Through his analysis of dreams, Freud examines different dimensions of the human psyche, with special reference to the psychic processes that are involved in the generation and expression of thoughts. Repression being a recurrent theme in his discussion of dreams, he examines the connection between the repression of thoughts and the formation of dreams. In Freud’s discussion, repression emerges as the main factor that enables certain kinds of dreams and defines the nature/intensity of the gap between the latent and manifest contents of dreams created by displacement. The present paper first explores Freud’s conception of repression in relation to the connection between repression and dreams and then examines the role repression plays as the prime determiner of the nature of the gap between the latent thoughts that provide the basis for a dream and their actual representation/manifestation in the dream.
Freud’s discussion projects dreams as spaces in which repressed thoughts find expression. According to Freud, repression is the psychological condition in which certain thoughts fail to reach one’s consciousness as a result of a psychological mechanism/function called ‘censorship’, which acts as a filter that allows only those thoughts that it considers agreeable to enter the consciousness.
In this sense, censorship functions as a gate-keeper that polices the gap between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind of a person. The state of sleep marks “a relaxation of this censorship”
, as a result of which the repressed thoughts of the mind gain access to the consciousness. Once they come to the conscious mind, “the repressed material must submit to certain alterations which mitigate its offensive features.”
The four processes that Freud recognizes as condensation, displacement, pictorial rearrangement, and the formation of a connected whole (dream composition)
account for these alterations that the repressed latent material undergoes when it is transformed into new representations
, which then find expression in dreams. Of the three types of dreams
that Freud discusses, repression is associated with the second and third types. In a context where Freud regards dreams as fulfilments of wishes, these two types of dreams are “disguised fulfilments of repressed wishes
In such a context, the connection between repression and dreams goes beyond one in which the latter simply provides space for the expression of the former to one in which the latter (at least the second and third types of dreams) is a necessary consequence of the former. This supports the claim that the main factor that enables the second and third types of dreams is repression.
Although Freud’s discussion of repression gives the idea that repression is a single psychological condition, two forms/manifestations of this psychological condition are discernible in the discussion. These two forms/manifestations can be understood in relation to the moments at which repression occurs and results in defining the nature of the gap between the latent and manifest content of a dream. The first form of repression occurs at a moment prior to the state of sleep, while the second occurs at a particular moment during the state of sleep. The first moment concerns repression as an agent of alienation. Freud’s discussion of the uncanny implies that repression entails alienation as its necessary consequence.
Alienation results in the transformation of what is familiar and old-fashioned into an unfamiliar reality that is alien to the conscious mind. This transformation points to repression as the agent of alienation. This alienation effected by repression takes place prior to the beginning of the dream-work of a particular dream. As a result of this repression-cum-alienation, what are expressed, especially in the case of the second and third types of dreams, are the repressed, therefore alienated, thoughts that have been relegated to the unconscious mind. Therefore, the latent thoughts that submit themselves to certain alterations in the process of dream-work are already alienated thoughts. In such a dream, what reaches the conscious mind of an individual in the form of the manifest content of the dream is twice removed
from the actual thought/experience that the dream is based on. The second moment at which repression plays a significant role is during the state of sleep. In this state, the relaxation of censorship enables the repressed thought stored in the unconscious mind to “make a path for itself to consciousness”
; however, due to the fact that censorship is not completely inactive and that it exerts some control over the thought that is trying to reach the conscious mind even in the state of sleep, what eventually reaches consciousness is not the latent thought, but a ‘compromise’ determined by the struggle between the psychical force of the latent thought that attempts to push the thought from the unconscious mind to consciousness and the counter force of the partially-active censorship that attempts to stifle the thought.
In that sense, the compromise that gains access to consciousness in the state of sleep is a result of a form of repression that takes place in the state of sleep itself.
Although repression, at least the one that takes place in the state of sleep, looks identical to the process of displacement, which is one of the four processes that characterize dream-work, there is a subtle and significant difference between the two. Freud regards displacement as “nothing less than the essential portion of the dream-work.”
He defines displacement as the process that generates the difference between the dream-thought and the dream-content.
In order to create a difference between the dream-thought and the dream-content, displacement should be capable of representing the elements of the dream-thought in new and unfamiliar ways. These new representations embody a distorted version of the latent dream-thought.
In this sense, what displacement is doing to the dream-thought is similar to what repression, the one that takes place in the state of sleep, does to the dream-thought. Therefore, displacement and repression appear to be similar, even identical, processes. However, Freud’s discussion of the three types of dreams points to the subtle difference that exists between the two. Although all dreams are wish-fulfilments, Freud makes a clear distinction between the first category of dreams and the other two types of dreams, and this distinction is based on the degree of intelligibility and meaningfulness of the dream-content.
According to Freud’s understanding of dreams, displacement, along with the other three processes of dream-work, carries out its responsibilities in producing dreams irrespective of which of the two broad categories the product belongs to. If displacement takes place in both intelligible and unintelligible/meaningful and meaningless dreams, displacement alone cannot account for the variation in the degrees of intelligibility and meaningfulness that different dreams embody. Given that repression characterizes not those dreams whose meaning is clear, but those other dreams whose meaning is obscure and confused, repression can be considered the force that decides the degree of intelligibility and meaningfulness of a dream. In this sense, this form of repression is a process that takes place within the context of dream-displacement, and that is what determines the extent to which a dream-thought gets ‘displaced’ from its original form. The intensity of repression is directly proportional to the extent to which a dream-thought gets displaced.
