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Abstract

In her article "Japanese Science Fiction and Conceptions of the (Human) Subject" Maria Poulaki discusses the crisis that almost all essentialist categorizations have been facing in late modernity, in the context of which science fiction texts offer fertile ground to investigate the transitions brought about with the intensified invasion of the "human self" by its "nonhuman other." The analysis of a Japanese science fiction film draws a seemingly paradoxical connection between the Japanese version of modernity and self-identity with the relevant "Western" articulations found in the work of Bruno Latour and Alain Badiou. This connection points at a broader re-conceptualization of subjectivities beyond "human identity" and towards a collective conception of the self, which circulates in cultural texts and philosophical discourses that challenge the borders between East and West, humans and nonhumans. Japaneseness has been associated with a multiple conception of the self as part of the cosmos; such a conception has also been a core axis of the post-1980s "ontological turn" in French philosophy. Poulaki examines the nonmodern origins of both these visions of the relationship between self and other, as well as the way in which they reveal the presence of non-individual dynamics that transgress the geopolitical borders of modernity and create a continuum between cultural anthropology and ontology.

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