Guest lecture by Johannes D. Kaminski: Getting Big Things Done. The Nightmare of Engineered Futures in Contemporary Sci-Fi

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The Institute of World Literature of the Slovak Academy of Sciences invites you to the guest lecture by Johannes D. Kaminski entitled Getting Big Things Done: The Nightmare of Engineered Futures in Contemporary Sci-Fi.

WHEN: Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 2:00pm

WHERE: Institute of World Literature SAS
Dúbravská cesta 9, Bratislava

Technological innovations are not just the cause of the climate crisis, but will also become its solution. This popular idea is explored in contemporary sci-fi novels. As the planet is left in ruins, humanity will thrust itself into Space Age and radically adapt to new circumstances – including new kinds of social bonding and even the change of phenotypical appearance. The phantasma of successful top-down leadership for the further development of the homo sapiens features prominently in Liu Cixin’s Trisolaristrilogy (2005-2010) and Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves (2015). I read these texts as powerful eulogies of technocratic solutions, as we face unprecedented challenge with regard to our livelihoods. Possibly, the novels’ authoritarian ethics portray the future of international governance accurately, as resource scarcity will not necessarily lead to more sustainable lifeforms, as many eco-critics maintain, but to a competitive race to secure privilege and comfort.

Selected publications
Edited volume: Erotic Literature in Translation and Adaption. Oxford: Legenda 2018.
Articles: “Punctuation, Exclamation and Tears: The Sorrows of Young Werther in Japanese and Chinese Translation (1889-1922).” Comparative Critical Studies 14.1 (2017), 29-48.
“Toward a Maoist Dream of the Red Chamber: Or, How Baoyu and Daiyu Became Rebels Against Feudalism.” Journal of Chinese Humanities 3 (2017), 177-202.
“The Euphemistic Gaze: Observing Destruction Through Goethe’s Eyes.” Monatshefte 108.2 (2016), 171-184.
Currently in review: “From the Breakdown of Social Norms to Improvised Justice, as Imagined in Contemporary Preparedness Novels.” Journal of American Studies [forthcoming].

Short biography of Johannes D. Kaminski
2010: PhD in Oxford with a dissertation on Goethe’s novels
2012-2015: British Academy PD Fellow at Cambridge
2015-2017: Academia Sinica PD Fellow in Taipei, Taiwan
2018-2020: Marie Curie PD Fellow at University of Vienna,
Project: “Anthropocene World Literature”