The OF Blog: A possibly controversial thought (well, for some Americans, I suppose)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A possibly controversial thought (well, for some Americans, I suppose)

Still working on the outline for a lengthy article on "international" SF (I think the quotes will be necessary, the more I think about it.  News at eleven, or something).  Wondering if taking a neo-Marxist approach toward surveying the field might yield some interesting discussion topics.  In particular, the issue of cultural dynamics seen in the form of cultural/political hegemony and the ways said hegemony might be resisted in literary form.  Might wait until another time to explore this possibility, but I think there might be something to it.  Wonder what Todorov might have made of all this.

And for those who are baffled by the above paragraph, just know that I believe that utilizing neo-Marxist critiques of material culture(s) is not only valid, but often invaluable in attempting to understand how cultural (ex)change takes place.  Again, more news at eleven or something.  Right now, it's probably a good idea to sleep, lest I take this musing a bit too far down the dogma path...

9 comments:

Alec said...

What exactly do you mean by neo-Marxist? Are we talking critical theory a la Habermas here or an earlier approach put forward by the Frankfurt school? Either way, I would indeed be curious to see a piece on 'international' spec fic through this optic. I wish you the best of luck though, you are going to need it.

Larry said...

More of an amalgam of New Left, New Critical Theory, and microhistories than anything truly doctrinal. Don't know if I'll do more than refer to it in the piece I'm outlining now, but we'll see...

Fabio Fernandes said...

I´m eager to read it. I´m also fond of neo-Marxist studies.

Larry said...

Well, the working title at the moment is "The Problem of 'International SF'". Trying to think about how to concisely cover issues of how "SF" may be a part of a new form of cultural imperialism and that there might be submergence of national concerns in a perceived "global" form. Still very tangled right now. Don't know if I'll have it ready tonight for Charles to read/edit for the Nebula blog.

Eddie said...

"International SF" seems to me to be a label much like "World music." "World music" doesn't mean music from around the world, and "International SF" doesn't mean non-American SF. World music is that outside a particular western paradigm, and it seems to me that International SF really means "SF not written in English."

Obviously the language something is written in is a barrier for the monolingual, but beyond that there are clearly a lot of cultural politics going on in how its treated, even in translation, in the Anglo world. Would really look forward to reading something, Larry.

Larry said...

Eddie,

You anticipate many of the questions I raised in the article I just submitted. In fact, I probably could have been more concise and said exactly what you did, but the piece was meant to be more one raising questions than trying to find solutions. But I do agree that the term is overly broad...and that there is a bit of condensation going on when it's used, albeit mostly unintentional and subconscious.

Eddie said...

In fact, your poll kind of makes the point that International SF is a euphemism :P. The last option is "only care bout 'Merica and Britain." It should, of course, be "Merica, Britain, Australia, Canada, NZ, South Africa, Jamaica...."

Larry said...

Yes, but I deliberately worded it that way to reflect those who presume Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian authors are just parts of the US/UK scenes.

Zaldar said...

Heh shall we touch on your political beliefs here? Really cultural imperialism doesn't bother me that much. But then I believe in competition. Ideas compete just like things in business. The best idea is the one that wins. With society deciding which one is best. Being much much more of an economic conservative than you (so much now that I don't think I can vote for Obama in 2012) I don't see much of anything from the new left or neo-marist being much worth. The best thing on those lines I read recently was the capitalist manifesto by Zakaria.

Still when I get a chance between job reading and fun I do hope to check out your posts on international sci-fi and comment. The irony of a catholic using schools that are violently opposed to any religion (oopiate of the masses anyone) is rather large though.

But then you do read proust thankfully you don't have that stored with your catholic stuff...(I can't stand him way to depressing, life does have meaning and an exit yes I know I mixed metaphors there but the differences between proust and sarte are no more than skin deep)

 
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