Navigating Chaos: Living the Apocalyptic Dystopia
Navigating Chaos: Living the Apocalyptic Dystopia
Hegel wrote that the only thing we can learn from history is that we learn nothing from history, so I doubt the epidemic will make us any wiser. The only thing that is clear is that the virus will shatter the very foundations of our lives, causing not only an immense amount of suffering but also economic havoc conceivably worse than the Great Recession. There is no return to normal, the new “normal” will have to be constructed on the ruins of our old lives, or we will find ourselves in a new barbarism whose signs are already clearly discernible. (Slovaj Žižek, Pandemic!)
Žižek’s warning against the inadequacy and eventual failure of our social, political, and economic structures in these times, wherein all certitudes of stability and normalcy are staked, demands an enquiry into the failure of modernity project and subsequent goals of our postmodern reality. Events of the last century have already punctured our faith in teleological history of progress that was impressed upon us by the thought of Enlightenment, countering its Utopian models with experimental Dystopic premises. Modernity’s announcements of the death of fundamental concepts like God, ontology, meaning, etc., have bred a distrust in the potentiality of mankind to carve a future for itself; Postmodernism now embraces this lack of confidence in all man-made structures and authorities, to push for prescient narratives that glimpse the beginning of an ‘end.’ Consciousness of the absence of any concrete remnants of reality—which is now replaced by hyperreality and simulation (Baudrillard)—can be witnessed in the unconscious surrender by the rational subject to the incomprehensible opacity that this objective world has become. Such Dystopic turn around meaning and human subjectivity estimates a world without concrete presence of both and gives rise to questions such as: whether our phenomenal experience is crumbling because of our belief in the failure of human ‘progress’; and whether we live in dystopian times edging towards an apocalypse where all man-made structures are failing? Our erstwhile belief in positivist Utopias is now countered through alternate spheres of thought that challenge the ‘grand narratives of modernity’ and question our faith in the futuristic possibilities by satirising present systems. A growing concern with symbolic state of disaster within our postmodern reality has thus witnessed the praxes of deconstructing Utopian hopes without any promise of reconstruction. This catastrophe can be regarded as an apocalypse of our own making where these apocalyptic representations of future imply our imagination’s inability to see beyond. Hence, the presence of apocalyptic dystopia within our postmodern reality points to a despairing crisis emanating from systems’ inability to renew themselves because of a fundamental absence of any shared vision of society.
In popular imaginary, Dystopic narratives focus their critiques of society on spatially or temporally distant settings to provide fresh refigurations of a situation that already exists in reality. The overlapping scope of Dystopian and Science Fiction—differing only in terms of ostensibly larger social and political critique—shapes images of future in a variety of narratives where encroachment of the technological into the human runs as a recurring motif. Such Dystopic landscapes at once create paranoia and fear within masses by corroborating with pro-capitalist ventures, and also validate the dread of totalitarian regimes that have strangled individual liberty in the current climate through rapid incursions in the political and economic spheres. This dread condenses into figurative images of apocalypse whose mirror reality is starkly visible in our present times, the apocalypse ‘now,’ that is geared by the failure of our systems—ideologies of capitalism, consumerism, as well as our romance with technology. These spectrums of Dystopic and Apocalyptic visions lay out oppositional critiques of our abstracted simulated structures and articulate our anxieties regarding displaced eschatological consciousness of the end.
This Issue of LLIDS intends to understand and study the dystopian and apocalyptic frameworks that dominate the present era. Papers are invited from interdisciplinary fields of thought to further explore this topic from different perspectives. Although the given topics are not exhaustive, interested scholars can consider an enquiry into the ones listed below:
- Life on the edge of apocalypse
- Future of the human subject
- Critical dystopia
- Technological debacle in popular culture
- Dystopic dreams of science fiction
- Post pandemic literature
- Imagined Utopias
- End of teleological history
- Democracy and its discontents
- Techno-capitalism and the 21st century
- Trust and distrust in governance
- Death and mourning in Dystopia
- Modernity and the disenchantment of the world
- End of the Project of Modernity
- Ecological disruptions
Only complete papers will be considered for publication. The papers need to be submitted according to the latest guidelines of the MLA format. You are welcome to submit full length papers (3,500–10,000 words) along with a 150 words abstract, and list of keywords in a word doc file, and a 70–80 words bio-note in a separate file. Please read the submission guidelines before making the submission – http://www.ellids.com/author-guidelines/.
Please put the name of the CFP you are submitting for in the subject line. Although scholars are free to submit their work till the deadline, we really appreciate early submissions.
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