“Each consciousness pursues the death of the other.” These words, written by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in 1807, were what first inspired the concept “the other.” “The Other,” according to Hegel, begins first as a power struggle between two individuals or consciousnesses. The strongest one wins and is allowed to become the norm.
This is a universal truth that any minority will find a grain of truth in. Whether we are aware of it or not, it affects all aspects of human life. As a left-handed, I find that there are “normal” tools and “lefty” tools (which are much harder to get a hold of and much more expensive!). For homosexuals, there is “normal” marriage versus “gay” marriage, or “straight” people versus “gay” (or perhaps crooked?) people. Even a small thing such as simple terminology can reveal our own thoughts on what is “normal” and “different.” All hierarchies and power structures will claim there must be one norm for simplicity’s sake. Sometimes this is the case. Sometimes it is a poor excuse for blatant discrimination. The task for any person deeper than a puddle is to be able to differentiate between the two.
The idea of “the other” has had a very strong impact on academia since Hegel’s time, and nowadays it is impossible to talk about fields such as literature, feminism or political science without reflecting on power structures. New Narratives reflects strongly on these power structures in its questioning of the canon and what defines good literature. And now, we have some contributors who would like to share even more thoughts on the subject.
Welcome to New Narratives’ second publication.
Karina Mahan (editor-in-chief)