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Jack Black
Sheffield Hallam University
  1. “A Form of Socially Acceptable Insanity”: Love, Comedy and the Digital in Her.Jack Black - 2021 - Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society 26 (1):25-45.
    In Spike Jonze’s Her (2013), we watch the film’s protagonist, Theodore, as he struggles with the end of his marriage and a growing attachment to his artificially intelligent operating system, Samantha. While the film remains unique in its ability to cinematically portray the Lacanian contention that “there is no sexual relationship,” this article explores how our digital non-relationships can be re-approached through the medium of comedy. Specifically, when looked at through a comic lens, notable scenes from Her are examined for (...)
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  2.  11
    An Unnerving Otherness: English Nationalism and Rusedski’s Smile.Jack Black, Robert J. Lake & Thomas Fletcher - 2021 - Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society (x):xx-xx.
    In view of scholarly work that has explored the socio-psycho significance of national performativity, the body and the “other,” this article critically analyses newspaper representations of the Canadian-born British tennis player Greg Rusedski. Drawing on Lacanian interpretations of the body, it illustrates how Rusedski’s media framing centered on a particular feature of his body—his “smile.” In doing so, we detail how Rusedski’s “post-imperial” Otherness—conceived as a form of “extimacy” (extimité)—complicated any clear delineation between “us” and “them,” positing instead a dialectical (...)
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  3.  13
    Conviviality and Parallax in David Olusoga’s Black and British: A Forgotten History.Jack Black - 2019 - European Journal of Cultural Studies 22 (5-6):979-995.
    Through examining the BBC television series, Black and British: A Forgotten History, written and presented by the historian David Olusoga, and in extending Paul Gilroy’s assertion that the everyday banality of living with difference is now an ordinary part of British life, this article considers how Olusoga’s historicization of the Black British experience reflects a convivial rendering of UK multiculture. In particular, when used alongside Žižek’s notion of parallax, it is argued that understandings of convivial culture can be supported by (...)
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  4.  24
    COVID-19 and the Real Impossible.Jack Black - 2020 - International Journal of Žižek Studies 14 (2).
    This article approaches the COVID-19 pandemic as an inherently antagonistic phenomenon. To do so, it carries forward the philosophical contentions that Žižek outlines in his Pandemic! COVID-19 Shakes the World, as well as his wider work. With reference to the parallax Real and McGowan’s Hegelian contradiction, it is demonstrated that Žižek’s philosophical premises hold a unique importance in politically confronting COVID-19. Indeed, by drawing specific attention to the various ways in which our confrontations with the Real expose the limitations of (...)
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  5.  40
    COVID-19: Approaching the In-Human.Jack Black - 2020 - Contours: Journal of the SFU Humanities Institute (10):1-10.
    What the COVID-19 pandemic serves to reveal is the inherent limitations and contradictions of a symbolic order that must now be perceived via an “impossible subjectivity”: what this essay will refer to as the “in-human.” (Zizek, 2020). Indeed, this in-human perspective transpires not through our fetishization of the virus, as some form of justification for humanity’s impact on the world, but from a position of impossibility that renders “the whole situation into which we are included.” (Monbiot, 2020; Zizek, 2020). It (...)
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  6. Football is “the Most Important of the Least Important Things”: The Illusion of Sport and COVID-19.Jack Black - 2021 - Leisure Sciences 43 (1/2):97-103..
    In his book, On the Pleasure Principle in Culture (2014), Robert Pfaller argued that our relationship to sport is one grounded in “illusion”. Simply put, our interest in and enjoyment of sport occurs through a process of “knowing better”. Here, one’s knowledge of the unimportance of sport is achieved by associating the illusion of sport with a naïve observer – i.e. someone who does believe in sport’s importance. In the wake of the global pandemic, COVID-19, it would seem that Pfaller’s (...)
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  7.  47
    ‘I Am (Big) M(Other)’: Lacan’s Big Other and the Role of Cynicism in Grant Sputore’s I Am Mother.Jack Black - 2020 - Free Associations: Psychoanalysis and Culture, Media, Groups, Politics (80):121-131.
    How can one make sense of our current political, ecological and technological dilemmas through the lens of Grant Sputore’s I Am Mother (2019)? Well-received, the film has been commended for its account of the increasing role and impact of artificial intelligence and its relation to our ongoing ecological dilemmas and potential catastrophe. While these issues are played-out through the on-screen relationship between robotic mother and human daughter, the film can also be used to help shed light on our current ideological (...)
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  8.  31
    ‘Nature Doesn’T Care That We’Re There’: Re-Symbolizing Nature’s ‘Natural’ Contingency.Jack Black & Jim Cherrington - 2020 - International Journal of Žižek Studies 14 (1).
