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The introduction begins by highlighting the novelist Tao Lin's attempt to sell shares in an unwritten novel - an especially striking manifestation of the market logics examined throughout the book. The introduction then maps the historical and conceptual ground of the project. Successive sections trace how the interlocking developments of neoliberalism and financialization since the 1970s have extended what Pierre Bourdieu calls a “pure market logic” to ever-widening domains of social life; how Fredric Jameson’s paradigm-defining theorizations of the contemporary nonetheless go too far in positing postmodernist culture as a straightforward expression of this logic; how the power of market forces in the present elicits a condition of ambivalence among contemporary writers that is neither simply critical nor “postcritical,” but combines the intense affective states of both positions; and, finally, how the publishing industry and book retail business have undergone their own neoliberal and financial revolutions over recent decades, with profound consequences for novelistic practice. The remaining section of the introduction summarizes the arguments of the book’s chapters and Coda.
Ian McEwan’s post-realism is part of a marked aesthetic shift that began in the last decades of the twentieth century and continues into the twenty-first. His novels, with their attention to close description and dependence on context as well as a qualified sense that language can capture inner and outer worlds, are part of a turn to the kinds of realism characteristic of the long nineteenth century. The essay argues the turn is transformative rather than nostalgic because, like so many of his contemporaries, McEwan responds to contemporary socio-political crises by means of postmodern strategies that include parody, irony, hybridity and metafiction. Three mid-career novels that loosely share the geopolitical context of World War II and the Cold War illustrate the argument: The Innocent, Black Dogs and Atonement. Postmodern technique and novelistic realism together provide a vehicle for McEwan’s long-standing exploration of human violence across both public and private spheres.
While it provides support not only for prison abolitionism but also for anarchism, the liberal and cosmopolitan version of natural law theory this book defends need not deny that people will sometimes in fact opt to welcome ties with each other rooted in history and heritage. And of course it can offer insights not only in relation to an envisioned stateless society but also in the context of contemporary statist politics. But liberalism and natural law theory rightly prompt skepticism regarding affirmations of national identity. Chapter 7 suggests that the putative liberal Richard Rorty’s attempt to articulate a liberal American patriotism provides a useful case study–and proves ultimately unsuccessful.
Mansur Bushnaf's al-ʿIlka (Chewing Gum; 2008) is the author's sole novel, born of his twelve-year imprisonment in a Libyan jail, and his reflection on the nation's subjection to international marginalization and dictatorial rule under Gaddafi. The novel is centered on a 19th-century nude which confounds all who encounter it, and which lies neglected in a corner of Tripoli's Red Palace Museum. Through this statue, and the novel's broader poetics of stasis and “chewing,” I explore how turāth in Bushnaf's work, and wider Libyan fiction, is depicted through its abject vulnerability and exposure to historical vicissitudes, reflecting the parallel exclusion of human lives from rights and agency. In al-ʿIlka, I examine how this is formulated into a defamiliarizing perspective on the postmodern, and on historical trauma and erasure, in which the possibility of narrative is a driving concern, rooted in existential reflection, as well as the real precarity of those who tell stories in Libya.
“Activating Whiteness: Racializing the Ordinary in US American Postmodern Dance” explores how the choreographic turn to postmodernism twisted the trope of racial exclusion from a focus on trained bodies to a focus on ordinary bodies. Analyses of Yvonne Rainer's Trio A (1966) and Trisha Brown's Locus (1975) demonstrate how ordinary bodies shape racially exclusive spaces and activate the biopolitical mechanisms of normalization that their choreography allegedly contests. This essay argues that the spaces activated by the bodies that shaped them carry the physical trace of the performers’ race through the enduring invisibility of whiteness.
In recent years, discussion has raged within theologies inspired by Continental philosophy of religion regarding the supposed “overcoming” of ontotheology. In this article, I will consider the theological methodology of Louis-Marie Chauvet, a sacramental theologian whose work has been highly influenced by these discussions. For Chauvet, it is the liturgy that provides human beings with the necessary means, not for overcoming ontotheology, but for learning to live with it in a healthy way. Through the liturgy, we learn to work through ontotheology, and thus to hear the call of Being to appropriation and thankful response. This is, however, quite a bit to ask of our liturgies, and I suggest that the only way that Chauvet's method can function is if it is placed in a framework of dialogue. I adopt this framework from Chauvet and expand upon it, which results in an innovative relecture of Chauvet's theology.
