Alana Vincent

Associate Professor für Jüdische Philosophie, Religion und Vorstellungskraft, University of Chester, UK

Aufenthalt am Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
April‒Juli 2019

Forschungsthema am Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Religious Positioning, Worldbuilding, and the Political Imagination«

Strange as the claim may appear on its face, the narrative structure of dystopias is inherently, deceptively optimistic. This optimism is usually conveyed even before a reader opens the book, by means of marketing which clearly labels the story as a dystopia: readers are forewarned upon their first encounter with the political structure of the narrative that it is abnormal. The theme of the current wave of dystopian fiction is the struggle back towards normalcy, and that struggle is usually successful.
This culture of relentless optimism functions as a form of religious positioning; it derives, in part, from the Christian theodicy of felix culpa. What I am suggesting in this project is that felix culpa no longer functions as a theodicy—a limited intervention into a specific philosophical or theological debate about the origin and purpose of evil in a world purportedly managed by a good and just creator—but is, instead, a powerful metanarrative, a story-form which structures our expectations of reality, whether or not we subscribe to the particular theological system from whence it originated. Approaching the problem of optimism through the lens of dystopian fiction thus shines a clear light on how religious positioning functions in the sphere of literature and the imagination.
What is at stake in identifying this relentless political optimism as a specifically theological metanarrative, with a traceable religious genealogy, is that it highlights its contingency: humans are not by nature incapable of considering the serious, lasting, painful consequences of our political action, but we have constructed our cultural imaginary precisely to insulate us from any obligation to do so. By curtailing our engagement with past disasters, such as the Holocaust, beyond a strictly regimented memory culture which is itself interpreted through a religious metanarrative that constrains the possibilities of the future, we have systematically deprived ourselves of language for describing, much less addressing the dilemmas of our present. This project, then, constitutes an attempt to restore language by de-naturalising the religiously inflected metanarrative which governs cultural production. (Alana Vincent)

Alana Vincent folgt einer Einladung von Nina Fischer (Projektkoordinatorin LOEWE-Forschungsschwerpunkt »Religiöse Positionierung«), Christian Wiese (Professor für Jüdische Religionsphilosophie an der Goethe-Universität) und dem an der Universität angesiedelten LOEWE-Schwerpunkt: »Religiöse Positionierung. Modalitäten und Konstellationen in jüdischen, christlichen und islamischen Kontexten«.

Wissenschaftliches Profil von Alana Vincent

Alana Vincent ist Associate Professor für Jüdische Philosophie, Religion und die Vorstellungskraft an der University of Chester. Sie promovierte 2010 an der University of Glasgow mit einer vergleichenden Studie über die Erinnerungspraktiken im Zusammenhang mit dem Ersten Weltkrieg und dem Holocaust in Kanada. Derzeit arbeitet sie in der Kontinentalphilosophie der Religion und des modernen jüdischen Denkens, wobei sie sich auf die Rolle konzentriert, die der imaginative Raum der »säkularen« Kultur (Literatur, Kunst, Film) bei der Förderung des Dialogs zwischen Judentum und Christentum spielt.

Weitere Informationen zu Alana Vincent finden Sie hier.

Religion und Kunst, jüdisch-christlicher Dialog, Post-Holocaust Denken, Kulturelles Gedächtnis

Veröffentlichungen (Auswahl):
  1. »Dissenting from Redemption: Judaism and Political Theology«, in: European Judaism, 17/1 (2017).
  2. »The Work of Creation: Image, Idolatry, and Jewish Discourse in Theology and the Arts«, in: Literature & Theology, 30/4 (2016).
  3. (Hrsg. zusammen mit Elena Namli und Jayne Svenungsson) Jewish Thought, Utopia, and Revolution, Amsterdam: Rodopi 2014.
  4. Making Memory: Jewish and Christian Explorations in Monument, Narrative and Liturgy, Eugene OR: Pickwick Press 2013.