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  1. What Does Salt Taste Like?
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Sodomy, therefore, was viciously supressed wherever it was found. Given what we now know of Native American cultures, we are more likely to describe them as Two Spirit, the umbrella term adopted by Native American people for gender variant folk. For the Conquistadores, the war against sodomy was part of their justification for conquest.

As things began to settle down after the invasion, some native people learned Spanish and began to provide their own chronicles of their people. Pachacuti was faced with a difficult challenge. On the one hand it was absolutely necessary for him to portray himself as a good Catholic. On the other he seems to have had a genuine desire to report the beliefs of his own people and of his Inca overlords. His account can be assumed to have muddied some details of the native traditions. However, translations of his work can be even less reliable.

An English translation of the work was produced by Clements R Markham in and is published as part of his book, Narratives of the Rites and Laws of the Yncas. However, here is the original Spanish. Dizen que era apo do los otorongos, en cuya guarda da a los ermofraditas yndios de dos naturas.


  1. Eight Lieder, op. 10, no. 3: Nacht.
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Where did that come from? They were a cult of gender-variant priests who served a very liminal god. Gender variance, rainbows and cats: it is hard to think of a more perfectly queer religious cult. The Quariwarmi appear to have had similarities to the devotees of Cybele in the Roman Empire, and to the Indian hijra. Finally, Horswell quotes two Spaniards as saying that the Quariwarmi spoke like women. That could simply mean using a high register, as modern trans women do.

However Quechua has some words that have a usage which is dependent on the gender of the speaker. It is possible that the Quariwarmi used the feminine mode of speaking to emphasise their female nature. A General History has long been used by historians and scholars looking for material to supplement the scarce archival resources about the lives and activities of pirates in the early eighteenth century. Its self-conscious assertion of the factual accuracy of the information contained within its pages has been accepted, despite the fact that some of the content is fiction.

Nonetheless, it remains an exciting imagining of the lives of some of the most notorious pirates of the period. The tales are dramatic and exciting, full of larger than life characters. The two female pirates named in the advertisement and title page are certainly as exciting as their male counterparts. Both stories start with their parentage, and then detail their lives before joining the pirate ship, before ending with their capture and trials.

They take different paths to the pirate ship. Read enlists in the army dressed as a man, before falling in love and marrying a fellow officer. After his death she returns to the military, before her ship is captured by Rackam. She is disguised on the ship to circumvent the maritime ban of women. The representation of these two characters challenges the binary between masculine and feminine, through their masculine dress, and the adoption of behaviours that the text codes as masculine. Read and Bonny are praised in the text for the self-same characteristics.

She is not only capable of preventing assault, she is able to physically assault him and leave him significantly injured. In this moment, she reverses the normative characterization of woman as victim and man as aggressor. While Bonny uses her masculinity to protect her feminine body, Read takes on masculinity to fight in battle, acting within an all-male space. The language used to describe her is reminiscent of the earlier language used to describe Blackbeard. Having established that both women share the same characteristics as the male pirates, the text then situates them in the sea space.

Woodcut from the first edition of A General History of the Pyrates of Bonny and Read the Deck, except Mary Read, and Ann Bonny, and one more; upon which, she, Mary Read, called to those under Deck, to come up and fight like Men, and finding they did not stir, fired her Arms down the Hold amongst them, killing one, and wounding others. In moments of action, such as this one, they display more bravery and courage than the men who surround them, and Read actively punishes them for not meeting the standards of masculinity established by the text, as the two women do.

When faced with the violence of authority figures, Bonny and Read respond with violence, while the men perform the more traditionally female action of hiding. Both Read and Bonny are convicted for piracy, and sentenced to execution, only to find respite because they are both pregnant.

The women plead that their bellies should allow them to escape capital punishment for their masculine behaviour. Rather than being punished for their cross-dressing and appropriation of masculine qualities, the women are able to avoid punishment by virtue of having a uterus: a biological circumstance that their male counterparts are unable to use. Johnson, p. Hitchcock and Cohen, p. I will look closely at a performance of each queen and how they question the ways in which their identity is performed. However, this article focuses upon drag queens, because they are the main form of drag to have featured on the show to date.

Royale performs as a pregnant woman, addressing the majority of her lipsync performance towards her unborn child. What is interesting here is that this is a biological male, performing the role of an emotionally charged mother figure — but we accept it as part of the premise of the lipsync performance. I feel that there is a clear binary between what is acceptable when a person is performing in drag, in comparison to when they are out of drag.

However, when Minj or in this case Royale performs the female role there is a curious binary between identity and performance. Another queen who questions notions of femininity is Jinkx Monsoon. I feel that there are points to be made here about the various different kinds of femininity found within drag performance. I would like to particularly highlight that,. It is important to note that this point that Monsoon identifies as non-binary. The final queen under examination within this article will be that of Sasha Velour.

What I am particularly fascinated by is that, similarly to the existence of multiple gender identities, there is not only one form of drag. Our Voices performative focused issues such as the cathartic response of the viewer. Velour, therefore, performs a gender construct in order to emotionally manipulate the audience. In this article, I have illustrated that drag provides the opportunity for us to question what it is to have a gender identity.

The queens I have mentioned question the gender binary in a variety of inventive and thoughtprovoking ways. These include a representation of the pregnant female figure, the questioning of femininity, or the revolutionary politics of a simple pile of rose petals. I hope to have shown here that during their lipsync performances drag queens can both develop the specific drag persona they have created whilst also engendering questions around gender and identity - even if they are not setting out to do so!

My explorations of the above performances are just a few in the multitude of possible analyses of the drag queen movement. There is certainly scope for further research to be carried out within this field. Scholars, start your engines I was immediately absorbed in the show and taken aback by the talent of many of the contestants. Not only were they able to completely transform their appearance and create a character, many of them could dance, sing, act, sew, be funny… As someone who has for a long time been interested in the performance of gender, I found in drag a fascinating disruption of gender norms and binaries.

As soon as we were allowed into the exhibition hall at Olympia, we ran to ensure we had front row seats for the panel. They spoke about their own experiences as drag queens, and about nonbinary and transgender identities. All four panellists emphasised the importance for gender non-confirming people to start from a place of loving themselves and then building on this selfconfidence.

What Does Salt Taste Like?

Taking on a motherly role, Jinkx, who identifies as non-binary, underlined the necessity for gender non-confirming people to find a supportive network and express their identities in a safe space. Carmen, who is a transgender woman, and whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person , spoke from personal experience about her transition. She said that.

