Utopias and Machines: From Utopian Literature to the Posthuman
|Keywords:||烏托邦;後人類;機器;去疆界化;再疆界化;utopias;the posthuman;machines;deterritorialization;reterritorialization||Issue Date:||2007||Abstract:||
How to improve human society has been an unceasing concern of many scholars and philosophers for centuries. After Thomas More presented a fictional narrative of the traveling experience in an ideal society in his Utopia, utopian literature became an attempt to offer alternative ways to improve human society. Although many utopian writers have contributed their imagination of what a better society should be, people seem not satisfied with these ideal models of society. What is utopia and what is it for?
This dissertation intends to explore the posthuman potential of utopian literature Utopian literature began with its expectation to fill in the lack in the society. The expectation is presented via the form of the contrivance of an ideal model of society. Most of traditional utopian stories focus on the construction of perfect human society. In order to build a rational society, these utopian stories exclude what they think as the irrational part of human nature to maintain the perfection of the alternative society. Therefore, they choose what they assume as the best choice among many possibilities and abandon other possibilities. The utopian worlds depicted in traditional writing are rigid, enclosed ones. The problem of traditional utopian writing lies in its reliance on the humanist framework which is based on stable, rational, and homogeneous mode of thinking. It rejects the uncertainty, irrationality, or heterogeneity. Confined to the humanist framework, traditional utopia turns to highly exclusive imagination of human society. The universal standard that traditional utopia strives to set in its perfect model of human society sacrifices many other possibilities, rather than offering the hope to improve the society. Utopian writing confronts its deadlock here. To overcome the predicament, utopian writing has to break the humanist framework. In fact, the concrete images created by traditional utopia are not so stable, rational and homogeneous as traditional utopia strives to become. There are some crevices in these concrete images which disturb or disrupt the humanist framework. These crevices turn to the force which drive the transformations of utopian writing. I will argue that utopian writing has the posthuman potential. The posthuman potential here refers to the potential of exploring heterogeneity, uncertainty, and fluidity in utopian literature. The concept of the posthuman consists in the dialogue between Deleuze and Lacan to consider how to re-territorialize the de-territorialized. Utopias are machines in the sense that utopias not only have the potential of deterritorialization but are reterritorialized entities.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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