This book explores key critical debates in the humanities in recent times in the context of the legitimation crisis widely felt to be facing academic institutions, using Derrida's idea of leverage in the university. In particular, it concerns an account for the malaise in the university by linking critical developments, discourses and debates in the modern humanities to a problem of the institution itself. The book finds within these discourses and debates the very dimensions of the institution's predicament: economic, political, ideological, but also, inseparably, intellectual. It looks at some of the recurring themes arising in the early key texts of new historicism and cultural materialism. The book also argues that these approaches in a number of ways orient their critical strategies according to certain kinds of logics and structures of reflection. It instances disorientation and leverage in the university by exploring the problematic doubleness of economics as indeterminately both inside and outside contemporary cultural theory. The book also argues that the interdisciplinary approach of cultural analysis has a certain amount of difficulty positioning economics as either simply an outside or an inside. The orientation and leverage within the university apparently offered by the development of cultural studies and by certain forms of interdisciplinarity comes at the cost of an irresolvable disorientation between the object and the activity of criticism.
This book examines how new performance practices from the 1990s to the present day have been driven by questions of the real and the ensuing political implications of the concept's rapidly disintegrating authority. The first part of the book addresses the existing poststructuralist narrative of radicalism that currently dominates contemporary performance theory, and seeks to deconstruct its conclusions. It first traces the artistic and philosophical developments that laid the ground for the sustained twentieth-century interrogations of theatrical representations of the real. It examines the emergence of the discursive act which aligned the narrative of radicalism exclusively with such interrogations. The book also examines how key strands of Derrida's poststructuralist critique have been applied to performance practice to strengthen the ideological binary opposition between 'dramatic' representations of the real and 'postdramatic' deconstructions of representational practice. The second part of the book embarks on an ideological examination of a wide spectrum of performance models that share an engagement with the problematics of representation and the real. It directs this investigation specifically towards an analysis of the representations of 'real' people in performances which adopt verbatim methodologies drawn from the documentary theatre tradition. The book continues to explore performance environments that break down the dichotomy of performer/spectator and seeks to replace mediated representations with experiential realities.
This book joins together Shakespeare and Proust as the great writers of love to show that love is always anachronistic, and never more so when it is homosexual. Drawing on Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Derrida, Blanchot and Levinas and Deleuze, difficult but essential theorists of the subject of ‘being and time’ and ‘time and the other’, it examines why speculation on time has become so crucial within modernity. Through the related term ‘anachronism’, the book considers how discussion of time always turns into discussion of space, and how this, too, can never be quite defined. It speculates on chance and thinks of ways in which a quality of difference within time—heterogeneity, anachronicity—is essential to think of what is meant by ‘the other’. The book examines how contemporary theory considers the future and its relation to the past as that which is inescapable in the form of trauma. It considers what is meant by ‘the event’, that which is the theme of all post-Nietzschean theory and which breaks in two conceptions of time as chronological.
Didi-Huberman and the image is an introduction to French art historian and philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman. With an enormous body of work spanning four decades, Didi-Huberman is considered one of the most innovative and influential critical thinkers writing in France today. In this monograph art historian Chari Larsson presents the first extensive English-language study of Didi-Huberman’s research on images. Placing Didi-Huberman’s project in relation to major historical and philosophical frameworks, this book shows not only how Didi-Huberman modifies dominant traditions, but also how the study of images is central to a new way of thinking about poststructuralist-inspired art history. This book explores the origins of Didi-Huberman’s project, arguing he has sought renewal by turning the discipline of art history on its axis, wresting it away from its founding ‘fathers’ such as Giorgio Vasari and Erwin Panofsky and instead reorganising it along the poststructuralist lines of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze. An image is a form of representation, but what is the philosophical framework supporting it? Didi-Huberman takes up this question repeatedly over the course of his career.
