In Derrida's Wake: a Symposium on Deconstruction After Jacques Derrida

full name / name of organization: 
Stephen Abblitt, La Trobe University, Australia

In Derrida's Wake
9 October 2009
La Trobe University

8 October 2009 marks the fifth anniversary of the death of French deconstructionist Jacques Derrida. Given Derrida's concern with dates and contexts, but also with notions of trying to mourn for lost friends and the responsibilities of the living towards the dead and their legacies, it seems a more than appropriate time--perhaps a day late, because we hesitate, trying to postpone the inevitable--to bring together some friends and scholars of Derrida, not to mourn a man so concerned with the impossibility of mourning, but to begin to celebrate the enduring influence of deconstruction, to survey the state of play across the disciplines, in Derrida's wake.        

And then, how does this unique context--not only 9 October 2009, but also La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia--influence what is taking place?  What is the relationship of Derrida and deconstruction to this context, to this time and these places?  More generally, how are Derrida and the particularly European and North American phenomenon of deconstruction placed in the Antipodes?  How does deconstruction take place in the Antipodes?  And what can we make of the Antipodes after Derrida?

The aim of the symposium is threefold. Firstly, it is to pay our respects to Derrida not through mourning or memorialising, but through critically engaging with acts of deconstruction, and so acting responsibly towards Derrida's legacy. Secondly, our aim is to showcase current critical and theoretical applications of Derrida and deconstruction, from across as many disciplines as possible--literature, philosophy, linguistics, life-writing, cinema, media, music, performance, gender studies, the visual arts, architecture, design, law, politics, sociology, and others. Thirdly, our hope is to begin to build a network of interested Derrida scholars across Melbourne and Australia, and across the disciplines, with the aim of promoting and advancing the study of Derrida and deconstruction, with or without a uniquely Antipodean inflection, and the possibility of organizing future events. Publication opportunities are being sought, with the aim of publishing article-length versions of the papers as a special journal edition or a stand-alone publication.

Papers, of roughly 20 minutes in length, can address any aspect of Derrida's life, works, or thought, and can show deconstruction in operation across any area of scholarship.

The deadline for proposals is 1 August 2009. Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to and should be accompanied by a brief biographical note.