Thus, both forms of repression play important roles in the construction of dreams. While the first form of repression determines the nature of the repressed latent thought, which gets expressed in the second and third types of dreams, the second form of repression determines the nature of the gap between the latent thought and its eventual manifestation. In this sense, the removal of repression from the equation cancels out the condition of possibility for dreams other than those in which the connection between the latent thought/dream-thought and the manifest thought/dream-content is not clear. This fact points to repression as the force that brings variability to dreams in terms of intelligibility and meaningfulness.  Freud, “On Dreams” 166. 
Ibid. 166. 
Ibid. 166. 
Ibid. 161. 
“I shall describe the process which transforms the latent into the manifest content of dreams as the ‘dream-work’.” (Freud, “On Dreams” 148) 
The first group of dreams are those that “can be inserted without further difficulty into the context of our mental life. ... A second group is formed by those dreams which, though they are connected in themselves and have a clear sense, nevertheless have a bewildering
effect, because we cannot see how to fit that sense into our mental life. ... The third group, finally, contains those dreams which are without either sense or intelligibility, which seem disconnected
.” (Freud, “On Dreams” 148-149) 
Freud, “On Dreams” 165. 
“[F]or this uncanny in reality is nothing new or alien, but something which is familiar and old-established in the mind and which has become alienated from it only through the process of repression.” (Freud, “The Uncanny” 944) 
While the latent thought marks the first form of alienation, the dream-content marks the second form of alienation. 
Freud, “On Dreams” 166. 
“Our hypothesis is that in our mental apparatus there are two thought-constructing agencies, of which the second enjoys the privilege of having free access to consciousness for its products, whereas the activity of the first is in itself unconscious and can only reach consciousness by way of the second. ... What becomes conscious in such cases is a compromise between the intentions of one agency and the demands of the other.” (Freud, “On Dreams” 165-166) 
Freud, “From The Interpretation of Dreams” 925. 
“It thus seems plausible to suppose that in the dream-work a psychical force is operating which on the one hand strips the elements which have a high psychical value of their intensity, and on the other hand, by means of overdetermination
, creates from elements of low psychical value new values, which afterward find their way into the dream-content. If that is so, a transference and displacement of psychical intensities
occurs in the formation of dream-formation.” (Freud, “From The Interpretation of Dreams” 925) 
“The consequence of the displacement is that the dream-content no longer resembles the core of the dream-thoughts and that the dream gives no more than a distortion of the dream-wish which exists in the unconscious.” (Freud, “From The Interpretation of Dreams” 925) 
“In the case of dreams which are intelligible and have a meaning, we have found that they are undisguised wish fulfilments; that is that in their case the dream-situation represents as fulfilled a wish which is known to consciousness, which is left over from daytime life, and which is deservedly of interest. Analysis has taught us something entirely analogous in the case of obscure and confused dreams: once again the dream-situation represents a wish as fulfilled – a wish which invariably arises from the dream-thoughts, but one which is represented in an unrecognizable form and can only be explained when it has been traced back in analysis. The wish in such cases is either itself a repressed one and alien to consciousness, or it is intimately connected with repressed thoughts and is based upon them.” (Freud, “On Dreams” 165)
(An excerpt from the paper titled 'Sigiriya: Aesthetics and State Power' presented at the MAHS Conference 2013 held at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA - March 21-23)
The great historical chronicle of Sri Lanka, the Mahavamsa
, depicts Kashyapa primarily as a patricide king who killed his father, King Datusena, in an inhuman manner and usurped the throne from Kashyapa’s half-brother and the rightful heir, Moggallana/Mugalan. In keeping with this projected identity, the Mahavamsa
conceptualizes Kashyapa’s choice of Sigiriya as the location for his abode and the country’s new capital as one driven primarily by the need for a militarily strategic location to be able to face a possible retaliation from Moggallana who had at that time been in exile in South India. Senarat Paranavitana, Sri Lanka’s most renowned historian and archaeologist, is however of a different view. Basing himself on a set of less known historical sources, Paranavitana introduces Kashyapa in a positive light.
He claims the Sigiriya rock fortress to be the ultimate result of Kashyapa’s intention to elevate himself to a divine and imperial position by projecting himself as Kubera/Kuvera
(the lord of wealth) of Alaka
According to these less known sources, this projection of himself as Kuvera
had been a key part of a broader plan aimed at attracting foreign merchants to the island and getting them to accept a credit note issued in the form of a gold coin whose value had been certified and regulated by the king of the island.
Given his intentions, Kashyapa’s choice of Sigiriya as the location for his royal abode points to his assumption that the best way to convince the people of his assumed divine status was to associate himself with the celestial space by literally positioning himself in that space. The abrupt elevation that the rock introduces to the landscape dominated by the surrounding plain and the lack of easy access to the top of the rock could be seen as two key natural conditions that would have enabled Kashyapa to project himself as a celestial being. The Sanskrit and Sinhala terms ‘Akaṣaśaila
by which this rock had been known before it acquired the name Sigiriya during or after Kashyapa’s time show that the idea of the ‘sky’ had been a defining concept of the rock. A close look at Kashyapa’s Sigiriya project would indicate that much of the artistic and architectural work at Sigiriya had focused on enhancing and highlighting the pre-existing associations of the rock with the celestial realm. The continuous stretch of white plaster covering the entire western face of the rock
(and presumably all the sides of the rock), evidenced by the patches of plaster found on the western face today, could be seen as an important artistic feature used by the builders in this connection. With the palace on the top of the rock, the white plaster covering the rock would have given the impression of a palace suspended in the air or located on a cloud, thereby elevating the occupant of the palace to divinity.
