Empedocles: European Journal of the Philosophy of Communication 6.1

Intellect are delighted to announce the new issue of Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication 6.1.  This general issue contains articles on a wide range of topics from open-source journalism and phenomenology of new media to the study of shame in criminal law. EJPC 6.1 also features two new sections 'Reflection' and 'Critical Readings', as well as book reviews. 

To access the journal please click here:

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Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 2.1

Intellect is delighted to announce the new issue of Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 2.1 with a wide range of articles, interviews and reviews surrounding Chinese war photojournalists, Nushu references in the work of Ma Yanling and women painters in Taiwan.

To access the journal please click here


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An interview with Amanda Williamson, editor of Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities

Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities negotiates the influential, yet silent educational presence of spiritualities within the field of somatic movement dance education internationally. We asked Amanda some questions about the book and what inspired her to do the project.

1. What first attracted you to dance, somatics and spiritualities as an area of study?
When studying my undergraduate degree I was struck (a little amazed) that our lecturers didn’t talk of spirituality or religion and dance. I remember entering a dance studies programme because dance felt utterly transcendent to me at that age. I worked out quite quickly that dance in the University (at that time) was heavily influenced by researching dance through discourses of power; dance was a cultural product/artefact, and body politics and cultural materialism were the order of that era (still are in part). I also worked out this was an important paradigm to lecture through because as a community of scholars working in self-reflexive university contexts dance needed to be critically discoursed – dance in the university was taken seriously as reflecting, engaging perpetuating, antagonizing, transcending and producing cultural values, and on…. And of course from an arts health perspective, dance was integral to community, culture and society (the human spirit). I was taught by two of the most eminent historians, and in those lectures dance was heavily shaped by, and actively immersed in all sorts of dominant and marginal discourses. I am still grateful to these historians. However, at university I felt the most important elements of dance (its’ transcendent and/or immanently spiritual qualities), were not given visibility. I was curious, but not really educated enough to articulate the feeling of the spiritual short fall in my Higher Education experience. Later, when I wrote dance degrees of my own (of course writing to, and checking for national and international disciplinary parity), I was reminded of the secular nature of dance studies. Additionally, when interviewing undergraduates for their chosen degree route, they would often say something like: “I don’t know why I love dance, or want to study dance – it just makes me feel like ‘me’, or whole, or happy or something”. Trying to catch the experiential feelings that dancing gives us is hard. It’s slightly ironic though, because dance of course has a long-standing relationship with the ancient sacred and the medicinal properties of movement/dance are widely documented. However, in saying all this, one could see (in all those years) how the spiritual elements of dance were discoursed in the areas of dance and health, some of dance history, Dance, Movement Psychotherapy, contemplative mindful practices, and archetypal, more Jungian and Somatic dance discourses. So spirituality was present, albeit discoursed through more secular avenues. As I grew as a scholar I, of course, realised that discourses of power are central to spirituality/religion and dance, and one’s spirituality in dance is as much a cultural product/artefact as any other element of the dance. So, I saw how Dance Studies could critically discourse spirituality in socio-economic, cultural, gendered and historical contexts.  This appealed to me – melding cultural studies and critical theory with spirituality in and of dance.
However, and in relation to all of the above, while studying and leading dance programmes for nearly 17 years there has been a growing revolution in body consciousness/awareness and health and healing through the integration and application of Somatics into Dance Studies. I have been part of this movement and it most certainly heightened my interest in spirituality in and of dance academically. I’m going to quote ‘The International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association’ (ISMETA) here for readers, because I think they offer a good definition of this field:
The field of somatics has developed over the last century through a process of inquiry into how consciousness inhabits the living body. The term is derived from the word “somatic” (Greek “somatikos”, soma: “living, aware, bodily person”) which means pertaining to the body, experienced and regulated from within. According to Thomas Hanna, who first coined the phrase, “somatics” is the study of self from the perspective of one’s lived experience, encompassing the dimensions of body, psyche, and spirit. 
The field of Somatic Movement Education and Therapy represents a variety of approaches to the process of awakening awareness of the human body, or soma, in movement. Registered practitioners guide individuals and groups into inner experiences of their bodies, deepening the clients’ understanding of themselves in motion. This transformational learning process can include sound, breath, touch and imagery in addition to movement.
I trained as a Somatic Movement Dance Educator and Therapist in Massachusetts (a melting hot pot and spot for consciousness studies and movement awareness), and then wrote an international MA programme titled: MA Dance and Somatic Well-being: Connections to the Living Body (New York/UK). It was during this period that the academic study of somatically experiencing spirituality in movement intensified in me, and reflecting my experience straight back, many students came forward asking if in fact they could research spirituality in and of somatic movement studies. There was a short fall of texts in this area; many texts in religious studies and the body, but nothing really fulsome in our field.  There is certainly a strong relationship between embodiment and spirituality and Somatic Movement Dance Education and Therapy, although it’s only recently being tackled very openly. The link is strong because we facilitate a deepening into body-life-processes through sensory-perceptual movement exercises. Students sink into their sensory-perceptual and imaginative body experience, and inevitably during this depth-experience, students may touch into physical pain and/or emotional pain (areas of life that need attention and healing in community or in dyadic work), but also may touch into easeful released movement articulation and experience – experiences that support sensory/emotional balance (ease and connectedness), and increased consciousness about one’s embodied life journey. Contemplation and reflection on life experiences, sensed through a deepening and listening into the body’s story brings forth a clear relationship to spirituality (life-journey) and embodiment.
2. What drew you to the idea of editing an edited collection?
I wanted to bring the founders of the field of Somatic Movement Dance, Education and Therapy together in one volume to create multiple perspectives and to share their practices of spirituality in the field. The aim was to create a fulsome resource for students in this field. Our students are so immersed and passionate about this area of study, I guess I felt they deserved an honesty enquiry into this area. Often spirituality in this field is discoursed through deep-ecology, phenomenology, and humanistic Jungian post/Jungian research approaches. While all tangible and vital and integral, the spiritual nature of the work remains a bi-product, or one might say negotiated indirectly through secular arts discourse.
3. Approaches to dance and spiritualities within academia have changed in recent years, do you feel this has been reflected adequately in academic output?
I feel we are on the brink of something – I’m unsure what it is. I see through the journal and book, a real desire to now articulate the spiritual aspects of being (personally/culturally/historically and in terms of gender) in the face or more secular perceptions of the world. Perhaps I see some new research into Somatic experiencing and cultural context and values.
4. Where do your personal research interests and background lies?
In the spiritual of ethnographic and feminist honesty, I recognise I’ve always been an intensively spiritual person. My father was an Anglo-Catholic priest. As a young women I was not happy at all with the male-centred androcentric God I was presented with, nor was I happy with New Age discourses that I consumed to find something of meaning. However, I deeply appreciated my Father’s long investigations of mystery around the table, and his love of poetry and Celtic prayer. I’m particularly interested now in women’s stories, herstories (the “what about us stories!”) and my research is wading more deeply into this area.
5. You also edit the journal Dance, Movement & Spiritualities, what new areas do you hope the journal will explore in the future?

