They're all part of the paper I'll be giving in Edinburgh at the 16th Triennial Conference of the International Society for the Study of Time. Here's the proposal I sent:
Nostalgia in the Post-Apocalypse:
the Anthropocene in Whitehead’s Zone One and Hurston’s “Zombies”
“First he is carried past the house where he lived. This is always done. Must be. If the victim were not taken past his former house, later on he would recognize it and return. But once he is taken past, it is gone from his consciousness forever. It is as if it never existed for him.” -Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston
“The last time he saw his childhood home was on Last Night. It, too, had looked normal from the outside, in that new meaning of normal that signified resemblance to the time before the flood. Normal meant ‘the past.’ Normal was the unbroken idyll of life before.” -Zone One by Colson Whitehead
In Zone One by Colson Whitehead and Zora Neale Hurston’s Tell My Horse, humans are forced to confront the unhuman zombies who cannot return to a human (or “normal”) way of life. In turn, the zombies in each text must confront their home or a familiar place as part of becoming or being a zombie. In this conference paper, I intend to examine two types of nostalgia as defined by Svetlana Boym in The Future of Nostalgia. Restorative nostalgia emphasizes rebuilding the lost home and memory gaps, while reflective nostalgia focusses on the longing and loss of remembrance. I propose that Whitehead’s Zone One is an example of restorative nostalgia, while Hurston’s chapter “Zombies” in Tell My Horse is an example of reflective nostalgia – but that both together are an example of how nostalgia in the post-apocalypse (and post-anthropocene) is a longing for a temporal and psychological place. Freud’s Mourning and Melancholia complicates reflective nostalgia further. Boym explains: “Reflective nostalgia is a form of deep mourning that performs a labor of grief both through pondering pain and through play that points to the future” (55). Whitehead and Hurston’s texts are examples of mourning and melancholia pushed past the limit of human experience to that of the post-apocalyptic zombie and survivor. How does this change in psychoanalytic circumstances complicate nostalgia? What happens when the “play that points to the future” is a post-apocalyptic future?