Artifactualities: Derrida and the Hauntology of Media
Thursday October 16, 2014 | 4:00-8:00 PM
239 Greene Street, NY 10003, 8th floor | New York University
Hosted by the NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication; and the NYU Department of English
Everything Burns (Tout Brûle)
Gil Anidjar, Professor, Department of Religion, Columbia University
What kind of an event, what kind of machine, is the Holocaust? What figure, what medium is ash or before it fire? What are these for Derrida? Among the “controversies” surrounding Derrida and deconstruction (“media”), and for overdetermined reasons, few have matched the contradictory intensity of Nazism and the Holocaust. Is deconstruction a “Jewish science” emerging out of post-Holocaust concerns (ashes), or is it a “left Heideggerianism” all too forgiving of Nazi proclivities (“Spirit in Flame”)? What kinds of questions are these? What archive burns through them? What remains? What remains of Derrida’s Holocaust?
“Shibboleth: Policing by Ear and Forensic Listening in Projects by Laurence Abu Hamdan“
Emily, Apter, Professor, Professor, Department of French, Comparative Literature, NYU
The Jordanian artist Laurence Abu Hamdan engages the politics of the broken “oral contract.” In projects that investigate the juridical uses of “forensic listening,” he activates the concept of “shibboleth” so important to Derrida in his analysis of the poetry of Paul Celan. Shibboleths are select words whose pronunciation gives away the identity of a person or group. Consisting of inflections, catchwords, expressions, or marks of dialect, they become serviceable as aural biopolitical signatures as well as examples of what the French philosopher Grégoire Chamayou refers to as predatory, “cynegetic” power. Drawing on Derrida’s writings on shibboleth and technologies of the ear, this paper will consider cases in which targeted populations – migrants, the unemployed, political suspects, the racially profiled – have their language subjected to forensic analysis to authenticate their claims to asylum or the right to safe passage across checkpoints.
Geoffrey Bennington, Professor of Modern French Thought, Emory University
“Archivio” explores the relationship between what Derrida calls “archiviolence” in Of Grammatology and what he calls the “archiviolithic” in Archive Fever. With particular attention to the proper names Freud and Foucault, I suggest that Derrida’s thinking in this respect calls for a quite radical revision of dominant ways of thinking about archives, libraries, and the discipline of intellectual history.
Juliet Fleming, Associate Professor, Department of English, NYU
Late in his career Derrida began to worry an issue that does not appear as such in Grammatology, but without which there could be no complete theory of writing. The issue can be phrased as a question: when it comes to writing where is (and what is meant by) on? This talk will track Derrida’s unresolved pursuit of this question and demonstrate its consequence within a field — bibliography – that has largely forgotten that biblion originally meant not ‘book’ or ‘work’ but a support for writing.
Faces and Frames of Government: Aenigma, Imago, Lex
Peter Goodrich, Professor of Law, Director, Program in Law and Humanities, Cardozo School of Law
Returning to 1968, annus mirabilis, this divagation draws one of its scintilla from Of Grammatology and the latent theme of a generalized writing. Attaching myself to the contropiano where the letter becomes an image, the syllable a figure I will hint, by means of a history of common law effigies, at the fate of Monsieur Deconstruction in partibus infidelium, in the anglophone world.
Panel Discussion: Derrida’s Desistance, Inherence, and Inheritance
Gil Anidjar, Emily Apter, Geoffrey Bennington, Allen Feldman, Juliet Fleming, Alex Galloway, Peter Goodrich, Ben Kafka