Issue 40.2


Special Issue: Following Derrida: Legacies

Published: June 2007

View the issue introduction or see the issue summary and contents below.

 20 essays, totalling 320 pages

 $22.95 CAD

Add to cart

The essays in this very special issue of Mosaic were presented at the international and interdisciplinary conference, Following Derrida: Legacies, held at the University of Manitoba in October 2006. Set to mark the second anniversary of Jacques Derrida’s death, the conference was a celebration of his life and work. Over the course of four days, more than 120 presenters explored the legacies of Derrida's truly remarkable body of work, and a selection of these rich and varied papers have been published in this issue. A collective work of mourning, the issue remembers Derrida by reflecting on the promise engaged by his work. Two of the keynote speakers at the conference, Catherine Malabou and Michael Naas, were able to contribute their addresses to this collection, along with eighteen other contributors: Majero Bouman, Mahité Breton, Leonard Lawlor, Nick Mansfield, Joana Masó, Gabriela Garcìa Hubard, Javier Bassas Vila, Santiago Borja, Pamela McCallum, Ginette Michaud, Peter W. Milne, Marie-Eve Morin, John Mowitt, Tilottama Rajan, Marta Segarra, Garry Sherbert, Hugh J. Silverman, H. Peter Steeves, Josh Toth, Joris van Gorkom, Robert Zacharias.

Comme si, comme ça: Phantasms of Self, State, and a Sovereign God

Michael Naas

By examining the relationship between sovereignty and the unconditional in several of Derrida’s works from Speech and Phenomenon to Glas, “Faith and Knowledge” to Sovereignties in Question, this paper asks whether a deconstructive thinking of sovereignty can help determine and change for the better the deconstructive processes already at work in ourselves, our political systems, and our religious institutions.

Again: “The wounds of the Spirit heal, and leave no scars behind”

Catherine Malabou

This famous phrase from the Phenomenology of Spirit, which was interpreted in the twentieth century as an expression of Hegel’s logocentrism, could well know a new destiny. Particularly because of scientific discoveries concerning the importance of stem cells, the phrase allows one to examine the question of regeneration in regard to scarring. Such reworking leads to a new questioning of the trace.

Sans, and the Law of the Law: Following Derrida Following Kant

Peter Milne

In his famous reading of Kant’s aesthetics in The Truth in Painting, Derrida raises the problem of framing, particularly with regard to the attempt to frame art. This paper attempts to link this to Derrida’s later work on reason and the event through the figures of judging and juridical space, asking what it might mean to “come after” Derrida, to “follow” him.

Courir à toute vietesse. Note télégraphique sur un poème de pensée de J. D.

Ginette Michaud

Ce texte propose une lecture d’un fragment inédit du Séminaire de Jacques Derrida (actuellement en cours d’édition) dans lequel il commente deux vers du poète John Donne. Les questions de la survie, de la vie et de la vitesse, de la jouissance au présent du passé, de la mélancolie se trouvent puissamment condensées et relancées par Derrida dans cet hétéroautoportrait émouvant dessinant d’un trait vif toute sa pensée.

The “Weak” Response to the Suffering of the Living: An Attempt to Follow Derrida

Leonard Lawlor

This essay attempts to discover a solution to what Derrida has called the problem of “the worst”: unconditional inhospitality leads to suicide. The solution consists in the construction of a “recipe”: unconditional hospitality. In seven steps, the recipe tells us how to internalize others (non-human animals in particular, the living) without destroying their singularity.

Friendship, Betrayal, and Translation: Cixous and Derrida

Marta Segarra

This essay examines Cixous’s “L’amour du loup” along with Derrida’s Politics of Friendship, not so much in order to trace reciprocal influences, but as one of the many acts or performances of a “poetical friendship” that binds Derrida’s and Cixous’s texts together, even those which do not openly address each other.

“And yet”: Derrida on Benjamin’s Divine Violence

Robert Zacharias

Seeking to comment on the critical legacy of Jacques Derrida, this essay examines Derrida’s addition of a post-scriptum to his 1989 essay “First Name of Benjamin,” suggesting that the tension between the text’s formal body and its supplement is itself an argument for the value of formal risk and critical hesitation that raises the stakes of conventional criticism.

What if? On Respect, Secret, and Spectre

Joris Van Gorkom

Heidegger’s reading of Kant’s respect aims at revealing the ontological structure of subjectivity: its ability to recognize beings as such. However, this reading neglects the secrecy of the law, which will come to haunt this phenomenological as such. The following paper interprets this haunting in Derrida’s reformulation of Kant’s “as if.”

