ABSTRACT. American post-apocalyptic fiction appears to employ the concepts of rebuilding and recolonizing, and, indirectly, the notion of cultural negotiation, all of which rely on degrees of difference from an original state of spatiality. Novels such as Harry H. Frank’s Alas, Babylon, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Walter M. Miller Jr.’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, seem to place characters in a debuilt geography, a space that contains mere traces of historicality and sociality. This geography exists in a state of quasi-familiarity, a post-apocalyptic palimpsest in which everyone appears to be in a perpetual state of migration towards recolonizing and rebuilding a familiar spatiality. The aforementioned narratives revolve around the antipodal pairs of debuilding-rebuilding and decolonizing-recolonizing, describing “crisis heterotopias” (as defined by Foucault), with each particular narrative appearing to represent a different archetype of spatiality. However, I argue that these fictional spaces effectively push the boundaries of Foucault’s crisis heterotopias, treading into a distinct version of Edward Soja’s Thirdspace instead.

Keywords: American post-apocalyptic; anti-apocalyptic; Edward Soja; Fourthspace; Heterotopias; Thirdspace

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West University of Timișoara,
Doctoral School of Arts and Humanities;
Timișoara, Romania

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