (…) Since the Other looks at me, I am responsible for him, without even having taken on responsibilities in his regard; his responsibility is incumbent on me. (Levinas: 1985, 96)

RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE OTHER – placing the other before yourself and the other’s existence more important than your own; “I understand responsibility as responsibility for Other, thus a responsibility for what is not my deed, or for what does not even matter to me; or which precisely does matter to me, is met by me as face. (Levinas, Emmanuel. Ethics and infinity. Duquesne University Press, 1985, 95)

Restorative nostalgia/reflective nostalgia

“In my view, two kinds of nostalgia characterize one`s relationship to the past, to the imagined community, to home, to one`s own self perception: restorative and reflective (…)  Restorative nostalgia puts emphasis on nostosand proposes to rebuild the lost home and path up the memory gaps (…) (Boym 2001:41).

Restoration (from re-staure- re-establishment) signifies a return to the original stasis, to the prelapsarian moment. The past for the restorative nostalgia is a value for the present; the past is not a duration but a perfect snapshot (…)  Reflective nostalgia is more concerned with historical and individual time, with the irrevocability of the past and human re-flection suggest new reflexibility, no the reestablishment of stasis.” (Boym 2001:49).

 

STRANGER

He is, so to speak, the potential wanderer: although he has not moved on, he has not quite overcome the freedom of coming and going. He is fixed within a particular spatial group, or within a group whose boundaries are similar to spatial boundaries. But his position in this group is determined, essentially, by the fact that he has not belonged to it from the beginning, that he imports qualities into it, which do not and cannot stem from the group itself. (Simmel: 1950, 402)

The stranger is the owner of no soil, a person that is fixed neither in space nor in the social environment. He is not committed to the tendencies of the group, which makes him more objective. (Based on: Simmel, Georg. “The Stranger” in The Sociology of Georg Simmel. Free Press, Glencoe, Illinois, 1950. P403-404)

“In spite of being inorganically appended to it, the stranger is yet an organic member of the group. Its uniform life includes the specific conditions of this element. Only we do not know how to designate the peculiar unity of this position other than by saying that it is composed of certain measures of nearness and distance. Although some quantities of them characterize all relationships, a special proportion and reciprocal tension produce the particular, formal relation to the ‘stranger.’” (Simmel: 1950, 408)

 

Stranger fetishism

“The analogy suggests that the process of fetishisation involves, not only the displacement of social relations onto an object, buy the transformation of fantasies into figures. We could bring the two processes together and suggest that fetishism involves the displacement of social relations of labour through the transformation of objects into figures. What is at stake is the ‘cutting off’ of figures from the social and material relations which over-determine their existence, and the consequent perception that such figures have a ‘life of their own’”. (Ahmed Strange Encounters, 5)

Terrorism

“If we turn to the prevailing definition of ‘terrorism’ provided by the US State Department -a definition which preceded and framed the ‘war on terror’ – we learn that it s identified as ‘ Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatan* targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. The asterisk following ‘noncombatant’ indicates that, for the State Department, the word refers not only to ‘civilians’ (the target of most terrorist attacks, also identified as ‘innocents people’), but to ‘military personnel’ as well, who are ‘unarmed of off duty at the time. This obvious stretching of the word ‘noncombatant’ was evidently inadequate for the US State Department, because, as the ‘war on terror’ intensified, it proceeded to invent an entirely new ‘legal’ category- ‘illegal enemy combatant’- which confounds legal experts to this day.” (Bharucha. 2014: 4)

 

THEATRE OF WITNESS:

The “theatre of witness” dramatizes the stories of those who suffer history; it reflects post-Freudian insights gained from testimony psychotherapies and trauma work with survivors of atrocities. “Theatre of witness”, as Malpede describes it, “dramatizes moments of speaking the unspeakable, hearing the unbearable”. It demands that the playwright avoid becoming a documentarian, that the victim reclaim and recount the trauma, that the audience members become a compassionate community. The goal, according to Malpede, is to combat apocalyptic thinking by fostering “the understandings required to reshape and remake history”. [Moss: 2001]

THIRD SPACE (based on Homi Bhabha’s definition):

“Homi Bhabha conceptualises the third space as a metaphoric space in which postcolonial identity formation in the diaspora occurs. Post-national and anti-essentialist in spirit, this metaphoric third space is situated figuratively and interstitially between one’s home and host nations and cultures.” (Royona 93).

