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Internationales Alfred-Döblin-Kolloquium Cambridge 2017

Natur, Technik und das (Post-)Humane in den Schriften Alfred Döblins


Edited By Steffan Davies and David Midgley

Das Verhältnis Mensch – Natur und das Leben in einer technisierten Welt sind Themenbereiche, die Alfred Döblin in seinen Erzählwerken und Essays immer wieder – und in mannigfaltigen Beziehungen – erkundet hat. Die hier versammelten Beiträge bieten neue Einsichten in die Entwicklung von Döblins Natur- und Weltauffassung. Sie befassen sich mit seiner Aufarbeitung der mit der Technik verbundenen Wissenskultur und sozialer Praxis, mit den Beziehungen zwischen seiner Thematik und aktuellen Erörterungen des ‚Posthumanen’ sowie mit Aspekten seiner Erzählpraxis und ethischen Orientierung, die mit diesen Themen verbunden sind. Der Band dokumentiert das 21. Internationale Alfred-Döblin-Kolloquium, das 2017 zum Thema „Natur, Technik und das (Post-)Humane in den Schriften Alfred Döblins" in Cambridge, England, tagte.

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Robert Craig: Monsters and Other Cyborgs: The ‘Posthuman’ in Berge Meere und Giganten

Monsters and Other Cyborgs: The ‘Posthuman’ in Berge Meere und Giganten


Robert Craig

Abstract: The recent ecocritical concept of ‘dark ecology’ challenges a residual Romantic promise of a reconciliation, which still conditions much of our thinking about the natural environment. On a dark ecology, ‘Nature’ is conceived not as a redeemable Other, but as an all-pervading and ramifying network in which we are destructively entangled. This chapter suggests that Döblin’s science fiction epic of 1924 can sharpen our understanding of that relationship and, in so doing, enrich our conception of the posthuman. I first explore the novel’s biopolitical dimensions, showing how a bid to establish social and political ‘utopia’ subjects both humanity and nature to regimes of oppression and violence. More optimistically, I then argue that Döblin’s experimental prose can help to refigure humanity and humanness as a cyborg-like presence in nature. This figuration may in turn offer us tentatively hopeful perspectives on the current, very real, threat of ecocatastrophe.

Keywords: Berge Meere und Giganten, ecology, ecocatastrophe, utopia, dystopia, biopolitics, cyborgs, monsters, Foucault, Adorno, ecocriticism

In his book, In Defence of Lost Causes (2008), Slavoj Žižek ventured the provocative suggestion that Nature does not really exist. In thrall to a persistent ideology of Romanticism, we sustain the illusion of a harmonious natural world continually thrown off-balance by our incursions. ‘Our’ environment is something with which we might be reconciled if finally we learned to live sustainably. But when boiled down to its constituent mechanisms, Nature, this overdetermined mass of things that are...

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