Without Alibi

Without Alibi

This book brings together for the first time five recent essays by Jacques Derrida, which advance his reflections on many issues: lying, perjury, forgiveness, confession, the profession of faith, and, most recently, cruelty, sovereignty, and capital punishment. Strongly linked by their attention to "performatives" and the "as if," the essays show the necessity of thinking beyond the category of acts that are possible for a subject. Derrida argues forcefully that thought must engage with the im-possible, that is, the order of the unforeseeable event, the absolute future still to come. This acute awareness of the limits of performative programs informs the essays throughout and attunes them closely to events of a world undergoing "globalization." The first essay, "History of the Lie," reviews some classic and modern definitions of the lie (Augustine, Rousseau, Kant, Koyré, Arendt), while renewing questions about what is called lying, as distinguished from other forms of nontruth. This inventive analysis is followed by "Typewriter Ribbon," which examines at length the famous lie recounted by Rousseau in his Confessions, when he perjured himself by accusing another of his own crime. Paul de Man's reading of this textual event is at the center of Derrida's patient, at times seriously funny analyses. "Le parjure, Perhaps" engages with a remarkable novel by Henri Thomas that fictionalizes the charge of perjury brought against Paul de Man in the 1950s. Derrida's extraordinary fineness as a reader and thinker of fiction here treats, to profound effect, the "fatal experience of perjury." The two final essays, "The University Without Condition" and "Psychoanalysis Searches the States of Its Soul," address the institutions of the university and of psychoanalysis as sites from which to resist and deconstruct the nontruth or phantasm of sovereignty. For the university, the principle of truth remains at the core of its resistance; for psychoanalysis, there is the obligation to remain true to what may be, Derrida suggests, its specific insight: into psychic cruelty. Resistance to the sovereign cruelty of the death penalty is just one of the stakes indicated by the last essay, which is the text of a keynote address to the "States General of Psychoanalysis" held in Paris, July 2000. Especially for this volume, Derrida has written "Provocation: Forewords," which reflects on the title Without Alibi while taking up questions about relations between deconstruction and America. This essay-foreword also responds to the event of this book, which Peggy Kamuf in her introduction presents as event of resistance. Without Alibi joins two other books by Derrida that Kamuf has translated for Stanford University Press: Points . . .: Interviews, 1974-1994 (1994) and Resistances of Psychoanalysis (1998).

For the Love of Psychoanalysis

The Play of Chance in Freud and Derrida

For the Love of Psychoanalysis

For the Love of Psychoanalysis is a book about what exceeds or resists calculation—in life and in death. Rottenberg examines what emerges from the difference between psychoanalysis and philosophy. Part I, “Freuderrida,” announces a non-traditional Freud: a Freud associated not with sexuality, repression, unconsciousness, and symbolization, but with accidents and chance. Looking at accidents both in and of Freud’s writing, Rottenberg elaborates the unexpected insights that both produce and disrupt our received ideas of psychoanalytic theory. Whether this disruption is figured as a foreign body, as traumatic temporality, as spatial unlocatability, or as the death drive, it points to something that is neither simply inside nor simply outside the psyche, neither psychically nor materially determined. Whereas the close reading of Freud leaves us open to the accidents of psychoanalytic writing, Part II, “Freuderrida,” addresses itself to what transports us back and limits the openness of our horizon. Here the example par excellence is the death penalty and the cruelty of its calculating decision. If “Freuderrida” insists on the death penalty, if it returns to it compulsively, it is not only because its calculating drive is inseparable from the history of reason as philosophical reason; it is also because the death penalty provides us with one of the most spectacular and spectacularly obscene expressions of Freud’s death drive. Written with rigor, elegance, and wit, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in Freud, Derrida, and the many critical debates to which their thought gives rise.

Derrida and the Time of the Political

Derrida and the Time of the Political

An intellectual event, Derrida and the Time of the Political marks the first time since Jacques Derrida’s death in 2004 that leading scholars have come together to critically assess the philosopher’s political and ethical writings. Skepticism about the import of deconstruction for political thought has been widespread among American critics since Derrida’s work became widely available in English in the late 1970s. While Derrida expounded political and ethical themes from the late 1980s on, there has been relatively little Anglo-American analysis of that later work or its relation to the philosopher’s entire corpus. Filling a critical gap, this volume provides multiple perspectives on the political turn in Derrida’s work, showing how deconstruction bears on political theory and real-world politics. The contributors include distinguished scholars of deconstruction whose thinking developed in close proximity to Derrida’s, as well as leading political theorists and philosophers who engage Derrida’s thought from further afield. The volume opens with a substantial introduction in which Pheng Cheah and Suzanne Guerlac survey Derrida’s entire corpus and position his later work in relation to it. The remaining essays address the concerns that arise out of Derrida’s analysis of politics and the conditions of the political, such as the meaning and scope of democracy, the limits of sovereignty, the relationship between the ethical and the political, the nature of responsibility, the possibility for committed political action, the implications of deconstructive thought for non-Western politics, and the future of nationalism in an era of globalization and declining state sovereignty. The collection is framed by original contributions from Hélène Cixous and Judith Butler. Contributors. Étienne Balibar, Geoffrey Bennington, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, Pheng Cheah, Hélène Cixous, Rodolphe Gasché, Suzanne Guerlac, Marcel Hénaff, Martin Jay, Anne Norton, Jacques Rancière, Soraya Tlatli, Satoshi Ukai

The Derrida Dictionary

The Derrida Dictionary

The Derrida Dictionary is a comprehensive and accessible guide to the world of Jacques Derrida, the founder of deconstruction and one of the most important and influential European thinkers of the twentieth century. Meticulously researched and extensively cross-referenced, this unique book covers all his major works, ideas and influences and provides a firm grounding in the central themes of Derrida's thought. Students will discover a wealth of useful information, analysis and criticism. A-Z entries include clear definitions of all the key terms used in Derrida's writings and detailed synopses of his key works. The Dictionary also includes entries on Derrida's major philosophical influences and those he engaged with, such as Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Freud, Heidegger, Foucault, Lacan and Levinas. It covers everything that is essential to a sound understanding of Derrida's philosophy, offering clear and accessible explanations of often complex terminology. The Derrida Dictionary is the ideal resource for anyone reading or studying Derrida, deconstruction or modern European philosophy more generally.

