April 4, 2007


Started watching Derrida last night. Very interesting but too tired to finish. Looking forward to finishing it up tonight. Didn't know much about him before watching this but I'm intrigued now. Any recommendations on what I should read of his?


Eric Lee said...

Actually, I might suggest starting with Jacques Derrida: Live Theory, by James K.A. Smith. I'm about half-way through it right now, and it's a good (and challenging) intro to his thought. I'm about to start reading his actual works in less than a week, so I might have a better answer for you then. Also extremely highly recommended is Jamie Smith's (same guy) Whose Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church. He uses a lot of clear examples (movies) to help make his point -- it's one of Smith's less 'technical' works, with an eye more toward practice, and it's really compelling (and a fun read!).

Derrida tends to interact with a lot of earlier philosophy, so it would help to know some Husserl, Rousseau, or Levi-Strauss to help understand some of the critiques he engages in (also, Derrida's project is also largely influenced by Emmanuel Levinas with his focus on 'alterity', i.e. on the other), but it probably wouldn't be a requirement.

So anyway, that is why I would suggest starting with secondary material like Smith's work to help wade through some of the neologisms that Derrida makes up for his project.

That was a pretty good documentary by the way. Some of the shots where he is just being followed around are pretty boring (and feels like he's some sort of hollywood star, which is awkward), but the interviews with him are always fascinating. There are a few books of interviews with him out there too, which might be of interest.



Jason Evans said...

Thanks for the run-down, Eric. I'll look into some of those. I agree with you on the documentary. Some seriously pointless segments but overall interesting. Haven't seen you two in awhile. Hope all is well.

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