A position paper that is my contribution to the conference “The Marrano Spirit: Derrida and Hispanism” at the University of Southern California…
“Demanding Deconstruction: A Rogue’s Take or Offering”
What does deconstruction offer? Does it–should it–offer anything at all? Is this very question impertinent, unduly utilitarian? Or to put this another way: what can or should we ask or even demand of deconstruction? And how does this relate to whatever deconstruction might, in turn, ask of us? What can or should deconstruction demand of us? What do we have to offer, if indeed we should think of ourselves as offering anything at all? What can we take from it? What does it take from us? What do we have to offer to this conference, to deconstruction, to Hispanism, or to any other party, interested or otherwise: for instance the people, the subaltern, or the state? What, in turn, do we have the right to demand of Hispanism or of the people, the subaltern, and so on, and what do they have the right to demand of us? How much are we, or should we, be accountable to them? And how might deconstruction contribute to our offering, help us to respond to whatever demands are made of us, or help us think differently about the very notion of demand?
Read more… (.pdf file)
This is a great essay, Jon. I was a bit confused when I read the first paragraph thinking to myself “But he is not a Derridean” (not that it is a ‘bad’ thing to be a Derridean). Curiously enough, I am about to give a lecture at UW Madison about the demands made upon academics today, thinking of resistance, and what does it mean to resist today. All of this from the point of view of ‘demands’ made on the academic job market and from perspective of a junior scholar. My worry is not so much that the demands are not being clear or that we are not resisting, but rather that the academic community in the US has a really difficult time saying ‘enough.’ Not sure why. I am from Europe, so my idea of ‘resistance’ is informed with that experience. It seems to me that to resist for the sake of resistance risks the danger of becoming only a reactionary mode. Can there be a ‘constructive’ resistance in addition to deconstructive one?
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