9503Y - The Unfinished Project of Deconstruction [A] - Tilottama Rajan
This is a 'Y' course, meaning that it is a half course that will continue into the second term (ending in January, with final papers due in March).
This course will trace the genealogy of Deconstruction, beginning with its emergence from phenomenology through the various critiques of Husserl and the seminal and ignored influence of Sartre. Departing from American Deconstruction’s limitation of itself to a literary critical method, we will attempt to recover the core project of Deconstruction (what Lee Morrissey calls “the unfinished project of Deconstruction”) as an interdisciplinary turning of philosophy–and specifically phenomenology-- towards a broader cultural field in response to the university crisis of the sixties. While taking up Derrida, the course will focus on the work of the early Foucault (especially The Order of Things and The Birth of the Clinic) as the best exemplar of this wider Deconstruction in which the “linguistic turn” is only one strand. However, in addition to this first-wave Deconstruction we will also look at certain permutations that Deconstruction underwent when it migrated from France to America. These include Yale Deconstruction (de Man) and what has been called “post-structuralism.” If Deconstruction is a complication of phenomenology, post-structuralism can be seen as a response (either affirmative or traumatic) to technological and technobureaucratic changes characteristic of the postmodern. Although these American “translations” of Deconstruction are what brought it to prominence, they are also simplifications of a more complex phenomenon. The “revelations” about de Man triggered a reaction against Deconstruction in the AngloAmerican world, as evidenced by such books as Lentricchia’s After the New Criticism and Guillory’s Cultural Capital. In the circumstances, what has become of the unfinished project of Deconstruction? The course will conclude by mapping the deconstructive diaspora that occurred after the violent abjection of de Man: a diaspora that includes work influenced by Post-Heideggerian French thought that re-limits deconstruction to ontology and aesthetics, but that also includes the conjunction of deconstruction and psychoanalysis eschewed by de Man, the extension of Deconstruction to public intellectual issues, and its extension to areas otherwise regarded as the domain of “cultural studies.”
Texts will be drawn from:
Edmund Husserl: Encyclopedia article, "Freiburg" Lecture
Martin Heidegger: "The Letter on Humanism."
Jean-Paul Sartre: Being and Nothingness (selections)
Maurice Blanchot: "Literature and the Right to Death," "Two Versions of the Imaginary," "The Essential Solitude."
Emmanuel Levinas: Existence and Existents (selections)
Jacques Derrida; Of Grammatology (brief selections), Speech and Phenomena (selections), “Semiology and Grammatology,” “The University Without Condition,” Eyes of the University (selections)
Michel Foucault: The Order of Things (extensive selecetions), The Birth of the Clinic, Death and the Labyrinth: On Raymond Roussel
Paul de Man: selections
Jean-Luc Nancy: “The Inoperative Community”
Jean-Francois Lyotard: The Differend (selections), The Inhuman (selections)
Others to be discussed in passing: Roland Barthes, Cathy Caruth, Tom Cohen, Lee Edelman, David Ferris, Sara Guyer, Jacques Khalip, Friedrich Kittler, Tilottama Rajan, Marc Redfield, Alain Robbe-Grillet.
Also from this web page: