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Editor's Column: Witnessing Catastrophe, Interpreting Catastrophe

Editor's Column: Witnessing Catastrophe, Interpreting Catastrophe Editor ’ s Column Witnessing Catastrophe, Interpreting Catastrophe This issue focuses on catastrophe. It is a concept that calls out for a comparative approach; it compels and challenges us to think in an inter- and cross-­ isciplinary fashion. Thinking catastrophe today raises multiple questions. What constitutes a catastrophe? Is catastrophe another name for human tragedy, something to be feared and avoided? Or is it, from the perspective of neoliberalism, an opportunity to be exploited? Etymologically, catastrophe means an “overturning, sudden turn, conclusion” (OED), from the Greek kata, meaning “down” and strephein, or “turn.” How do we interpret and bear witness to a catastrophe, to a sudden upheaval in the norm that creates a break with the interpretive habits through which we make sense of that norm? We might ask whether a humanist framework is equipped to do justice to the topic of catastrophe. Does climate change call for rethinking catastrophe after the bio-­ enetic age of the Anthropocene, through a non-­ uman perg spective, if such a thing is possible? What historical catastrophes continue to serve an exemplary or paradigmatic function? And finally, whose catastrophe is heard and whose catastrophe remains silenced? In thinking through these last questions http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Editor's Column: Witnessing Catastrophe, Interpreting Catastrophe

The Comparatist , Volume 41 – Nov 1, 2017

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887
Publisher site
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Abstract

Editor ’ s Column Witnessing Catastrophe, Interpreting Catastrophe This issue focuses on catastrophe. It is a concept that calls out for a comparative approach; it compels and challenges us to think in an inter- and cross-­ isciplinary fashion. Thinking catastrophe today raises multiple questions. What constitutes a catastrophe? Is catastrophe another name for human tragedy, something to be feared and avoided? Or is it, from the perspective of neoliberalism, an opportunity to be exploited? Etymologically, catastrophe means an “overturning, sudden turn, conclusion” (OED), from the Greek kata, meaning “down” and strephein, or “turn.” How do we interpret and bear witness to a catastrophe, to a sudden upheaval in the norm that creates a break with the interpretive habits through which we make sense of that norm? We might ask whether a humanist framework is equipped to do justice to the topic of catastrophe. Does climate change call for rethinking catastrophe after the bio-­ enetic age of the Anthropocene, through a non-­ uman perg spective, if such a thing is possible? What historical catastrophes continue to serve an exemplary or paradigmatic function? And finally, whose catastrophe is heard and whose catastrophe remains silenced? In thinking through these last questions

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 1, 2017

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