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polylog 49

Sommer 2023

Lara Hofner: Editorial

Futurismus und Futurität

Hg. Răzvan Sandru, Fernando Wirtz, Mădălina Diaconu

Einleitung (dt.) | Introduction (engl.)

Abbed Kanoor

Kultur, Ideologie, Ontologie

Ein interkulturell-phänomenologischer Ansatz über die Zukunft von Traditionen

This paper mainly argues for the need to reintroduce a phenomenological concept of tradition into current intercultural debates. One of the important dimensions of cultures that is neglected in the culturalist stance is their inner life, which can be called their traditionality: their corresponding cultural lifeworld, their imaginary geography with symbolic cartographies, the dynamic transmission of beliefs, rituals and wisdom passed on from one generation to another; these invisible but living aspects are missing in the culturalist stance and especially in multiculturalism. In contrast, traditionalism, which is aware of these neglected aspects and of the world-constituting dimension of cultures, can easily lead to a conservative and even ideological misinterpretation of cultures. My proposal is that a phenomenological redefinition and thematisation of cultural tradition can be seen as a third approach beyond multiculturalism and traditionalism; an approach that is aware of the invisible world of cultures without neglecting their inner hermeneutic dynamics and thus avoiding to fall into a closed and static understanding of traditionalism.

Federica María GonzÁlez Luna Ortiz

The Mimetic Dimension of Desire in Postcolonial Societies

The capacity to autonomously exercise freedom and direct desire is often understood as the expression of the modern idea of the human being as a spontaneous free agent, on the basis of which one determines her fate and accordingly her future. Against such an account of a subject as the agent and owner of her own desires, I will argue based on Girard’s mimetic theory of desire and Fanon’s »epidermalization of inferiority« in postcolonial subjectivities that the baseline of a desiring existence is alienation. The seemingly untouchable interior realm of the subject represented by desires appears in both thinkers as a porous dimension that reveals the intricate web of relations involved in defining one’s object of desire. I argue that Girard’s and Fanon’s account of desire are better suited to account for the situational complexity and specificity of desiring subjects and provide the hermeneutic tools to identify the power relations involved in the representations of desire. By critically approaching desire and its constitution in relation to others I argue that oppressive structures in the narratives of possible futures can be fleshed out, thus enabling alternative views of how the future may unfold.

Christoph Brunner & Sophie Peterson

Thinking from the End

On Apocalyptic Realism, Futurity, and Speculative Fabulation

Historically, the end of the world occurred again and again for various subjects in the frame of colonization, mass extinction and continued dispossession of populations. Such a conception of the recurrent end dislodges a linear idea of time and a modernist narrative of progress which surfaces in various discourses concerned with the Anthropocene. Here, the end of the world equals the end of humanity while staging the universal human subject as a collective agent of preventing such an apocalyptic scenario. This article draws on critical work on the end of worlds, queer speculative futurity and critical fabulation to carve out narrative techniques for resisting the uniform temporality of what we term apocalyptic realism. Proposing the idea of speculative fabulation, we foreground the power of speculative engagements with futurity against their subsumption under an all-too-human casting of the future as the dominant narrative mode of Anthropocene’s present.

Matthias Fritsch

Indigene Klimapolitik und Generationengerechtigkeit

This paper proposes a concept of justice for future people that is mindful of Indigenous critiques of the so-called »Anthropocene«. I first review these critiques, which suggest that motivating profutural care by dreading an impending climate crisis tends to betray a privileged, often settler-colonial perspective. The beneficiaries of colonialism now have the »luxury« of viewing the environmental crisis as one that lies mostly in the future, while many Indigenous communities have been living with such a crisis for a long time. I then review various Indigenous accounts of intergenerational relations, in which I find the wide-spread claim that present generations owe to descendants because they received gifts from ancestors as well as the land. I elaborate this view as what I call asymmetrical reciprocity among generations. The final section argues that this view can help to demarginalize the future: above all, by disallowing a linear view of time according to which a focus on the future permits the neglect of the past. Hence, climate ethics and intergenerational justice must face the history of colonialism.

Johanna Wenzel

Sinofuturismus und das Versprechen alternativer Zeitlichkeit

Sinofuturism is a cultural concept that is externally applied to China and Chinese society by a predominant Western academic discourse. The concept of Sinofuturism assumes that contemporary China is the future. This idea echoes Western notions of futurity, which link economic developments with the industrial progressivity of a society. In doing so, the current reading of Sinofuturism is largely based on a linear temporality. By projecting China and the Chinese into the future, Western scholarship has formed a temporal Othering through which a self is constructed. In contrast to Afrofuturism, it does not, up until now, refer to a counter-hegemonic aesthetic movement. The current coinage of Sinofuturism is mainly influenced by the work of early accelerationists associated with the British experimental-theorist collective Cybernetic Culture Research Unit and was prominently featured in Lawrence Lek’s audiovisual Sinofuturist Trilogy (2016).

Tanay Gandhi

Against Progress

Democratic Enactments and Embracing a Precarious Future

How can we reimagine a future that escapes dichotomies of progress and regress? What does such a radically reimagined future look like? This paper develops an answer in two parts by arguing for a vision of the future as unstable, calling for modes of response that are distinctly democratic. It sets out an imaginary of the future as inescapably precarious; composed of multiple actants in constant relations of collusion and conflict that escape human ordering or control; a future that we, as humans, must embrace precisely as precarious. Such an affirmation calls for a cultivated democratic sensibility. Following post-foundational perspectives, I identify democracy as constituted by contingency and plurality. This is not simply in terms of an openness to plurality, but a cultivated receptivity to modes of activity that operate below and beyond conscious human willing. An ethos that expresses affirming sensitivity to the uncertainties of a precarious future.


Mădălina Diaconu

Von fröhlichen Apokalypsen zum Widerstand der Überlebenden.

Zu: Deborah Danowski und Eduardo Viveiros de Castro: In welcher Welt leben? (2019). Nr. 49 S. 110-14.

Johannes Korak

Zugänge dekolonialistischer Gesellschaftskritik

Zu: Jens Kastner: Dekolonialistische Theorie aus Lateinamerika (2021). Nr. 49 S. 115-16.

Mădălina Diaconu

Sorge, Fürsorge, Sorgfalt: Facetten einer zukunftsorientierten Ästhetik.

Zu: Yuriko Saito: Aesthetics of Care (2022). Nr. 49 S. 117-23.

Nausikaa Schirilla

Zum Zusammenhang von Philosophieren und Unrechtserfahrungen in transkultureller Perspektive.

Zu: Sarhan Dhouib (Hg.): Philosophieren in der Diktatur (2022). Nr. 49 S. 123-25



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