Because my daughter (Tala) has Native American heritage, and because much of my own research is US-centric, I would be very interested to see in this journal have some research into the influences of Native American beliefs and values in Western Somatic Movement Dance Modalities. Equally, I would be fascinated to see articles dealing with postmodernism and post-structuralist enquiry into spirituality, dance and performance, as well as more emphasis on gender, sexuality and spirituality, and indeed dance and new technologies. In fact, the research realms appear limitless, and I am curious to see what avenues Volume 2 will follow. Of note, our forthcoming issue 2.1 is a special issue on Dance, Movement and Buddhism, guest edited by Harrison Blum, which will, no doubt, broaden our understanding and widen our appreciation of the integration and application of Buddhist principles/values in western dance/movement contexts. Notably, 2014 and 2015 have seen the arrival of three prominent books in the field of dance and spirituality – Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives (Williamson, A. et al., 2014); Dance, Consumerism and Spirituality (Walter, C. 2014); and Why we Dance: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming (LaMothe, K. 2015). While different in methodical and theoretical orientation, all three books provide new perspectives (and indeed new research avenues) into spirituality and dance in our contemporary and wider historical milieu. They notably all share common ground with deep ecological concerns; and within this issue, I interview Carla Walter about her new book Dance, Consumerism and Spirituality. In view of lay spiritual dance practices existing and growing beyond the realms and strictures of the University, there is a growing movement in the world that appears to combine various ideas from indigenous cultures and tribal dance (however appropriated/misappropriated) with notions of embodiment today. For example, if you visit ‘Dance and spirituality meetups’ (http://, you can view, to name just a few here, the following movement classes and modalities: Dance Soul, Freeform Dance, 5Rhythms®, Mindful Movement Meditation and Dance, Danceitation, Soul Motion(TM), Shiva Devi Ecstatic, One Spirit Ecstatic Dance, Transformational Dance, Drum Circles, DRUM ~ DANCE ~ CHILL, Sacred Dance for Women, DevaGnosis, Magical Heart Adventures, and Drumming/Dancing/Flow-Arts/ Chanting. Internet searches reveal many other spiritual movement forms (the list would be too long to publish), such as the following: Spiritual Dance and Sufi Meditation (; and Shamanic trance dance ( Tracing the intricacies of this revival on a broad scale is an enormous task; my hope is that we start to gather more information and documentation on these phenomena, through both interview material and/or documentary-style pieces, as well as traditional academic papers. As such, we are introducing interview and documentary style pieces in relation to these phenomena in Volume 2 of this journal.