The frescoes that appear on the western face of the Sigiriya rock more than 100 metres above ground level constitute one of the key artistic features that promote the concept of Kuvera
or ‘god-king.’ According to Paranavitana, “With regard to their location as well as their subject, the Sigiri paintings belong to a class by themselves, and are not paralleled by any other pictorial remains in India or Ceylon [Sri Lanka], either earlier or later in date.”
The twenty-two frescoes that had survived fourteen hundred years of rough weather until they began to be formally preserved in the twentieth century feature female figures cut off by clouds a little below the waist. While some figures are of golden complexion, the others are dark-hued. The golden-coloured ones are nude above the waist while their dusky companions wear a strip of cloth across their breasts. They wear a profusion of jewellery and have elaborate coiffures. The fair damsels hold flowers in their hands or scatter them about, while their dark companions hold trays of flowers and, in one instance, an unidentified object.
Based on his research, Bandaranayake writes, “The painted band seems to have extended to the north-eastern corner of the rock, covering thereby an area nearly 140 metres long and, at its widest, about 40 metres high.”
Bandaranayake quotes John Still where he observed, “The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery ... the largest picture in the world perhaps.”
According to Coomaraswamy, the frescoes depict celestial women called apsaras
who are the female spirits of the clouds and waters. 
Paranavitana is of the view that the paintings depict Meghalata
(Cloud Damsels) and Vijjukumari
Both Coomaraswamy and Paranavitana’s readings of the frescoes indicate how these frescoes fit into Kashyapa’s broader plan of projecting Sigiriya as Alaka
. The frescoes contribute to the broader project on two levels. On one level, the images of the female celestial beings appearing on the sides of the cloud-looking rock would have immediately elevated the occupant of the palace located above them to the level of God in the eyes of an onlooker. On another level, given the important place that water occupied in the island’s culture primarily defined by the advanced hydraulic civilization at the time, the association of the spirits of clouds and water with Kashyapa would have reinforced Kashyapa’s perceived divine status. Considering that the literal meaning of the Sanskrit term kuvera
is the one who gives courage to the earth
and that the best form of courage that anyone could give to the earth in a hydraulic civilization is water, the intended projection of the king as someone associated with water and capable of controlling the rain would have enhanced his authority in a major way. The parallels that existed during ancient times between the flowing down of water from the sky and the ejaculation of semen by the male when cohabiting with a female,
which this association highlighted, would have emphasized Kashyapa’s position as the greatest patriarch of the time. 
See Senarat Paranavitana, The Story of Sigiri
(Pannipitiya: Stamford Lake Pvt Ltd, 1972). 
Senarat Paranavitana, “The Significance of the Paintings of Sigiri,” Artibus Asiae
24, no. 3/4 (1961). 
Paranavitana, The Story of Sigiri
, 57-75. 
Ibid., 25. 
Ibid., 52. 
Paranavitana, “The Significance of the Paintings of Sigiri,” 382. 
Ibid., 382. 
Ibid., 382. 
Bandaranayake, 116. 
Ibid., 116. 
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, History of Indian and Indonesian Art
, (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1972), 163 
Senarat Paranavitana, “The Subject of Sigiri Paintings,” A Volume of Oriental Studies Presented to Jean Philippe Vogel, C.I.E., on the Occasion of the Fifth Anniversary of his Doctorate
(Leiden, 1947, 264-269) 
Paranavitana, The Story of Sigiri
, 22. 
Introducing Fred Wilson in a radio interview, the interviewer says, “I’ve talked to some people about what Fred Wilson did, and they tell me that he could go to your attic, take stuff out of your attic, take stuff out of the storage boxes that you’ve got, put it all together, put it in the museum, and get paid.” Wilson then rather jokingly corrects the interviewer, saying, “sometimes get paid.” This casual, humorously intended introduction points to an important dimension of Fred Wilson the artist and museologist.
In Fantasias of the Museum, Darby English discusses the deconstructionist approach that Wilson takes to the institution of the museum. English recognizes Wilson’s early museology as conceptualizing “the museum as a form of action instead of a finished achievement” (139). This indicates a departure from the mainstream understanding of the museum as a site of static representations of a static culture. Wilson’s critique of the museum is primarily based on the idea that mainstream curatorial practices result in legitimizing and strengthening the hegemonic, dominant narrative and anesthetizing the possible alternative ways in which realities could be constructed. The many works by Wilson that English discusses in this chapter indicate the different ways in which Wilson has attempted to redefine the institution of the museum with a specific political agenda in mind. Elaborating on Wilson’s radical curatorial practices, English writes, “No longer a bazaar where Western civilization proudly legitimizes its own art and culture’s highest and most hegemonic ideals, Wilson’s mock museums make visible relations of power, not just relations of meaning, and integrate these into the larger institutional story told” (138).
