CFP: Theory after Derrida (7/31/06; collection)

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                    Call for Papers for a volume on

                           Theory After Derrida

Jacques Derrida died on 8 October 2004. Controversies embraced him while
alive even followed him after his death. An obituary of Derrida by Jonathan
Kandell in the New York Times titled “ Jacques Derrida, Abstruse Theorist,
Dies at 74”(10 October 2004) provoked unprecedented response from academia
across the USA. If controversies have a way of signifying something besides
arguments and counter-arguments they certainly underline the importance of
the person about whom they are made. With or without controversies, Derrida
is certainly an extraordinary thinker, philosopher and theorist. His method
of critical engagement called “deconstruction”, declared many times dead by
his critics, is alive and challenges us as it denaturalizes many of the
hierarchies that Western philosophy and culture conceived as natural.
Derrida defines deconstruction as “something which happens” in an attempt
to understand the slipperiness of any system, whether linguistic or
cultural. As Terry Eagleton in his work Literary Theory
maintains: “deconstruction is for him (Derrida) an ultimately political
practice, an attempt to dismantle the logic by which a particular system of
thought, and behind that a whole system of political structures and social
institutions, maintains its force.”
Not only Derrida challenges our ways of thinking but also our hitherto
methods of critical inquiry. In doing so he exposes the lie behind binaries
such as speech/writing, nature/culture, male/female, black/white,
literature/criticism and so on that have shaped our world views in that a
hegemonic centre is always already in place dominating/marginalizing
the “other.” Although Derrida’s influence on literary criticism is well
known and many have practised his method of deconstruction; the roots of
his thought are more philosophical than literary. Derrida’s examination of
philosophical foundations of human sciences both conceptual and historical
is an important aspect of his thought. Heidegger among others has
influenced him the most in his attempt to renovate philosophy that allowed
him to examine fundamental matters of critical concern. However he has
moved beyond Heidegger.

A year after his death it is pertinent to explore not only the status of
Derrida’s contribution as a thinker but also the status of critical theory
as such. Should we dismiss Derrida as a thinker who espoused an extreme
form of relativism bordering on nihilism or has he something fundamental to
contribute to the future of theory? This question also underlines the
future of theory in a significant way. If we consider theory as an endless
problematizing of our beliefs and practices, of our suspicion and mistrust
then one may legitimately ask what is then its future? Could we say that
our mistrust and suspicion possibly would cohabit with faith in visualizing
a future? Could we suggest that deconstruction is not destruction but a
possibility that doubts the present having faith in the future? As John D.
Caputo maintains: “If there were no theory, there would be no future, just
the endless repetition of the same…What deconstruction will have done, and
the way that it will live on, after Derrida, after deconstruction itself,
lies in its insistence on the future, on what is coming, and on the courage
it takes to keep the future open.”

It is time that we ponder over and reflect on Derrida’s legacy and the
future of theory. Having in mind all these we propose to bring out a volume
titled Theory After Derrida. We have not consciously prepared any thematic
division for the volume, allowing the contributors the freedom the way they
think of/about Derrida as a critical thinker, a philosopher and a theorist
predicating their thoughts to the future of critical theory. We expect the
volume to be out by March 2007.

Last date for submission of articles: July 31st 2006. The articles should
be sent through E-mail. If a hard copy is submitted a soft copy in Windows
Word 98 or 2000 format should accompany it. Queries on the volume can be
made from the editors.

Kailash C. Baral
Bichitrananda Ray

Contact Addresses:

Kailash C. Baral R.Radhakrishnan
Professor of English Professor of English
 and Director Chair Asian-American Studies
CIEFL, NE Campus University of California, Irvine
NEHU Permanent Complex 300H,Krieger Hall
Shillong–793022,India Mail Code:6900
Phone:91+364-2550065(O) Irvine,CA 92697
E-Mail: E-mail:

Dr. B.N.Ray
Reader, Department of Political Science
Ramjas College
University of Delhi, Maurice Nagar
Delhi- 110007, India

About the editors:

Kaialsh C. Baral teaches English literature and is the Director of the
Northeast Campus of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages
(CIEFL) at Shillong. He has authored Sigmund Freud: A Study of His Theory
of Art and Literature (1994) and edited Humanities and Pedagogy: Teaching
of Humanities Today (2002), Interpretation of Texts: text, meaning and
interpretation (2002) and Earth Songs: Stories from Northeast India (2005).
He has co-edited Theory and Praxis: Curriculum, Culture and English Studies
(2003), Reflections on Literature, Criticism and Theory (2004), U.R.Anantha
Murthy’s Samskara: A Critical Reader (2005). His articles on critical
theory, cultural studies and postcolonial literatures are published in
India and abroad and also included in many anthologies.

R. Radhakrishnan is Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and
Chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of
California, Irvine. Author of Diasporic Meditations: Between Home and
Location (University of Minnesota Press, 1996), Theory in an Uneven World
(Blackwell, 2003), and History, the Human, and the World Between
(Forthcoming: Duke University Press, 2007), he is also the author of a
volume of Tamil poems and translator of contemporary Tamil fiction into
English besides having a number of publications in journals on critical
theory, postcolonial and Asian-American studies.

Bichitrananada Ray teaches Political Science at Ramjas College, University
of Delhi. He studied at the Universities of Delhi and Toronto, Canada. He
has authored Tradition and Innovation in Indian Political Thought (1998),
Critical Theory: The Marx-Marcuse Encounter (1999), Liberalism and the
Communitarian Challenge (1999), edited John Rawls and the Agenda of Social
Justice (2000), C.B. Macpherson and Liberalism (2004) and co-edited
Nietzsche After Hundred Years (2006). He works in the area of critical
theory and is widely published.

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Received on Fri Apr 21 2006 - 11:06:38 EDT