The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International
Author: Jacques Derrida
Prodigiously influential, Jacques Derrida gave rise to a comprehensive rethinking of the basic concepts and categories of Western philosophy in the latter part of the twentieth century, with writings central to our understanding of language, meaning, identity, ethics and values. In 1993, a conference was organized around the question, 'Whither Marxism?’, and Derrida was invited to open the proceedings. His plenary address, 'Specters of Marx', delivered in two parts, forms the basis of this book. Hotly debated when it was first published, a rapidly changing world and world politics have scarcely dented the relevance of this book.
Fredric Jameson, Antonio Negri, Terry Eagleton, Pierre Macherey and others engage in a debate on Marx with Jacques Derrida. With the publication of Specters of Marx in 1993, Jacques Derrida redeemed a longstanding pledge to confront Marx's texts directly and in detail. His characteristically bravura presentation provided a provocative re-reading of the classics in the Western tradition and posed a series of challenges to Marxism. In a timely intervention in one of today's most vital theoretical debates, the contributors to Ghostly Demarcations respond to the distinctive program projected by Specters of Marx. The volume features sympathetic meditations on the relationship between Marxism and deconstruction by Fredric Jameson, Werner Hamacher, Antonio Negri, Warren Montag, and Rastko Mücnik, brief polemical reviews by Terry Eagleton and Pierre Macherey, and sustained political critiques by Tom Lewis and Aijaz Ahmad. The volume concludes with Derrida's reply to his critics in which he sharpens his views about the vexed relationship between Marxism and deconstruction.
This collection of essays, by a number of established scholars and artists, proposes new directions for Marxist cultural theory and the criticism of modern visual culture. It addresses a diverse range of topics, including the state and revolution, Communist and post-Communist aesthetics, Situationist thought and the avant-garde, subjectivity and commodification, and the politics and problems of contemporary artistic practice. The contributions also consider several other pressing questions in the visual arts, from the practice of digital culture to appropriations of critical theory, from the relations of art and the spectacle to architecture in the age of global modernity. This book on Marxism and art is not offered in a spirit of nostalgia: on the contrary, it testifies to the continuing vitality and confidence of historical materialist thought in the field of cultural theory and practice in the 21st century.
Marx Through Post-Structuralism presents a thorough critical examination of the readings of Marx given by four post-structuralist thinkers, all key figures in Continental philosophy: Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Gilles Deleuze. Arguing that both Marx and the post-structuralists seek to produce a genuinely materialist philosophy, the author aims to develop a better understanding of both Marx and post-structuralism and in so doing to reflect on the possibilities and problems for materialist philosophy more broadly. Against the common assumption that post-structuralism begins with a rejection of Marx, Choat argues that Marx has been a key influence on post-structuralist thought and that each of the four thinkers examined affirms Marx's contemporary significance. By looking at how these thinkers have read Marx - analysing their direct comments, unspoken uses, and implicit criticisms - the book demonstrates that there is a distinct and original post-structuralist approach to Marx that allows us to read him in a new light.
The north African roots of Jacques Derrida - he was born in Algeria, and lived there until he was nearly twenty - have yet to receive due consideration. Derrida, Africa, and the Middle East investigates the iconic theorist s claim to "Black, Arab, and Jewish" identity, demonstrating for the first time his significance for Africa and the Middle East while remaining mindful of the conflict between these Jewish and Arab heritages. Even as it criticizes Derrida s analyses of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it shows why Derrida s idiosyncratic politics should not deter his critics. Further, this study reveals similarities between deconstruction and ancient Egypto-African ways of thinking about language, and posits a new critical lineage - one with origins outside the bounds of Greco-Roman thought.
(Mis)readings of Marx In Continental Philosophy reflects on the way major European philosophers related to the work of Karl Marx. It brings together leading and emerging critical theorists to address the readings of Marx offered by Benjamin, Adorno, Arendt, Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Negri, Badiou, Agamben, Rancière, Latour and Žižek.
Horizons, Happiness, and the Impossible Pursuits of US Literature and Culture
Author: Andrew Warnes
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Category: Literary Criticism
American Tantalus argues that modern US fictions often grow preoccupied by tantalisation. This keyword might seem commonplace; thesauruses, certainly, often lump it in with tease and torment in their general inventories of desire. Such lists, however, mislead. Just as most US dictionaries have in fact long recognised tantalise's origins in The Odyssey, so they have defined it as the unique desire we feel for objects that (like the fruit and water once cruelly placed before Tantalus) lie within our reach yet withdraw from our attempts to touch them. On these terms, American Tantalus shows, tantalise not only describes a particular kind of thwarted desire, but also one that dominates modern US fiction to a remarkable extent. For this term specifically evokes the yearning to touch alienated or virginal objects that we find examined by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Cade Bambara, Richard Wright and Toni Morrison; and it also indicates the insatiable pursuit of the horizon so important to Willa Cather and Edith Wharton among others. This eclectic canon indeed "prefers" the dictionary to the thesaurus: unreachable destinations and untouched commodities here indeed tantalise, inviting gestures of inquiry from which they then recoil. This focus, while lodging cycles of tantalisation at the very heart of American myth, holds profound implications for our understanding of modernity, and, in particular, of the cultural genesis of the commodity as a form.
Marxist Shakespeares uses the rich analytic resources of the Marxist tradition to look at Shakespeare's plays afresh. The book offers new insights into the historical conditions within which Shakespeare's representations of class and gender emerged, and into Shakespeare's role in the global culture industry stretching from Hollywood to the Globe Theatre. A vital resource for students of Shakespeare which includes Marx's own readings of Shakespeare, Derrida on Marx, and also Bourdieu, Bataillle, Negri and Alice Clark.
What does it mean to live as a ghost? Exploring spectrality as a metaphor in the contemporary British and American cultural imagination, Peeren proposes that certain subjects – migrants, servants, mediums and missing persons – are perceived as living ghosts and examines how this figuration can signify both dispossession and empowerment or agency.
In Queer/Early/Modern, Carla Freccero, a leading scholar of early modern European studies, argues for a reading practice that accounts for the queerness of temporality, for the way past, present, and future time appear out of sequence and in dialogue in our thinking about history and texts. Freccero takes issue with New Historicist accounts of sexual identity that claim to respect historical proprieties and to derive identity categories from the past. She urges us to see how the indeterminacies of subjectivity found in literary texts challenge identitarian constructions and she encourages us to read differently the relation between history and literature. Contending that the term “queer,” in its indeterminacy, points the way toward alternative ethical reading practices that do justice to the aftereffects of the past as they live on in the present, Freccero proposes a model of “fantasmatic historiography” that brings together history and fantasy, past and present, event and affect. Combining feminist theory, queer theory, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and literary criticism, Freccero takes up a series of theoretical and historical issues related to debates in queer theory, feminist theory, the history of sexuality, and early modern studies. She juxtaposes readings of early and late modern texts, discussing the lyric poetry of Petrarch, Louise Labé, and Melissa Ethridge; David Halperin’s take on Michel Foucault via Apuleius’s The Golden Ass and Boccaccio’s Decameron; and France’s domestic partner legislation in connection with Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron. Turning to French cleric Jean de Léry’s account, published in 1578, of having witnessed cannibalism and religious rituals in Brazil some twenty years earlier and to the twentieth-century Brandon Teena case, Freccero draws on Jacques Derrida’s concept of spectrality to propose both an ethics and a mode of interpretation that acknowledges and is inspired by the haunting of the present by the past.