Lecture Drucken
 
26.5.2013

Steven Shaviro

Dark Origins

19:00Haus der Kulturen der WeltJohn-Foster-Dulles-Allee 1010557 Berlin
 
Chris Beckett's science fiction novel Dark Eden can be described as an exercise in speculative anthropology. On a dark planet, warmed only by geothermal energy, the descendants of a pair of stranded human astronauts must reinvent civilization from scratch, guided only by garbled memories of Earth passed down for generations from the original pair of settlers. The novel recounts a "fall" from a seeming state of nature into a more historical sort of social arrangement, through a series of traumatic incidents including the "invention" of rape and murder, the transition from egalitarian matriarchy to hierarchical patriarchy, a growing tension and discordance between generations, as well as between men and women, and an
energetic burst of exploration and technological invention. In recounting these events, the novel echoes a number of foundational Western texts about the origins of human society and civilization, including the Book of Genesis, Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Bachofen's Das Mutterrecht, Nietzsche's Zur Genealogie der Moral, and Engels' Origin of the Family,
Private Property and the State. Steven Shaviro will discuss how Beckett "rewrites" these texts, by placing them in a new, fictional context, where everything has to be reinvented.