Amanda Williamson has a website which covers both her book and journal projects 

To find out more about the book click here, and to find out more about the journal click here.

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Fashion, Style & Popular Culture 2.3.

Intellect is delighted to publish the special issue of Fashion, Style & Popular Culture 2.3.

This exciting new issues explores various fashion, style and popular culture works ranging from the trans-global subculture that is Lolita fashion to the fashion designer, Patrick Kelly. Find out more here

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Q&A with Gary Bettinson and Birgit Beumers from Directory of World Cinema: China 2 & Russia 2

Intellect caught up with the editors of DWC: China 2 and Russia 2 to see what their thoughts were on editing the books.

Gary Bettinson, Editor of DWC: China 2

Where do your own personal research and academic interests lie?

My main research specialism is Hong Kong cinema, and Asian cinema in general – so I feel like the DWC: China volumes are right in my wheelhouse. I also research Hollywood cinema, both as an entity in itself and in relation to the Chinese film industries. My overarching approach to these cinemas would be called, I guess, formalist. I’m primarily interested in the aesthetic dimension of the films I study, but always in relation to particular contexts and traditions (genre trends, authorial traits, industrial practices, and so on).

How do you think Chinese cinema has evolved over the years?

Each of the three Chinese cinemas explored in China vol. 2 – Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, and Hong Kong – has developed in its own distinct way. But the rise of the PRC market means that Hong Kong and Taiwan have succumbed to Mainland China’s gravitational pull. So we’re beginning to see a greater level of co-operation among the three industries than before. Pan-Chinese coproduction has a long history, but it has intensified in recent years. Both volumes of the China Directory trace this historical development.

Was it any different editing this volume of the Directory from the first one?

This new volume has a slightly broader scope than the previous volume. It encompasses a wide variety of cinematic genres from the “three Chinas” and covers Chinese filmmaking from its inception to the present. It contains more than 20 critical essays and over 80 film analyses. So this volume is bigger than its predecessor in every sense. I had 38 authors contributing to China vol.2. The logistics of that can be demanding, but it’s also the collaborative aspect of these books that energizes me. That’s the real joy of it. And the virtue of having so many contributors is that the book harnesses a range of expertise and critical points of view. 

What do you think makes this book stand out from other similar works in the field?

The book is very accessible to the general reader, but it’s also illuminating for devotees of Chinese cinema. It functions both as a primer of Chinese cinema and as a substantive addition to the research field. I do think that readers of all kinds will find the book thought-provoking. China vol. 2 examines canonical films such as Chungking Express and Lust, Caution, but it also introduces readers to less well-known yet equally significant titles. And it treats film stars seriously, placing them on a par with film directors – so, figures such as Bruce Lee and Maggie Cheung receive similar coverage as directors Zhang Yimou and Jia Zhangke. The caliber of authors, too, sets the book apart; the scholars included in this volume are among the world’s leading experts in the field of Chinese cinema studies.

Do you have any favourite Chinese films and directors?

If I had to choose, my favorite would probably be Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town. It was made in 1948 but it’s still so incredibly modern. It’s a very humanistic and personal film, my favorite kind. The New One-Armed Swordsman is wildly entertaining. For me, it marks the pinnacle of the wuxia (swordplay) genre. Infernal Affairs is a brilliant movie, and I’d say a great example of what Scorsese calls “smuggler’s cinema” – on the surface it’s a skillful genre movie, but it’s underpinned by something pretty subversive. I admire many Chinese directors – Hou Hsiao-hsien, Ann Hui, and Johnnie To among them – but Wong Kar-wai is particularly special. He always works at a very high level. In the Mood for Love is a fully conceived work, I think. In fact, you could make the case that Spring in a Small Town anticipates it in some ways.