Novel horizons analyses how narrative prose fiction developed during the English Restoration. It argues that following the reopening of the theatres in 1660, generic changes within dramatic texts occasioned an intense debate within prologues and introductions. This discussion about the poetics of a genre was echoed in the paratextual material of prose fictions: in trans¬lators’ introductions, authorial prefaces, and other accompanying material. In the absence of an official poetics that defined prose fiction, paratexts ful¬filled this function and informed readers about the changing features of the budding genre. This study traces the piecemeal development of these generic boundaries and describes the generic competence of readers through the detailed analysis of paratexts and actual narrative prose fictions. Rather than trying to canonize individual Restoration novels, Novel horizons covers the surviving textual material widely, focusing on narrative prose fictions published between 1660 and 1710. Drawing on genre theories by Jacques Derrida and M.M. Bakhtin, the study follows an approach to genre that sees a textual corpus as an archive that projects into the future, thereby enabling later readers and writers to experiment with forms and themes. In addition to tracing the paratextual poetics of Restoration fiction, a substantial section of this book covers the state of the art of fiction-writing during the period. It discusses aspects such as character development, narrative point of view, and questions of fictionality and realism in order to describe how these features were first used in popular fiction at the time.
This is the first book-length study of the humanities from Newman to Bologna in the Irish context. It focuses on unique characteristics of university policy in the National University that constrained humanities education. Ireland was a deeply religious country throughout the twentieth century but the colleges of its National University never established a theology or religion department. The official first language of Ireland is Irish but virtually all teaching in the Arts and Humanities is in English. The book examines the influence of such anomalies on humanities education and on Irish society in general. Has the humanities ethos of the Irish University departed radically from the educational ideals of John Henry Newman, its most illustrious ‘founder’? The book re-examines Newman’s vision for the university as well as responses to the 1908 Universities Act. It investigates how leading Irish educationalists and cultural theorists such as Padraig, Pearse, Denis Donoghue, J. J. Lee, Declan Kiberd and Richard Kearney nurtured an Irish humanities perspective in response to more established humanities traditions associated with F. R. Leavis, Edward Said, and Martha Nussbaum. The book employs a comparative approach in examining recent humanities movements such as Irish Studies and postcolonial studies. Humanities debates from other national contexts such as France, the US, and Asia are examined in light of influential work on the university by Samuel Weber, Immanuel Kant, Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Derrida. This book will appeal to the general public and to students and scholars of Irish education, history and cultural theory.
This collection of essays on roads in Britain in the Middle Ages addresses the topic from a cultural, anthropological and literary point of view, as well as a historical and archaeological one. Taking up Jacques Derrida's proposal that 'the history of writing and the history of the road' be 'meditated upon' together, it considers how roads ‘write’ landscapes. The anthology sets Britain’s thoroughfares against the backdrop of the extant Roman road system and argues for a technique of road construction and care that is distinctively medieval. As well as synthesizing information on medieval road terminology, roads as rights of passage and the road as an idea as much as a physical entity, individual essays look afresh at sources for the study of the medieval English road system, legal definitions of the highway, road-breaking and road-mending, wayfinding, the architecture of the street and its role in popular urban government, English hermits and the road as spiritual metaphor, royal itineraries, pilgrimage roads, roads in medieval English romances, English river transport, roads in medieval Wales, and roads in the Anglo-Scottish border zone.
… they were all
going crazy. (I. Welsh, Ecstasy, p. 27)
No doubt we should have to make some distinction between… drugs,
but this distinction is wiped out in the rhetoric of fantasy that is at the
root of the interdiction: drugs, it is said, make one lose any sense of true
reality. (J. Derrida, Rhetoric of Drugs, p. 236)
Culture and interdiction
Shortcircuiting the exasperating detour of communication, or more
generally suspending the proactive expenditure of the will’s energy as it
works to fuel its own consciousness, is the mark of an urge to a junkylike descent
From the premodern to the
postmodern: mnemotechnics and
the ghost of ‘the folk’
Introductory notes: spectres, mnemotechnics,
and epistemological politics
In Derrida’s Specters of Marx, a ghost is a figure of memory – retrospective or anticipatory – and thus a figure of tradition and history, and
of inheritance.1 As the complex, heterogeneous field of inheritance
imperatively enjoins us to ‘filter, sift, criticise’ – to make sense of our
inheritance – a ghost is, therefore, immediately an issue of judgement
and of classification.2 We might be reminded
younger generation of scholars who, following in the wake of Derrida, sought to work through the implications of deconstruction. This chapter will examine Didi-Huberman’s retrieval of matter by way of three themes that characterised his writing through the 1990s: the pan , dissemblance and presencing.
The prioritisation of form over matter enjoys a long philosophical history reaching back to Plato and Aristotle through to Descartes and beyond. For Didi-Huberman, art history had uncritically absorbed this hierarchical binary. Extending his argument delineated in