Relasionele ontologie en posthumanistiese subjektiwiteit in Pieter Odendaal se poësiedebuut




relational ontology, posthuman subjectivity , relationality, asof geen berge ooit hier gewoon het nie, Pieter Odendaal, Rosi Braidotti, Bruno Latour


In Pieter Odendaal’s debut, asof geen berge ooit hier gewoon het nie (as if no mountains ever lived here), the poet expands the complex question “re mang?” (who are we?) into an important theme and utilises it as a structural element by building the different sections of the volume around various conceptions of ‘us’. In this article, I argue that Odendaal’s poetry should be read in terms of relational ontology, seeing as relationality and interconnectedness are important themes in the text. The poetry creatively introduces a posthumanist way of looking at subjectivity and intersubjectivity. The text problematises the position of humankind on earth and in the larger universe, and asks questions regarding the basic ways in which we understand the concept of ‘us’, our existence and the ways in which we relate to every other inhabitant of the planet (human or non-human; living or non-living). In the process the Cartesian view of humankind is deconstructed and the human’s ontological position is decentralised. Everything on earth is placed on equal ontological footing as part of a never-ending network of interactions, associations, and influences. This kind of posthumanist and relational ontological thinking is foregrounded throughout asof geen berge ooit hier gewoon het nie. I analyse this foregrounding in poems which explore the following themes and topics: interpersonal relationships between people that experience life differently because of differing backgrounds (but also between family members and lovers); the relationship between humans and nature (in the broadest sense of the word); time, and the inevitability of finitude and death that connects everything; and the difficulty of dialogue aimed at finding justice, reconciliation, acceptance and appreciation, by means of a realisation of posthuman interdependence.


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Author Biography

Janien Linde, Northwest University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Janien Linde is senior lektor in die vakgroep Afrikaans en Nederlands, Fakulteit Geesteswetenskappe, Noordwes Universiteit, Potchefstroom, Suid-Afrika. Haar navorsing handel oor relasionaliteit, performatiwiteit, identiteit en postkritiek. 


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How to Cite

Linde, J. (2022). Relasionele ontologie en posthumanistiese subjektiwiteit in Pieter Odendaal se poësiedebuut. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 59(1), 88–97.



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