Pheng Cheah and Suzanne Guerlac (eds), Derrida and the Time of the Political (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009).
An intellectual event, Derrida and the Time of the Political marks the first time since Jacques Derrida’s death in 2004 that leading scholars have come together to critically assess the philosopher’s political and ethical writings. Skepticism about the import of deconstruction for political thought has been widespread among American critics since Derrida’s work became widely available in English in the late 1970s. While Derrida expounded political and ethical themes from the late 1980s on, there has been relatively little Anglo-American analysis of that later work or its relation to the philosopher’s entire corpus. Filling a critical gap, this volume provides multiple perspectives on the political turn in Derrida’s work, showing how deconstruction bears on political theory and real-world politics. The contributors include distinguished scholars of deconstruction whose thinking developed in close proximity to Derrida’s, as well as leading political theorists and philosophers who engage Derrida’s thought from further afield.
The volume opens with a substantial introduction in which Pheng Cheah and Suzanne Guerlac survey Derrida’s entire corpus and position his later work in relation to it. The remaining essays address the concerns that arise out of Derrida’s analysis of politics and the conditions of the political, such as the meaning and scope of democracy, the limits of sovereignty, the relationship between the ethical and the political, the nature of responsibility, the possibility for committed political action, the implications of deconstructive thought for non-Western politics, and the future of nationalism in an era of globalization and declining state sovereignty. The collection is framed by original contributions from Hélène Cixous and Judith Butler.
Duke University Press