Guarded View (1991) is one of Wilson’s main works that embodies his ideological stance with regard to mainstream curatorial practices and exemplifies his radical approach as an artist and museologist. Guarded View is based on Wilson’s personal experience working as a guard for a college museum. The installation shows four headless mannequins that wear the uniforms used in four New York museums: the Jewish Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Why is Guarded View important? As Wilson claims, Guarded View aims at foregrounding an ‘invisible’ reality, a reality that is predominantly defined by black masculinity. Describing the black masculine identity, Kobena Mercer writes: "While the private lives of the black men in the public eye ... have been exposed to glaring media visibility, it is the “invisible-men” of the late capitalist underclass who have become the bearers – the signifiers – of the hopelessness and despair of our so-called post-Modern condition. Overrepresented in statistics on homicide and suicide, misrepresented in the media as the personification of drugs, disease and crime, such invisible men, like their all-too-visible counterparts, suggest that black masculinity is not merely a social identity in crisis. It is also a key site of ideological representation, a site upon which the nation’s crisis comes to be dramatized, demonized, and dealt with." (75)
Mercer’s analysis of black masculinity points to the various tensions that characterize and define the identity of the black male in general. The idea that black masculinity is more than yet another social identity in crisis highlights the urgent need to pay close attention to the discourse centered around this identity. Black masculinity has been introduced as a key site of ideological representation where the crisis not just of one community but of the entire nation finds expression. Thelma Golden’s claim, “black masculinity represents an amalgam of fears and projections in the American psyche which rarely conveys or contains the trope of truth about the black male’s existence” (19) also points to black masculinity’s position as a site of ideological representation. In such a context, Wilson’s Guarded View could be seen as an acknowledgement of the need to pay close attention to the discourse in question and a statement regarding a fundamental crisis that defines our social, political, economic, and cultural existence.
Through Guarded View, Wilson brings many issues pertaining to black masculinity directly into the museum space. The primary theme that the artwork foregrounds is the invisibility of black masculinity. Golden sees the artwork as a depiction of “black male guards who guard the presence of ‘art,’ while rarely being seen as individualized presences” (43). The black but headless mannequins convey the implication that the individual identity of a museum guard who is first and foremost a black male gets subsumed under the more generic identity defined along racial lines, an identity that has already been defined for him. In other words, his racial identity is so strong and pervasive that it does not allow any aspect of his non-racial individuality to define his identity as a person. The additional class dimension that comes into the picture in the case of a museum guard further reduces the possibility of his identity being constructed along lines other than race.
What does the absence of individuality for a black male guard mean in the context of a museum? The museum, as we know it, provides a culturally defined space for the storage and exhibition of those resources that function as ideological apparatus of the dominant system. They are crucial for the establishment of the dominant narrative of the ruling discourse. In English’s terms, these resources “imaginatively render unto the museum the capacity to account for the kinds of action needed to establish cultural authority” (138). Much of the significance of these resources as ideological apparatus rests on the unique individual quality/identity of the resources. In a context where the notions of uniqueness and individuality function as the fundamental criteria for the determination of value, the museum guards whose uniqueness and individuality have already been subsumed under the pervasive generic identity inevitably becomes devalued.
On another level, the presence of “art” and the absence of the individualized presence of the guards arrange art and museum guards in a binary oppositional relationship. This binary oppositional relationship entails that the two realities in question occupy mutually exclusive spaces. In a context where art is invariably the privileged party, this mutual exclusivity confines the oppositional party, which is black masculinity, to an underprivileged space. Through Guarded View, Wilson challenges this binary oppositional relationship between art, mainly high art, and black masculinity and blurs the gap between the two by liberating black masculinity from the confines of the underprivileged space and converting it into a work of art.
Through this artwork, Wilson problematizes the perceived neutrality of the curatorial space. Needless to say that museum guards are located right at the bottom of the power structures that define the curatorial space. They could be seen as subalterns within the system in the sense that they do not possess any voice that gets heard within the system. Guarded View recognizes this peripheral, subaltern position that museum guards occupy in the power structure in question and empowers them simply by giving them a voice. This granting of a voice to the voiceless museum guards shakes the existing power relations in the curatorial space and creates a sense of confusion that interrupts what I would like to call the ‘curatorial consciousness.’ This interruption makes the invisible power structures that define the curatorial space suddenly visible to the naked eye. This sudden revelation transforms the museum from a static, detached, and objective space into a dynamic space in the eye of the viewer. This reconceptualization of the curatorial space as a dynamic space provides the condition of possibility for an active dialogue with the curatorial space. This shows that Wilson’s Guarded View calls for a radical re-evaluation of the curatorial space and practices.
By Nandaka Maduranga Kalugampitiya (published in The Island newspaper in Sri Lanka on July 09, 2012)
Opening a sports complex in Nawalapitiya on July 2nd, President Rajapakse said that his aim was to create a “healthy” generation that could win the world. Given the context of the speech, he was obviously referring to the enhancement of the physical health of the people, to be precise, the younger generation, the thaarunyaya, of the country. This expressed commitment to enhancing the physical health of the younger generation is no doubt a noble one. Nevertheless, in a context where the mental health of the same generation is virtually ignored and the concept of health is reduced to physical health, this commitment becomes rather problematic.
