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Cambridge University issues trigger warnings for Shakespeare lecture

Le 23 novembre 2017, 09:12 dans 教育 0

Cambridge students have been given timetables bearing “trigger warnings” to alert them that a lecture on the works of Shakespeare could be upsetting.

In the English faculty’s notes on lectures document, students were warned that a lecture discussing the plays Titus Andronicus and The Comedy of Errors would include “discussions of sexual violence” and “sexual assault”.

Titus Andronicus, which the Guardian’s theatre critic Michael Billington described as a “masterly study of the nature of grief”, is widely regarded as Shakespeare’s most violent work due to its bloody depictions of rape, murder and cannibalism. The discussion of the two plays, which also features Sarah Kane’s notoriously violent 1995 play Blasted, was described as addressing the question: “When do we laugh at violence, and why?”

A university spokesperson said that “it is not a policy of the English faculty to have such warnings”, adding: “Some lecturers indicate that some sensitive material will be covered in a lecture by informing the English faculty admin staff, who prepare the faculty’s notes on lectures which are distributed to English students.”

“This is entirely at the lecturer’s own discretion and is in no way indicative of a faculty-wide policy.”

Nonetheless, some academics and theatre professionals were critical of the move. David Crilly, artistic director at the Cambridge Shakespeare festival, told the Telegraph: “If a student of English literature doesn’t know that Titus Andronicus contains scenes of violence, they shouldn’t be on the course.”

“This degree of sensitivity will inevitably curtail academic freedom. If the academic staff are concerned they might say something students find uncomfortable they will avoid doing it.”

Gillian Evans, emeritus professor of medieval theology and intellectual history at Cambridge University, said the decision would probably leave academics “very annoyed”.

The use of trigger warnings on university courses has garnered criticisms that universities are overprotective of students’ sensibilities. While trigger warnings have become increasingly pervasive in recent years, particularly in the US, concerns have been raised over their use in a rigorous academic context.

Those in favour of trigger warnings argue that they are simply designed to protect individuals who suffer from PTSD from becoming distressed when faced with stimuli that could evoke their personal experiences of trauma.

Some mental health professionals have advised against trigger warnings on the basis that exposure to potentially uncomfortable discussions is more conducive to healing than avoidance.

Another lecture on “Violence” and a seminar titled “Inhibiting the Body” also reportedly bore trigger warnings.

Beijing beautiful, HK safe - study

Le 22 février 2017, 05:05 dans Humeurs 0

  Beijing is the most beautiful city in China and Hong Kong the safest and second most beautiful, according to a study by the China Institute of City Competitiveness.

  The capital came in ahead of 558 other mainland cities and the two SARs, with a score of 0.756 points out of one for its impressive historical monuments and tourist attractions.

  Gui Qiangfang, the institute's chairman, said: "The capital has a rich history and culture, which have been key to its development."

  The assessment took into consideration the cities' urban design, infrastructure, architecture, culture and natural beauty.

  Factors including the preservation of historical monuments, forest coverage, air quality, the transportation network, city life, public space and GDP were also considered.

  Hong Kong, which ranked second with 0.666 points, won praise for its skyscrapers, Victoria Harbor and the development of its service industry.

  Shenzhen took third spot with 0.664 points, scoring highly for its role as the pioneer of China's opening up and reform policies.

  Shanghai finished fourth with 0.663 points for being the country's financial center.

  In the voting for the safest city, which assessed the social, economic and ecological development, Hong Kong came first with 0.849 points.

  In this category, the cities' crime rates, stability of financial policies, authority of the government, industrial accident rate, food safety and pollution situation, were considered.

  The institute said Hong Kong had low crime, and the number of work-related casualties is only 18.4 per 1,000 workers last year.

  The SAR also attracted $42.7 billion foreign investment last year, up 19 percent on 2005.

  Shanghai ranked second in the safe city poll with 0.712 points, followed by Nanjing with 0.666 points.

  The institute said Shanghai is developing a harmonious society ahead of the 2010 World Expo.

The beauty of life

Le 11 janvier 2017, 03:47 dans Humeurs 0

  Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?   And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech ?   The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle. Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."   And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.   Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us."   The tired and the weary say, "beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.   Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."   But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains,   And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions."   At night the watchmen of the city say, "Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."   And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, "we have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset."   In winter say the snow-bound, "She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills Surveying BSc  ."   And in the summer heat the reapers say, "We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair."   All these things have you said of beauty.   Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,   And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.   It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,   But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted Conference Table.   It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,   But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.   It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,   But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

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