Being different marks distinctiveness in plurality, especially in a homogenous society. But can this hypothetic difference operate on an internal level? Can the subject perceive a distinctive “I” in the own sense of self? The figurative implications behind these initial assumptions and rhetorical questions about otherness and selfhood signal a concetual shift to the sphere of philosophy. Emphasizing the philosophical repercussions of the concept of Otherness, this paper focuses on exposing the meanings of the notion in connection with identity and selfhood. Accordingly, the critical skeleton of the paper is delineated by Emmanuel Levinas’ analytical thinking and ethical remarks on the notion of Otherness. Starting from the rimbaudian philosophy of the “other” (“I is an Other”), the focus will be on the different connotations on the self in contemporary ethics. Following Levinas’ and other theoreticians’ lines of thought, the focus gradually shifts to the applicability of their theories to the concrete textual dimension. As for Oryx and Crake, in order to better understand the rise of the dystopian fiction and its significance, an insight into the theoretical conventions of Postmodernism is necessary. Contrasting the Postmodern worldview with the Modernist poetics, the change of perception on the issue of the Otherness becomes clearly perceivable. Concepts and phrases such as “defamiliarization”, “dedublation”, “self-transcendence”, “artificiality”, “digital clones”, “denied Other”, “technological apocalypse” occupy a crucial role in deciphering Atwood’s otherness(es). More specifically, using these concepts, I will argue that there are three main manifestations of Otherness in the novel: the Other as doppelganger, the denied Other, and the digitalized embodiments of Otherness. All these variations reflect a peculiar aspect of the dystopian narrative. Therefore, uncovering the mystery of Otherness in Atwood’s masterpiece also becomes a personal journey towards understanding the aesthetics of atypicality in dystopian fiction.
In this essay I examine the status of political representation in Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (La bataille d’Alger, 1966, ITA) and Nagisa Oshima’s Death by Hanging (Koshikei, 1968, JAP) through the political theories of Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Rancière. Death by Hanging, I argue, is a direct response to the aestheticizing of politics in The Battle of Algiers, a film that Oshima provocatively called a “trashy” melodrama. The two films present radically different ways of approaching political subjectivity and alterity, thus both works take “fight or flight” as a central theme. Within the films, terms such as “criminal,” “terrorist,” “Korean,” “Algerian,” “citizen,” and “nation” are uttered, performed, and explored to uncover the ways each word produces conflicting meanings and effects dependent upon the spaces in which protagonists appear. Ultimately my analysis finds that Habermas’s approach to politics falls short of its lofty ideals. Habermas’s political theory does not aid the protagonist of Algiers in his fight against colonialism. Rather, by placing Algiers against Oshima’s absurdist film, and finding the latter’s parallels in Rancière’s theory, I uncover new ways to cinematically represent individuals who have no formal role to play in state politics.
In Patricia Riggen’s film La misma luna (2007) and Cary Joji Fukunaga’s film Sin nombre (2009), the road is not depicted as a place of escape that represents the freedom of the road often seen in traditional North American road movies; rather, the road in these films becomes a means of escape towards the ideal of freedom that lies across the United States border. In each of these films, crossing the border from Mexico becomes an objective for the protagonists that hope for a future filled with economic stability and political equality. This is, however, an ‘American dream’ that can never be fully realized across the border when a tragic loss of home, family, and belonging has been manifested on the southern side. The following article reveals how the identities of these migrants are caught between the acts of subterfuge and the desires of refuge, creating an ambiguous formation of cultural identity different from that which is established in their homeland. The road, in this way, creates new hybrid identities that illustrate well the modern Latin American condition of cultural mobility across borders.
The poetry of Paul Celan revolves around a constant, intimate play of remembrance and oblivion, repeatedly unfolding an unrepeatable past. Following the lines of interpretation proposed by Jacques Derrida in Sovereignties in Question, by Anne Carson in her Economy of the Unlost, and by Edward Casey’s phenomenology of remembering, the present article aims to describe how Paul Celan’s poetic images generate and surround the void, abandon themselves to self-effacement and oblivion, while retracing an abstract practice of remembrance and inscribing memory into language.
The description of Helen’s quilt in Thomas King’s novel Truth and Bright Water is a reinterpretation of ekphrasis that shows the potential for collective healing and support among Indigenous communities offered by artistic endeavours that validate Indigenous peoples’ lived experiences. Focusing on the similarities between the quilt and two famous examples of ekphrasis from Homer’s Iliad, this paper argues that King’s novel has repurposed ekphrasis in a way that makes room for the narratives of Indigenous people by describing works of art that double as works of healing and resistance for their creators.
The growing popularity of anime and manga since the early 1990s not only generated passionate community of fans around the world, but also an increasing body of academic work taking the emerging media more seriously than ever. Topics such as gendered stereotypes, the psychology of the otaku’s desire, unconventional gender representations, and so on have contributed to this relatively new field of study. Analyses of the ‘technological body’, dealing with questions of post-humanism and its relationship to gender, have paved the way to rethinking the body in significant ways. The complexity of the technological body and its depictions in anime and manga, however, requires exploring new avenues that further challenge the boundaries of the body. This essay will present a fresh perspective on the technological body by building on current scholarship emphasizing its transformative features, as well as adding a layer of complexity to the analysis by examining the intertwined nature of technology and war in reshaping the human body into a weapon with which to wage war, in the context of four selected works: Strike Witches, Kill la Kill, Guilty Crown, and Saikano: The Last Love Song on This Little Planet.
