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Thomassen, Lasse (2009)
Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Journal: Ethics & Global Politics
Languages: English
Types: Article
Over the last years, there has been a steady stream of books published on deconstruction and the work of Jacques Derrida in addition to the many books by Derrida himself. Derrida’s death on 8 October 2004 in no way stopped this wealth of publications, including texts on Derrida, deconstruction, and politics. There have been a number of books on Derrida,1 including edited volumes,2 and there is now a Derrida journal, Derrida Today. This is in addition to posthumously published works by Derrida himself, of which The Beast and the Sovereign will be of most interest to this journal’s readers.3 Much of this literature links deconstruction and Derrida’s writings to politics. This may be in part because of Derrida’s own engagement with political concepts and institutions in his later work, but may also be a reaction to the emergence of new political phenomena (e.g. international terrorism of the al-Qaeda type) which in turn creates a need to rethink traditional concepts (e.g. sovereignty). Interestingly much of this literature on deconstruction and politics comes not from political scientists, but from other disciplines, including philosophy, comparative literature, and law. This includes the two books under review here*Mustapha Che´rif ’s Islam and the West and Martin McQuillan’s Deconstruction After 9/114*neither of which is written by a political scientist. As is the case with many other contemporary texts on Derrida, these two books examine how Derrida and deconstruction can help us understand contemporary political phenomena. The two books both address issues related to the signifiers ‘9/11,’ ‘Islam,’ and ‘the West,’but they also question the received meanings of those signifiers, for instance, the idea of ‘Islam’ as a monolith and as the Other of ‘the West.’ (Published: 4 December 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2009, pp. 383–388. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i4.2108
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    • For instance, Michael Naas, Derrida From Now On (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008).
    • For instance, Pheng Cheah and Suzanne Guerlac, eds., Derrida and the Time of the Political (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009).
    • Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign. Vol. 1. Trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).
    • Mustapha CheĀ“rif, Islam and the West: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. Trans. Teresa Lavender Fagan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); and Martin McQuillan, Deconstruction After 9/11 (London: Routledge, 2009). References in the text refer to these books.
    • Jacques Derrida, The Other Heading: Reflections on Today's Europe. Trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael B. Naas (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992).
    • Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International. Trans. Peggy Kamuf (London: Routledge, 1994).
    • Jacques Derrida, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason. Trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005).
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