The Dying Body as a Lived Experience

The Dying Body as a Lived Experience

The anxiety over death persists in everyday life- though often denied or repressed- lingering as an unconscious worry or intuition that typically seems to compromise one’s feelings of well-being and experience in a range of areas; coming out often as malaise, depression, and anger in much conduct. If one accepts the cliché that life is preparation for death, we must accept that the lived experience of the dying body is not highlighted merely in obvious cases of deterioration such as in the ageing or diseased body, but in everyday life as a normal phenomenon. This book proposes that sensitivity to this dimension can empower us to develop creative relationships to the vulnerability of others and to ourselves as well. Part One lays the groundwork for a study of the ways the aura and fear of death recurs as a constant premonition in life and how people try to deal with this uneasiness. Part Two then goes on to apply this focus to particular concerns and problems such as dementia, depression, aging, retirement, and a range of anxieties, frustrations and aggressions. The Dying Body as Lived Experience will be of interest to a wide interdisciplinary audience in the health sciences, in the sociology of health and illness, philosophy, bioethics and in the expanding field of medical humanities.

Reading Theories in Contemporary Fiction

Reading Theories in Contemporary Fiction

Even after the upheavals wrought by Theory, literary criticism has generally ignored the act and experience of reading itself, proceeding as though something so fundamental to our experience of texts could be taken for granted. Reading Theories in Contemporary Fiction draws on deconstruction and the thought of Jacques Derrida to explore the ways in which contemporary fiction engages with reading, its power, the elusive nature of its experience and the failures of understanding inherent in it. Along the way, the book proceeds through close readings of such authors as J.M. Coetzee, David Mitchell, Toni Morrison and Philip Roth.

English Studies: The State of the Discipline, Past, Present, and Future

English Studies: The State of the Discipline, Past, Present, and Future

An accessible and wide-ranging consideration of concerns facing English Studies in its surrounding context of the university and society. The contributors to this volume seek to trace, in the face of current challenges, historical and contemporary debates surrounding English Studies.

Augustine, Other Latin Writers

Augustine, Other Latin Writers

Papers presented at the Fourteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 2003 (see also Studia Patristica 39, 40, 41 and 42). The successive sets of Studia Patristica contain papers delivered at the International Conferences on Patristic Studies, which meet for a week once every four years in Oxford; they are held under the aegis of the Theology Faculty of the University. Members of these conferences come from all over the world and most offer papers. These range over the whole field, both East and West, from the second century to a section on the Nachleben of the Fathers. The majority are short papers dealing with some small and manageable point; they raise and sometimes resolve questions about the authenticity of documents, dates of events, and such like, and some unveil new texts. The smaller number of longer papers put such matters into context and indicate wider trends. The whole reflects the state of Patristic scholarship and demonstrates the vigour and popularity of the subject.

This Is Not a President

Sense, Nonsense, and the American Political Imaginary

This Is Not a President

Read The Chronicle of Higher Ed Author Interview In This Is Not a President, Diane Rubenstein looks at the postmodern presidency — from Reagan and George H. W. Bush, through the current administration, and including Hillary. Focusing on those seemingly inexplicable gaps or blind spots in recent American presidential politics, Rubenstein interrogates symptomatic moments in political rhetoric, popular culture, and presidential behavior to elucidate profound and disturbing changes in the American presidency and the way it embodies a national imaginary. In a series of essays written in real time over the past four presidential administrations, Rubenstein traces the vernacular use of the American presidency (as currency, as grist for popular biography, as fictional TV material) to explore the ways in which the American presidency functions as a “transitional object” that allows the American citizen to meet or discover the president while going about her everyday life. The book argues that it is French theory — primarily Lacanian psychoanalysis and the radical semiotic theories of Jean Baudrillard — that best accounts for American political life today. Through episodes as diverse as Iran Contra, George H. W. Bush vomiting in Japan, the 1992 Republican convention, the failed nomination of Lani Guinier, and the Iraq War, This Is Not a President brilliantly situates our collective investment in American political culture.

Species Matters

Humane Advocacy and Cultural Theory

Species Matters

Why has the academy struggled to link advocacy for animals to advocacy for various human groups? Within cultural studies, in which advocacy can take the form of a theoretical intervention, scholars have resisted arguments that add "species" to race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and other human-identity categories as a site for critical analysis. Species Matters considers whether cultural studies should pay more attention to animal advocacy and whether, in turn, animal studies should pay more attention to questions raised by cultural theory. The contributors to this volume explore these issues particularly in relation to the "humane" treatment of animals and various human groups and the implications, both theoretical and practical, of blurring the distinction between "the human" and "the animal." They address important questions raised by the history of representing humans as the only animal capable of acting humanely and provide a framework for reconsidering the nature of humane discourse, whether in theory, literary and cultural texts, or current advocacy movements outside of the academy.