Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Literatures of Anti-Communism

Benjamin Kohlmann and I have edited a special issue of Literature and History called 'Literatures of Anti-Communism' which is out now. The issue contains essays by Tyrus Miller, Marina MacKay, Ben Harker and Nick Hubble, as well as an introduction by Benjamin and me. Here's how we start our introduction:
Some two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, this special issue reflects on the literary and cultural aspects of one of the twentieth century's most influential and under-theorised political orientations. Anti-communism is difficult to conceptualise because it brings together a diverse grouping of writers and thinkers who in many cases seem to have little else in common. Taken together, the contributions to this special issue argue that we should not attempt to locate anti-communism on a left-right spectrum as it has inspired anarchists, social democrats, free-market fundamentalists, and fascists in equal measure. The question of whether anti-communism constitutes a coherent ‘ideology’ is muddied by the fact that it frequently advertised itself as the alternative not simply to communist ideology, but to ideology as such. Anti-communists often shared an attitude analyzed by Raymond Williams, insisting that ‘[s]ensible people rely on experience, or have a philosophy; silly people rely on ideology’. But perhaps this self-conscious rhetoric of de-politicization is the very thing that ensured anti-communism's success as an ideology, and that helps to explain its portability across diverse national contexts and its adaptability to a wide range of political and cultural concerns. 
Further details of the issue are online here

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