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Derrida circa 1972

Lecturer: Jon Roffe

Originally Taught: Summer School 2004

While the philosophy of Jacques Derrida has risen to an enormous (unfortunately dizzying) height in the public mediatised life of Western intellectual cultures over the last couple of decades, it would be fair to say that he has continued to follow a number of paths already well-established in his earliest texts. In 1967, he published three now-classical works in 20th century Continental philosophy: Of Grammatology, Speech and Phenomena, and Writing and Difference. Only five years later, in 1972, he published another three: Dissemination, Margins of Philosophy, and Positions. The contention of this course is that a good understanding of these six books will allow the reader a solid background to read the rest of Derrida’s oeuvre. We will take careful stock of these impressive texts in five thematically structured lectures:

1. Text and Context (“nothing outside the text”?)
2. Language, Writing and the Book (from phenomenology to grammatology)
3. Writing on the margins of philosophy (the relationship between philosophy and language)
4. Literature (the nature of literary work and its relation to philosophy)
5. Ethics, Politics and Culture (the nature of ethical, political and socio-cultural relations)