BenDeLaCreme made an excellent point about how we are bombarded with messages that tell us that validation is something which comes from the outside, i. She stated that, instead, the only validation we should seek is our own and exclaimed that events such as Drag World would not have been possible if the drag queens present had not understood the importance of self-appreciation. She then used herself as an example and made one of the funniest remarks of the day on the subject of turning our flaws into something worthy of celebration.

Violet responded by expressing her admiration for gender non-conforming people and their perseverance. She asserted that she sees strength in people who dare to be themselves and channels this into her own fierce and feminine drag performance. The panellists also spoke at length about the gender stereotypes that we are faced with on a daily basis. They also discussed their own experiences of being misgendered. Carmen outlined that misgendering is something which happens not only to trans and nonbinary people but also to cisgender individuals.

She gave women who played sport as an example. This is a point with which I identified and it got me thinking about certain times I have had to contend with gender stereotypes. The two seem to be mutually exclusive in their minds. But why? Football is a game, with a ball and some posts. It has no gender! While it might be true that the majority of people attending the panel are likely to have already had an understanding of transgender and non-binary identities, the panellists also offered advice about discussing gender with those who may not be so familiar with the issues.

Discussions such as the one which took place in this panel also help to address the common misconception that drag queens are all cis-gender men, and some of the artists on the panel provided an insight into the ways in which drag performance had helped them to understand and relate to their own gender identities. As Maria has described, the tone of the discussion was empowering and supportive of people who identify outside their assigned gender, and I feel that the work of the artists who appeared on the panel and many others in promoting inclusion and understanding of diverse gender identities is extremely productive in increasing awareness among a wider audience.

Towards the end of the panel, the tone became more serious. BenDeLaCreme offered some very important advice to the audience. She emphasised the importance of calling out prejudice against non-cisgender people when we hear it. She also urged the audience to make sure that conversations about gender identity, binaries and stereotypes continue beyond the walls of Olympia.

According to humoral theory the most widely known theory of the human body at the time , men had naturally warm bodies. This heat made them far more susceptible to angry outbursts — this was unacceptable in civil society, however could be adequately explained by their biology. Women, on the other hand, were perceived as naturally cold and wet.

Usually, this made them less prone to violence. A woman who committed homicide was therefore much more likely to be understood in terms of unnaturalness and inhumanity. However, when we look deeper into the vast contemporary literature written about female killers, more complex ideas to do with gender, violence, and culpability emerge. Mary Aubry was a French midwife who killed and dismembered her husband, Dennis, after years of sustained physical and emotional abuse.

By the late seventeenth century, early modern women who killed in response to marital abuse were generally depicted in crime pamphlets as victims of their own circumstances. A victim-turned-husband-murderer could be used by crime-writers to explore ways in. Printed accounts of her crimes were numerous 7 if we include the trial reports from the Old Bailey , varied in content, and highly politicised. They drew on a variety of themes, from the contemporary fear of a Catholic threat to the ambivalent social status of midwives. In the details of the case, it emerged that Aubry had attempted to obtain a separation from her husband, and had withdrawn from their marital bedchamber to prove her intentions.

This angered Dennis further, which led him to beat and sexually abuse her. The fact that she acted with accomplices simultaneously showed her as both weak and powerful: she was unable to physically dismember and dispose of the body herself, but had also exerted persuasive power over her male accomplices.

Study: Your Voice Can Tell If You've Got CAD | Health News

This one example has allowed us to question further some of the entrenched binary constructions of female violence that at first glance seem to characterise cotemporary literature. In fact, murderous women rarely occupied one simple subject-position, and authors used this to their own advantage and interests. Conflicting accounts of the same case often revealed that gender could influence depictions of violence in a variety of fascinating ways. Voice theorists seem to enjoy the dichotomous nature of the voice. But, voice is also in a very intrinsic way apart from us, in that we literally have to expel it from our bodies in order to produce it.

At the very moment of its production, voice exists outside of the body, creating a kind of dialectic of voice: it is at once subject, leaving our bodies and carrying with it the innermost truths of our identity, and at the same time it is object, returning to our ears and making the speaking subject, in fact, the listener. This unique structural identity of voice has been noted by many theorists, with Kaja Silverman writing eloquently on how the voice in its diaphanousness spills over the boundaries of subjectivity, and Freya Jarman going so far as to say that the voice is structurally queer, existing at the boundaries of subject and object Silverman, 77; Jarman, 3.

If the voice always exists as object to the speaker as a prerequisite of existence, then what does this mean for lip-syncing? When the drag queen performs on stage, 1. Rather than actually producing voice and having that return to her ears, she gives that job to something else, the speaker system in the club, and the voice that comes back to her is the voice of another.

Such a theorisation may seem to be overcomplicating a fun mode of performance, but understanding the voice in this way has important ramifications for several other non-normative modes of voice. Take, for example, those who have undergone surgeries in which they have sacrificed their voice and use a computer prosthetic in its place: such a theory confirms the validity of these voices. This begs the question as to why lip-syncing is preferred and what benefits it might hold. Thinking about drag lipsyncing, these queens often perform to their favourite songstresses.

When a drag queen struts around on stage, lip-syncing to the voices of these powerful women, she identifies with them. In that moment, making the motions of voice herself and the speakers completing the feedback loop by sending a voice to their ears, they are identifying with the voice, making it their own, and therefore empathically relating to the power in that voice. Indeed, this is a key marker of identity building in psychoanalysis. Exploiting the inherent duality of the voice, she identifies with the power of the voice, of the person behind that voice, and adopts that own protection into her.

And the theory continues: at any stadium concert, the camera pans across the audience and you can witness tens of thousands of people lipsyncing, sharing in the voice of their idols, invigorating 2. Well, guess what? They did exist — and there are numerous records to prove it. These identities are not a new phenomenon, however in some cases it is only now possible to articulate them, both in a literal and philosophical sense. This is particularly important when dealing with aspects of gender, sexuality and identity as it discards arguments of diminishing explanations putting them down to patterns and trends , pointing instead to human nature as an explanation of consistent gender irregularities from heteronormativity throughout history.

This is something which I hope I can contribute to in some small way through my research into excluded queer 19th century French literature. Despite being predominantly excluded from the literary. Whilst a controversial persona, the quality of her writing and the definite impression she left on decadent literature is irrefutable, yet alongside so many women writers, she has been relegated to passing mentions in footnotes.

