By Mitchum Huehls
After critique' identifies an ontological flip in modern U.S. fiction that distinguishes our present literary second from either postmodernism and so-called post-postmodernism. This flip to ontology takes many types, yet quite often After Critique highlights a physique of literature-work from Colson Whitehead, Uzodinma Iweala, Karen Yamasthia, Helena Viramontes, Percival Everett, Mat Johnson, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Tom McCarthy-that favors presence over absence, being over that means, and connection over reference. those authors' curiosity in generating literary price ontologically instead of representationally stems from their experience that neoliberalism's capacious take hold of on modern language and discourse-its skill to regulate either side of a conceptual debate or argument-has made it approximately most unlikely to write down past neoliberalism's grip. this can be relatively distressing for authors invested in modern politics as neoliberalism renders any variety of political difficulties circularly undecidable.0Taking up 4 diversified political themes-human rights, the relation among private and non-private area, racial justice, and environmentalism-After Critique means that the ontological varieties rising in modern U.S. fiction articulate a model of politics that will effectively avoid neoliberal appropriation. this can be a politics which replaces critique and its reliance on illustration with ontology and its ever-shifting configurations and assemblages. Read more...
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Extra info for After critique. Twenty-first-century fiction in a neoliberal age
Nevertheless, my wager is that becoming neoliberal—embracing our doubled subject-object ontology—might go some distance toward demonstrating that we’ve never actually been neoliberal. —we’d be justified in wondering exactly what this subjectobject politics looks like. How might value be produced, significance achieved, if not through a subject’s representational relation to the world? Here, once again, I find Bruno Latour’s work instructive. First, it’s worth noting that such a subjectless politics is not a peopleless politics.
In normative culture, your thoughts and beliefs, the ideologies and discourses to which you commit, determine who you are. In turn, political battles are staged ideologically and representationally because changing the world requires changing the way people see and think about it. While critique’s techniques of defamiliarization and disillusionment might be powerful political tools in normative culture, serial culture does “an end-run around the work of ideology” (18). To be sure, ideology still exists and norms can still exert significant pressures on the subject, but their significance wanes in post-disciplinary society.
McGurl carefully acknowledges that traces of the exomodern are woven throughout modernism and postmodernism, and he also observes that exomodernism is more of a nebulous sensitivity to human insignificance than it is a discrete aesthetic mode or historical period. Nevertheless, he also grants it the power “to crack open the carapace of human self-concern, exposing it to the idea, and maybe even the fact, of its external ontological preconditions, its ground” (380). For McGurl, this occurs primarily through the human’s confrontation with a “new cultural geology” that positions the human relative to billions of years of geologic time and space.