Q&A with Camilla Møhring Reestorff from Culture War

1. Could you describe this book in a few words?

This book concerns art activists and politicians’ use of affective cultural politics in their negotiation of the national symbolic in the Danish culture war.

2. Were there any challenges you face whilst writing this title?

The difficulty of writing on culture wars is that the topic develops rapidly. Immigration policies are, for instance, strengthened and the emphasis on national identity and borders is amplified – not only in Denmark, but also in other European countries, the US and Australia. Due to the rapid development the challenge is to keep up with the continuous changes in the culture wars.


Another difficulty of writing on culture wars is that they are not limited to the traditional institutional political system. This is a challenge because it requires an understanding not only of the different kinds of participants that make up culture wars, but also their mediatised practices. This is also a challenge because it requires a transdisciplinary approach.


After I submitted the book, the so-called “refugee crisis” caused by the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria resulted in further restrictions in the Danish immigration policies and in a border control that challenged the Schengen Agreement. I felt that it was necessary to reflect this development in the book, and luckily Intellect agreed and allowed me to add an extra chapter. This made it possible to investigate how both tepid nationalism and art activism influence the ways in which the refugee crisis is articulated on social media.


3. How did you first become interested in culture war and art activism?

My interest in culture war and art activism began quite early. When I was a student in primary school the teachers were always accused of left-wing indoctrination. Furthermore, my father was born in Germany and I was therefore often called ‘sausage-German’. This meant that I had an awareness of the on-going struggle to define the national symbolic – for instance in terms of identity and curriculum. Later, around the turn of the century, the Prime Minster launched his culture war against what he called “left-wing arbiters of taste” and the “Culture canon” was made to signify Danish culture and identity. Several of the artists on the culture canon protested. I was intrigued by the clashes between artists and politicians and began to study what happens when politicians use art and culture and how artists and art activist resists and protests certain national frameworks.


4. What did you enjoy most when writing this book?

Sometimes the study of politics and affect, especially on social media, can be exhausting because it often contains intense outburst of anger – especially when the topic is culture wars and issues of national identity and immigration. Nevertheless, it is academically rewarding to find the logics that motivate political participation and affective intensifications. Furthermore, by writing this book I became aware of the multiple interpretations of the national symbolic and of the many different participants, including art activists, who in various ways engage in politics. Finally, at the end of the writing process, I was truly happy that many art activists agreed to be represented in the books’ intermezzos and contribute to the book’s visual representation of art activism in the culture war.


5. How do you think this subject / research area will develop over the coming years?

The development of national and international politics will only contribute to intensify culture wars in Denmark and internationally. There is an increasing tendency, not only in Denmark, to understand citizenship, national identity and culture as tied to the non-immigrant population – a notion that is conflictual in a world characterised by global connectivity. This will also lead to an increase in art activism that opposes specific policies and attempt to visualise and affectively intensify relations and communities that are not tied to the nation state.


The development of the subject area will most likely lead to an increase in research that studies new types of nationalism and the kind of affective cultural politics that this book has outlined. It is necessary to continue researching the importance of affective cultural politics in a political climate increasingly characterised by communication that concerns facts less than affects. Likewise research will have to come to terms with the multiple ways in which art activism navigate counteract and utilise affective cultural politics.


For more information about Culture War: Affective Cultural Politics, Tepid Nationalism and Art Activism, please click here.


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Winner of the 2016 Film Matters Masoud Yazdani Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Film Scholarship announced

Each year, Film Matters honours Masoud Yasdani, founding chairman of Intellect and all-around visionary who is very much missed, by recognizing an emerging undergraduate film scholar who has published a feature article in Film Matters the previous volume year. The winning author, selected by three individual academics based at institutions of higher education worldwide, receives a book from the field of film studies, in recognition of his/her achievement. 


Intellect is delighted to announce the winner of the Film Matters second annual Masoud Yazdani Award, Nace Zavrl, for his FM 6.3 (2015) article, “Spectatorship and Synchronous Sound Before the Transition: A Contextual Analysis of Chronophone, Phonofilm, and Movietone Shorts.”


Nace will be receiving a cope of Miriam Hansen’s Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship on American Silent Film, published by Harvard University Press in 1994.


Upon the release of Film Matters 7.3 (2016), judging for the 2017 award will begin. All volume 7 (2016) feature article authors will automatically be considered for this distinction.


