Utopia and Political Theology

Broj 2 - Godina 5 - 06/2015

Uvodnik

Although utopias of different kinds have always stirred people’s imagination, it seems that the twentieth century rise of political theology brought about a particularly intense proliferation of utopian narratives. On the other hand, catastrophic failures such as that of the communist project gave rise to various subsequent reconsiderations of the utopian dream, dystopian nightmare and the thin line dividing the two. ..

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The aim of this paper is to show how Atwood’s reformulations of myths contain hidden political messages from ancient and modern history and can be interpreted from Fredric Jameson’s views on ‘symbolic acts,’ discourse and the ideology of form. Several scholars have explored the symbolic relationship between the three major protagonists in The Robber Bride and fragments of the omnipotent image of the Neolithic deity the White Goddess. As the symbolic counterparts of Diana, Venus and Hecate in the novel, Tony, Roz and Charis demonstrate how women’s integrity has been crippled and how the restoration of female principle is just a utopian idea. However, our analysis has revealed that the younger generation of “goddesses” does not bring hope to the female gender in either the present or the future. Augusta, Paula and Erin symbolize oversimplified and parodied versions of the destructive Hecate in an unpromising world and “the not-good place” that resembles a dystopia. Keywords: Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride, the White Goddess, a dystopian world, Hecate, Fredric Jameson...

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This essay starts from the premise that André Breton’s First Manifesto of Surrealism constitutes the ‘event’ of that movement (i.e., ‘event’ as defined in Alain Badiou’s Ethics), an event subsequently betrayed by its subject, André Breton, in his encounter with Nadja. Situated between rupture and repetition, the opportunity of the event returns in the Second Manifesto of Surrealism. Taking as its target Breton’s novel Nadja, the essay addresses the issue of event as repetition and explores the ramifications of the ‘failure’ to ‘imagine’ one’s continued fidelity to the event. Consequently, this article reads Nadja as a ‘failure’: the failure posed by representation itself, but also the failure of representation to completely annihilate the promise of a “beyond” encrypted in the project of surrealist imagination. Thus, I would like to play off the idea of failure in two complementary ways. First, I look at the ‘failure’ that is more significant than any achievement. Second, I address the failures at particular missed moments in history, expressed as a series of ‘returns’ in Nadja. Finally, the point of tension between the two types of failures in Nadja elicits a reading of Breton as a reactive, rather than an immortal Subject....

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The words ‘utopia’ and ‘zombie’ are likely to conjure up strong images in the mind of the reader. The first makes one think of perfection, of happiness, of something new and better; the other, of the monstrous, of death and decay. Despite the fact that these images are arguably the most common, one can question their validity: can it be said that utopias are always perfect, and are the undead always monstrous? In this paper, I aim to explore the concepts relating to both utopias and zombies and the possible connections between the two, including a reading of the undead in light of the ultimate utopia: Paradise. In the light of these analyses, I propose a more positive approach to the figure of the zombie, which will be discussed as a counterpoint to the commonly held views of (religious) utopias. Keywords: utopia, dystopia, Christianity, Revelation, Paradise, Second Coming, zombie, post-zombieA man, dressed in an old, torn and dusty suit, is seen in the distance, staggering between the tombstones as he makes his way towards the two young people, who have come to the cemetery to visit their father’s grave. They notice the man, but make fun of him; to them, the figure is not dangerous. Until he attacks them. Part of the opening sequence of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), it was in this film that audiences were introduced to the now iconic figure of the shambling, flesh-eating undead. Cinemagoers saw the dead come back to life, crawling out of the earth as if it were Judgement Day. These creatures may have looked human, but were unmistakably evil, attacking and feeding on anything they could find. This negative image of the zombie existed in horror media before Romero’s reinvention of the narrative in the shape of the voodoo zombi of Haitian origins, and this vision has persisted ever since. The undead are the monstrous Other and perhaps the ultimate threat to humanity: as their numbers grow, they replace and incorporate humankind as new people are added to the ranks of the zombie. These beings may appear human, but they are dangerous and should be avoided at all cost. It seems indeed easy to apply a reading to this monster that shows them in a negative light and although the number of interpretations of the undead has grown over the years, the concept of the Other, of a being that has lost itself and is only capable of mindless feeding, has persisted. What I aim to offer here are some ideas on different interpretations of the undead, most notably a more positive reading. Film makers and academics alike have almost universally presented the zombie as a monstrous Other, something which should be avoided and killed. Any relation to the perfection of a (religious) utopia would therefore appear impossible, yet it is the potential of the undead to be seen as more than brainless monstrosities that I wish to address here. What I would like to put forward is a more positive approach to the figure of the zombie, ultimately arguing that the undead may be the only way in which humanity can achieve Paradise. In order to facilitate such a discussion, I will start by examining the terminology used. Reference has already been made to images of perfection and monstrosity, respectively, and it will be beneficial to explore the concept of both utopia and the zombie in more detail, before moving on to a discussion of the idea of the perfect undead. ...

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9. rujna 2011.Draga Sarah,ispričavam se što je ovo pismo tako formalno, ali nemam sama u sebe povjerenja da bih ovo mogla izgovoriti uz čašu vina, posebno dok još i nisam sigurna što želim reći.Vjeruj mi da sam oduvijek cijenila tvoje prijateljstvo. Na onom pješačkom izletu kroz pustinju Sinaj, kada smo se svi upoznali, nijedno od nas četvero nije bilo sklono prigovaranju i to je ono što nas je zbližilo. Ostali su turisti neprestano cmizdrili zbog vrućine i hrane, ali mi smo bili neustrašivi. Kad ti je od previše sunca izbio gnojni herpes, unatoč povrijeđenoj taštini nastavila si stupati dalje kao da to nije ništa. Stoga bi mi bilo grozno da ispadne da je ovo pismo prigovor – no ipak, možda ono i jest prigovor.Tvoj je muž umro usred terorističkog napada 11. rujna. Moj je muž umro uslijed terorističkog napada 11. rujna. Toliko je toga proizišlo iz tih prijedloga, male slovne varijacije.Začudo, tvoja mi je priča jednako živa kao moja jer sam mnogo puta čula kako je prepričavaš na zabavama. To je priča koju svatko želi čuti. Kako je Davidova investicijska banka tek nedavno preselila urede na 89. kat (skok u svakom pogledu), no da su barem ostali na 37. katu, David bi vjerojatno preživio. Taj je dan obilovao riječju barem. Obavijest na razglasu da se svi u južnom tornju vrate za svoje stolove, pri čemu se izgubilo sedam dragocjenih minuta za bijeg prije udara drugog aviona. Tvoj posljednji razgovor s mužem. Njegov izvještaj kako na jedinom stubištu u funkciji suklja dim. Njegova namjera da s nekoliko desetaka ostalih krene prema krovu. A vrata koja vode do krova zaključana, iako si to doznala tek poslije. Helikopteri koji nikada nisu stigli. ...

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