Polarized Religious Identity: Nervous Condition; Religious Identity As Groundswell

In Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis, religious identity is polarized to create a nervous condition in Iranian society admidst the Islamic Revolution. First, Marji demonstrates a nervous condition between her own conception of God in Islam and the drastic movements of Islamic fundamentalists around her. When Marji’s beloved Uncle Anoosh is executed and becomes a ... [Read more...]

Approaching the Tension of Gender Roles- Tambu and Lucia

What does it mean to be a woman? In Tsitsi Dangaremba’s Nervous Conditions, several main female characters wrestle with conflicting answers to this question. In fact, these women develop a ‘nervous condition’- tension between two things- as they attempt to navigate womanhood in a changing, post-colonial Zimbabwe. The narrator and protagonist, Tambu, feels the pangs ... [Read more...]

Powerful Women in Western and South African Eyes; New Perspective on Refugee Crisis

When the western world sees powerful women, it often sees them as unusual, unsettling, or surprising at best; South Africa, among other African nations, has instead long given powerful, older women an important role in society. In fact, powerful women have long been part of “the old structure of village authority” (183), notably as healer-witches, ... [Read more...]

Acknowledging Suffering, Creating a New Public Identity: The TRC

As South Africa struggled to rebuild itself after unspeakable violence and atrocity, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was an important venue for collective healing and establishing a new relationship between the state and the people. Despite the overwhelming number of applicants for reparations- numbering around 20,000- and the 8,000 perpetrators requesting amnesty, the TRC managed ... [Read more...]

Healing and Action Through Creative Means

What does it mean to protest through literature or with cultural forms? How are these forms of performing democracy? Unlike the protests that receive most Western media attention, protests through creative media resist generalizations of public identity and articulate complex experiences and backgrounds that shape democratic desire. Outlets like blogs, theater, poetry, and music give ... [Read more...]