The Center for Cross-Cultural Studies aims to contribute to further understanding of cultures by studying and comparing various cultures of the world including languages and literatures of the East and the West. To achieve this purpose, various projects are being carried out. The Center has published an academic journal, “Cross-Cultural Studies” working on its own field research on comparative cultures, and issued a series of books with the results of the study on the relevant subject. The journal is listed on the KCI of National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF)(since 1994).
Guillermo del Toro’s 2017 film, The Shape of Water, tells an unconventional love story between a mute woman and an amphibious creature from the Amazon. Many critics illuminate the individuals of sexual, racial and social minority involved in the rescue plan of this creature, and highlight their affective solidarity. In addition to these analyses, this study contributes an ecological interpretation of the film by focusing on the identity of the non-human being itself. The violent acts of detention and torture that were imposed upon this creature, including its capture in the Amazon and shipment to the U.S., can be read as an allegory to “ecocide,” which is executed in the name of development and progress, and is embedded with the idea that humans and nature should be separated. While putting contemporary conceptions of anthropocentrism into question, del Toro shapes an alternative image of this ecologic idea through a romance drama. The intimate love between a human and non-human creature signifies the possibility for unlimited interaction, communication and negotiation between different species, and symbolizes the Amazonian worldview, which emphasizes co-existence. As a result, The Shape of Water suggests the need to create a new kind of relationship between humans and humans, humans and non-humans, and humans and nature.
This essay starts by addressing the need for a theoretical transition of feminism based on social constructionism. Judith Butler’s Foucaudian discursive constructionism discloses the dangers of evaporating nature, material, and body into discourse by deconstructing the sex/gender distinction, and repositioning sex as the effects of gender. In order to correct this problem, I argue, we need to propose a new theoretical paradigm called, “material turn,” in which discourse and material are not opposed, and the agency and activity of material are acknowledged without sacrificing the insights of discursive constructionism. This paper finds the existence of this possibility in Luce Irigaray’s conception of sexual difference, and Elizabeth Grosz’s innovative combination of Irigaray’s theory with Charles Darwin’s conception of sexual selection. These two arguments can serve as powerful theoretical supports for the transition to a posthuman feminism that goes beyond humanism tied to social constructionism. In the so-called Anthropocene era, where the human is seen to be the cause of the extinction of all lives on the Earth, feminism needs to reformulate itself in order to contribute to the survival and sustainability of the Earth through the establishment of equal relationships among all life species as well as within human groups.
We examine the natural history of life which Dawkins has constructed based on the concept of the gene. We argue that Dawkins has committed various fallacies and errors in the making of this history. These errors occurred when he regarded the gene as the bearer of the identity which replicates itself, and when he grafted it to the idea of evolution, which documents the history of difference. Like all other languages, the language of life consists of a finite alphabet. As we obtain an infinite number of written texts out of a finite alphabet, the various structures and functions of the phenomena of life can be recorded by this alphabet of life.
The monopoly of the gene over life has been disseminated and stratified through the whole text of the phenomena of life. The clear and distinct encounter of the notion of the gene with what it refers to is deferred again. These are the dual functions of difference and deferral which différance produces in the text of life. Rather than bestowing the monopoly of life to the gene, it would be more reasonable to acknowledge the division of labor among DNA, RNA, proteins, cells, organs, and other levels of organisms, and therefor distribute life more equally among these various levels. Out of this approach, we obtain a new picture that life is not a lineal and serial processor with a single-track origin that only stems from genes, but is rather a non-lineal parallel-distributed processor. The phenomena of life can be interpreted as the work of this processing. In terms of complicated networks, the processors of life are interconnected, communicated, scattered, merged, and evolved in conjunction with and in opposition to one another. Both the genes and we, ourselves, stem from this processing that comes about due to the weaving and unravelling of these texts and networks of life.