For more information about this award, please click here.

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New issue of Scene 4.2 is now available!

Intellect is delighted to announce the new issue of Scene 4.2 is now available.  

For more information about this issue, click here or email


Articles in this issue include (partial list):


Embracing the diversity of European national identities: The nation as part of the collective European whole

Authors: Rhian Collings

Page Start: 99


Drawing on the work of European thinkers such as Zygmunt Bauman, Jürgen Habermas, Jacques Derrida, Roberto Dainotto, Amin Maalouf and E. J. Hobsbawm, this article will demonstrate to what extent all four authors show their readers that the importance given to national borders can be subverted through the motion of travel, in which these arbitrary lines on the map are crossed by the travellers in question. In accordance with the renowned pacifist Romain Rolland – who believed that national and European identity were not ‘mutually exclusive’ affinities – these four authors use their narratives to promote a sense of European or supranational identity, by urging their readership to rethink their relationship with their nation as part of a collective European whole, and to perceive diversity as being not Europe’s weakness, but rather its greatest strength. The author demonstrates how it is through valuable cultural productions such as these narratives of travel that Europeans are exposed to an alternative and more inclusive mode for identity construction, which triumphantly forwards what Ulrich Beck describes as ‘a Europe that helps diversity to flourish’.


Setting variables: Axes of time, space and meaning in production design for the screen

Authors: Piers D. Britton

Page Start: 117


Firstly, this article addresses the commonalities between production design for film and television, in terms of what and how design signifies. Secondly, it explores differences in the semiotic potential of design for the two media. The author argues that what design most securely signifies is genre, and offers a qualified endorsement of the frequent claim that design indexes narrative mood and tone. Design imagery establishes both mood and generic affiliation by calling upon viewers’ tendency to interpret new stimuli in relation to established standards. In other words, design satisfies primarily in terms of its perceived ‘rightness’, in relation either to genre precedent or more nebulous benchmarks such as realism.

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Special Issue of Journal of Scandinavian Cinema 6.2

Intellect is thrilled to announce the new issue of Journal of Scandinavian Cinema 6.2 is now available.  

For more information about this issue, please click here or email


This Special Issue focuses on contemporary Scandinavian documentary cinema. Guest Editors Ilona Hongisto and Malin Wahlberg present a collection of contemporary scholarship that illuminates Scandinavian documentary cinema through meticulous case studies, while also addressing the broader notions of belonging, identity and, ‘Scandinavia’ in relation to film production, distribution and the politics of media practice and cultural memory.


Articles in the issue include (partial list):


Can catalogues be dangerous? The anti-catalogue of FilmCentrum

Authors: Stefan Ramstedt

Page Start: 101


This article offers a survey of the film distribution of FilmCentrum during the first years of the organization. Like the catalogues of other film cooperatives that were working with distribution, FilmCentrum’s was open, which meant that the organization accepted all submitted films. This openness is discussed at length, both in terms of the discourses around it and the controversies that it aroused, but also as a form of democratization of the film distribution. The notion of the open catalogue is also put into the context of a larger counter-cultural movement and connected to the notion of the anti-catalogue. The film distribution of FilmCentrum is also placed in the context of the history of Swedish cinema.


Contemporary experimental feminist Sámi documentary: The first person politics of Liselotte Wajstedt and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers

Authors: Scott MacKenzie and Anna Westerståhl Stenport

Page Start: 169


This article examines two experimental documentary feminist Sámi films by Liselotte Wajstedt and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. Their works deploy experimental techniques such as cell and computer animation, time-lapse photography and superimposition, along with autobiographical voice-overs, thereby challenging many dominant tropes of Sámi filmmaking, including the preponderance of realism and cultural revivalist narratives. Through ‘first person’ filmmaking, Wajstedt’s Sami Daughter Yoik (2007) and Tailfeathers’ Rebel (2014) and Colonial Gaze Sámi Artists’ Collective (co-directed with Nango, 2012) explore the hybridity of identity, trauma, cultural memory and the status of documentary films as artistic practice. The films are situated within larger recent developments in Sámi filmmaking, including initiatives by the International Sámi Film Institute. This article reframes the perimeters of both Sámi and Scandinavian documentary filmmaking in the twenty-first century.


