Riviste UNIMI

    Cosmophobia: Urania’s Lament and Lessons Learned

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    NASA astrobiologist David Morrison coined the term cosmophobia – fear of the cosmos – in response to the plethora of 2012 disaster scenarios that depict Urania, the muse of astronomy, as a wicked destroyer rather than a beautiful inspiration. The purveyors of these scenarios relied on the public’s lack of science literacy and ability to tell the difference between science and pseudoscience, as well as the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and social media, in their effort to sell books, DVDs, and subscription-only web content. Also adding to the public’s inability to critically analyze the veritable flood of 2012 apocalypse suppositions is the lamentable disconnect between the average 21st century citizen and the night sky (in part due to light pollution). The result is a general public who views the astronomical knowledge of ancient cultures as mystical and even supernatural, adding to the fear factor of December 21, 2012. While this date passed with neither the end of the world nor the rash of suicides and murders some feared, the 2012 apocalypse hoax proved to be one of the most important teachable moments in recent memory in terms of science education and outreach

    Preaching to the ‘Feral Beast’: Tony Blair’s Farewell Speech to the Press

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    This paper, which relies mainly on a cultural studies and critical discourse analytical approach, aims to explore the emotional and discursive space marked out by Tony Blair' Reuters speech on "Public Life" (June 12, 2007) and the heated reaction it received from the British press. Delivered merely a fortnight before the Prime Minister stepped down from office, the speech, which famously  compared the media to "a feral beast" which "hunts in a pack", elaborated on the current crisis of trust affecting both politics and journalism and helped to spark a much needed debate on the ethical and practical challenges facing both 'communities of practice' in order to rekindle civic participation in the political public sphere

    ‘Real Life is absent’ - Arthur Rimbaud 1854 - 1891

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    'Real Life is absent' - Arthur Rimbaud 1854 - 1891by Hervé ConstantText edited by Madelyn Freema

    Post-9/11 Discourses Of Threat And Constructions Of Terror In The Age Of Obama

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    We argue elsewhere (Bloodsworth-Lugo and Lugo-Lugo, 2010) that the G.W. Bush years displayed a consistent merger of discourse surrounding otherwise unrelated issues (for example, terrorism, Saddam Hussein, September 11, 2001, immigration, same-sex marriage).  This discourse served to construct and intertwine conceived international and domestic “terrorist” threats.  During Barack Obama’s campaign for the U.S presidency, post-9/11 American anxieties worked to render Obama himself into a threatening body through questions concerning his middle name (Hussein), his perceived religious affiliation, and his patriotism and citizenship.  In the present paper, we argue that the post-9/11 language of “us versus them” (“Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” [Bush 2001]), delivered to the American public and international community to garner consent in the wake of the September 11, 2001 events, and transformed into public policy for the remainder of the G.W. Bush presidency, provided a lens through which Americans would continue to construct and perceive the world beyond the Bush administration.  Ideology surrounding “the War on Terror,” in particular, has either been resisted or co-opted and deployed by social agents in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.  We claim that in the age of Obama, Bush-generated discourse and ideology has been activated to continue and advance policies and practices aimed at identifying and containing “terrorist” threats

    Loshitzky Yosefa, Screening Strangers. Migration and Diaspora in Contemporary European Cinema

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    Loshitzky Yosefa, Screening Strangers. Migration and Diaspora in Contemporary European Cinema(Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana UP, 2010 pp. 215 ISBN 978 0 253 35453 2)by Nicoletta Valloran

    The gut microbiome and mucosal defenses in cats with coronaviruses: a pilot study

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    Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) develops from a mutation of enteric feline coronaviruses (FCoVs) and an imbalance of the host immune response. The wide polymorphism of FCoVs is associated with the viral replication rate (Licitra et al. 2013).  Changes in the composition of the gut microbiota may induce quali-quantitative modifications in FCoVs and/or different immune profiles (Weese et al., 2015). Few information is available on feline gut microbiome and the association between microbiota and the predisposition to pathological conditions (Ramadan et al., 2014).The aim of this study is to provide preliminary data about the composition of gut microbiota in healthy cats compared with FCoV infected cats (with and without  FIP), in order to evaluate whether changes of gut microbiota may induce changes in FCoV, in its genetic polymorphism and in the mucosal immunity.Screening analyses have been performed on 22 cats:- Routine hematology and biochemistry on EDTA and serum (included electrophoresis and alpha-1-acid glycoprotein measurement for cats suspected with FIP)- Nested RT-PCR-3’UTR on frozen faeces- Effusion evaluation- FIV/FeLV serologyDue to strict inclusion criteria (cats younger than 2.5 years old, indoor and not assuming antibiotics in the previous two months) and based on the results obtained from the complete set of analysis, only 15 cats, specifically 5 cats for each of the following 3 groups: FIP- affected, healthy negative and positive for FCoV, have been recruited to perform the following analyses: - microbiota analysis through NGS of 16S rRNA gene (V4 region) amplicons followed by bioinformatic analysis -  evaluation of secretory IgA (ELISA kit)- phylogenetic analysis of FCoVs S gene sequencesInnovative results will be provided on the feline gut microbiota composition. These will be correlated with the presence and genetic polymorphisms of FCoV and mucosal defenses to establish significant correlations between the analysed factors