Returning to literature from the past is a useful exercise in highlighting the existence of diversity even before the conceptualisation of certain identities in this case, specifically non-binary forms of transgender identity. However, it has yet to be argued that this is not simply a story of defying gender roles or just another example of unnatural role reversal, often seen in decadent narratives, but actually that Rachilde is doing something more nuanced and complex in this text than simply adhering to decadent tendencies of gender role reversal and performance by providing an insight into gender fluidity.

Gender fluidity is the ability to freely and knowingly become one or many of a limitless number of genders, for any length of time, at any rate of change. Gender fluidity recognises no borders or rules of genders. Whilst it may have sufficed to avoid using specific gender identity terminology in previous years of Rachilde scholarship due to a lack of awareness, new advances in gender identity research encourage us to use these breakthroughs not only in contemporary writing but also in literature which presents as relevant. These new advances have opened up discourse not only about the aforementioned identities in the present, but hark back on what has been there all along, simply without the linguistic tools to articulate these concepts.

By presenting us with characters displaying not only transgender characteristics but also insights into gender fluidity at a time when gender roles were extremely restrictive, Rachilde was not simply playing into decadent tendencies to reverse gender tropes, but actually she was deconstructing notions of gender through gender fluidity. A sleeping, seductive, feminine body entices viewers or, perhaps more accurately, voyeurs to come closer and explore the figure which only reveals its surprise, a penis, when one walks around to the other side. This, however, is only one type of hermaphrodite image and by looking at both the Sleeping Hermaphrodite statue type and those figures that reveal their penis in a very direct way we can begin to understand the inherent power in these images for a Roman audience.

Just as when someone grafts a twig into the bark, they see both grow joined together, and develop as one, so when they were mated together in a close embrace, they were not two, but a two-fold form, so that they could not be called male or female, and seemed neither or either. The unconscious feminine nature of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite suggests a vulnerability that chimes with this. We also frequently encounter depictions of hermaphrodites fighting off lusty mythological figures known as satyrs, often the hermaphrodite is reclining suggesting the satyr has woken them from sleep in an attempted rape.

The Romans took Greek models for these statues and imbued them with new significance. Ambiguity, was a powerful tool in Roman imagery and the hermaphrodite was no exception. Whilst these sleeping hermaphrodites from the Greek world were incredibly popular, they are not the only way to depict them. A series of statuettes show them standing with erect penis and this makes them much more masculine, by similarity to god Priapus.

These figures often display their phallus by lifting a long garment, challenging ideas of vulnerability and voyeurism, and ensuring that there is no mistake that this penis is something you are supposed to see. The confrontational style of these small objects seems to dispel any notions of the hermaphrodite as purely passive and, in fact suggests, that the sexual ambiguity is a source of power. Similarities between the pose of these statuettes and representations of Priapus in similar objects hint at potential similarities in function and meaning.

Priapus was, in many ways, the embodiment of Roman notions of masculinity. These traits can be seen in images in which he reveals his phallus from under a cloak laden with fruit. Priapus clearly uses the phallus as a weapon, threatening to rape intruders in a set of poems known as the.

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Therefore, his image is often interpreted as providing a protective function with the ability to ward off evil. His phallus represents the sexual, physical and social dominance of the Roman elite male. We can use this in our interpretation of hermaphrodites which borrow the strong phallic imagery but combine it with the feminine body. The Sleeping Hermaphrodite plays upon passivity and surprise, but the way the phallus is revealed from under a cloak in these statuettes and is proudly, and erectly, displayed shows aggression and dominance. Images of hermaphrodites show that in the Roman world sexual and physical ambiguity could be a potent thing and caution against assuming that hybridity implies weakness.

These examples indicate that the phallus can retain dominance even when part of a body that appears primarily female. In fact, the combination of feminine attractiveness and male virility made the hermaphrodite fascinating, sexy and powerful. Image below: Credit Trustees of the British Museum. If we consider the two images together, we can begin to imagine that the hermaphrodite in the Roman world was a dangerous figure and one of the few who posed a threat to the dominant male.

Theoretically a man could approach a sleeping hermaphrodite expecting to mount a sexual assault on a vulnerable woman only to find an equally strong and virile male facing them once awake. Even a sleeping hermaphrodite is perilous because of the potential threat from the phallus. Perhaps we should see battles between satyrs and hermaphrodites as more equal, it could be just as likely that the hermaphrodite will rape the satyr as the other way around. It is no surprise that the Romans found this ambiguous figure both alluring and frightening, and used images of hermaphrodites to protect precarious domestic spaces whilst also using them as discussion points in leisure areas.

In Pompeii, for example, a painting of a hermaphrodite disturbed by Pan was found above the boundary between the house and the peristyle garden in the House of Castor and Pollux. The Sleeping Hermaphrodite in the Louvre, on the other hand, was found in the Gardens of Sallust, large landscape pleasure gardens in Rome where it would have amused visitors as a playful feature of the gardens. Significantly, both are associated with the. I was a Master student sitting in the entrance hall of my department, waiting for class to start.

I need some reading suggestions. I am not sure. No debate on that. And yes: I was one of the very few people at the department actually working on a project directly addressing gender issues. And, once again, yes: I was surely the only man at the department with a research interest in gender and sexuality issues. So… was I? In a way, how could I not be the gender and sexuality guy? From being just a topic of interest, gender issues became my main area of specialization. I graduated my Master and soon started doctoral research on institutional discourses on gender equality issues as circulated via Twitter, with a focus on practices of production.

Ultimately, being a man and being a PhD student in gender studies are two quite central parts of my daily life. Also, not irrelevantly, I am either the only man or one of the very few men present at most conferences, workshops, classes, etc. And so, one way or another, the nickname stuck. More than two years. As the gender guy, one of the earliest conclusions of my doctoral research was that the gender binary is alive and well.

Women experience endemic oppression and should never put aside their fight for liberation. Are they more inclusive? Are they more aware of queer critiques? Are they beyond the binary? Beside screen-based research, I am also conducting interviews with the people operating the Twitter accounts in my sample. Their answers usually point in the same direction as their Twitter feeds, but the most interesting part of the interviews for the argument I am trying to make here is their reactions to my embodied presence.