“The third space transfers the ‘burden of the meaning of culture’ from ritualistic national traditions to the ‘“inter” […] the in-between’ which Bhabha suggests is where ‘the cutting edge of translation and negotiation’ occurs (Royona 94).

“Khan thus critiques Bhabha’s idealistic position, which suggests that both histories that constitute diasporic identities are equally displaced. Instead he clarifies that his negotiation of the third space is only made possible by slightly privileging his British nationality and the mobility and power attached to it to negotiate new positions, which then in turn destabilise notions of Britishness” (Royona 98).

“Post-national and anti-essentialist in spirit, this metaphoric third space is situated figuratively and interstitially between one’s home and host nations and cultures.” (Royona 93)  “(…) this third space ‘properly challenges our sense of the historical identity of culture as a homogenizing, unifying force, authenticated by the originary Past, kept alive in the national tradition of the People’” (Royona 94) “The third space thus offers an alternative and empowering way to understand and own one’s sense of displacement, a condition associated with the diaspora.” (Royona 94)

TO TEMPORIZE:

To temporize not only means to wait out something but also to compromise, to parley, to delay taking a position; it means to waver, to adapt, to conform, to evade, to shift, to fudge, to trim. Temporizing is what you do when you don’t want to act, or when you can’t act, or when you don’t know how to act, or when you are force to act (or speak) in ways that are not your own; you become evasive, deceptive. [Aciman: 2012, 63]

TRAUMA: “In her brilliant study, Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History, Cathy Caruth follows Freud in defining trauma as “the response to an unexpected or overwhelming violent event or events that are not fully grasped as they occur, but return later in repeated flashbacks, nightmares, and other repetitive phenomena” (91). Caruth’s analysis underscores the incomprehensibility of the event (58, 92), the belatedness of its registration on the mind (6), and the ethical burden experienced by the survivor (108). Surviving trauma creates a crisis because the traumatized person witnessed unthinkable horrors that he or she failed to prevent and did not fully understand (102-08). The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder—recurring dreams and hallucinations —are involuntary returns to the horrific events in which the person experiences the anxiety not present before and confronts the enigma of survival (58-59). To work through the trauma, the person must speak of it, bearing endless testimony to the impossibility of survival (62, 108).” (Moss 1)

UNCANNY

“The Uncanny is that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar” (Freud 1919: 219). It is an unsettling, obscure, mysterious feeling that sits in the pit of the stomach, and despite one knowing that one ought not to be phased by this feeling, it often cannot be helped. “The factor of the repetition of the same thing” (235), seeing the a number repeatedly in different contexts throughout the course of the day, for example, may instigate an uncanny feeling. Because the uncanny is familiar, yet incongruous, it has been seen as creating cognitive dissonance within the experiencing subject, due to the paradoxical nature of being simultaneously attracted to yet repulsed by an object. Being beyond what is normal or expected: suggesting superhuman or supernatural powers.

UPROOTING – “Uprooting can work toward identity, and exile can be seen as beneficial, when these are experienced as a search for the Other (…) rather than as an expansion of territory (…)”. (Glissant, 18) “Whereas exile may erode one’s sense of identity, the thought of errantry – the thought of that which relates – usually reinforces this sense of identity.”  (Glissant, 20)

YEA-SAYERS/INSIDERS: “Those (…) who belong fully to the society as it is, who flourish in it without an overwhelming sense of dissonance or dissent.” (Said: 1993, 117)  NAY-SAYERS/OUTSIDERS: “The individuals at odds with their society and therefore outsiders and exiles so far as privileges, power, and honors are concerned.” (Said: 1993, 117)

WAR:

“Wars are now also living room sights and sounds. Information about what is happening elsewhere, called “news,” features conflict and violence— “If it bleeds, it leads” runs the venerable guideline of tabloids and twenty-four-hour headline news shows—to which the response is compassion, or indignation, or titillation, or approval, as each misery heaves into view. “ (Sontag 91)

 

From Brecht, Bertolt. Conversations in Exile (dramatic excerpts). Translation: Howard Brenton, 1982.

