Monday, July 17, 2006

Call for Papers, in case any of you are feeling scholarly

Jadavpur University Essays and Studies
Call for Papers
No deadline
Anyone can submit, but it must be proper scholarly work.
Please especially tell any M.Phil, Ph.D. people you might know.
We are desperately looking for papers. This is a good opportunity to get published early if you're thinking of an academic career.

Jadavpur University Essays and Studies is the journal of the Department of English, Jadavpur University. Published once a year, the journal is broadly concerned with scholarship and research in literatures in English, and their relation to other literatures, literary theory, literary history, and language. It does not publish fiction, poetry and plays or their translations, and does not, as a rule, carry notes, letters and reviews. The editors may, however, invite and publish any material deemed appropriate. All original material published is copyright of the publishers. All submissions and commercial enquiries should be addressed to the Head of the Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700 032, India. Contributions will go through a process of referral. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage.

A few broad guidelines for contributors are given below:

1. Contributors need to provide two hard copies of the text and a virus-free soft copy (preferably in editable MS Word 97 or later, or Rich Text Format) by email or on removable media. Please do not send PDF files. Also send a separate file containing a copy-paste of the endnote text in the correct numbered sequence, for reference. We will not accept hand-written or manually typed articles.
2. The title of the article should be in capitals.
3. Since articles will be refereed, contributors are advised not to sign the hard copies but to put their names in capitals on a detachable title-sheet along with their institutional affiliation, address for correspondence, telephone, fax numbers and email address.
4. All of the above information should be in the soft copy file before the body of the article (it will be cut-pasted into a separate file before refereeing.)
5. The text of the article including all quotations should be double-spaced. Endnotes, as brief as possible, should also be double-spaced and printed on a separate sheet in the hard copy. Do not run them on with the body of the article.
6. Details should be given in the following order when a work is cited for the first time: Author’s name, comma, Title (italicised) open parenthesis, place of publication, colon, publisher, comma, year of publication, end parenthesis, comma, p(p). page number(s).
Example: Kitty W. Scoular, Natural Magic: Studies in the Presentation of Nature in English Poetry from Spenser to Marvell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), pp.65-7.
In case of a reprint or subsequent edition, open parenthesis, give the date of the first edition, followed by a semi-colon, reprint or edition details, place of publication, colon, publisher, comma, year of publication, end parenthesis, comma, p(p). page no(s).
Example: Colin Watson, Snobbery with Violence, (1971, corr. repr. London: Eyre Methuen, 1987) p.123.
Subsequent mentions may use the abbreviated form as shown below:
Scoular, Natural Magic, p. 64.
7. For references to articles in journals, collections and anthologies, the following style may be used:
Huston, Diehl, ‘Horrid Image, Sorry Sight, Fatal Vision: The Visual Rhetoric in Macbeth’, Shakespeare Studies 16(1983): 191-203.
Please do not abbreviate journal titles.
8. Anthologies should be cited by title, followed by names of editor(s), translators if any, and publication details as for a book.
9. Full citation details are to be provided for other sources such as facsimiles, newspaper articles, interviews, material on microfilm, websites (page title, stable URL, date accessed), etc.
10. For act, scene and line references to plays, the italicised title should be followed by a comma, act no., in capital roman numerals, stop, scene no in lower case roman numerals, stop, line no(s) in arabic numerals. Example: Macbeth, III.iii.3.
11. Titles of constituent sections of larger works, or essays, or poems, or short stand-alone fiction, should be placed within single quotation marks. As a rule, single quotation marks should be used in all cases except for quotations within quotations which should be within double quotation marks.
12. Quotations not exceeding 25 words may be run on with the text and be put within single quotation marks. Other quotations should be displayed in blocks with right and left indents. All quotations should follow the original exactly in respect of spelling, capitalisation, italicisation, punctuation etc.
13. Charts, tables, figures and illustrations should be placed in a separate file and on a separate page. Authors will be responsible for negotiating permission if and where necessary for reproducing illustrations etc.
14. British spellings are preferred to American alternatives. Quotations should follow the spellings in the sources.

Send email submissions to or

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Anything but a moment of shame

[Seeing that The Blab blog is now reserved for serious discussions only, I still venture to post this here rather than in the forum, 'cuz I'd consider this a serious post. If the blog is not to be used for anything but academic discussions, the admins please feel free to remove the post or provide a link to this permalink to the origuinal post on my blog on the forum if you please.]

