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Derrida and Hospitality

Theory and Practice

Judith Still

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Winner of the R. H. Gapper Book Prize 2011

Judith Still sets Derrida's work in a series of contexts including the socio-political history of France, especially in relation to Algeria, and his relationship to other writers, most importantly Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Emmanuel Levinas – key thinkers of hospitality. Still also follows the thread of sexual difference in Derrida's writing in order to shed light on his exploration of the complex and delicate, strange yet familiar, political and ethical dilemmas of how to be those impossible things, a good host and a good guest.

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1. Introduction to the Question of Hospitality: Ethics and Politics
2. Patriarchs and their Women, Some Inaugural Intertexts of Hospitality: The Odyssey, Abraham, Lot and the Levite of Ephraim
3. Friendship and Sexual difference: Hospitality from Brotherhood to Motherhood and Beyond
4. Names and the Other - (Not) Asking for a Name, Naming, Calling by Name in Tales of Algerians
5. The Dangers of Hospitality: the French State, Cultural Difference and Gods
6. Animals and What Is Human
7. Concluding Around Hospitality

About the Author

Judith Still is Professor of French and Critical Theory and Head of the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies at the University of Nottingham. She is the author of Justice and Differences in the Works of Rousseau (CUP, 1993), Feminine Economies: Thinking against the Market in the Enlightenment and the Late Twentieth Century (MUP, 1997), Derrida and Hospitality (EUP, 2010, Gapper Prize winner 2011) and Enlightenment Hospitality (Voltaire Foundation, 2011).


An important, intelligent book on the context of Derrida's thinking about hospitality ... This indispensable volume enhances understanding of the French cultural and political context of Derrida's thinking. Summing Up: Highly Recommended.

- N. Lukacher, University of Illinois at Chicago, Choice

Still succeeds admirably, in my view, in exploring the traditional model of hospitality with reference to the Odyssey and the Old Testament (chapter 2); and in response to that, the implications of a maternal model of hospitality, first for friendship, which is traditionally viewed as existing only between men (chapter 3); then for naming as an issue of hospitality in the colonial context (chapter 4); thereafter for the welcoming to Europe of migrants with their Gods (chapter 5); and last, for our relation to non-human animals (chapter 6). In each instance, Still convincingly shows the link with hospitality, which may not be immediately obvious to the reader. There are many gems in this book.

- Jacques de Ville, University of the Western Cape, Oxford Literary Review

Still has written a learned, scholarly work on feminism and hospitality, read as readers of Derrida tend to read: with care, attention to detail, and openness to a wide range of thinkers, concentrating on but absolutely not limited to, Derrida.

- Maebh Long, The University of the South Pacific, Derrida Today

This impressive book expertly welcomes the reader into the difficulties of the question of hospitality. While interpreting work on this topic by Derrida and Lévinas, Cixous and Irigaray, Still also opens new doors onto issues in feminism and post-colonialism. She refers to telling examples in contemporary politics, and unfailingly reflects on the way her own work is performatively implicated in the structures of hospitality she is drawing out.

- Geoffrey Bennington, Asa G. Candler Professor of Modern French Thought, Emory University