The Mother's Day Protest and Other Fictocritical Essays release_t5fpxcc5y5cxti532hz4fombka

by Stephen Rowman, Littlefield

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Reviewed by Therese Davis HE MOTHER'S DAY PROTEST AND OTHER FICTOCRITICAL ESSAYS BY STEPHEN Muecke is the latest contribution to Rowman and Littlefield's series Place, Memory and Affect. The aim of this series is 'to forge an agenda for new approaches to the edgy relations of people and place within the transnational global cultures of the twenty-first century and beyond'. This collection of Muecke's essays offers a unique geo-philosophical, non-humanist approach to these relations, firmly planted in discussion of a wild array of places, events and things. Their insights into issues of climate change, indigeneity, protest, colonial history, critique and more engage readers in new ways with debates in Indigenous Studies, Environmental Humanities, History and Philosophy. The collection begins with an introduction titled 'What is fictocriticism?' In Muecke's inimitable style, however, he quickly defers this existential question by focussing instead on the question of what can fictocriticism do (xi). This allows him to discuss the scope of fictocriticism, which we learn is practised not only in literary studies, a site where it is often narrowly pigeonholed, but also across a broad range of disciplines, from archaeology to anthropology, history and science and technology studies. Muecke also suggests that the powers of fictocriticism can be seen in operation outside the academy in unexpected places such as the courtroom or the best-selling works of a theoretical physicist. Performativity is closely related to what Muecke calls 'something of a principle of fictocriticism', that is a writer telling how she has come to know something rather than displaying what she has come to know. He aligns this critical approach with traditions of thinking that refuse mastery (Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes). And building on anthropologist Michael Taussig's notion of the mastery of non-mastery (xiv), he explains how this tricky work of non-mastery involves techniques such as finding the right tone, 'a critical proximity, as opposed to critical distance' (xiv); becoming entangled with the material T
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