Expanded epistemologies: Animation meets live action in contemporary Swedish documentary film

Authors: Johnathan Rozenkrantz

Page Start: 189


This short subject studies configurations of animation and live action in contemporary Swedish documentary film. While digitization has challenged the indexical image’s verifying function, animation has been elevated to the level of legitimate document. The epistemological boundaries of documentary film have consequently been expanded, and now include the inner worlds of social subjects. In Gömd (Hidden) (Heilborn and Aronowitsch, 2002), animation and live action are repeatedly juxtaposed in order to visualize a refugee child’s experienced Otherness. In Still Born (Sandzén, 2014), ultrasound footage is fused with digital film and animation to manifest the merging perspectives of a mourning mother and her aborted child.

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New issue of Maska: The Performing Arts Journal 31.179-180

Intellect is delighted to announce the new issue of Maska: The Performing Arts Journal 179-180 is now available.  

For more information about this issue, please click here or email


Articles in this issue include (partial list):


Actor and Puppet on the Contemporary Stage

Authors: Didier Plassard

Page Start: 8


The article discusses the changes in puppetry that occurred mostly in the second half of the 20th century. It addresses the changes in organization that led from small family groups to institutionalized public institutions and follows the organizational example of ensembles of drama theatre institutions, as well as changes in the relationship between the animator and the puppet that allow the disillusioning emergence of the animator into the visual field of the viewer. The “manipulator” who is no longer hidden influences the change in the manner of narration, in the aesthetic and the political senses both; at the same time, the qualitative difference between the manipulator as a living, physical and human being and the puppet on the other side is suddenly revealed. The article concludes by addressing the ethical dimension in the puppet theatre as it stresses the understanding of the puppet as the face of the other whose life is the responsibility of the human being. The article carries out its instructive review and theses with the help of several illustrative examples.


‘Man’ as X-Foucault, Kant and their doublets

Authors: Stefan Apostolou-Hölscher

Page Start: 18


The concept of ‘man’ is introduced by Michel Foucault in the context of a discursive formation that, for him, emerges toward the end of the 18th century, following the epistemes of the Renaissance and Classical periods, which, by way of contrast, had foregrounded similarity and representation as ordering principles. Instead of a guaranteed correspondence between the subject and the object of thought, the modern era is concerned with the finitude of concrete ‘human beings’ in their relation to an abstract ‘humanity’, and asks under what conditions is a correlation of a subject with its objects possible in experience.

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Art & the Public Sphere 5.2 - out now!

Intellect is delighted to announce Art & the Public Sphere 5.2 is now available.


This special issue looks at the proliferation of large-scale exhibitions worldwide which has also led them to become increasingly sites for conflicts and controversies, but in new ways that have not been public before. 


For more information about this issue, please click here or email


Articles in this issue include (partial list):


Ghetto Biennale 2015: Contested creativities in Haiti’s Ghetto Biennale

Authors: Peter Haffner

Page Start: 115


In the latest iteration of the event, the organisers of and participants in Haiti’s Fourth Ghetto Biennale have attempted to identify, address and rectify some of the major issues at stake, including concerns related to cross-cultural artistic agency, themes of disaster and crisis, the tourist ‘gaze’, and Haitian art history. By examining four of the arts projects executed during the two-week event in downtown Port-au-Prince, this article analyses the shifts and adjustments between the Second Ghetto Biennale in 2011 and the fourth in 2015, and how the biennale’s artists and curators have attempted to address and account for points of contestation.


Notes towards the critical biennale

Authors: Dave Beech

Page Start: 167


The periodic large-scale exhibition can be uncritical or critical, but it is essential to understand, when it is critical, where its critical agency is located. An exhibition of critical artworks is not necessarily the same as an exhibition consisting of works by critical artists, and an exhibition organised by a critical curator does not necessarily consist of critical works or critical artists. Indeed, the critical agency of the critical curator may be antagonistic to the critical artist. As such, this essay considers the location of criticality within the structure of the biennale itself rather than locating critical agency within the critical artist or critical curator.

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New issue of Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture 7.2 is now available!

Intellect is delighted to announce the new issue of Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture 7.2 is now available.  