Universities in general and state universities in particular play a central role in defining the mental health of a society. They operate as the main sites of knowledge production and dissemination. One of their main aims is/should be to produce thinkers who are “more open than usual”. However, the present situation in Sri Lanka with regard to the state universities of the country indicates that this noble role assigned to universities is increasingly being undermined and devalued. The alleged death threats to the faculty members who are leading the ongoing trade union action, the introduction of laws and regulations that have a critical impact on the country’s tertiary education sector without any consultation with the broader academic community, cheap comments made by the “patrons” of the university system with the aim of ridiculing the university lecturer’s role, the militarization of the university system through the so called leadership training given to the incoming students, and the increased political interventions that are taking place in the university system indicate the degree of this devaluation.
In a context where the pressing problems in the university sector in particular and the education sector in general are being totally and consistently ignored, the President’s statement reflects the dominant outlook that seems to value muscle power over intellectual power in today’s context. The readiness with which the government spends huge sums of public money on promoting sports, sometimes even with the help of Bollywood stars who are flown to and from the country at the public’s expense, points to the marked superiority that physicality enjoys over intellectuality in the current Sri Lankan society.
The demotion of intellectuality and promotion of physicality harmonize well with the militarization that is taking place in our society. The success of the militarization process largely depends on its ability to divert the younger generation, better known as the thaarunyaya in the present political rhetoric, from intellectual activities. The destabilization of the state university system is a necessary step towards achieving this goal. The blind-eye-and-iron-fist theory with which the current problems in the university system are being dealt with should be understood in this broader context.
In such a context, the current trade union action launched by university lecturers could be seen as an attempt to swim against the massive tide of militarization. It reminds both the rulers and the public that the primacy of intellectual power needs to be (re)established over muscle power. It sends a clear message to the rulers that the intellectuals do not approve of the ongoing militarization of society. It reminds society that producing sensitive human beings and thinkers who are “more open than usual” is more important than producing human machines that can only play roles that are already defined for them. Above all, it points to the crucial need for protecting the state university system as the oasis of intellectual freedom of the Sri Lankan academia.
The aim of this essay is to examine the structure/s used in book reviews published in Quarterly Journal of Speech (QJS) with a view to recognizing how book reviews are written/formatted. The analysis is based on two multiple book reviews and five single book reviews.
The multiple book reviews start the reviews by ‘setting the scene’ for the analysis of the books under review. Each review devotes the first 2-3 pages of the review to a discussion of the common theme (the central concept that the books under review deal with) of the review (‘deliberative rhetoric and democracy’ in “deliberating rhetoric” and ‘social movement rhetoric’ in “Assessing Rhetorics of Social Resistance”). After this general discussion of the common theme, the reviewers recognize patterns in the books under review in terms of how they deal with the common theme. In the “deliberating Rhetoric” essay, the reviewer recognizes three patterns (one book for the first pattern and two books each for the other two patterns) and dedicates one separate section to each pattern. In the “Assessing Rhetorics of Social Resistance” essay, the reviewer recognizes each of the five books as representing one perspective on resistance and social change. These five perspectives are discussed under five different subheadings. While the former review is argument-based (focus on the main arguments presented by each book), the latter is mostly chapter-based (each section exclusively focusing on one book with an analysis of the chapters in the book in a linear fashion). The essays end with a summary of the main arguments discussed in the essay. In the “Assessing Rhetorics of Social Resistance” essay, the author goes beyond giving a summary of the arguments into emphasizing the need to go beyond the ‘social movement rhetoric’ model. This section demonstrates a greater agency of the reviewer.
Single book reviews start with a general, ‘scene-setting’ statement, which varies from one sentence to one short paragraph in length (e.g.: “Since 1996, the number of virtual communities within cyberspace has increased considerably” in “Virtual Communities”). This section is followed by a brief introduction to the book, its main goal (e.g.: “Paul casts a critical eye upon a culture ...” in “Empire of Sacrifice”), and sometimes also to the author/s of the book (e.g.: “Mike Hulme is a photographer who was asked to ... In 2010, Mulme was one of the fourteen co-authors of the Hartwell Paper, ...” in “Why We Disagree About Climate Change”). After this section, a substantial amount of the essay is devoted to an analysis of the book. While all the essays used a chapter-based approach to the analysis of the respective books, they differ in terms of the nature of the analysis; while some reviews basically summarize the main arguments presented by the books with a limited agency of the reviewer (e.g.: “Virtual Communities”), others inject greater reviewer agency to the summaries (e.g.: “Why We Disagree about Climate Change”). They essays end with a broader, more general comment on/assessment of the book.
While all the essays in question follow this structure, some essays incorporate additional features almost all of which appear after the initial general introduction to the respective book. Some essays include a section that states why the particular book is important, probably providing a justification of the choice of the book for the review (e.g.: “If its political passions too often outpace the scholarship, the book’s achievement lives in its invitation to consider carefully and honestly what we mean when we talk about religion, sacrifice, and violence” in “Empire of Sacrifice”). “Why We Disagree about Climate Change” has a section that discusses two audiences for which the book is intended. “Empire of Sacrifice” includes a section that defines certain key terms (from the book author’s perspective) used in the book (e.g.: “Because the term sacrifice is vital to the study, it is important to unpack what Paul means” and “Paul’s notion of American ‘empire of sacrifice’ connotes ...”). The essay on Before the Rhetorical Presidency (an edited work/a collection of essays) has a section that discusses certain dominant patterns found across the essays in the collection (e.g.: “Contributors – with the exception of Tulis himself – are unanimous: there was a rhetorical presidency during the nineteenth century.”).