Some of them have been visibly confused. Why am I actually interested in gender equality at all? Almost as if they were saying that, by virtue of being male, equality does not concern me. But after all, I am the gender and sexuality guy. However… what if I were straight? Would my interviewees be even more puzzled by my straight male body quietly taking notes at a feminist assembly?

Let me cut to the chase and actually make my point. If we as a gender studies community were beyond the binary, men and gender non-conforming people would not be seen as rare unicorn-like creatures at gender studies conferences. If we as the broader feminist movement were beyond the binary, a man quietly taking notes during a feminist assembly would not be a noteworthy event. Nor would he necessarily have to be read as gay in order for the situation to make sense to the observer. If we as society at large were beyond the binary, there would be a lot more gender guys around.

In other words, it can apply to anyone who does not solely identify as female or male. However, the dominant view is still to consider it to be a binary social construction: one is either male or female, not both, nor neither, nor somewhere betwixt. The dominance of this binary perspective unfortunately leads to an ongoing existential struggle for non-binary persons.

This amounts to more than merely belonging to a marginal part of society. In order to properly understand the nature and gravity of such an existential wilderness, one can perhaps unexpectedly appropriate aspects of the work of Martin Heidegger. For Heidegger, our existence is fundamentally practical in nature. We are. Due to this practical nature, our primary mode of encountering our immediate environments is according to its functional possibilities. For non-binary persons, part of the issue that I am highlighting is that the questioning of a largely taken-for-granted way of living i.

J Macquarrie and E. Robinson, Basil Blackwell, p. Events or -a-sibling, or -a-doctor, or -a-leader, and so on. What is crucial, here, is that these underlying identities with which one aligns are always socially determined. But this overlooks the holistic nature of the socio-normative world. The normative roots of any social position, be it a parent, partner, sports champion, professional, priest, anarchist, or whatever, are not individualistically manifest if they were, there would be no recognised consensus regarding typical behaviours across and within societies , but socially generated and maintained through ongoing interactions.

How one acts for-the-sake-of-being-a-parent or for-thesake-of-being-a-partner is normatively regulated by a collective aggregation of societal interactions that determine what makes a good parent or good partner. In the most basic existential sense conceivable, relating to the world for-the-sake-of-being-a-human is itself a social relation, as individual humanness amounts to normative belonging to human ways of being, rather than to a biological category.

So how does this relate back to gender? Well, gender is one of our most fundamental ways of identifying. Gender is a fundamental relation to the world that is, for most, implicitly built-in to daily activities. For non-binary persons, such interactionally conferred normative consensus is lacking across wider society. Being non-binary is not just a matter of carving out a normative niche that one is comfortable enacting oneself, it is also a matter of carving out a niche that others will acquiesce to as something that you can conform to within the bounds of socially recognised normativity.

Without such social verification, one remains stranded in an existential wilderness. That much is certain. A mother knows. A mother has an instinct. Perhaps she developed Ostrich Syndrome. Apparently she had this mini heart attack and made the nurses check to see if I was blind. Or that extra thing that makes me what I am. One thing for certain. I was different. It may taste nice when you roll it around in your mouth, but it just gives you cavities later on. As I got older, my eye colour changed. No longer blue but hazel. Little flecks of green appeared - just dancing around the edges.

Another clue. Light brownish with flecks of green but still weird for someone like me. I have to wear these yellow tinted glasses, which makes the colour look even weirder. It all started with that bloody video. I can say bloody. Although I have reserved the right to say bloody as much as I like. It all started with that bloody video that was going to help make me into the next Quentin Tarantino. The mother would be screaming, her arms flailing all over the place - the acting was awful.

And it was so obvious it was watered down tomato ketchup - a cheap budget film. No one could take it seriously. I was trying something new - catching her in real moments and then hash them together to make my film. All very artistic and new. A pigeon box. Or is it a pigeon hole? Not very big is it? Says it all. Bit like the boy-blue jeans that the mother buys me.

Make-up is our next battle. Nevermind cuddling his bloody body! The directing was rubbish! The script was rubbish! But it was so rubbish it was kinda good, if you know what I mean. But I could do better. I would do better. And with my eyes, I had a unique way to view the world - like an artist.

I am unique, neither here nor there. My colour interpretation is different to others. She said she would send me to film school. Apparently the mother says boys might give me a hard time. Neither one nor the other. Some days I feel like one, and then others, I feel like the other. Mostly though, I am both. And none. A weird hybrid. What can I say? This is my medium, how I get heard. This is my voice. She thought I would mind working with a bunch of boys. The dear old mother. Thinks she knows who or what I am. Perspective is everything.

A detached house on Cedar Avenue, which backed onto a lush, green wood, is where they lived. They had enough money, Ashton was pretty handsome and clever, with loving mother and father, and went to a good school - lived in an affluent area and had high expectations of a career in the film business. But, like a lot of teenagers, the grass was greener. Ashton wanted more. As an only child, loneliness was an issue.

But Ashton was Ashton - that was it. The parents only flew there so as to make it more of an adventure for Ashton - something to post on Instagram - pictures of the plane wings, pictures of outside the Eiffel Tower. It worked. Ashton bubbled with excitement at the sight of the plane and loved it even more when football was shown on the over screens. This year, though, they were staying at home. The mother was working on something - she was always working on something in those days, and the dad was… well, he was just around.

He was. There was nothing wrong with the home life - as you can see. All pretty normal. Except for me. I am the black sheep, the oil in the water, the fly in the ointment. The Wolf in the Woods. How did I get there? I guess I evolved, pretty much like original sin. Here I am in all my flamboyant glory for all the world to see - and how stunningly beautiful I am! Thought it would be better than a black one - way to common, this had to be my best piece of work.

A white-in that gets duller and duller until you see an eye, frantically spinning left and right, taking in the full scene, as quickly as it can as if it is searching for something. Peering through a rustic hole in a wooden fence. I had set up my camera to record my eye as I stared through the fence, blinking. Out of context. Just an eye. The grainy, jagged wood with a knot poked through, and my greeny-brown eye, looking through. I quite liked that shot. The green mossy fence brought out the green flecks on the edges of my eye.

It was the only shot on the film that I liked. Green would be a bit of a theme. There nearby woods would prove the perfect backdrop. The rest? The rest is what caused the trouble. She was hanging up the washing. Boring, yes, I know, but I was planning on using the footage to develop a story. Plus, she looked kind of cute - what can I say? Not that I have spent ages looking into her eyes you understand!

