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The Darwinian Metaphor. From Léon Daudet to Hubert Sauper

Vol.2, No. 1, September 2006
Deutsch | français

Alain DENEAULT (CCEAE, Université de Montréal)

Charles Darwin’s scientific theory has often served as a political metaphor to justify (or denounce) Europe’s brutal expansionism to other continents. As Sven Lindquist suggests, this may be due to the fact that Darwin himself was initially inspired by political and not scientific observations. Cinematographically exploring the realm of Darwinian semantics, filmmaker Hubert Sauper distinguishes no fewer than eleven different layers of meaning. Both supporters and opponents of Darwin have often tried to limit his major work, The Origin of Species, to the scientific domain. This is in vain, however, as the work’s non-scientific element continues to transcend the scientific, given the place of The Origin of Species in the contingencies of a history which can not be reduced to mere biological considerations.