The parallel between Augustine's preoccupation with language and the ‘linguistic turn’ of the last century has made him a valuable figure in recent discussions on hermeneutics and meaning. Still, he has yet to be brought into serious conversation with contemporary narrative hermeneutics. In this essay, I contend that narrative hermeneutics provides a lens through which we can appreciate the important role narrative plays in Augustine's hermeneutics and, in particular, how it shapes his account of meaning. Rather than casting his perception of meaning as a static reality that lies completely beyond the text, recognising the place of narrative in his thought allows us to appreciate the dynamic and personal aspects of meaning which it produces.
This essay demonstrates how Louis-Marie Chauvet’s sacramental theology both coheres with the sacramentology of the Anglican divines and challenges the multitude of sacramental expressions within Anglicanism today. After giving a brief background to the sacramental controversies inherited by both Chauvet and Richard Hooker, the first section of this essay argues that key similarities exist between unitive Anglican sacramental concepts and core components of Louis-Marie Chauvet’s fundamental theology as outlined in his monograph Symbol and Sacrament. After demonstrating that, through these similarities, Chauvet’s theology should be seen as a fruitful conversation partner with Anglican sacramentology, the second section of the essay will focus on two concepts within Symbol and Sacrament (the Eucharist as stumbling block and ritual as symbolic rupture) that hold the potential to enrich sacramentology within Anglicanism today.
Both Derek Wright and Francis Ngaboh-Smart have interpreted Laing’s Major Gentl and the Achimota Wars (1992) as an allegory for the emergence of the Internet. In that novel, a future Africa has been digitally erased from the Web archive, and the story follows a civil war aimed at reintegrating the continent into the global scene. Beginning from this reading, I approach Laing’s next work, Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters (2006), as a formal sequel to Major Gentl, investigating the changing landscape of global digital access and its potential as a site of resistance over the decade that separates their publication. If, in Major Gentl, West Africans have been exiled from the Web, the eponymous protagonist in Roko uses networked access to interrupt neoliberal economic and social engineering underway in the global North. Through experiments in “genetic mutation”—a metaphor for cyborgian transformation from biological to networked existence—Roko hacks the evolutionary process and forces Africa’s voice into the digital sphere in an attempt to remedy that technology’s unequal distribution. In both novels, Laing indigenizes science fiction using a technique I refer to as jujutech—a hybrid of science fiction and African folk traditions. The resulting style identifies the ways the genre itself mutates and evolves as it escapes the gravity of its Euro-American roots. Laing’s decision to publish Roko electronically further points to form following function, highlighting new avenues for the dissemination of experimental African works in underrepresented genres.
The distinction between fictionality and actuality takes on a special significance in the theatre, which contains two frames simultaneously: a fictional and an actual. Although the presence of these frames is integral to performance, the demarcation between them often becomes blurred. Both Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing (1982) and Sam Holcroft's Edgar and Annabel (2011) problematize the relationship between an actor and the character that he or she portrays. While Stoppard's characters sometimes indulge in fictional portrayals, Holcroft's embody additional characters out of a sense of duty and commitment to a political cause. Although the stakes of keeping the illusion in place are seemingly much higher in Holcroft's play, both suggest that the blurring of the line between the actual and the fictional is not only inevitable, but also potentially dangerous. Lida Krüger is a senior lecturer in English Studies at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. Her current research interests include fictionality in theatre, the position of the audience in performance, and theatre archiving.
In light of the problem of the postmodern “de-centered” subject for Christianity, I address the loss of a common expectation horizon of the eschatological future. This loss is situated within the wider collapse of modern metanarratives and the dispersal of the primacy and critical power of the future, leading to an incomplete and even shattered process of identity formation for Christians. By recovering elements of Edward Schillebeeckx's eschatology, I suggest a way forward by drawing on the wider Christian tradition and hope for salvation as an essential element for the ongoing process of identity formation, while using his thought to critique the fractured postmodern “self” and contemporary trends in culture, religion, and economics.
In this article, postmodernism is presented as posing a challenge to the role of philosophy within bioethics. It is argued that any attempt to develop a postmodern bioethics must respond to arguments concerning power, relational responsibility, and violence. Contemporary work on the topic of relational autonomy and naturalized bioethics is interpreted as engaging with the postmodern challenge. This article proposes that the role of philosophy in bioethics should be not to provide moral guidance but rather to adopt a critical approach to the possible consequences of privileging any position or understanding over others.
This article revisits Irish criticism of the foundational period of postcolonial studies in view of its relevance to the topic of revisionism in contemporary postcolonial theory. Situating the status of Ireland and its literature in postcolonial studies, it suggests that the early distinction between academic “rereading” and creative “writing back” is a false one and that developments in Irish studies in the 1980s anticipate the more nuanced brands of contemporary postcolonialism. As a case in point, the article considers critical revisions of Irish Gothic fiction, which provided a context for various revisions conducted in the 1990s and early 2000s of the novel Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker (1847–1912). It focuses on the “metrocolonial” concept introduced by Joseph Valente, which offers a means not only of connecting these revisions but of specifying the postcolonial status of Ireland and of relating revisionism to the revolutionary and reconciliatory strands of contemporary postcolonial theory.
