Appel à communication

Appel à communication, « The Anxiety of Ethics in The Age of Crisis/es »


(Proposals to : 15/11/2022 – Papers submission:
28/02/2023 – Publication: July 2023)

Vol. 6, N° 2 (2023)

The Anxiety of Ethics in The Age of Crisis/es:
An Assessment of Contemporary Literature and the Arts

Marta Waldegaray & Sonia Fernández Hoyos
University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, France
La Maison des SHS, Axe 1 : Crise, transition et conflictualité

Theory Now, Marta Waldegaray y Sonia Fernández Hoyos invite proposals of articles for the monographic number The Anxiety of Ethics in The Age of Crisis/es. An Assessment of Literature and the Arts.
Ever since the end of what Lyotard called ‘grand narratives’, it could be said that crisis has been the distinctive feature of theory and the arts over the last historical period, since we are assailed by multiple crisis. The neoliberal system, its consequences and its discontents generate theories attempting to account for the state of the world after the failure of postmodernity (with its reductionist approach to the social). Thus, Zygmunt Bauman’s theories on the liquid condition, Rosi Braidotti’s approaches to posthumanist knowledge; Harmut Rosa’s proposals on resonance with the world as a counterpoint to the concept of alienation; Byung-Chul Han’s reflections on digital revolution and the current paradigm shift; Nuccio Ordine’s manifesto that invites us to recover the usefulness of the useless; Agustín Valle’s proposals on urban suspicion and the gesture of keeping the other at a distance while seeking refuge in screens (the gaze fixed on the computer or cell phone screen); the celebration of speed and standardization and its consequence: functional encapsulation, studied by Juan Del Bene. All the above considerations boil down to the same idea. Today we are far from Zarathustra’s conviction: ‘everything straight lies’, since truth is always curved.
Moreover, the crisis is the mismatch that traditional disciplines are experiencing today in academia, as Edward Said and, more recently, Nuccio Ordine have pointed out. Humanities studies have become the visible enemy of university policies that seek to technify their programs and promote only those (courses / studies) that meet the needs of the markets. Confronted with this situation, different theories claim a return to humanism as an epistemological and political imperative for critical thinking in the new millennium. Although they do so from a different configuration (different from the nineteenth-century Liberal Humanism): by opting for an eco-philosophical reformulation of humanist ideals and by rejecting an exclusively anthropocentric perspective. The ‘posthumanist’ vision of the individual dismisses the confident belief in the liberal perspective of the subject; it bets on exercising life to the full and in conjuring the crisis of thought.

Crisis, considered as a paradigm, makes possible a re-politicization of literary discourses at the beginning of the 21 st century. In the aftermath of the global turn, we are confronted with the need to think the relations between the instances on enunciation in a different way, and, especially, from ethical approaches. This anxiety of ethics constitutes a basic starting point to analyze the consequences of the crisis in literature, to read the forms of precariousness, the importance of the collectivity, the digitalization of daily life, the different manifestations of violence, social conflicts, the politics of care, media subjectivity…
Artistic creation and literature –as an institutionalized form of the art of writing– are interpretative practices that attempt to identify, anticipate, overcome or exorcise these contingencies. They thus participate in a process of semiotization of these circumstances that is essential to all narrativization. Narrative fiction, in particular, has echoed these crises by showing characters overwhelmed by a present that, although plagued by despair and its dramatic manifestations (wandering, precariousness, anguish, restlessness), suggests that the human dimension has not come to an end. Analyzing the historical dimension of literary space and, more precisely, the fictions of a world threatened by crises would allow a better understanding of the impacts on the different dimensions of human life, as well as the feeling of rupture between real power and politics. It would also vindicate the capacity of agency of literary and artistic discourses.
Contributions will focus on those questions in contemporary literary and artistic creations in America and Europe from the last quarter of 20th century to nowadays.

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