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Negotiating the Legacy

Edited by Madeleine Fagan, Ludovic Glorieux, Indira Hasimbegovic, Marie Suetsugu

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The death of Jacques Derrida in 2004 represented a major interruption in contemporary intellectual life. This death calls for an engagement with Derrida's work and an attempt to understand his legacy. Such a discussion is fraught with tension between remaining faithful after death and putting Derrida's writing to work in new directions, posing challenges and exposing limitations. In short this legacy is, necessarily, a negotiation. The aim of this book is to grapple with this specific theme and to explore the implications of Derrida's death for the future of critical thought itself.

The authors demonstrate that there is no single way to adopt or inherit Derrida's thought. Rather, through their engagement with contemporary themes within Politics and International Studies, Philosophy, Literary Studies and Postcolonial Studies, each chapter illuminates the degree to which on-going reflection, radical critique, and above all radical self-critique are demanded by deconstruction.

This book provides the key starting point for any serious assessment of what the implications of the work of one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers might be.

Key Features

  • The first interdisciplinary text of its kind
  • Features original work from some of the world's most eminent Derridean scholars including Richard Beardsworth, Christina Howells and Christopher Norris
  • Includes chapters which explore the relationship between Derrida and key contemporaries such as Sartre, Nancy, Heidegger, Blanchot, Deleuze, Levinas and Habermas


Introduction: Inheriting Deconstruction, Surviving Derrida
Ludovic Glorieux and Indira Hasimbegovic
I Future of Deconstruction
1. Analytic Philosophy in Another Key: Derrida on Language, Truth and Logic
Christopher Norris
2. The Future of Critical Philosophy and World Politics
Richard Beardsworth
3. Derrida's Rogues: Islam and the Futures of Deconstruction
Alex Thomson
4. Force [of] Transformation
Michael Dillon
II Interrupting the Same
5. Derrida's Memory, War and the Politics of Ethics
Maja Zehfuss
6. The (International) Politics of Friendship: Exemplar, Exemplarity, Exclusion
Josef Ansorge
7. Ethical Assassination? Negotiating the (Ir)responsible Decision
Dan Bulley
8. Exploiting the Ambivalence of a Crisis: A practitioner reads 'Diversity Training' through Homi Bhabha
April Biccum
III Following/ Breaking
9. Sartre and Derrida: the promises of the subject
Christina Howells
10. What It Is To Be Many: Subjecthood, Responsibility and Sacrifice in Derrida and Nancy
Jenny Edkins
11. 'Derrida's Theatre of Survival: Fragmentation, Death and Legacy'
Daniel Watt
12. Derrida vs. Habermas Revisited
Lasse Thomassen
Conclusions: The Im/Possibility of Closure
Madeleine Fagan and Marie Suetsugu.

About the Author

Madeleine Fagan is an Institute of Advanced Studies Global Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. She is co-editor of Derrida: Negotiating the Legacy (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

Marie Suetsugu is a member of the Aberystwyth Post-International Group, a postgraduate-led research group which has been based in the Department of Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth since 1993.


Far from the hackneyed responses that greeted Derrida’s passing, this volume negotiates the profound legacy of his path-breaking thought for ethics, politics and global issues. Through a series of essays – some of them provocative, all of them original – this volume rightly understands that fidelity to Derrida’s memory is best expressed in terms of a critical engagement that both confronts and draws inspiration from the many challenges his work continues to pose.
- David Campbell, Durham University
The negotiations which comprise this collection successfully guide the reader through the complexity that makes Derridean thought so rich. Fighting to keep these tensions from being marginalised, the best contributions within this collection display how this complexity is productive, by using it to engage with contemporary political problematics. In doing so the question of Derrida's legacy is left open, deferring decision on Derrida's legacy to a future to come (a-venir)
- Christopher Zebrowski, Keele University, In-Spire
This wide-ranging encounter with Jacques Derrida’s legacy is consistently innovative, discerning, and challenging. Taken as a whole, the collection is both a fitting tribute and an original contribution to critical political philosophy.
- Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai’i

The great diversity of contributors makes this book undoubtedly relevant for anybody concerned with deconstruction and Derrida, irrespective of her/his discipline.

- Millennium - Journal of International Studies
The editors of this volume are to be commended … The essays collected in this book are a welcome testament to the scope of Derrida's work in helping us to negotiate with war and death in our times.
- Philosophy in Review