In this article Liliane Campos links Complicite's Master and Margarita (2011) to the company's previous productions, from The Street of Crocodiles (1992) to Shun-Kin (2008). She develops a close analysis of The Master and Margarita as it was staged at the Avignon Festival in July 2012, arguing that the company's aesthetic is characterized by a tension between narrative fragmentation and visual connections. While Complicite's shows overflow with postmodernist multiplicity and division, the urge to connect these ‘shards of stories’ is a driving force in Simon McBurney's artistic direction. This dynamic is explored here both on a semantic level, as a consequence of Complicite's physical language, and on a narrative level, through the use of framing and frame-breaking devices. The article highlights the company's recurrent themes and the defining traits of its performance style. Liliane Campos is a Lecturer in English and Theatre studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris. She has published various articles on British drama and performance, and two books about the role of science in contemporary writing and devising for the theatre.
In his essays and speeches, Harold Pinter addressed issues that are central in political and philosophical debates: national identity and the other, the ethics of responsibility, the relational nature of human rights, the politics of death. Discussing his treatment of these issues, Maria Germanou sees Pinter as a Foucauldian intellectual engaged in the politics of truth, and argues that in these texts the postmodern writer enables the political activist. Pinter subjects to scrutiny naturalized political rhetoric, discloses the affinity between meaning and power, and challenges the legitimacy of established hierarchies and their practices. His ultimate purpose is to restore ethics to politics. To this end, he places responsibility for the other at the core of his problematic in ways similar to Emmanuel Levinas, and invites western democracies to redefine ‘humanity’ and the ‘international’ community by taking into consideration accountability for those allowed to die in the name of an alleged justice. Maria Germanou is Professor in English Drama at the University of Athens. She has published in Modern Drama, Comparative Drama, Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Gramma, and elsewhere. Since 2008 she has been co-editor of Synthesis, an e-journal of comparative literature.
This article considers aspects of the use of class in sociology and anthropology since the period around 1970, when Neo-Marxism became important in the social sciences, and is concerned primarily with Marxist and Weberian uses of the concept. It considers changes in the use of class in terms of two dimensions. One is the degree to which class is placed in a more macroscopic or more microscopic frame. The other is the degree to which class is defined in more objectivist terms or relies more on the way that the people being studied use the term. It is argued that since around 1970 writing on class has tended to become more microscopic and subjectivist. This tendency is related to changes within the two disciplines and within society more generally. The article closes with a consideration of some of the costs of this changing scholarly orientation to class.
The author contends that Leonardo Sciascia's L'affaire Moro is not a work of non-fiction, as Sciascia proposed, but of historical fiction, and that Sciascia's Moro is a literary character, more a spokesperson for Sciascia's political views than a reflection of the historical figure. Sciascia's Moro embodies the same qualities as many of Sciascia's other protagonists, such as a radical individualism and willingness to sacrifice all in order to protect their dignity and liberty. What emanates from the text is a ‘postmodern’ blend that interprets and imposes a narrative hierarchy on events, and conveys a mental reality that need not necessarily coincide with what can be proven with evidence. In fact, Sciascia combines factual information and his own ‘conjectural knowledge’ to convince his reader of the ‘moral truth’ of his argument. Sciascia's is indeed a strong narrative in that it succeeded in shaping how the Italian public views to this day a critical juncture in its recent history.
In Mnemonic, a play conceived and directed by Simon McBurney and devised by Theatre de Complicite, words are not only time capsules in which different fictionalized memories are preserved, but also mnemonic objects in their own right. The playtext they conform acts, of course, as a reminder of the show that this British company created in 1999 for the Salzburg Festival, and that toured internationally again in 2002: at the same time, the published text of the work contains the perspectives and potential techniques from which the notion of memory – and of individual and collective forms of remembrance associated with it – can be explored and semiotized. Núria Casado-Gual's article looks at the dramaturgical strategies and theatrical techniques used by the company in their particular theatricalization of memory. Mnemonic, she contends, is not only relevant as an outstanding piece of contemporary theatre, but also as a ‘memorable’ text that helps us decipher our enigmatic selves in apparently oblivious and eroding postmodern times. Núria Casado-Gual lectures in English language, literature, and theatre at the University of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. She is author of a PhD thesis on the the Caribbean playwright Edgar Nkosi White, and combines her academic work with creative theatrical projects as both playwright and performer with the company Nurosfera.