But, well. I have spent some time studying the subject to see if she was the right person for the job. I could see it. And I will try to bring it out for all to see. Not doing the world any kind of favour by hiding that shit. But when I was watching it back in my bedroom, there was something else on there. Something else that had no bloody right to be there! No bloody right at all!

The hushing rush of the breeze in the nearby trees from the wood could be heard as Ashton tried to capture it on film. The idea was to give the scene a feeling of freedom. Much like how a high ceiling gives a small room the feeling of space. The mum was in the study, working and the dad had gone shopping. The sun was too bright for Aston to tag along, besides there were more pressing things to do.

The glare of the sun caused problems, which is why the tinted yellow glasses had to be worn - today of all days. Although today, going against the rules, Ashton was out in the full glare of the flaming sun, filming. Dad loved going Waitrose. Especially gadgets from the electric isle - which made the mum cross. Some of the stuff came in handy when Ashton was recording, or playing stuff back because he bought extra large speakers that you could plug into the television. Mini microphones that could be used when interviewing friends.

Once, the dad bought a camera and a stand which came in very handy for Ashton. It was allowed to exist - to be. And those that watched the films, either accepted them or not. That was not important. In their modest four bedroom home, Ashton was in the work room where the films were edited.

That was when it was seen. Ashton squinted. A figure. It was stealing the focus with a completely unauthorised walk-on! Then it cut to what the eye was looking at: the girl. The camera spanned as it caught in shot the girl from next door hanging up white bedsheets. Ashton preferred things raw - not altered. Viewing the world as it was was alway preferable to changing the perception of what was there. And it was when Ashton was contemplating all of this, that he was seen.

Just briefly at first. A figure flitting in the background. Just behind the girl next door as - a dark figure in red. One moment he was there… and the next, he was gone. He vanished. Like some kind of Goddamned mirage. And Ashton was fuming. This needed a closer inspection. There was a larger TV in the bedroom. That was as good a zoom as he had. Check if it was real. Maybe there was something wrong with my eyes, something more than usual that is.

So I put on my yellow tinted glasses and watch it again. I squinted and shoved my face right up close to the screen. But it looked the same, just darker, and more yellow. I felt a chill and so rubbed my left hand with my right, smoothed down the nervous goosebumps. The dark in my bedroom watched me. He was still there. Some kid in skinny black jeans and a black t-shirt. I tried playing it in black and white, which had an effect I liked.

I froze the frame - just to see, keep him from vanishing this time, and I saw him. It was a him. My heart leapt to life as I zoomed in on the large television screen that was hooked onto my bedroom wall at the end of my bed. On the large screen, there was no mistaking him. He was bloody looking right at me! Blood red eyes, glaring at me… smirking! Where the bloody hell did he come from!? Sitting on the bottom of my bed, I trembled. Grabbing my chest, my breathing stuttered out in panicked bursts, but he just stayed there - frozen in time, staring right at me. And the weird thing is, I thought I knew him.

I bloody well knew him! Did this mother know? Who can tell if their child is capable of such things? Did she see the signs or was she blind to them? Can this ever be her fault? Well, the eyes are the windows to the soul. And the eyes were off from day one. They were broken. Not quite right. Or maybe it was in the heart. Was it a defect or was it just difference treated as a defect? Perhaps the parents had nothing to do with it. Perhaps the child was just… very angry. She knew then. She knew the child was born with more than just a twinkle in the eye. If she looked closely, she could see him - in all his red glory, smirking and laughing.

Or maybe at that stage, he was just green with envy. Just waiting on the edges for the right time. The child was born with him there. Was there any medicine for this kind of thing though? Anything to obliterate the parasite! Blast the blood-sucker off! Shock the brain to eradicate the monster within. Electroconvulsive therapy. Did that work for other disorders?

Or does the disorder lie with those forcing others to be what they are told they are? Would they still get the blame if they got it wrong? Parents should know. Parents are always to blame. Did one difference in the head have anything to do with the other difference in the overall makeup? One thing I do know, green is symbolic of jealousy. Or anger. Or is that red? Green, in this case, definitely leads to red. They were eating dinner like a good little family. Mmmmm… It tasted… plastic - my favourite! It went down like a led. That vile shit! So I puked it back up. That was hilarious.

All three sitting around the dinner table like a civilised little family and then I just throw it back up again, all over the shiny wooden table with its perfect little white napkins that were placed to one side. Ash ought to use it to dab the side of our mouth after spewing. And my personal favourite, all over the mirror opposite that table.

That took some aiming. It was like something out of The Exorcist. I just sprayed that shit all over the mum and dad. I was a Master student sitting in the entrance hall of my department, waiting for class to start. I need some reading suggestions. I am not sure. No debate on that. And yes: I was one of the very few people at the department actually working on a project directly addressing gender issues.

And, once again, yes: I was surely the only man at the department with a research interest in gender and sexuality issues. So… was I? In a way, how could I not be the gender and sexuality guy? From being just a topic of interest, gender issues became my main area of specialization. I graduated my Master and soon started doctoral research on institutional discourses on gender equality issues as circulated via Twitter, with a focus on practices of production. Ultimately, being a man and being a PhD student in gender studies are two quite central parts of my daily life.

Also, not irrelevantly, I am either the only man or one of the very few men present at most conferences, workshops, classes, etc. And so, one way or another, the nickname stuck. More than two years. As the gender guy, one of the earliest conclusions of my doctoral research was that the gender binary is alive and well. Women experience endemic oppression and should never put aside their fight for liberation. Are they more inclusive? Are they more aware of queer critiques? Are they beyond the binary?

Beside screen-based research, I am also conducting interviews with the people operating the Twitter accounts in my sample. Their answers usually point in the same direction as their Twitter feeds, but the most interesting part of the interviews for the argument I am trying to make here is their reactions to my embodied presence. Some of them have been visibly confused. Why am I actually interested in gender equality at all? Almost as if they were saying that, by virtue of being male, equality does not concern me.

But after all, I am the gender and sexuality guy.


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  • However… what if I were straight? Would my interviewees be even more puzzled by my straight male body quietly taking notes at a feminist assembly? Let me cut to the chase and actually make my point. If we as a gender studies community were beyond the binary, men and gender non-conforming people would not be seen as rare unicorn-like creatures at gender studies conferences. If we as the broader feminist movement were beyond the binary, a man quietly taking notes during a feminist assembly would not be a noteworthy event. Nor would he necessarily have to be read as gay in order for the situation to make sense to the observer.

