The Humanities In Deconstruction: Raising The Question Of The Post-colonial University

Michael A. Peters
Vol 26, Number 1, p.1
Derrida is, perhaps, the foremost philosopher of the humanities and of its place in the university. Over the long period of his career he has been concerned with the fate, status, place and contribution of the humanities. Through his deconstructive readings and writings he has done much not only to reinvent the Western tradition by attending closely to those texts which constitute it but also he has redefined its procedures and protocols, questioning and commenting upon the relationship between commentary and interpretation, the practice of quotation, the delimitation of a work and its singularity, its signature, and its context – the whole form of life of literary culture, together with textual practices and conventions that shape it. From his very early work he has occupied a marginal in-between space – simultaneously, textual, literary, philosophical, and political – a space that permitted him a freedom to question, to speculate and to draw new limits to humanitas. Derrida has demonstrated his power to reconceptualise and to reimagine the humanities in the space of the contemporary university. This paper discusses Derrida’s tasks for the new humanities (Trifonas & Peters, 2005).