Philosophy and Deconstruction: an Introduction to Derrida
The arrival of Jacques Derrida’s work lit the American intellectual landscape ablaze. For many American academics and critics in the 1970s and thereafter, the charismatic Algerian-born Derrida was the face of “French Theory,” and virtually synonymous with postmodernism itself. With his enigmatic prose and seemingly esoteric approach to language, philosophy, and meaning, Derrida proved not only immensely controversial, but also tremendously influential throughout the American academy. This course will sample Derrida’s wide-ranging engagements with a variety of thinkers and fields (from Plato to Rousseau, linguistics to psychoanalysis, and beyond) and explore foundational Derridean ideas—including differance, logocentrism, deconstruction and more—while situating Derrida as the key thinker in the transition from structuralism to poststructuralism. Readings will include seminal essays such as “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the human Sciences,” “Differance,” “Freud and the Scene of Writing,” and “Signature, Event, Context,” alongside selections from longer works such as “Plato’s Pharmacy” and Of Gramatology.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:30-9:30pm ET
July 15 — August 05, 2021