This article reconsiders the issue of Luce Irigaray's proximity to Jacques Derrida on the question of woman. I use Derrida's reading of Nietzsche in Spurs: Nietzsche's Styles (1979) and Irigaray's reading of Heidegger in L'Oubli de l'air (1983) to argue that reading them as supplements to one another is more accurate and more productive for feminism than separating one from the other. I conclude by laying out the benefits for feminism that such a reading would offer.
We are told modernity's end will destabilize familiar ways of knowing, doing, and being, but are these changes we should dread--or celebrate? Four significant events catalyze this question: the consecration of openly gay Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson, the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, the politicization of the death of Terri Schiavo, and the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. Framed by an original appropriation of Michel Foucault, and drawing on resources in visual culture theory and the history of photography, (...) Ellen T. Armour explores the anxieties, passions, and power dynamics bound up in the photographic representation and public reception of these events. Together, these phenomena expose modernity's benevolent and malevolent disruptions and reveal the systemic fractures and fissures that herald its end, for better and for worse. In response to these signs and wonders, Armour lays the groundwork for a theology and philosophy of life better suited to our modern moment: one that owns up to the vulnerabilities that modernity sought to disavow and better enables us to navigate the ethical issues we now confront. (shrink)
This article reconsiders the issue of Luce Irigaray's proximity to Jacques Derrida on the question of woman. I use Derrida's reading of Nietzsche in Spurs: Nietzsche's Styles and Irigaray's reading of Heidegger in L'Oubli de l'air to argue that reading them as supplements to one another is more accurate and more productive for feminism than separating one from the other. I conclude by laying out the benefits for feminism that such a reading would offer.
This essay brings to bear insights from continental philosophers Michel Foucault and Judith Butler on the science of (homo)sexuality and, more importantly, the desire to use such science to resolve contemporary conflicts over homosexuality’s acceptability. So-called queer science remains deeply beholden to modern notions of sex, gender, and sexuality, the author argues, a schematic that its premodern (Christian) roots further denaturalize. The philosophical insights drawn from this analysis are then applied to the controversy over homosexuality within global Christianity that often (...) pits the backward former colonies against the modern west. (shrink)
The thought of contemporary North American theologian and ethicist Wendy Farley is an unflinching clarion call to justice and compassion. Farley invites us to discover ways of embodying the deep compassion capable of resisting pernicious distortions and traumatizing injustices that harm and dehumanize us all. This volume of essays embodies her invitation to awaken as beloved community. And when we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of struggle and despair, Farley reminds us that the powerful longing of hope, at times against (...) all evidence, refuses to give up on seeking justice and wholeness. Compassionate justice, radical hospitality, creative liberation, and deep listening emerge as more than ethical values for Farley; they are expressions of erotic faith, a praxis of faithfulness born of divine desire. These writings explore transformative perspectives and practices that have the capacity to help us recover and author our identity as the "god-bearers" we are. Erotic faith embodies the love-seeking persistence of divine faithfulness necessary to transform us from within; it meets the truth of human harm, vulnerability, and suffering by offering a complex, struggling, unscripted creativity capable of remaking us, and our world, until the beloved community is whole. (shrink)
Photographs of the body of a drowned three-year-old Kurdish boy from Syria washed up on a Turkish beach encapsulated the plight of refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria with particular pathos and power. Through what these photographs index, this essay considers what they open up and open on to: the philosophical problematics embedded in the political issues the refugee crisis raises. These issues and problematics are rendered legible in Jacques Derrida’s recently published seminar on the death penalty and in (...) his reflections on cosmopolitanism. Together, they prompt further reflections on what I call spectatorial responsibility as a potential cosmopolitical site. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Border CrossingEllen T. ArmourAs a philosophical theologian deeply formed by a long apprenticeship in continental philosophy, I find more points of entry into Kalpana Seshadri's HumAnimal: Race, Law, Language than I can possibly pass through in the space available to me here. Inevitably, whichever point of entry I take will violate what I take to be a core responsibility of a respondent: to hew closely to the text in (...) question, to trace in one's own words its outline in order to open it up to those who have not had the privilege to devote time and attention (those most valuable of assets for academics, it seems) to the project in question. Such a model of a responsible response itself bespeaks the central problematic of the project: the relationship between speech and silence, language and law, ethics and politics.And so I begin with a de-cision that is, simultaneously, an in-cision; I enter this text through this opening, not that, and in doing so, I relegate to a spectral silence of not-saying what other (in/de)cisions would bring to speech and/or to the invisibility of not-writing what other (in/de)cisions would render legible. In the spirit of a Derridean supplément, I hope to productively open and extend for you, if not precisely retrace, Seshadri's project.HumAnimal: Race, Law, Language (Seshadri 2012) is a brave book in many respects, but particularly in its attempt not just to delineate but to map out certain contested yet liminal spaces. In addition to those I've already mentioned, [End Page 175] let me add those between literature and philosophy, theology and philosophy, work and play, Agamben and Derrida, deconstruction and biopolitics, human and animal. (Any one of these alone would have been plenty for one book.) I take my mark from the site where these last two (or perhaps three) liminal spaces meet. First, allow me to indulge in a bit of intellectual autobiography: I began my career as a Derridean (and may yet end it that way … that remains to be seen), but have in the last few years, taken a decidedly more Foucauldian turn. Reading HumAnimal made me keenly aware of how profound a reorientation I have undergone in the process. And yet I entered into that process of reorientation (perhaps quite naively) sensing that, for all that separated Derrida from Foucault, deconstruction from biopolitics, they were not unconnected (please note the double negative). Thus, I found myself in deep sympathy with Seshadri's project in many ways. Whatever separates projects that foreground the machinations of power (as constitutive of knowledge, and vice versa) as object of analysis and those that foreground language (as constitutive of knowledge, and vice versa) as object of analysis,1 Seshadri's detailed readings suggest they share important points of overlap (which is not to say sameness). To a degree, then, HumAnimal undoes the very delineation between these kinds of projects that I just articulated. To be sure, Seshadri is aided a great deal in this by the fact that Agamben's own work invokes (though not uncritically) both Derridean and Foucauldian antecedents framed largely though not exclusively in and through the relationship between sovereignty and (bare) life.The book's title, HumAnimal: Race, Law, Language, names both the stakes of and framework for Seshadri's incision into this shared but contested space. Her neologism humAnimal marks a boundary integral to sovereignty's exercise, that between human and animal. The subtitle marks the forces at play in sovereignty's construction and its deployment. Race has often figured as the border demarcating those served by the law and those served up by it; those granted access to language and those denied it. Consignment to the nether side of law and language entails as well consignment to the nether side of the human/animal divide. The American practice of chattel slavery serves as one constitutive exemplar of a biopolitical and legal/linguistic regime in HumAnimal, as it will in my comments. But Seshadri seeks out the possibilities for resistance from this nether side; of possibilities opened up by and in silence, the suspension of law, and even... (shrink)