Contemporary Ruins, Fragments of the Lives of Others, Critical Intimacies In and Out of Comfort Zones
The so-called refugee crisis has triggered numerous literary and cultural responses. Instead of confining themselves to representations of monstrous disasters that can only be deplored from a distance, these responses are often organized around testimonies and objects belonging to refugees. Reflecting on these practices, this essay focuses on “global Athens” and its multiple contemporary ruins, placing emphasis on the fact that ruins spell out the conditions of an afterlife of people and spaces. It tackles Derrida’s definition of unconditional hospitality and its various receptions, as well as Nancy’s understanding of being-with, in order to probe when and how a critical intimacy (namely a close encounter without fusion, and the opening of an in-between space) with the foreigner can take place.
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