"Derrida and the Theologico-Political"


Drawing on Derrida's later seminars on "sovereignty" (published in 2008 and 2010) and "the pardon" (with a particular emphasis on the yet-to-be-published "death penalty" seminars), the speakers of the 30th Annual Spindel Conference will address Derrida's analyses of "the theologico-political" in works of philosophy, political theory, religion, and literature. By theologico-political, Derrida referred to the unacknowledged theological roots of political concepts, modern political institutions, and practices. Putting into question the supposed secularism of the modern nation-state, Derrida's later writings undertake an extensive study of the relation between sovereignty, the death penalty, and the "theologico-political." Devoted to detailed and painstaking examinations of major texts of philosophy and literature by Plato, Rousseau, Kant, Schmitt, Heidegger, La Fontaine, Hugo, Camus, and Genet, among others, the seminars enrich the elaboration of the theologico-political in already published works. Featuring some of Derrida's foremost interpreters and translators, the conference aims to further this exploration.

Derrida's Seminars

From the beginning of his teaching career at the Sorbonne in 1960 to his last seminars at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in 2003, Jacques Derrida completely wrote out all his lectures and seminars. Presented over twelve to fifteen weeks a year, these seminars, in addition to the scores of books that he published during his lifetime, amount to some 14,000 printed pages in 43 volumes. They thus constitute an invaluable addition to the already existing corpus. A decision was made by Derrida's heirs to edit and publish these seminars. These heretofore unpublished seminars will appear in reverse chronological order, published by Editions Galilée in France and the University of Chicago Press in the English-speaking world. Information about the seminars can be found at http://derridaseminars.org.


A special roundtable discussion will be held following the individual paper presentations. Presenters Kamuf, Bennington, Naas, Oliver, Dutoit, and Rottenberg will participate in the roundtable, with Ellen Armour serving as the moderator.

Keynote Speakers

Peggy Kamuf
Lisa Guenther (Moderator)

Geoffrey Bennington
Pleshette DeArmitt (Moderator)

Other Sessions

Michael Naas
Matthias Fritsch (Respondent)
Deborah Achtenberg (Moderator)

Kelly Oliver
Elissa Marder (Respondent)
Leigh Johnson (Moderator)

Thomas Dutoit
Kas Saghafi (Respondent)
Angela Hunter (Moderator)

Elizabeth Rottenberg
Olivia Custer (Respondent)
Adrian Switzer (Moderator)