Professor Tina Chanter is Head of School of Humanities at Kingston University, London. Her research currently focuses on questions of aesthetics and politics. Recent publications have interrogated the philosophical, psychoanalytic and literary reception of Sophocles’ tragic heroine Antigone, an analysis of abjection in contemporary, independent film, and the need to reflect on how to theorise gender in a manner that explores its intrinsic and complex relationship to other categories such as race, class and sexuality. Her work is informed by figures such as Levinas, Derrida, Irigaray, Kristeva, and Rancière. While it draws on these philosophical figures, and retains a disciplinary basis in philosophy, my work has become increasingly interdisciplinary.
The present is filled with catastrophe and apocalypticism. A certain phrase has been deployed and redeployed in summarising the condition we find ourselves in: it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. While this phrase is typically used to crystallise capitalist realism, the idea that there is no alternative to capitalism, it also distils another truth: the end of the world has become the very air that we breathe.
As compelling as the discourse on apocalypticism might be it makes one fundamental mistake: it colludes with the very sense of impending catastrophe that it is usually trying to critique or to use as a means to mobilise a political movement. In what follows, I want to discussthe relation between catastrophe and apocalypse, and to look at what it would mean to shift the emphasis on the terms. I don’t mean to restate that catastrophe and apocalypse mean different things for its own sake but rather to emphasise that from the perspective of a postnihilist praxis we are neither catastrophic nor apocalyptic but living within the time of catastrophe as post-apocalyptic survivors. Read More