The present paper recognizes the need for a greater agency of the reviewer in review. The review should present both a comprehensive summary of the main argument/s of the book/s under review and the reviewer’s assessment of those arguments. The reviewer should make her stance clear. In the case of the reviews that indicate a dissent from the book’s argument/s, the reviewer has the added responsibility of making clear the ‘starting points’/‘points of departure’ in terms of the theoretical and/or methodological background of the author and the reviewer. The paper also underscores the importance of the argument-based approach over the chapter-based approach, especially in the case of multiple book reviews and reviews of edited works/collections of essays. The paper also recognizes the need to spell out why the book/s in question worth reading/a review, define the key terms/concepts of a work from the book author/s’ perspective (especially in the case of the books that deal with vague or controversial issues), and identify any ‘common threads’ that run across the different books/chapters under review.
Bacon, J. (2011). Review of the book Political poetry as discourse: Rereading John Greenleaf Whittier, Ebenezer Elliott, and hip-hop-ology, by A. M. Leonard. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 97(3), 352-356.
Childers, J. P. (2008). Deliberating rhetoric [Review of the books Talking to stangers: Anxieties of citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education, by D. S. Allen; Pragmatism, democracy, and the necessity of rhetoric, by R. Danisch; Why deliberative democracy?, by A. Gutmann & D. Thompson; Rhetoric and the republic: Politics, civic discourse, and education in early America, by M. G. Longaker; and Talking about race: Community dialogues and the politics of difference, by K. C. Walsh]. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 94(4), 455-467.
Engels, J. (2011). Review of the book The rhetorical presidency, by M. J. Medhurst (Ed.). Quarterly Journal of Speech, 97(1), 114-117.
Harness, L. (2011). Review of the book Virtual communities: Bowling alone, online together, by F. W. Song. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 97(1), 117-120.
Kurtz, J. B. (2011). Review of the book Empire of sacrifice: The religious origins of American violence, by J. Pahl. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 97(1), 120-124.
Ott, B. L. (2011). Assessing rhetorics of social resistance [Review of the books Transgression as a mode of resistance: Rethinking social movement in an era of corporate globalization, by C. Foust; OurSpace: Resisting the corporate control of culture, by C. Harold; In the wake of violence: Image and social reform, by C. R. Jorgensen-Earp; Everyday subversion: From joking to revolting in the German Democratic Republic; and Making camp: Rhetorics of transgression in US popular culture, by H. A. Shugart & C. E. Waggoner]. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 97(3), 334-347.
Svoboda, M. (2011). Review of the book Why we disagree about climate change: Understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity, by M. Hilme. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 97(1), 125-129.
The linguistic reality that is referred to as Sri Lankan English/Lankan English is one of the most dynamic areas of linguistic research in Sri Lanka. Although there does not seem to be a clear understanding as what this variety really is, its existence is acknowledged by the scholars in the field of linguistics in Sri Lanka. The research done by Thiru Kandiah has played a central role in institutionalizing Lankan English as a variety of English. The existing understandings regarding this variety of English range from those that see it as a nonstandard form of English to those that see it as a fully fledge variety that is linguistically similar to the standard forms of English. Arjuna Parakrama views new varieties like Lankan English as realities that provide better insights into the way language (in general) works.
Sri Lankan English, in my view, is the inevitable result of (British) English, introduced by our former colonial masters, trying to establish itself in Sri Lanka. When a language is introduced to a new context it shapes and redefines itself to suite the context. The survival of the language in the new context as a language of that context depends on, among other factors, the success of this adaptation. What has come to be known as Sri Lankan English indicates the success that English has achieved in becoming a language of the Sri Lankan context. Given the fact that Sri Lankan English is a variety that has emerged out of the Sri Lankan context, it is the form of English that can best capture Sri Lankan realities and what could be called the ‘Sri Lankan consciousness’.
The position that Sri Lankan English occupies among other varieties of English is decided not so much by linguistic factors as by political factors. The marginal position that the contexts associated with Sri Lankan English occupy in the broader social, political, and economic discourse explains the dominant tendency to see Sri Lankan English as a linguistically inferior variety. In such a context, academic studies have a special responsibility to foreground the notion of Sri Lankan English and make a case for that variety.
Since the introduction of the controversial Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1987, the idea of devolution of power has been a hot topic (and sometimes a not-so-hot topic) in Sri Lankan politics. The establishment of provincial councils marked a significant step towards devolution of power, which had been concentrated in Colombo, to provincial level sub-centres in the country. Although this measure was welcome by certain political elements in the country, the general perception that the Amendment was more an imposed solution than a ‘home-grown’ one, the evident failure of the measure to significantly address the ongoing ethnic problem in an effective manner, and the tremendous opposition from the main Opposition parties in the parliament defined the general attitude not only towards the proposed provincial councils, but also towards the very idea of devolution of power as predominantly a negative one.
The political change that took place in the country in 1994 marked a significant change in the general attitude towards devolution. The new leadership that had emerged in the SLFP by the time of the 1994 General Election had managed to convince the party of the need to change its rigid stance regarding the ethnic problem and accept devolution of power as a solution to the problem. Given that devolution of power was one of the key slogans of the SLFP-led People’s Alliance, the party’s victory at the General Election and the party’s de facto leader Chandrika Kumaratunga’s victory at the Presidential Election in the same year attested to the favourable attitude with which the idea of devolution of power had begun to be perceived in the country. The Government’s proposals regarding a basic framework for the devolution of power in 1997 and the draft Constitution presented to the Parliament in 2000 which included proposals for the devolution of power showed the Government’s commitment to power devolution. Nevertheless, the proposals failing to see the light of day in the face of massive opposition from the main Opposition parties and the Government’s rapid loss of popularity due to its failure in the war front and the economic sphere resulted in devolution of power, mainly as the party’s main slogan, losing faith among the people.
