CLC 2011 – Thou art a scholar: speak to it (The question of Derrida in the 21st Century)

by | 23 Jun 2011

Critical Legal Conference 2011

Derrida ends Specters of Marx with an injunction for the ‘scholar’ of the future: let the ghost speak, let the revenant return, learn how to live by keeping up company with the specter. In the ‘age of technology’ where human interaction is increasingly facilitated by a series of spectral media and where that spectrality has enabled political empowerment and intervention, we return to Derrida to let his texts speak in contemporary contexts. What would be the result of a return to Derrida’s work? What would consist in answering Derrida’s spectral call? How can we let Derrida’s ghost speak in the 21st Century?

This stream seeks to engage in the work of Derrida and deconstruction in order to answer his call at a time when we find a new generation of scholars grappling with deconstruction in a ‘post-deconstructive era’ (Catherine Malabou, Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing). We aim to set Derrida’s work in contemporary contexts through deconstructing 21st century events, commenting on technology and the spectral, and questioning how the ‘democracy to come’ might influence new radical forms of resistance. Current questions of legal theory are once again taking to task problems of sovereignty (world financial regulation), democracy (North African uprisings), the regulation of the public/private (Wilileaks), and the increasing use of techne within both the realms of le politque and la politique (biometrics and ‘Facebook revolutions’). How can we as legal scholars of Derrida’s future revisit his work in ways that allow it to speak to us again, as a revenant itself? How can we realise deconstruction’s potential and let ‘the impossible release the possible’ (Richard Beardsworth, Derrida & the Political) in the face of today’s legal and political challenges?

We welcome papers that explore the relevance of Derrida’s work in today’s legal and political climate and, more broadly, papers that return in innovative and critical ways to the themes and concepts that preoccupy much of Derrida’s later work. We hope to explore new theoretical avenues by questioning afresh Derridian notions of sovereignty, the politics of friendship, hospitality, cosmopolitanism, the archive, the democracy to come, and justice as an aporia.


Anastasia Tataryn, Doctoral Candidate, The School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, Email: anastaziya.t[at]

Dan Matthews ?Doctoral Candidate, The School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, Email: danielcharlesmatthews[at]

Chris Lloyd ?Doctoral Candidate, The School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, Email: chris.lloyd[at]

Please send your abstract to stream conveners.

Deadline : 15 July 2011


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