    This article draws upon the work of Timothy Morton and Slavoj Žižek in order to critically examine how mountain bike trail builders orientated themselves within nature relations. Beginning with a discussion of the key ontological differences between Morton’s object-oriented ontology and Žižek’s blend of Hegelian-Lacanianism, we explore how Morton’s dark ecology and Žižek’s account of the radical contingency of nature, can offer parallel paths to achieving an ecological awareness that neither idealises nor mythologises nature, but instead, acknowledges its strange and (...)
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  9. Retroactive Causation and the Temporal Construction of News: Contingency and Necessity, Content and Form.Jack Black - 2021 - Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory 22 (1):44-59.
    This article affords particular attention to the relationship between memory, the narrativization of news and its linear construction, conceived as journalism’s ‘memory- work’. In elaborating upon this ‘work’, it is proposed that the Hegelian notion of retroactive causation (as used by Slavoj Žižek) can examine how analyses of news journalists ‘retroactively’ employ the past in the temporal construction of news. In fact, such retroactive (re)ordering directs attention to the ways in which journalists contingently select ‘a past’ to confer meaning on (...)
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  10. Sport and the ‘National Thing’: Exploring Sport’s Emotive Significance.Jack Black - 2020 - Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics:X.
    This article critically details how the work of Slavoj Žižek theoretically elaborates on the links between nationalism and sport. Notably, it highlights how key terms, drawn from Žižek’s work on fantasy, ideology and the Real (itself grounded in the work of Jacques Lacan), can be used to explore the relationship between sport, nationalism and enjoyment (jouissance). In outlining this approach, specific attention is given to Žižek’s account of the ‘national Thing’. Accordingly, by considering the various ways in which sport organizes, (...)
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  11.  16
    ‘Success in Britain Comes with an Awful Lot of Small Print’: Greg Rusedski and the Precarious Performance of National Identity.Jack Black, Thomas Fletcher & Robert J. Lake - 2020 - Nations and Nationalism 4 (26):1104-1123.
    Sport continues to be one of the primary means through which notions of Englishness and Britishness are constructed, contested, and resisted. The legacy of the role of sport in the colonial project of the British Empire, combined with more recent connections between sport and far right fascist/nationalist politics, has made the association between Britishness, Englishness, and ethnic identity(ies) particularly intriguing. In this paper, these intersections are explored through British media coverage of the Canadian‐born, British tennis player, Greg Rusedski. This coverage (...)
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  12.  43
    Temporal Ontology in Ecology: Developing an Ecological Awareness Through Time, Temporality and the Past-Present Parallax.Jack Black & Jim Cherrington - 2021 - Environmental Philosophy 18 (1):41-63.
    Theoretical applications of time and temporality remain a key consideration for both climate scientists and the humanities. By way of extending this importance, we critically examine Timothy Morton’s proposed “ecological awareness” alongside Slavoj Žižek’s “parallax view”. In doing so, the article introduces a “past-present parallax” in order to contest that, while conceptions of the past are marked by “lack”, equally, our conceptions of and relations to Nature remain grounded in an ontological incompleteness, marked by contingency. This novel approach presents an (...)
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  13.  52
    “You Ain’T Gonna Get Away Wit’ This, Django”: Fantasy, Fiction and Subversion in Quentin Tarantino’s, Django Unchained.Jack Black - 2019 - Quarterly Review of Film and Video 36 (7):611-637.
    From 2009 to 2015, U.S. director, Quentin Tarantino, released three films that were notable for their focus on particular historical events, periods and individuals (Inglorious Basterds 2009; Django Unchained 2012; The Hateful Eight 2015). Together, these films offered a specifically “Tarantinian” rendering of history: rewriting, manipulating and, for some, unethically deploying history for aesthetic effect. With regard to Django Unchained, this article examines how Tarantino’s historical revisionism provides a valuable point of inquiry into the ways in which “history” is depicted (...)
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  14.  21
    Mountain Bike Trail Building, “Dirty” Work, and a New Terrestrial Politics.Jim Cherrington & Jack Black - 2020 - World Futures 1 (76):39-61.
    Dirt is evoked to signify many important facets of mountain bike culture, including its emergence, history, and everyday forms of practice and affect. These significations are also drawn on to frame the sport's (sub)cultural and counterideological affiliations. In this article we examine how both the practice of mountain biking and, specifically, mountain bike trail building, raises questions over the object and latent function of dirt, hinting at the way that abjection can, under certain circumstances, be a source of intrigue and (...)
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