Although the UNP led by Wickramasinghe had accepted devolution of power in principle, the party did not use it as a slogan in the 2001 General Election, which brought them back to power, obviously due to the negative connotations that the notion had acquired by then. The party campaigned mainly on economic issues. After coming to power, the UNP went public on their position regarding the ethnic problem in the country and indicated their willingness to go for a broader devolution of power, and many pro-Government groups and Opposition groups viewed federalism as a model possible within the Government’s definition of devolution of power. Although this fresh approach to the ethnic problem laid the foundation for a new round of talks between the Government and the LTTE and led the path to a ceasefire agreement between the two parties, constant violations of the agreement mainly by the LTTE, the perceived inability of the Government to take effective measures to prevent these violations, and the perceived partiality of the Norwegian facilitators towards the LTTE put the idea of devolution of power in an entirely negative light where it began to be seen as a pure threat to the territorial integrity of the country.
By the time of the 2005 Presidential Election, the constant and consistent failure of all the proposed political solutions each of which had included some form of devolution of power had generated a strong sense of mistrust regarding political solutions to the ethnic problem in society. This sense of mistrust had created a space in which a military solution could emerge as the only viable solution to the problem.
In my view, the distortions caused by the strict compartmentalization of interrelated realities and attempts to make social sciences and humanities look like natural sciences through a ‘sciencification’ process with a view to attaching a sense of objectivity and “validity” to the field are partly responsible for the inferior position that most of the subjects in social sciences and humanities occupy in the hierarchy of disciplines. I emphasize the need to go beyond this strict compartmentalization and problematize the ongoing ‘sciencification’ process in order to liberate the field of social sciences and humanities and according it its due place. In my view, this goal could be achieved by taking an interdisciplinary approach to the realities that social sciences and humanities deal with. The increased accountability that such an approach ensures by creating a context in which not only the claims that are made in different disciplines, but also the fundamental assumptions and “ground rules” of those disciplines could be problematized forms the foundation for a realistic understanding of the realities in question.
By Ranga Kalugampitiya (Published in The Sunday Observer – Montage – October 04, 2009)
One of the main factors that set universities apart from other educational institutions is the considerable, if not excessive, freedom that the chief stakeholders of these establishments enjoy. This freedom is mandatory to ensure an intellectual environment conducive to advanced learning and, most importantly, novel thinking. Freedom in such intellectual environments, especially in the field(s) of Social Sciences and Humanities, should guarantee a space in which ideological positions could be contested and taken-for-granted realities could be problematized. Nevertheless, if this freedom instead unduly privileges a particular group of stakeholders and grants them absolute power over the rest that would permit them to mutilate intellectual freedom, thereby creating an anti-intellectual environment, and control not only the social life, but also the biological life of another set of stakeholders, then something is seriously wrong with the system in question.
Ragging has made its annual appearance in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Peradeniya and it has once again become the centre of attention in the Faculty with the recent intake of the new batch of students. A sense of dull uniformity has once again begun to pervade legendary Peradeniya, which is expected to be a place for the celebration of diversity and differences. An extremely discomforting and demoralizing silence, pale and hapless amateur faces waiting in queues till their turn comes, fierce looks on the faces of those who have taken on the role of the supreme guide and guard, an occasional outburst of tears of an amateur who has reached the limits of his/her endurance, an occasional collapse of a to-be-scholar on the way to a lecture hall, and frequent admissions to the University Health Centre have currently become characteristic features of this place, a place that has always stood as the uncontested symbol of academic excellence in Sri Lanka.
University ragging is projected, by its proponents, as a necessary “initiation” process into the university life. Building of student personality and creation of equality among students are some of the publicly articulated arguments in favour of ragging. Despite the obviously negative connotations and associations of the term, there seems to be a sense of public tolerance for ragging primarily on the grounds that ragging has been in practice in Sri Lankan universities for a long time. Nevertheless, irrespective of all these arguments, the present situation with regard to ragging at Peradeniya, especially in the Faculty of Arts, requires the general understanding of ragging and the mainstream attitude towards it to be closely scrutinized.
It is a well known fact that every year a vast majority of the freshers who enter the Faculty are subjected to numerous forms of ragging by a group of senior students for a considerable period of time. Fresh admissions always give rise to a scenario marked by a gross violation of each and every possible democratic right of the freshers, a complete negligence of the general rule of law of the country, an explicit contestation of the formal centre of power of the establishment, and a remarkable intolerance towards any ideological position or practical action that does not fall in line with the position, ideological and otherwise, of the champions of this “initiation” process. The fact that the representatives of the student bodies that keep this “initiation” process live and kicking first openly and voluntarily commit themselves to the cause of eradicating ragging from the university context and then openly negate their commitment by getting actively involved in ragging the freshers indicates the unregulated autonomy that these student bodies enjoy. The ugly truth that the formal authorities find it difficult, if not impossible, to keep these champions of the “initiation” process who present themselves as the select guards of the Peradeniya tradition and subculture under control eventually poses Tankado’s golden question in Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, which is “Who will guard the guards?”