For more information about this issue, click here or email


Articles in this issue include (partial list):


Working with migrants’ memories in Italy: The Lampedusa dump

Authors: Allesandro Triulzi

Page Start: 149


The Archive of Migrant Memories aims at recording and diffusing migrant self-narratives in Italy so as to leave a visible trace of recently arrived migrants and their rising agency in Italian society. Retrieving oral and written records of migrants travelling to and landing on Italian soil intends to contrast, both physically and metaphorically, the hiding or cancellation mechanisms lying behind the collective unease surrounding immigration policies in today’s Italy. The recurrent dumping of migrant lives in the Mediterranean, particularly on its European southernmost gate at Lampedusa, symbolises the careless disposal of irksome memories of migration within present-day Italian society. Here the remains of rotten boats derived from the repeated landings of irregular migrants on the Island and their human ‘waste’ – old shoes, clothes, cooking utensils, children’s toys, throw-away objects, but also water-stained documents, photos, holy books and individual writings such as letters, memoirs or diaries – lie to decompose as a vivid expression of what is not to be remembered in the nation’s past.


The experience of the Askavusa Association: Migrant struggle with cultural activities

Authors: Ilaria Vecchi

Page Start: 165


In this article Vecchi examines the history and main developments of the Askavusa Association, founded in 2009 in Lampedusa, the southernmost Italian territory, on the southern edge of Europe. As one of the most active and interesting collectives supporting the migrant struggle in Italy, Askavusa has received attention for its various activities held in Lampedusa and abroad, and especially for the organisation of the LampedusaInFestival and the collection of migrants’ objects in PortoM. As an activist and member of the group, in this article Vecchi concurrently identifies some of the limits of the actions organised by the collective. As such, this article represents the natural outcome of the author’s participation and collaboration with Askavusa, combined with an analysis of several interviews collected in Lampedusa over the years.


Reframing the debate: The art of Lampedusa

Authors: Maya Ramsay

Page Start: 209


This article considers the art that has been produced in relation to the subject of migrant deaths at sea, with a focus on artworks that refer to the island of Lampedusa and its long history of the subject. Now that the world’s media are at last paying attention to the subject of migrant deaths, the small islands of Lampedusa and Lesbos are in danger of being ‘invaded’ by more than just migrants – artists are on their way in ever-increasing numbers. The ‘migration crisis’ has become the latest hot topic for artists, but art on the subject of migrant deaths at sea is often controversial, dividing both critics and audiences. Written from the perspective of an artist, this article explores the complexities of making and presenting art about this extremely sensitive issue.

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New issue of Film, Fashion & Consumption 5.2

Intellect is delighted to announce the release of Film, Fashion & Consumption 5.2.


For more information about this issue, click here or email


Articles in this issue include (partial list):


Postfeminist ‘Islamophobia’: The Middle East is so 1980s in Sex and the City: The Movie 2

Authors: Niall Richardson

Page Start: 165


This article analyses how Sex and the City: The Movie 2 (King, 2010) represents a binary between style that is coded as ‘vintage’ and, therefore, desirable, and style that is depicted as ‘dated’ and identified as bad taste. Although this has been a dominant motif in both the Sex and the City series and first film (King, 2008), Sex and the City: The Movie 2 maps this distinction onto a West/Middle East binary. While everything Western (or, more precisely, everything NYC) is represented as stylish, the Middle East (and here it is Abu Dhabi that stands in for the Middle East) is depicted as dated and, the film suggests, trapped in the decade of the 1980s. Sex and the City: The Movie 2 develops many of the prejudices found in contemporary Western representations of the Middle East but articulates these through the motifs of fashion, consumerism and female sexuality. The article proposes that what is most offensive about Sex and the City: The Movie 2 is that it conflates all the social, cultural, political and, most importantly, religious differences that exist between secular New York and Muslim Abu Dhabi and reduces all of these issues to a simple question of style and knowing consumerism.


Barbarella’s wardrobe: Exploring Jacques Fonteray’s intergalactic runway

Authors: Elizabteth Castaldo Lundén

Page Start: 185


Roger Vadim’s Barbarella (1968) looms large in popular culture. Disguised under its sartorial splendour, the film’s narrative clearly negotiates social anxieties of the late 1960s. Similarly, the production design of the film incorporates contemporary elements from art, architecture and fashion. Arguably, these elements of style have played a key role in catapulting the film to its cult status. Franco-Spanish designer Paco Rabanne is frequently, albeit erroneously, credited for the creation of Jane Fonda’s on-screen parade of highly stylized costumes in the film. In fact, the man responsible for creating fashion in the diegetic year 40,000 was French costume designer Jacques Fonteray. Rabanne’s involvement in the film was limited to the creation of one costume. Based on archival research conducted in France and the United States of America, this article explores the role of Jacques Fonteray in the creation of the film’s costumes while simultaneously debunking the popular misconception regarding Paco Rabanne’s influence on the film’s overall aesthetics.

