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Rethinking Darkness: Cultures, Histories, Practices

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

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Abstract

This book examines the concept of darkness through a range of cultures, histories, practices and experiences. It engages with darkness beyond its binary positioning against light to advance a critical understanding of the ways in which darkness can be experienced, practised and conceptualised.

Humans have fundamental relationships with light and dark that shape their regular social patterns and rhythms, enabling them to make sense of the world. This book ‘throws light’ on the neglect of these social patterns to emphasize how the diverse values, meanings and influences of darkness have been rarely considered. It also examines the history of our relationship with the dark and highlights how normative attitudes towards it have emerged, while also emphasizing its cultural complexity by considering a contemporary range of alternative experiences and practices. Challenging notions of darkness as negative, as the antithesis of illumination and enlightenment, this book explores the rich potential of darkness to stimulate our senses and deepen our understandings of different spaces, cultural experiences and creative engagements.

Offering a rich exploration of an emergent field of study across the social sciences and humanities, this book will be useful for academics and students of cultural and media studies, design, geography, history, sociology and theatre who seek to investigate the creative, cultural and social dimensions of darkness.