Jean-Luc Nancy


The Weight of Our History

This is the long version of an essay that was first published on November 20, 2015 in L’humanité. Translation by Philippe Theophanidis with the help of Marie-Ève Morin and Marc James Léger.   We would rather remain silent. In the face of the horror and emotion. In the face of the effects of proximity – since what…

On Human Rights: Two Simple Remarks

Today, political correctness demands that we say in French droits humains [human rights] when we used to say droits de l’homme [rights of man]. This demand, which also occurs in other areas, is made because the French homme, like man in English, does not distinguish between the human race and the male gender. German is better equipped, differentiating between Mensch and Mann. Latin distinguishes between vir and homo, Greek between anèr and anthropos, etc. We could discuss the reasons for this. However, it is also important to note the introduction of another ambiguity. The adjective ‘human’ in French has a value that corresponds to the usual meaning we now give to the term ‘humanist’ and, more generally, to the moral qualities of ‘care’ (a word which has recently been imported unchanged from English into French), ‘compassion’ or ‘charity’.

What the Arab peoples signify to us


The Arab peoples are signifying to us that resistance and revolt are with us once again, and that history is moving beyond History. They are doing it, as is appropriate, with all the fortune and misfortune that it involves. At the very least they have sent an irreversible signal whose effects we can expect to…

Courage, comrades, a new world is about to be born!

The following is the recent response by Jean-Luc Nancy to the decision to shut down the French, Italian and Russian departments at the University at Albany, SUNY. It is a statement of general significance, lamenting the tendency everywhere to forsake humanities and the thinking it engenders at the behest of the market and (capitalist) globalization.…

Communism, the word: notes for the London conference 2009


The following are the notes that Jean-Luc Nancy prepared for the conference ‘On the Idea of Communism’, March 2009. An edited version is available in Costas Douzinas & Slavoj Zizek (eds), The Idea of Communism (Verso, London 2010) 145–53. Communism, the word. Not the word before the notion, but the word as notion and as historical…