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Studies in Musical Theatre 10.2 - out now!

Intellect is delighted to announce that Studies in Musical Theatre 10.2 is now available.


For more information about this issue, click here or email


Articles in this issue touch on several different examples of numerous instances of popular culture and musical theatre colliding. Another theme that serendipitously emerges from the articles in this issue is the spectre of class, something that seems to haunt all of the discussions. In all the articles there is an underlying sense that critical perceptions of genre-class positions are not as clear-cut or indisputable as they may seem.


Articles in this issue include (partial list):


The Time of Your Life: Gene Kelly, working-class masculinity and music

Authors: Julianne Lindberg

Page Start: 177


William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life (1939) is typically discussed alongside the works of great American playwrights. Music and dance, however, are major symbolic and structuring devices in the narrative of the play. Two characters in the play purposely embody music and dance: the pianist Wesley (a ‘colored boy’ who plays a ‘mean and melancholy boogie-woogie piano’), played by Reginald Beane, and Harry (a ‘natural born hoofer’), played by the then-stage novice Gene Kelly. Though no records remain of Kelly’s original choreography, he often spoke of the importance of music to his conception of the character Harry. Lindberg suggests that Kelly/Saroyan’s Harry is a product of the mainstream acceptance of working-class masculinities, an outgrowth of the progressive politics of the 1930s. Kelly’s relationship to the music of marginalized identities, Lindberg argues, informed the development of his iconic ‘average Joe’ persona.


Big possibility: Moscow, and musical theatre’s subjunctive dramaturgy

Authors: Zachary A. Dorsey

Page Start: 195


Grammatically speaking, many, many key songs and moments in musical theatre rely on the subjunctive, a grammatical mood that is used variously to express openness, hopefulness, wishfulness and possibility, as well as doubts, opinions, judgements and fears. Tevye’s ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ from Fiddler on the Roof is such a prime example of the subjunctive that it is often invoked in grammar guides and textbooks that seek to teach the proper use of this mood. This article explores the phenomenon that Dorsey describes as ‘subjunctive dramaturgy’ – the way that the spirit of the subjunctive mood underpins and crackles through the musical genre. Dorsey argues that particularly when amplified by speech, song and dance, the subjunctive mood helps to join character, actor and audience in a shared affective experience.

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New issue of International Journal of Islamic Architecture 6.1

Intellect is delighted to announce the new issue of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture 6.1 is now available.

For more information about this issue, click here or email


Articles within this issue include (partial list):


Developing Discourses on Architecture: Journals Concerned with the Islamic Realm from Mimar to IJIA

Authors: Hasan-Uddin Khan

Page Start: 5


This issue begins with an editorial by Hasan-Uddin Khan, departing from the norm, and adopting a more personal approach to the history and evolution of periodicals that inform, critically evaluate and discuss issues related to architectural cultures of the global(ising) Muslim world. Given enormous shifts in the past decade, it is perhaps a timely moment to reflect and comment on the field as a whole. This editorial thus represents an effort to look back on the history of various publications, and builds on Khan’s long engagement with significant examples since the early 1980s.


(Re)branding a (Post)colonial Streetscape: Tunis’s Avenue Habib Bourguiba and the Road Ahead 

Authors: Daniel E. Coslett

Page Start: 59


Arguably Tunis’s premier public space, the iconic Avenue Bourguiba is today the product of over 150 years of manipulation, regulation and interpretation. Its development can be seen as an early example of thematic place branding, thereby complicating the notion that the widespread phenomenon is an exclusively postmodern and western one. In identifying three potential place-brand labels, this article considers the establishment of the ‘Parisian Colonial’ Avenue by French colonial authorities, its ‘Tunisian Modern’ modification at independence, and its more recent historicist ‘Parisian Global’ refurbishment within the contexts of colonialism, authoritarian governance and globalisation.

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