In her book The World Republic of Letters , Pascale Casanova highlights the inequality that exists on the world literary stage, arguing that there are forces at play in this distinct realm that have previously been ignored. For her, Paris is (or was, until recently) the dominant “center” that has the almost uncontested power to assign value to literary works. Casanova argues that through this process, which she calls “consecration,” works undergo a change in their very nature: they move from “literary inexistence to existence, from invisibility to the condition of literature” by force of a “magical transmutation” (127). The fact that she points to translation—a process often conceived of as a neutral transfer of meaning from one language to another—as one of the primary means of consecration raises important questions about translation. In this essay, I will use Casanova’s theory as a framework through which to probe some of the still highly contested questions surrounding translation: namely, what is at stake in translation, and what kinds of translations do the most justice? Specifically, I will outline and analyze some of the conversation surrounding translation and how it is used by both central and peripheral writers in order to argue—with and through Canadian poet Erín Moure—that active “mistranslation” actually serves as a more just way of encountering the Other.
Pierre Klossowski is not well-known outside of France, and especially not for La monnaie vivante or Living Currency (1970). His récits or his philosophical readings of Sade or Nietzsche have garnered the most acclaim. By way of his reading of “living currency” however, he deconstructs contemporary economics, teasing out the intricacies between sensuality, value, and the simulacrum, transgressing the categories between language and economic transaction. Published alongside photographs by Pierre Zucca that ostensibly illustrate Klossowski’s hermetic theses, La monnaie vivante is at once satirical and deathly serious, a synchronous commentary on the Marquis de Sade’s Society of the Friends of Crime and the utopian socialism of Charles Fourier. After a brief overview of Klossowski’s life and career, a reading of La monnaie vivante in depth is developed. By inverting the classical usage of the simulacrum through its analogies with the numeraire or basic standard of value, Klossowski critiques the discursive biases that stand against a pure flux of intensities. In this way he anticipates postmodernism even as he also problematizes it. The destruction of political economy and metaphysics are combined he suggests, and the relativity of one cannot be granted without the other. We here show how Klossowski uses affect and the exorbitant to address the sensuous libidinal currency moving through and alongside its economic counterparts, as well as how these observations still remain underestimated today.
El presente trabajo examina los criterios que fundamentan las respuestas de la crítica contemporánea a La Vorágine (1924) de José Eustasio Rivera (1888-1928). Se argumenta que los presupuestos desde los cuales la recepción académica busca demostrar cómo la obra ‘representa’, ‘refleja’, o ‘aprehende’ la realidad sociopolítica, no obedecen a procedimientos ‘objetivos’. En este caso, la instrumentación del texto bajo la etiqueta ‘literatura colombiana de la violencia’ se traduce en una dinámica y emotiva negociación de modelos de realidad. La propensión hacia el tratamiento realista de la ficción no constituye un rasgo negativo. Esta experiencia induce a la recepción crítica no sólo a ensayar los paradigmas del espacio y la subjetividad que mediatizan sus aproximaciones a la narrativa, sino también a construir nuevo conocimiento sociocultural. A través del análisis de la interacción texto-receptor, desde el enfoque pragmático, este artículo contribuye a un mejor entendimiento de la producción y transferencia de la lectura realista.
This essay expands upon the range of possibilities encompassed by the term ‘biopoetry’ as coined by Eduardo Kac in 1999, by exploring an alternate example of the genre in a recent collaborative work by Galician poet Chus Pato and Canadian poet Erín Moure, Secession/Insecession (2014). I also wish to situate the emerging field of biopoetry within Merleau-Ponty’s theories of the phenomenology of language and expression, which share with both Kac and Pato/Moure a vital interest in the boundaries between speaking and non-speaking worlds and contain what I believe to be elements of a poetic theory pertinent to 21st century biopoetics. While Kac’s Genesis experiment (quite literally) offers voice to the bacterial world, Pato and Moure, in contrast, situate the poet in a space removed from language, where she writes in ‘secession’ from institutionalized words through the trope of poetry as ‘prosthesis’. Although their visions of biopoetry appear to appear to mark opposite ends of a spectrum, the works of Kac and Pato/Moure each offer poetry as a translational bridge, navigating tensions between worlds. Ultimately, biopoetry stirs questions of political and ethical concern through experimental forms that contest the dominion of words over nature. At stake is the reclamation of the radical alterity of non-speaking worlds, to include the ‘muteness’ of time, geographic territories, and languages lost through forced migration, in addition to the ‘otherness’ of non-human biological life. Biopoetry plays at the margins, testing the fragile ground between a human world demarcated by language, and a world that has no need of it, or of us.