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Tag Archives: Lasse Thomassen

Fear of a Blank Planet

Fear of a Blank Planet



Dr Lasse Thomassen




Queen Mary, University of London

The course consists of a one-day workshop for research students and young researchers. The aim of the workshop is to examine deconstruction as a method for political analysis. We read examples of deconstructive analyses by Jacques Derrida and discuss the methodological implications of deconstruction as well as the philosophical assumptions behind it. Deconstruction is often used in literature, cultural studies and philosophy, but is little used as a method for political analysis. The workshop examines the usefulness of deconstruction for the study of politics not only by reading about deconstruction, but also by seeing how it can be put to use in the analysis of texts.

The workshop consists of three two-hour sessions led by Dr Lasse Thomassen (Queen Mary, University of London). The three sessions are organised around readings from Jacques Derrida, with each session focusing on an example of a deconstructive reading while also examining wider methodological issues arising from deconstruction.

The first session examines the question of method and relates it to a piece by Derrida on the category of ‘the event’. To help think about method and the event, we introduce the notion of iterability. In the second session, we together deconstruct a text written by Habermas, and co-signed by Derrida, on Europe. This session continues the reflection on deconstructive concepts and deconstruction as a method by looking at the logic of the example. The third session examines Derrida’s writings on hospitality as a way of reflecting on the relationship to ‘the other’, a theme already broached in the second session. In this final session we look at the role played by the pair conditional/unconditional in Derrida’s rethinking of concepts like hospitality.

At the end of the course, the participants will have knowledge of the philosophical assumptions behind deconstruction, the implications of deconstruction for questions surrounding the use of methods in the social sciences and humanities, the politics of deconstruction, and the use deconstruction for concrete political analysis.

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