Derrida: Ten years dead

Derrida-top-smGil Anidjar in a forum remembering Derrida at the LA Review of Books:

SOMETIME AROUND 1989, Jacques Derrida must have agreed to give the opening keynote at the UCLA conference entitled “Nazism and the ‘Final Solution’: Probing the Limits of Representation.” Derrida must have agreed since, on 26 April 1990, in front of an undoubtedly sizable audience, he delivered that lecture, a reading of Walter Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence” that has since become one of Derrida’s most influential and most generative texts.

The academic equivalent of a star-studded event — in Los Angeles no less! — the conference had been explicitly and centrally organized as a defensive call to arms against those who might question, in the name of historical probity, the historical profession’s strenuous policing of Holocaust testimony, evidence, and representation. The conference singled out Hayden White, himself a historian, as representative of the risks — and negationist, even fascistic, inclinations, however unwitting — courted by “postmodernist” claims. White participated in the conference, and he was duly included, along with numerous detractors of his, in the published proceedings. Derrida was not.

more here.

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