Derrida, Foucault, and the University

Tilottama Rajan

Reading between Derrida and Foucault, this paper situates deconstruction within Foucault’s reorganization of knowledge in The Order of Things. While Foucault abandons this work for a history of material practices, Derrida’s writings on the university continue it, but with a new and strategically Foucaultian focus on governmentality and power.

Under the Black Light: Derrida, War, and Human Rights

Nick Mansfield

This essay investigates how Derrida’s deconstruction of the oppositions between, on the one hand, war and peace as discussed by Levinas, and, on the other, Carl Schmitt’s conception of the political in terms of the friend/enemy distinction, helps us to understand the present unstable relationship between war and human rights.

The Self, The Other, and the Many: Derrida on Testimony

Marie-Eve Morin

This essay takes up the question of whether the self constitutes the other (as Husserl believed) or whether the other institutes the self (as Levinas argues). It examines how Derrida’s concept of testimony and his work on the structure of the sign leads us away from this debate into a necessary openness to plurality or community.

“Reason thus Unveils Itself”

John Mowitt

This essay examines the emergence of deconstruction from phenomenology by tracing the figure of the veil in Derrida’s reading of Husserl. I argue that this figure establishes an important engagement with the tactics of anti-colonial resistance. Tracing the intricate presence of what in Veils is called “disunveiling” across several of Derrida’s texts, I suggest that his own project includes a meditation on the encounter between politics and theory.

There Shall Be No Name

H. Peter Steeves

Language, like all carnivores, lives by means of the corpse—the carcass of the sign, the mourning that lingers in the sounding of the depths of words. Writing, especially, participates in the risks of mourning—a hazard marked by the lure of “closure.” This essay, after Derrida, explores the relationships among mourning, writing, forgetting, and naming.

Rêve qui peut : la pensée du rêve dans Fichus

Mahité Breton

Dans son discours de réception du prix Adorno, publié ensuite sous le titre Fichus, Jacques Derrida déploie une pensée du rêve, dans les deux sens de cette expression : une pensée qui pense le rêve et une pensée qui serait sécrétée par le rêve. Cet essai explore les lignes de forces de cette pensée, son jeu dans la langue et au sein de l’institution, et son rapport à une critique éveillée et vigilante.

“Echo-graphic Images”: Writing or Piercing the Visible

Joana Masó , Gabriela García Hubard, Javier Bassas Vila, and Santiago Borja

This paper explores the richness of Prégnances, Derrida’s text on Colette Deblé’s wash drawings. Three movements will lead to the specificity of the Derridian approach to visual arts: the rhetoric of the trait in the “ecographic quotation,” the unexplored meaning of the syntagm “ecographic images” as “aphasic images,” and Derrida’s criticism on the visible, which will justify our proposal of a piercing vision.

Questions of Haunting: Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx and Raymond Williams’s Modern Tragedy

Pamela McCallum

Both Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx and Raymond Williams’s Modern Tragedy address the question of how the present is haunted by the persistence of past revolutions. This article constructs a dialogue between Derrida and Williams that foregrounds crucial questions about the two books for critical reflection.

A Certain Perhaps: Touching on the Decisiveness of Derrida’s Indecision

Josh Toth

This paper explores Derrida’s use and understanding of the term “perhaps”—and, by extension, his use and understanding of concepts like indecision and spectrality. In highlighting Derrida’s strange certainty about the ethics of uncertainty, it considers the fact that the imperative to endure the ordeal of indecision is seemingly and necessarily anterior to any such ordeal.

Racism’s Specters: Inheriting the Unthought Future

Majero Bouman

The Derrida of Specters of Marx haunts the Derrida of “Racism’s Last Word,” a temporal complex that prompts this paper’s two questions: “is the specter that which has never been manifest?” and “what might be the mourning of a ghost?”

Canadian Cultural Autoimmunity: Derrida and the Essence of Culture

Garry Sherbert

Canada’s association with the emergence of multiculturalism has created controversy by exposing the national culture to the risk of not being able to identify itself. Yet this risk has also made Canada more hospitable to cultural difference. Canada’s claim that it has “no official culture” manifests a Derridean gesture of emptying itself, a gesture that indicates a drive toward cultural autoimmunity.

Response-abilities for Legacies: Jacques—on vous suit à travers vos texts

Hugh J. Silverman

Questions of responsibility and legacy pervade Derrida’s later work. How can there be a response, legacy, remainder? How is respons-ability the capacity to respond without any expectation of a reply, and yet to respond nevertheless?