The University of Western Australia
It is with a feeling of relief and pride that I am able to introduce this issue of Limina: a Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies. This year has been a challenge. The disruption of Covid-19 has been felt at all levels of the publication process: the emotional, infrastructural, and physical impediments this virus has meted out has made it difficult for our authors to write and edit, our peer-reviewers to review, and the Limina Collective to manage the submissions and editorial process. Many changes had to occur: we made the decision to postpone the 15th Annual Limina Conference Adaptations in the Humanities until 2021, became a Committee that met only virtually, and cancelled our Volume 25 Issue 2 Special Edition. I am immeasurably proud and thankful to every one of you whose efforts have helped us manage these setbacks and keep going. Without you, this edition would not be here.
This issue presents papers from the 14th Annual Limina Conference, Humanifesto: dissecting the human experience, held on 19 July 2019. This year is one in which we have had to grapple with our feelings of collective humanity, and human frailty. The papers from the conference, read together, speak overwhelmingly to our sense of humanity, our sense of identity or self, and how that identity projects, in the past, present, and into the future. Laurent Shervington’s and Sarah Yeung’s articles both focus on expressions of humanity in film. Shervington examines the use of voice in the post-Algerian independence film The Battle of Algiers as a site of rupture and reassertion of humanity. Yeung frames the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind through a critical posthumanist lens, giving new insight into the representation of memory and the threat of technology presented in the film.
A posthumanist theme is continued with NI Fan’s study of Han Song’s Subway series. NI Fan, using a posthumanist and ecocritical approach, explores how Han Song’s eerie visions of the future are deeply rooted in contemporary issues facing China and the world, registering the disturbing combination of terror and apathy characterising responses to environmental crises. While not read at the Humanifesto conference, Wendy Lawton’s ‘Struggle Street’: Re-staging the Private for Public Consumption, continues along the theme of representations of what it means to be human. Lawton examines the representation of Australians living below the poverty line in reality television programs known as ‘Factual Welfare Television’. This article is given depth through the author’s critical inclusion of her own lived experience to highlight the ethical issues in question.
This issue also presents Limina’s first inclusion of a 'Perspectives' piece, with Scarlette Nhi Do’s examination of representations of Vietnamese identity in Vietnamese War films. A ‘Perspectives’ section was proposed by past Submissions Editor Amy Budrikis, to give an opportunity for shorter pieces of work that fall outside the scope of peer-reviewed articles and book/cultural reviews. ‘The War Never Ends’: Films about the Vietnam War presents an engaging overview of the representations of Vietnamese identity in a broad range of films depicting the Vietnam War, and the complex entanglements of these films with the legacy of the War itself, considering its intersections with racism, nationalism, and selfhood.
Lastly, this issue includes seven book reviews across a broad range of literature: Tom McKendrick and Elliot Langdon, Built Perth: Discovering Perth’s Iconic Architecture (Fremantle Press); Dylan Hyde, Art Was Their Weapon: The History of the Perth Worker's Art Guild (Fremantle Press); Tiffany Shellam, Meeting the Waylo: Aboriginal Encounters in the Archipelago (UWA Publishing); Alison Phipps, Me, Not You: The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism (Manchester University Press); Catherine Noske, The Salt Madonna (Picador); Sanna Peden, Straight Lines (Mulla Mulla Press); and Ana Stevenson, The Woman as Slave in Nineteenth Century American Social Movements (Palgrave Macmillan). Tiffany Shellam’s book was announced on the 9 December 2020 as the winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Australian Fiction. Limina extends to her our congratulations.
We hope that you enjoy this, Volume 26 Issue 1, our only edition of Limina for 2020. We look forward to your continued support of Limina into the future, and encourage you to join us in our efforts to provide a free and open access, peer-reviewed journal. Limina endeavours to be a space for post-graduates and early-career researchers in Historical and Cultural Studies to gain experience in the publication process and share their research. One benefit of Covid-19 is our meetings are now virtually facilitated, meaning that membership to the Limina Collective is more flexible to those who cannot meet in person on the University of Western Australia campus.
We are also working to make sure that our postponed conference Adaptation in the Humanities is open to digital as well as in-person registration. The call for papers for submissions closes 12 April 2021, with the conference to be held 30 September – 2 October 2021. More information can be found on the Conference Website https://conference.pmrg.org.au/. We are looking forward to the opportunities 2021 may bring us.