    If we as society at large were beyond the binary, there would be a lot more gender guys around. In other words, it can apply to anyone who does not solely identify as female or male. However, the dominant view is still to consider it to be a binary social construction: one is either male or female, not both, nor neither, nor somewhere betwixt. The dominance of this binary perspective unfortunately leads to an ongoing existential struggle for non-binary persons.

    This amounts to more than merely belonging to a marginal part of society. In order to properly understand the nature and gravity of such an existential wilderness, one can perhaps unexpectedly appropriate aspects of the work of Martin Heidegger. For Heidegger, our existence is fundamentally practical in nature. We are. Due to this practical nature, our primary mode of encountering our immediate environments is according to its functional possibilities. For non-binary persons, part of the issue that I am highlighting is that the questioning of a largely taken-for-granted way of living i.

    J Macquarrie and E. Robinson, Basil Blackwell, p. Events or -a-sibling, or -a-doctor, or -a-leader, and so on. What is crucial, here, is that these underlying identities with which one aligns are always socially determined. But this overlooks the holistic nature of the socio-normative world.

    Channeling & Spirit Guides: Voices From Within, Not Beyond

    The normative roots of any social position, be it a parent, partner, sports champion, professional, priest, anarchist, or whatever, are not individualistically manifest if they were, there would be no recognised consensus regarding typical behaviours across and within societies , but socially generated and maintained through ongoing interactions.

    How one acts for-the-sake-of-being-a-parent or for-thesake-of-being-a-partner is normatively regulated by a collective aggregation of societal interactions that determine what makes a good parent or good partner. In the most basic existential sense conceivable, relating to the world for-the-sake-of-being-a-human is itself a social relation, as individual humanness amounts to normative belonging to human ways of being, rather than to a biological category. So how does this relate back to gender? Well, gender is one of our most fundamental ways of identifying.

    Gender is a fundamental relation to the world that is, for most, implicitly built-in to daily activities. For non-binary persons, such interactionally conferred normative consensus is lacking across wider society. Being non-binary is not just a matter of carving out a normative niche that one is comfortable enacting oneself, it is also a matter of carving out a niche that others will acquiesce to as something that you can conform to within the bounds of socially recognised normativity.

    Without such social verification, one remains stranded in an existential wilderness. That much is certain. A mother knows. A mother has an instinct. Perhaps she developed Ostrich Syndrome. Apparently she had this mini heart attack and made the nurses check to see if I was blind. Or that extra thing that makes me what I am. One thing for certain. I was different.

    It may taste nice when you roll it around in your mouth, but it just gives you cavities later on. As I got older, my eye colour changed. No longer blue but hazel. Little flecks of green appeared - just dancing around the edges. Another clue. Light brownish with flecks of green but still weird for someone like me.

    I have to wear these yellow tinted glasses, which makes the colour look even weirder. It all started with that bloody video. I can say bloody. Although I have reserved the right to say bloody as much as I like. It all started with that bloody video that was going to help make me into the next Quentin Tarantino. The mother would be screaming, her arms flailing all over the place - the acting was awful. And it was so obvious it was watered down tomato ketchup - a cheap budget film.

    No one could take it seriously. I was trying something new - catching her in real moments and then hash them together to make my film. All very artistic and new. A pigeon box. Or is it a pigeon hole? Not very big is it? Says it all. Bit like the boy-blue jeans that the mother buys me. Make-up is our next battle. Nevermind cuddling his bloody body! The directing was rubbish! The script was rubbish!

    But it was so rubbish it was kinda good, if you know what I mean. But I could do better. I would do better. And with my eyes, I had a unique way to view the world - like an artist. I am unique, neither here nor there. My colour interpretation is different to others. She said she would send me to film school. Apparently the mother says boys might give me a hard time. Neither one nor the other. Some days I feel like one, and then others, I feel like the other.

    Mostly though, I am both. And none. A weird hybrid. What can I say? This is my medium, how I get heard. This is my voice. She thought I would mind working with a bunch of boys. The dear old mother. Thinks she knows who or what I am. Perspective is everything. A detached house on Cedar Avenue, which backed onto a lush, green wood, is where they lived. They had enough money, Ashton was pretty handsome and clever, with loving mother and father, and went to a good school - lived in an affluent area and had high expectations of a career in the film business.

    But, like a lot of teenagers, the grass was greener. Ashton wanted more. As an only child, loneliness was an issue. But Ashton was Ashton - that was it. The parents only flew there so as to make it more of an adventure for Ashton - something to post on Instagram - pictures of the plane wings, pictures of outside the Eiffel Tower. It worked. Ashton bubbled with excitement at the sight of the plane and loved it even more when football was shown on the over screens.

    This year, though, they were staying at home. The mother was working on something - she was always working on something in those days, and the dad was… well, he was just around. He was. There was nothing wrong with the home life - as you can see. All pretty normal. Except for me. I am the black sheep, the oil in the water, the fly in the ointment. The Wolf in the Woods.

    How did I get there? I guess I evolved, pretty much like original sin. Here I am in all my flamboyant glory for all the world to see - and how stunningly beautiful I am! Thought it would be better than a black one - way to common, this had to be my best piece of work. A white-in that gets duller and duller until you see an eye, frantically spinning left and right, taking in the full scene, as quickly as it can as if it is searching for something.

    Peering through a rustic hole in a wooden fence. I had set up my camera to record my eye as I stared through the fence, blinking. Out of context. Just an eye. The grainy, jagged wood with a knot poked through, and my greeny-brown eye, looking through. I quite liked that shot. The green mossy fence brought out the green flecks on the edges of my eye. It was the only shot on the film that I liked. Green would be a bit of a theme. There nearby woods would prove the perfect backdrop.

    The rest? The rest is what caused the trouble. She was hanging up the washing. Boring, yes, I know, but I was planning on using the footage to develop a story. Plus, she looked kind of cute - what can I say? Not that I have spent ages looking into her eyes you understand! But, well. I have spent some time studying the subject to see if she was the right person for the job.

    I could see it. And I will try to bring it out for all to see. Not doing the world any kind of favour by hiding that shit. But when I was watching it back in my bedroom, there was something else on there. Something else that had no bloody right to be there! No bloody right at all! The hushing rush of the breeze in the nearby trees from the wood could be heard as Ashton tried to capture it on film.

