Focusing on specific artworks that illustrate KristevaÕs ideas, from ancient Greek tragedy to early photography, contemporary installation art, and film, Miller positions creative acts as a form of Òspiritual inoculationÓ against the ...
In her keynote address to the Kristeva Circle 2014, Julia Kristeva argued that European Humanism dating from the French Revolution paradoxically paved the way for “those who use God for political ends” by promoting a completely and solely secular path to the political. As an unintended result of this movement this path has led, in the late 20 th and early 21 st centuries, to the development of a new form of nihilism that masks itself as revolutionary but in fact (...) is the opposite, in Kristeva’s view. Kristeva analyzed the culture of religious fundamentalism as “adolescent” in the sense that the adolescent, in contrast to the child, is a believer rather than a questioner. Although the psychoanalytic consideration of religious fundamentalism added a new dimension to attempts to explain the increase of this phenomenon in the late 20 th and 21 st centuries, Kristeva’s subsequent linkage of fundamentalism to the revolts in French suburbs in 2005 and beyond fell short of an insightful critique by neglecting the historical context of France’s colonial history. (shrink)
This essay addresses the implications of German Idealism and Romanticism, and in particular the philosophy of Schelling as it is informed by Kant and Goethe, for contemporary environmental philosophy. Schelling's philosophy posits a nature imbued with freedom which gives rise to human beings, which means that any ethics, insofar as ethics is predicated upon freedom, will be an 'environmental ethic'. At the same time, Schelling's organismic view of nature is distinctive in positing a fundamental gap between nature and human beings. (...) Without this absolute alterity, there could be no real ethical relationship between human beings and nature. I conclude by briefly gesturing toward Schelling's role in the development of an ethics of alterity in continental philosophy through Heidegger, Derrida, and Levinas. (shrink)
I argue that in Julia Kristeva’s concept of negativity, conceived of as the recuperation, through transformation, of a traumatic remnant of the past, we can find a parallel to what Theodor Adorno, following Walter Benjamin, calls a mimesis that in its emphasis on non-identity is able to remain faithful to the ban on graven images interpreted materialistically rather than theologically. A connection between negativity and the theological ban on images is suggested in Adorno’s claim that a ban on positive representations (...) of utopia leads to a practice of negating the negative, that is, of exposing the injustices of modern life. Both Adorno and Kristeva discern in contemporary art a capacity to critique modernity and envision a better world, but insist that this art must not represent what it indicates. I also examine Benjamin’s writings on photography in order to argue that a mimesis that respects the ban on graven images moves us beyond the systematic optimism of the Hegelian dialectic, and extends the philosophy of history into the unknown of the unconscious. (shrink)
Kristeva's Teresa My Love concerns the life and thought of a 16th century Spanish mystic, written in the form of a novel. Yet the theme of another kind of foreigner, equally exotic but this time threatening, pops up unexpectedly and disappears several times during the course of the novel. At the very beginning of the story, the 21st century narrator, psychoanalyst Sylvia Leclerque, encounters a young woman in a headscarf, whom Kristeva describes as an IT engineer, who speaks out, explaining (...) that "she and her God were one and that the veil was the immovable sign of this 'union,' which she wished to publicize in order to definitively 'fix it' in herself and in the eyes of others." In this paper I ask what difference Kristeva discerns between these two women, a distinction that apparently makes Teresa's immanence simultaneously a transcendence, but transforms a Muslim woman in a headscarf immediately into an imagined suicide bomber. Despite the problematic aspects of this comparison, we can learn something from them about Kristeva's ideas on mysticism and on art. Both mysticism and art are products of the death drive, but whereas the suicide bomber and the animal directly and purely pursue death Teresa and Adel remain on its outer edge and merely play with mortality. (shrink)
As an alternative to universalism and particularism, Intermedialities: Philosophy, Arts, Politics proposes "intermedialities" as a new model of social relations and intercultural dialogue. The concept of "intermedialities" stresses the necessity of situating debates concerning social relations in the divergent contexts of new media and avant-garde artistic practices as well as feminist, political, and philosophical analyses.
There is a special poignancy to the fact that Pleshette DeArmitt's essay "Sarah Kofman's Art of Affirmation" foregrounds Freud's essay "On Transience," in which he muses on the fact that beauty seems to be inextricably linked to a fleeting existence. As DeArmitt writes, "beauty, even in full flowering, foreshadows its own demise, causing what Freud describes as 'a foretaste of mourning.'" Such a transience, in Freud's mind, increases rather than decreases the worth of all that is beautiful. In her essay, (...) DeArmitt argues that Kofman's 1985 text Mélancolie de l'Art reinscribes Freud's text, but brings it into the present by pointing to contemporary art as the occasion for the opening up of a new space, one capable of "dislocat[ing] the space of representation and meaning" and "invent[ing] a space of indetermination and play.” Through dislocation of a fixed reference or meaning and opening up a place for indeterminacy and play, contemporary art acknowledges and celebrates, rather than regrets, the transience of beauty. (shrink)