Humour: a mood or state of mind; the quality of being amused or comic.  (humour, v.: comply with someone’s wishes in order to keep them content, however unreasonable such wishes might be.)

One way of responding to and undermining authoritarianism.

“Ziffel: It’s terrible to live in a country where there’s no sense of humour.

Kalle: It’s even more terrible to live in a country where you need a sense of humour. […] (The Danes) were democrats and insisted everyone had the right to make a joke. They thought they’d avoid fascism because of their famous sense of humour.” (Brecht 13)

Social processes: the ways in which individuals and groups interact, adjust and readjust, establish relationships and patterns of behaviour, which are again modified through social interactions.

“The investigation of social processes doesn’t leave those processes untouched, but changes them, a directly revolutionary effect. That’s probably why those in power always try to stop intellectuals investigating what’s going on. They fear they’ll start something that will get out of hand.” (Brecht 11)

Brecht’s Epic Theatre:

1)  - Form of didactic drama presenting a series of loosely connected scenes that avoid illusion and often interrupt the story line to address the audience directly with analysis, argument, or documentation. Epic theatre is now most often associated with the dramatic theory and practice evolved by the playwright-director Bertolt Brecht in Germany from the 1920s onward. (…) Brecht’s perspective was Marxian, and his intention was to appeal to his audience’s intellect in presenting moral problems and reflecting contemporary social realities on the stage. He wished to block their emotional responses and to hinder their tendency to empathize with the characters and become caught up in the action. To this end, he used “alienating,” or “distancing,” effects to cause the audience to think objectively about the play, to reflect on its argument, to understand it, and to draw conclusions. [Britannica.com]

2) – “The concept of the epic theater, originated by Brecht as the theoretician of his poetic practice, indicates above all that this theatre desires an audience that is relaxed and follows the action without strain. This audience (…) always appears as a collective, and this differentiates it from the reader (…) This audience, being a collective, will usually feel impelled to react promptly. This reaction, according to Brecht, ought to be a well-considered and therefore a relaxed one, (…) the reaction of people who have an interest in the matter. Two objects are provided for this interest. The first is the action; it has to be such that the audience can keep a check on it at crucial places on the basis of its own experience. The second is the performance; it should be mounted artistically in a pellucid manner.” (Benjamin: 1998, 149)”The concept of the epic theatre, originated by Brecht as the theoretician of his poetic practice, indicates above all that this theater desires an audience that is relaxed and follows the action without strain. […] Also, this audience, being a collective, will usually feel impelled to react promptly. […] Instead, the art of the epic theater consists in producing astonishment rather than empathy. To put it succinctly: instead of identifying with the characters, the audience should be educated to be astonished at the circumstances under which they function. The task of the epic theater, according to Brecht, is not so much the development of actions as the representation of conditions”. [Benjamin 1968: 149, 152]

3) – Epic theatre is a form of artistic performance that educate people about life, the contradictions which make up our society and make them critically question about it. Its form and elements are the opposite of the Aristotelian drama. – “Epic theatre set itself up in opposition to the dramatic theatre (…) what was rejected in this new drama was the Aristotelian ‘catharsis, the purging of the emotions through identification with the hero’s turbulent destiny (…) by contrast epic theatre advances by fits and starts, like the images on a film strip. Its basic form is that of the forceful impact on one another of separate, distinct situations in the play (Benjamin:Understanding Brecht 38)”.