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Overview

floating signifier

A signifier without a specific signified (see sign). Also known as an ‘empty signifier’, it is a signifier that absorbs rather than emits meaning. For example, Fredric Jameson suggests ...

floating signifier

floating signifier   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010

... signifier A signifier without a specific signified ( see sign ). Also known as an ‘empty signifier’, it is a signifier that absorbs rather than emits meaning. For example, Fredric Jameson suggests that the shark in the Jaws series of films is an empty signifier because it is susceptible to multiple and even contradictory interpretations, suggesting that it does not have a specific meaning itself, but functions primarily as a vehicle for absorbing meanings that viewers want to impose upon...

floating signifier

floating signifier  

A signifier without a specific signified (see sign). Also known as an ‘empty signifier’, it is a signifier that absorbs rather than emits meaning. For example, Fredric Jameson suggests that the shark ...
Uncle Tom

Uncle Tom [Lit.]   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
115 words

...( 1852 ). > A black man whose behaviour to white people is regarded as submissively servile; anyone regarded as betraying his or her cultural or social allegiance ‘Mary Lou's being modest. She had them rolling in the aisles with her tour de force called “Black Studies as a Floating Signifier”.’ Amiss seized the claret. ‘What's the female equivalent of an Uncle Tom?’ Ruth Dudley Edwards Matricide at St Martha's 1994 I guess I'd worried it'd be full of stereotypes, the gay Uncle Toms we're used to seeing: sexless, neutered camp bits of fluff. barbelith.com ...

accents

accents   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
201 words

...their written *letterform s. Types for *lower-case letters with accents are cast as a single unit, as are most *upper-case letters, but for the large upper-case sorts used for *display type it is sometimes necessary to use separately cast accents (sometimes called ‘floating accents ’), whose position must be carefully adjusted with leads. Sorts for letters with non-standard accents are sometimes known as ‘special sorts’ or ‘peculiars’. David...

Chomsky, Noam

Chomsky, Noam  

Dictionary of the Social Sciences

Reference type:
Subject Reference

...grammar thus seeks to move beyond the strongly culturalist position of structural linguistics (as developed by Ferdinand de Saussure , C. S. Peirce , Roman Jakobson , and others), which had demonstrated that language was a free-floating structure of signifiers that bore no intrinsic relation to the mental concepts signified. If the major thrust of this work was to reveal language as a relatively arbitrary structure of differentiated signs, Chomsky set out to scientifically describe the ground rules of that structure. Although many of his specific claims...

Bel Geddes, Norman

Bel Geddes, Norman (27 April 1893)   Reference library

The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
490 words

...He gained international attention for his stage set ( 1921 ; unexecuted) for Dante ’s Divine Comedy , which revolutionized theatrical and operatic productions; it was conceived as a single, massive set with lighting coming first from below, signifying Hades, then, as the play progressed, from high above, signifying Paradise. This led Max Reinhardt, the distinguished German producer, to commission him to design the settings for a production of The Miracle in New York ( 1923 ), and for this Bel Geddes transformed the entire interior of the Century Theater...

Japanese-American Writing

Japanese-American Writing   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
1,788 words

...art. Among the compelling new Japanese-American voices are playwright Velina Hasu Houston ( Tea , 1987 ) and novelists Cynthia Kadohata ( The Floating World , 1989 ), Holly Uyemoto ( Rebel without a Clue , 1989 ), and Karen Tei Yamashita ( Through the Arc of the Rain Forest , 1990 ). Their multicultural settings and characters, and indirectly expressed or apparent lack of Japanese signifiers, emphasize a long-standing need for theoretical articulations of “Japanese” ethnicity, as Henry Louis Gates in Figures in Black ( 1987 ) and others...

Hunt, William Holman

Hunt, William Holman (1827–1910)   Reference library

The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
850 words

...of spiritualism . His later paintings attempt to make the equal realities of the supernatural and natural realms palpable for the viewer. This is most evident in The Triumph of the Innocents in which the spiritual forms of the children murdered by Herod are seen floating around the figures of the holy family, who are on the flight into Egypt. The flesh of the spiritual children is painted as more fully palpable than that of the living figures, who are partly obscured by the gathering dusk. Such pictures are influenced by Hunt's appropriation of...

Water

Water   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Bible

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Religion
Length:
866 words

...void ( Gen. 1.3–5 ). Next he restricted the waters, creating a bubble bounded by water below and the firmament above ( Gen. 1.6–8 ; cf. Amos 9.6 ; Pss. 104.3 , 5–9 ; 148.4 ; Job 26.8 ). The lower waters were restricted, and the flat earth emerged, surrounded by seas and floating upon the deep ( Gen. 1.9–10 ; cf. Pss. 24.2 ; 136.6 ). The dry land and the crystalline firmament were semipermeable, penetrated by springs and precipitation ( Gen. 7.11 ; 8.2 ; Deut. 8.7 ; Isa. 24.18 ; Mal. 3.10 ; Pss. 74.15 ; 104.10–13 ; Prov. 3.20 ). Water has four...

Army Corps of Engineers, U.S.

Army Corps of Engineers, U.S.   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to American Military History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

...as Robert E. Lee , George McClellan , and George Gordon Meade , the Corps of Engineers played important roles in mapping, road and bridge construction, fortifications , and siegecraft. The 2,170‐foot pontoon bridge built across the James River in June 1864 was the longest floating bridge erected before World War II. Army Engineers continued the construction and modernization of coastal fortifications in the second half of the nineteenth century on the Pacific Coast and on the overseas territories acquired in the Spanish‐American War . They also continued...

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