The numerous forms of this “initiation” process ranging from “innocent” ones like asking the freshers to sing songs to severe forms of mental and physical abuse and torture that are being reported indicate an escalation of ragging related activities in the Faculty this time. Some reported cases of freshers not being permitted to wear undergarments, being required to wear the same dress over a period of about two weeks, not being allowed to take a proper body wash, not being permitted proper meals, especially those of their choice, and the seniors who are involved in ragging retaining the exclusive power to decide even the menu of the meals for the freshers attest to the fact that in certain areas ragging has risen to unprecedented heights. The alleged cases of sexual abuse, in addition to physical, mental, and verbal abuse, carried out in the name of and as part of this “initiation” process mainly in residential halls signal the gravity of the issue in question. The tragic irony that some students have had to keep away from the Faculty premises, while some others have completely given up their university education, solely due to ragging, and some parents have had (at least initially) to escort their children to and from the Faculty for the fear of their children being subjected to torture raises serious issues with regard to the validity of the institution as a place that is supposed to promote and strengthen the independence, intellectual and otherwise, of its students.
The widespread assumption that ragging is necessary to build student personality and create equality among students generates a space in which a claim could be made for ragging as a necessary “initiation” process. Nevertheless, a close analysis of this process would convince anyone with a critical mind of the need to reconsider this assumption. If the promised personality, which is capable of standing against various forms of authority, turns a blind eye to the authority and hegemony of the “personality builders”, and if the assured equality entails the dragging down of individuals who are in comparatively better social positions to inferior social scales and not vice versa, then this “initiation” process is definitely at fault.
One of the claims that is constantly made to show the difficulty of finding a solution to the problem and, in some cases, to reason out the failure to combat ragging in a solid manner is that the freshers do not cooperate with the formal authorities in realizing their objective. Although the claim sounds valid to a certain extent, the reality is more complex than that. In the case of a majority of the freshers who undergo ragging, their apparent consent to it is more a matter of the options being limited than a matter of personal choice. The absence of a well established mechanism for the administration to reach the freshers, the immense power and authority that the senior students who are involved in ragging show themselves to possess, the de facto dictatorship of the champions of ragging that is in effect in certain crucial spaces in the University like the canteens and residential halls, the neutral position that the broader society seems to have adopted in relation to the ragging issue, and the absence of alternative student groups whom the majority of the freshers find comfortable to identify themselves with are a couple of factors that have left most of the freshers with no option but to go with the tide. The widespread (mis)conception that one’s acceptance of and participation in ragging and ragging only grants him/her full access to the university life proper functions as an incentive for most of the freshers to go through this “initiation” process without being critical of it.
The immense pressure that is unleashed upon the freshers, coupled with the high dose of brainwashing that they are subjected to throughout the ragging period, succeed in implanting certain anti-social tendencies in the minds of a considerable segment of the freshers. In my view, this explains the basis for the magical conversion of the offended in one year to the offender in the following year. The (anti)socialization process that takes place in university contexts pushes the minds of these prospective scholars to a point where they can easily fall prey to extremist forces. If universities continue to produce a line of offended-turned-offenders at a time when society needs scholars who are progressive and anti-social in a positive sense these institutions cannot be prevented from ceasing to be relevant to the broader society.
A considerable number of Faculty members and students have shown a keen interest in eradicating ragging over the past couple of years even at the risk of being publicly humiliated and, in some cases, physically attacked. The students who have chosen to oppose ragging either in the form of refusing to be ragged or in the form of actively taking part in anti-ragging movements have had to face numerous hardships more or less throughout their stay in the University. The University administration in general and the Faculty administration in particular have taken numerous measures with the aim of stopping or, at least, controlling this abominable practice of ragging in the Faculty. However, due to the absence of a strong mechanism that fails to match the established strength of the student bodies that are involved in ragging and their outside support mechanisms, these attempts have failed to yield lasting solutions to the problem.
In a context where ragging operates as a form of terrorism calling not only the intellectual freedom, but also the basic democratic freedom of a number of chief stakeholder groups into question, the eradication of ragging is crucial for the assurance and strengthening of the intellectual and democratic environment, which the universities are expected to provide. Ragging could be eradicated by making sure that the universities are no exception to the general rule of the country. The urgent need to put an end to this abominable practice of ragging indicates, in my view, the necessity for a broad mechanism in which the University administration, the other chief stakeholder groups, and the authorities that are responsible for the keeping of law and order in the country collaborate in working out a feasible and acceptable solution to the problem at hand. Such a solution will hopefully make sure that “the guards will be guarded”.
Buddhism explains 'existence' using the analogy of a wheel that has twelve components, and the idea is that each component is the effect of the preceding component. The analogy of a wheel entails that there is no recognizable beginning and/or end to the process. Buddhism sees the destruction of this wheel, brought about by some form of interception, as the key to liberation. Given that the wheel does not have any recognizable beginning and/or end, the interception of the wheel can happen at any point, with any of the twelve components. This interception at the level of one component nullifies not only the following component, which is the effect of the cause, but also the preceding component, which is the cause of the intercepted component, by virtue of the fact that the process is cyclical. In other words, interception at the level of B nullifies both C (the effect of the cause B) and A (the cause of the effect B). This shows that causality works "backwards" as well.