    The idea was to give the scene a feeling of freedom. Much like how a high ceiling gives a small room the feeling of space.

    Steven Waldman

    The mum was in the study, working and the dad had gone shopping. The sun was too bright for Aston to tag along, besides there were more pressing things to do. The glare of the sun caused problems, which is why the tinted yellow glasses had to be worn - today of all days. Although today, going against the rules, Ashton was out in the full glare of the flaming sun, filming.

    Dad loved going Waitrose. Especially gadgets from the electric isle - which made the mum cross. Some of the stuff came in handy when Ashton was recording, or playing stuff back because he bought extra large speakers that you could plug into the television. Mini microphones that could be used when interviewing friends. Once, the dad bought a camera and a stand which came in very handy for Ashton. It was allowed to exist - to be. And those that watched the films, either accepted them or not.

    That was not important. In their modest four bedroom home, Ashton was in the work room where the films were edited. That was when it was seen. Ashton squinted. A figure. It was stealing the focus with a completely unauthorised walk-on! Then it cut to what the eye was looking at: the girl. The camera spanned as it caught in shot the girl from next door hanging up white bedsheets. Ashton preferred things raw - not altered.

    Viewing the world as it was was alway preferable to changing the perception of what was there. And it was when Ashton was contemplating all of this, that he was seen. Just briefly at first. A figure flitting in the background. Just behind the girl next door as - a dark figure in red. One moment he was there… and the next, he was gone. He vanished. Like some kind of Goddamned mirage. And Ashton was fuming. This needed a closer inspection. There was a larger TV in the bedroom. That was as good a zoom as he had. Check if it was real. Maybe there was something wrong with my eyes, something more than usual that is.

    So I put on my yellow tinted glasses and watch it again. I squinted and shoved my face right up close to the screen. But it looked the same, just darker, and more yellow. I felt a chill and so rubbed my left hand with my right, smoothed down the nervous goosebumps. The dark in my bedroom watched me. He was still there. Some kid in skinny black jeans and a black t-shirt. I tried playing it in black and white, which had an effect I liked. I froze the frame - just to see, keep him from vanishing this time, and I saw him.

    It was a him. My heart leapt to life as I zoomed in on the large television screen that was hooked onto my bedroom wall at the end of my bed. On the large screen, there was no mistaking him. He was bloody looking right at me! Blood red eyes, glaring at me… smirking! Where the bloody hell did he come from!? Sitting on the bottom of my bed, I trembled. Grabbing my chest, my breathing stuttered out in panicked bursts, but he just stayed there - frozen in time, staring right at me.

    And the weird thing is, I thought I knew him. I bloody well knew him! Did this mother know? Who can tell if their child is capable of such things? Did she see the signs or was she blind to them? Can this ever be her fault? Well, the eyes are the windows to the soul. And the eyes were off from day one. They were broken. Not quite right. Or maybe it was in the heart. Was it a defect or was it just difference treated as a defect? Perhaps the parents had nothing to do with it. Perhaps the child was just… very angry. She knew then. She knew the child was born with more than just a twinkle in the eye.

    If she looked closely, she could see him - in all his red glory, smirking and laughing. Or maybe at that stage, he was just green with envy. Just waiting on the edges for the right time. The child was born with him there. Was there any medicine for this kind of thing though? Anything to obliterate the parasite! Blast the blood-sucker off! Shock the brain to eradicate the monster within. Electroconvulsive therapy. Did that work for other disorders? Or does the disorder lie with those forcing others to be what they are told they are? Would they still get the blame if they got it wrong?

    Parents should know. Parents are always to blame. Did one difference in the head have anything to do with the other difference in the overall makeup? One thing I do know, green is symbolic of jealousy. Or anger. Or is that red? Green, in this case, definitely leads to red. They were eating dinner like a good little family. Mmmmm… It tasted… plastic - my favourite! It went down like a led. That vile shit! So I puked it back up. That was hilarious. All three sitting around the dinner table like a civilised little family and then I just throw it back up again, all over the shiny wooden table with its perfect little white napkins that were placed to one side.

    Ash ought to use it to dab the side of our mouth after spewing. And my personal favourite, all over the mirror opposite that table. That took some aiming. It was like something out of The Exorcist. I just sprayed that shit all over the mum and dad. Getting puke out of the forks… tricky. Even for the dishwasher. The screaming and crying started, and after mum got over the shock quicker than the dad she rushed to our side after swearing under her breath - think that was the fear.

    I did though. In the mirror. The eyes went red, and the lazy one twitched. I wonder if Ash spotted that? Mum put me to bed, said I was coming down with something. Dad said it was the heat. They were both lying about something - I knew they were. My eye was sore. It blinked funny. And I looked - different. I felt a little different too. The dining room stank after I had finished with it, and I heard mum and dad quietly rowing while they cleaned.

    My bedroom is just above the dining room and sounds pass through the floorboards easily. It looks out onto the garden at the back of the house as well. It floated on the air and wrapped me in a protective blanket. When I was younger, I used to just sit on the white window seat and look out the window at the treetops lining the back of the garden - the tip of the woods. I imagined beasts in those woods, heard the howling of wolves, imagined myself as Little Red Riding hood - cape and all.

    I imagined filming them all on my camera and becoming a famous film maker. But that was before. I saw him… in the mirror! He smirked at me… with my mouth! Looked at me, with my eyes. He is coming. I know he is, I can feel it. And it scares the hell out of me. Gone was all my anger, given way to fear. I got up from my bed and walked towards my full length mirror next to the open window.

    The silver shimmered as I hovered and stared at myself, while me stared back. My right hand! That bloody boy! A scream caught in my throat as I stared at my hand that was not my hand… I wanted to scream out loud but instead my pillow was grabbed from my window seat and brought to my mouth with that hand that was not my hand, and it stifled my sobs so no one could hear, and I watched me in the silver glass as I screamed into the flower pillow and he was laughing on the inside, as I was crying!

    He was laughing at me! I wanted to punch his bloody face in! But then my frown turned into a smile as he laughed at me with my mouth! He was using my face! I punched the smile right off his face and split it in two. And he shattered into a million sharp jagged pieces. And my hand was bleeding. But it was most definitely my hand. Slippered feet pounded the stair carpet, across the landing. The door was ajar. And they saw Ash, standing defiantly, fists balled and bloody and glass all over the floor. The slender frame held in a strong fighters stance, knee-high white socks unyielding.

