Jacques Derrida Deconstructs American Attitudes

Jacques Derrida, the founder of Deconstruction, was something of an academic rock star during his day. He packed auditoriums whenever and wherever he spoke. Films were made about him. And a generation of academics churned out Derridean deconstructions of literary texts. All of this made Derrida’s star rise ever higher. But whether it did much good for Comp Lit, French and English programs across the US, that’s another story.

But we digress from the main point here. Our friendly French philosopher spent a fair amount of time teaching in the US and got acquainted with American attitudes. Sometimes, he says, we can be manipulative and utilitarian. What exactly do you mean Mr. Derrida? Can you please elaborate? Of course, he does above.

Note: If you aren’t quite clear on what deconstruction is all about, you can watch two lectures devoted to the subject (here and here) from Yale’s course on Literary Theory. Entitled “Introduction to Theory of Literature,” this course, taught by Paul Fry, is listed in the Literature section of our big collection of Free Online Courses.

H/T Biblioklept

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