    Sidelong thinking. Disobedient geographies and subaltern cultures

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    My work here develops along a twofold path. On the one hand, and as a researcher committed to postcolonial issues, I share what many theorists say about the need for a more or less stable framework allowing to approach the issue of empire and post-empire in the light of some relatively stable critical categories. On the other, I also feel the gap between theories and some increasingly complex realities that do need a more direct appraisal of the facts implied in a globalized world in the way this need is voiced by Simon Gikandi in his “Globalization and the Claims of Postcoloniality” (2001). To the purpose of imagining a more effective critical frame, I’m borrowing Kara Walker’s notion of sidelong glance to develop a reflection on theories and their usefulness in terms of the actual approach to issues whose profile and complexity are to be intended as not only in progress, but also undergoing a very quick definition and redefinition through time. Starting from Hall’s statement that  the postcolonial may be intended as “sign of desire or  signifier of danger” (1996) and also exploiting the notions of rhizoma (Deleuze & Guattari 1980), subalternity (Spivak 1988) and “Thinking plural” (Said 1993), I’m approaching a number of written, visual and performative texts, from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to tightly contemporary artistic experiences, to show how both the postcolonial and the decolonial paradigms eventually prove inadequate to the reading of our present condition in terms of the ability to go beyond the traditional Western attitude to the post-colonies.

    Nelson Mandela’s ‘Ordinary Love’ Addressed in Pop-rock Music: a Long Song of Freedom

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    This paper aims to highlight how inspirational the figure of Nelson Mandela has been for several musicians and songwriters. In particular, it focuses on songs written by Western musicians from the early Eighties until 2013 – all showing the extent to which the South African leader has epitomized the struggle for equality and freedom. This study points out how the success of a hit single in 1984 – British ska group The Special AKA’s “Free Nelson Mandela” – paved the way for a quick increase in the number of musicians who got involved in the anti-apartheid movement and contributed to make Western audiences know about Mandela and increasingly demand that apartheid be put to an end. This survey seeks to examine the main achievements in pop-rock songs that generated both from the growing awareness about the South African leader’s experience when he was imprisoned, and the legacy of his exemplum after he was set free. Among the songs cited: Simple Minds’ “Mandela Day”, the various artists’ tribute “46664” and the most recent Golden Globe-awarded “Ordinary Love” by U2, written for the soundtrack of the biopic The Long Walk to Freedom. To better understand how the figure of Mandela has been addressed in these works, the paper includes analyses of the most complex and significant lyrics among the songs discussed, thus also showing how the South African cultural background as it was received by the West could have informed the songwriting, and how the Western reception of such songs determined an increasing awareness about Mandela’s plight and the whole phenomenon of apartheid

    ALL THE WORDS THAT ARE NOT FIT TO PRINT. NOTES ON THE “ILLITERATURE” OF ITALIAN EMIGRATION

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    L’articolo presenta criticamente alcuni esempi dell’uso dell’italiano in emigrati negli Stati Uniti di prima e seconda generazione: esempi a metà strada fra scritto e orale, rinvenibili in scritte murarie e corrispondenze private (cartoline illustrate e lettere); messaggi personali si alternano a prove poetiche amatoriali, in uno stretto dialogo con le immagini. Nel complesso, il contributo fornisce indicazioni intorno al lento passaggio da una lingua all'altra, testimoniato da peculiari adattamenti a livello fonetico, lessicale, sintattico.This article presents a few examples of the use of Italian in first and second-generation immigrants to the United States: examples half-way between written and oral language are taken from writing on walls, post cards, memoirs and poetry, in intimate dialogue with images. On the whole, the paper considers the slow shift from one language to another, as shown by particular adaptations on phonetic, lexical and syntactic levels

    Poetics of the Elsewhere Notes on Peter Sloterdijk and the Question of Utopia

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    The paper explores the question of utopia in the work of Peter Sloterdijk from a narratological and meta-poetic perspective. The analysis focuses on a new text by the German thinker, published in 2018 as an afterword to the German edition of Thomas More’s Utopia, translated from the original Latin by Jacques Laager. In the paper I will present the text, contextualizing it in the complexity of Sloterdijk’s work. I will examine some of its thematical and stylistic features, which disclose the in-terplay between storytelling, space, and writing in the construction processes of the concepts of sub-jectivity, otherness, and community. Moreover, such an interplay allows to read the space of writing as a place of meta-reflection through which the author, by rethinking and rewriting the (hi)story of mankind from different conceptual prisms, rethinks and rereads also the peregrination of a new philosophical subject in the landscape of writing.
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