[csaa-forum] SAM Symposium on Derrida's "The Beast and the Sovereign": Friday April 20

Chris Danta c.danta at unsw.edu.au
Mon Apr 2 11:42:23 CST 2012

The School of the Arts and Media, UNSW, present

A day symposium on Jacques Derrida’s The Beast and the Sovereign

Fri April 20, 9am-5pm
in Vallentine Annexe Rm 121-2
University of New South Wales, Kensington

Please RSVP to Chris Danta c.danta at unsw.edu.au<mailto:c.danta at unsw.edu.au> by April 16.


Rowena Braddock (USyd)
Matthew Chrulew (Macquarie)
Vicki Kirby (UNSW)
Paul Patton (UNSW)
Christopher Peterson (UWS)
James Phillips (UNSW)
Dinesh Wadiwel (USyd)
Melanie White (UNSW)

“Why is political sovereignty, the sovereign or the state or the people, figured sometimes as what rises, through the law of reason, above the beast, above the natural life of the animal, and sometimes (or simultaneously) as the manifestation of bestiality or human animality?" Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign

Jacques Derrida’s 2001-2003 seminars on The Beast and the Sovereign bear significantly on a number of important questions within contemporary humanities research. Derrida’s earlier work, The Animal That Therefore I Am, has set the agenda for “the question of the animal” in posthumanism, animal studies and related ethical and philosophical debates. These recent seminars delve further into literary and political discourse: on the fables of the Bible and La Fontaine, on those of Hobbes, Machiavelli and Schmitt, and on the entire question of the “bête” in Western thinking about sovereignty. In a seminar swarming with fabled creatures, Derrida traces the figure of the wolf, returning once more to Rousseau, to Freud and to Heidegger. He takes on Deleuze’s studious sarcasm and Agamben’s scholarly tics. He reads the poetry of Valéry, Celan and Lawrence, the novels of Defoe and Blanchot, prompting his auditors and readers to confront the philosophical ramifications of therichly fraught pairing of sovereignty and bestiality.
This symposium, convened by Matthew Chrulew and Chris Danta, brings together a number of readers of Derrida for a full-day discussion of The Beast and the Sovereign (Volumes I & II) at the University of New South Wales.
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