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Editor: Vladimir Biti
Has thinking, working and teaching in terms of national literatures become obsolete in today’s globalized world of hyphenated languages, literatures and cultures? Since the rise of modern European national philologies coincided with the emergence of modern European nation-states, does the dissolution of the latter in the European supranational unity imply the suspension of the former? Or we must, on the contrary, consider the fact that today’s Europe is not only postnational but, in its re-nationalized East-Central-European part, post-multinational as well, i.e., emerging out of the breakdown of the postimperial state formations such as the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia?
The Politics of Hi/storytelling in Post-imperial Europe
Author: Vladimir Biti
With the Treaty of Versailles, the Western nation-state powers introduced into the East Central European region the principle of national self-determination. This principle was buttressed by frustrated native elites who regarded the establishment of their respective nation-states as a welcome opportunity for their own affirmation. They desired sovereignty but were prevented from accomplishing it by their multiple dispossession. National elites started to blame each other for this humiliating condition. The successor states were dispossessed of power, territories, and glory. The new nation-states were frustrated by their devastating condition. The dispersed Jews were left without the imperial protection. This embarrassing state gave rise to collective (historical) and individual (fictional) narratives of dispossession. This volume investigates their intended and unintended interaction.

Contributors are: Davor Beganović, Vladimir Biti, Zrinka Božić-Blanuša, Marko Juvan, Bernarda Katušić, Nataša Kovačević, Petr Kučera, Aleksandar Mijatović, Guido Snel, and Stijn Vervaet.
Author: Vladimir Biti
After the First World War, East Central Europe underwent an extensive geopolitical reconfiguration, resulting in highly turbulent environments in which political sacrificial narratives found a breeding ground. They engaged various groups’ experiences of dispossession, energizing them for the wars against their ‘perpetrators’. By knitting together their frustrations and thus creating new foundational myths, these narratives introduced new imagined communities. Their mutual competition established a typically post-imperial traumatic constellation that generated discontent, frustrations and anxieties. Within the various constituencies that structured it through their interaction, this book focuses on literary narratives of dispossession, which, placed at its nodes, develop much subtler technologies than their political counterparts. They are interpreted as individual and clandestine oppositions to the homogenizing pattern of public narratives.

In: Krieg sichten
In: Claiming the Dispossession
In: Claiming the Dispossession
In: Claiming the Dispossession
In: Claiming the Dispossession
In: Literature for Europe?
Author: Vladimir Biti

My point of departure is Rancière’s distinction between the police (la police) and politics (la politique), the first meaning an institutional order that establishes the borders of the political and the second an operation that persistently reconfigures this order in the name of equality. I interpret theory as the conflictual meeting ground of the consensual orientation of the police and the dissensual orientation of politics. It simultaneously precludes and enables emancipation, although it consistently denies the preclusion. This is why the policing dimension of its activity comes to the fore only retroactively. The case in point is ‘the death of Theory’ around 2000, which was accompanied by the discovery of its ‘terrorist character.’ As the first genealogies that followed this ‘death,’ Compagnon’s Le Démon de la théorie (1998) and Rabaté’s The Future of Theory (2002), point out, the fascination with it from 1965 to 1980 was induced by its revolutionary spirit. Yet both Compagnon and Rabaté, as if cautioned by the failed burials of modernism and the literary author that were proclaimed several decades ago, refuse to speak of the passing of theory by suggesting instead its reconfiguration. Elliott and Attridge in their volume Theory after ‘Theory’ (2011) claim that post-theory re-emerges precisely through the challenging of intellectual stances that were characteristic of Theory. Does this challenge imply the abandonment of Theory’s revolutionary stance too? Or should this stance be resumed in post-theory? If so, how can post-theoretical politics resist the post-theoretical police? I argue that post-theory ought to avoid the consensual manner of the police that aims at the sovereignty of the theorist and/or the subject of his/her interest by following the dissensual manner of politics that insists on the mutually dependent freedom of both constituents.

In: Policing Literary Theory