    The green flecks in the eyes flashed dangerously. Call the police? We ought to go to the hospital. Her big brown eyes were wild with fear as her skinny legs began to run towards the mobile phone on the coffee table. They should call someone, anyone. The dad said nothing but placed his little child gently down into the warm, enveloping sofa, furrowed his monobrow and looked into those eyes he thought he knew so well - they were wild.

    And panicky. Laughing, with my mouth! The dad cradled the child in his arms as he looked worryingly at the mother. Until the land was low. The eye stopped twitching, the fake food stopped coming and things settled down - but I was still there. I was coming and Ash could feel it. Damn good of me really, giving notice. I could just take over, but that would be… ungentlemanly.

    GSB - Voices From Beyond (Extended Mix) (HQ FREE RELEASE)

    The weather was turning. It was sunny now, oh yes, but a cold wind was coming. A cold front. I waited for a month. It was one of them - a perfect storm you could say. It was a Wednesday, after netball practice. The baseball was in the cupboard from last term. The mum was making the food and the dad… was around. The dad is always around.

    I planned to paint the town red! Or more like, the hallway red. My favourite colour red - did you know? By Ashton:. The stupid mother comes in whilst he is in full-on frenzy and she bloody starts screaming, so he smashes her in the mouth to shut her up. Blood gets spurted all over the white walls of the lounge as a sickening thud can be heard - wood smashing in flesh and bone.

    A wet smack could be heard again and again, accompanied by a couple of screams, and then silence. Jackson Pollock would have been proud. And then there was the beautiful woods at the back of the house - all lush, dark and green. It was like a fairytale. They wanted what was best for their child: the most perfect schools, the best opportunities - the best, most perfect life. So when Ashton was born, their lives were complete.

    But here they were with this pale-skinned blueeyed baby. So they got the test. The mother knew it from the beginning, she just got the diagnosis wrong. Ashton saw the world in primary colours of red, yellow and blue - that was it. When Ash was 18 months old, frames with which to view the world were given - glasses. The yellow frames helped tint the real world and gave access - the glasses sugar coated the rough edges of the world that hurt the soft parts.

    The left eye twitched at times; a red flash warned at the corner of the eye, but Ash thought nothing of it. The blue for boys soon was replaced for green. Pink was missing from the world Ashton could see. Red hinted at that quite clearly. Flaunted it even. But Ash knew. Ash knew that the eyes were symbolic. They were unlike any other eyes - bit like Ashton - there were no words to describe who or what it was, or what Ashton was. There was just feeling. When Ashton was 5, the twitch was more prominent. It was exhausting and drained Ashton terribly, which contributed to debilitating headaches.

    They took Ash to the doctors, therapists anyone that would listen. They even considered surgery because of the impact it was having on their lives. Ash was irritable, found it difficult to sleep and was also, at times, violent. Ashton was mean to kids in the playground. The child bit, spat and kicked. Counselling was given. The therapist claimed that Ash would calm down once the twitch did, and eventually it did.

    And they all forgot. Ashton had no incidents until 13 years old. One afternoon after netball practice. Tired - the eye had begun twitching. The hazel eyes grew wide in fear as Ash stared at the right hand. A wave of nausea hit as the feet stumbled underneath - Ash silently balked… and changed. Is that you? The legs moved calmly towards the cupboard under the stairs which housed the baseball bat from last term, while Ash screamed silently on the inside. The vision blurred. Green became fire-red. They looked defiantly at Ashton, that was not Ashton.

    Ashton screamed to no avail. Internally trembling with rage, the stalking wolf took over the body with a glint of red. And it was just the beginning.


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    • Of course. A low growl ripped in the back of the throat revealing sharpened canines as the mouth curled menacingly. The school bag was dropped in the corner and the baseball bat left leaning on the wall in preference for talons and teeth. Ash that was not Ash eyes blazed with a white hot fury. Pin pricked pupils whizzed and focused like a camera lense, on its prey, a blurred image through the glass doors, as it slowly stalked into the living room on all fours.

      Dad looked up from his chair just in time to see the creature launch itself at him - a blur of black, red and fur. The growl turned into a snapping and snarling as flesh could be heard being ripped from bones. Ta- dah! What an entrance - even had a soundtrack. But I soon changed that. I changed everything.

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      I warned them that I was coming. The Boreal Wind was coming - change. Now they match the door. She played her part superbly! Bravo bravo! I think she was better than the original. Now, in the original she screamed, waved her hands, yada yada yada and then went to hug the dead husband, but this time… the mother froze. She looked at the killer with a confused look in her eye. No, I would go as far as to say a hurt look, I think. Well, that as unexpected I can tell you! All it took was one hit and she was down - but not out. Her big brown teary eyes looked up.

      But instead of fear, like they were supposed to show, they showed hurt, and then love. She smiled. She actually smiled at me! And quickly because I could smell whatever she was cooking, burning. And it was meat. So I caved her skull in, stepped over her body and dished up. I breathed it in deeply, and sighed happily before retreating to the kitchen - the heart of the home. The meat was well done, just how I like it. I took my plate and sauce and strolled into the front room.

      Cricket was on the television - always cricket. No, that would need to change. I sat in his now my chair put my feet up on his now my coffee table and surveyed my castle. I switched over immediately. Ripped a manly piece off my steak and shovelled it into my mouth. A breeze blew in from the patio doors. There was a change afoot. Sick to death of that bloody Ashton having what was mine from day dot. Just a tad at the corners. They tried to push me out - and that just made me see red. Maintaining our commitment to interdisciplinary discussion, we were fortunate enough to have twenty four speakers from such diverse fields as English, Law, Philosophy and Archaeology, to name a few.

      The papers presented were as broad as this range would suggest. These opening presentations give a flavour of the rest of the conference — we certainly started as we meant to go on! If you would like to see the full list of speakers and paper titles, you can find the conference programme here. Discussions continued over dinner, where it was great to see so many delegates sharing knowledge and ideas between disciplines. All talks were very thought-provoking, and it was useful to see the common ground between researchers in History, Law and Psychology.

      At lunch, we were fortunate enough to be able to screen a new short film created by Anna Bunting-Branch, called The Linguists. Afterwards, we were honoured to welcome Thangam Debonnaire as our keynote speaker. On that note, we left both speakers and delegates to make their own conclusions! We look forward to seeing many of you next year! No registration needed; all welcome! We are an interdisciplinary research group based at the University of Reading.