 What do you think the future holds for Chinese cinema?

 I’m not much of a prophet, but I think we can expect an increase in PRC coproductions, both pan-Asian and Hollywood ones. It seems inevitable that China will soon become the world’s largest film market, and Hollywood is already courting Chinese studios. It wouldn’t surprise me, either, if the PRC finally produces the bona fide international blockbuster that it’s been chasing since the global success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Some critics fear Chinese movies becoming too “Mainlandized” – they think that traditional Hong Kong and Taiwanese aesthetics will fossilize. I’m more optimistic about that. I think there will always be filmmakers in Hong Kong and Taiwan who possess a kind of independent spirit, and they’ll stridently resist the aesthetic and ideological sensibilities of Mainland and Western cinemas.

Do you have any future research projects or plans?

There are a few irons in the fire. Lately I’ve been researching Hong Kong screenwriting practices, especially with regards to HK-PRC censorship regulations. The strategies that Hong Kong filmmakers use to outfox the Mainland censors are pretty ingenious!


Birgit Beumers, Editor of DWC: Russia 2

How would you describe the book in a few words?

Directory of World Cinema: Russia 2 provides a second layer of information on some well-known genres in Russian and Soviet cinema, such as the blockbuster, and some genres that one might not be commonly associated with Soviet/Russian film history, such as the horror. 

How do you think Russian cinema has evolved over the years?

The history of pre-Revolutionary Russian, Soviet and Russian (i.e. post-Soviet) cinema is rather complex and a topic that cannot be answered in a few sentences. 

Do you have any favourite Russian films and directors?

Yes, I do. But my "favourites" change also. And think it is irrelevant, ultimately, what I like and what not. What matters are the films and what they mean at different times and in different contexts. Often a "bad" film can make a wonderful case study. Therefore the Directory tries to include films that have been neglected, or forgotten, or not been widely released or written about. 

Where does your own personal academic and research interests lie?

I specialise on Soviet and Russian culture, especially theater and cinema, and Central Asian cinema.  

How do you think Russian cinema distinguishes itself from other international cinemas?

Again, this is a broad topic. Also, it depends on what period we are talking about. I think what matters is not whether a cinema is different or not (and indeed, from which "international" cinema/s), but whether it speaks a distinctive, original language. 

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Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture 6.2 ‘Social Media and Citizen Engagement in Crises’

We are delighted to announce a new special issue of Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture 6.2, ‘Social Media and Citizen Engagement in Crises’. This issue is guest-edited by Lemi Baruh and investigates citizen's use of social media during and after emergencies. The articles are a selection of papers from an international workshop organized by The Contribution of Social Media in Crisis Management (COSMIC) Project in September 2014. 

To access this issue click here. 

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Call for Papers: Performing Ethos

Performing Ethos (PEET) aims to identify and explore key ethical issues facing theatre and performance today. Acknowledging that ethical issues are always contextually determined, we wish to explore the range of ethical concerns and responses that arise within different cultural contexts. Global in scope, PEET provides a unique forum for rigorous scholarship and serious reflection on the ethical dimensions of a wide range of performance practices, from the politically and aesthetically radical to the mainstream. Of equal interest are those practices which are ethically motivated, and those in which ethical concerns are less clearly to the fore. 

Submissions might consider, but are not limited to:

Theoretical paradigms appropriate to ethics and theatre, and the relationship between them

Ethics of representation (authenticity, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, age, disability, culture, beliefs)

Ethics of witnessing, participation and spectatorship

Ethics in relation to inter- and intra-culturalism

Ethics of applied and interventionist theatre, including community theatre, theatre for development, theatre and education, theatre and health

Critical perspectives on ethically motivated performance

Performance, ethics and the law

Ethical practices in the creative industries (including training, authorship, employment, sustainability)

The journal normally considers articles of 5–7,000 words. Contributions to the ‘Reflections’ section (short meditations, provocations or case studies) of between 500–1000 words are also welcome, as are interviews with practitioners or agents whose work is potentially of interest to the journal’s readership.

Submission details 

Please send completed submissions to the Principal Editor, Carole-Anne Upton: 

All submissions must include full references and bibliography, and articles should also include an abstract of no more than 150 words. Please refer to Intellect’s style guide before submitting: 

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