While the self-righteous world-audience seems unanimous in condemning Zidane's head-butt, with occasional apologetic consolatory offerings of peace in talking about how Materazzi had exactly provoked the French great, I find this debate rather fruitless to carry on. And repulsive.

Can't you see? This is not the common unsporting tactics of teams that we've been barraged with throughout this cup! Here is one man, a great footballer and one who takes his stature and his game seriously (some would even say, too seriously) - and in full glare of tv cameras he goes ahead and commits a foul which he's not interested in trying to hide. He knows what he's doing, and he was ready to face the consequences. The second he had the Italian on the ground, he was also taking off his captain's armband, fully aware of the end he has chosen for his unbelievably colourful career. It was a moment of honest rage, of righteous anger - the kind we rarely see these days, and it was directed purely and unapologetically at the other style of commiting fouls - the insulting whisper, the carefully executed illegal tackle hoping the ref wouldn't notice (or even hoping the ref might be conned to book the other guy for diving), and of course, the nonchalant dives which seem to be an integral part of the tactical armour of any modern soccer team.

When you have almost accepted diving and conning and succesfully executed illegal play as special skills that enhance an international player's worth, what moral right do you have to sit and judge a man who openly and publicly expresses his anger at being abused and takes on the consequences of his act without a word of protest? If the football officials and the moral pundits were a li'l more self-respecting, they should be burying their foul mouths in shame after this.

And then, when the world is happily viliying the courageous gesture of Zidane, here comes Materazzi, openly telling the world that he had indeed insulted Zidane, quite vilely at that, first pinching his left nipple and pulling his shirt, and when being offered the shirt after the match by Zinedine, he proudly states that he merely wanted to take the shirt off Zidane's wife. The implication being - I have not called him a terrorist, I have not abused him by bringing in his mother (two other rumours going around) and therefore it is quite okay if i was asking his permission to undress his wife. Bah!

The saddest part of the deal is that the Italians, with their ugly and monotonous defensive style, would now be grinning away to glory. Cuz they have won the world cup not by playing the best football out there, not even nearly the best. For sure they were given undue preference aginst Australia, and it was a match they looked quite sure of losing. But what has paid off for them is the traditional Italian club weapon of foul-mouthing your oppponent and taking his case and provoking him to retribute and therefore get sent off or warned. It's common tactics in all major Italian clubs (well, it's no wonder match-fixing scandals keep resurfacing there once so often) and is proudly referred to as "cunning" play. It's really sad to see this paid off against Zidane.

Indeed, provocations have paid off against the great Frenchman quite a few times in his career. He is a very quiet guy, used to bottling his reactions, but prone to losing his temper and going completely off the hook when he does finally react. This was such a moment. But in a World Cup marred by half as many bookings for divings as for fouls, and with its array of illegally won pivotal penalties, this was a moment of difference. I would choose to read this as a moment of open condemnation of the system which has all but officially taken such illegal tactics as part of the colour and nature of the "physical" game.

He didn't try to con anybody. He didn't claim innocence. He didn't even protest and say that he was abused and hence his reaction. He did what he wanted to do, what he felt he was justified in doing, he wanted retribution for the insults of Materazzi, for FIFA would surely be ignoring the Italian's provocations but for the drama that has come to surround them now. Zidane has forced us to look straight into the rather disconcerting contrast between genuine anger and violence produced through hurt on one side, and clever and vain dirty-play on the other. He was indeed abused (whatever the abuse was) and he just spoke with his action. He didn't try to hide his anger. He didn't try to justify his anger either. It was the most befitting way he could have said goodbye to a system which allows temperamental but basically quiet and honest players like Zidane to suffer through the dirty tactics of cleverly planned professional provocateurs.

Even if Zidane was not a genius, and I hadn't been witness to some of the most enduring moments of football magic thanks to him, even then I would have remembered him and honoured him for this one single gesture. It was brave and honest, and that a great professional like Zidane can risk his reputation and his national stature to stand up and react this way - it was a moment of freshness for me, and a great moment of pride. If Zidane had provided some exquisite football moments in a World Cup that had not been continuously rivetting by any means, he has also provided a proud and unapologetic counterpoint to the great tradition of cheating and conning that we've seen being showcased throughout this World Cup. I feel no need to be ashamed of such a gesture. It was a moment of real pride for the sport, if only it would get its priorities right.