Thinking difference: critics in conversation

Julian Wolfreys

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Difference has been a term of choice in the humanities for the last few decades, animating an extraordinary variety of work in philosophy, literary studies, religion, law, the social sciences-indeed, in virtually every area of the academy. In projects ranging from deconstructive readings of canonical texts to a radical rethinking of the sacred, difference has been the node around which theorists have explored questions of conflict, power, identity, meaning, and knowledge itself in postmodern culture. At this point, what difference does difference make? In this imaginatively conceived book, Julian Wolfreys talks to thirteen leading scholars about the place of difference in their own work, in their own fields, and in their teaching. How has intellectual engagement with difference-its celebration of otherness and opposition, whether in a work of art or in world politics-shaped teaching, reading, and writing in today's colleges and universities? And at a time when identity politics and cultural critique have been institutionalized by the academy, has difference been domesticated? Personal and revealing, these conversations come together as a kind of collective self-portrait of the humanities at one of its important junctures. Thinking Difference offers provocative reflections on what ideas and practices will drive the next generation of critical thinking. Here are original conversations on the career of a key concept with: Nicholas Royle, Derek Attridge, Peggy Kamuf, Avital Ronell, Arkady Plotnitsky, John P. Leavey, Jr., Mary Ann Caws, Jonathan Culler, Gregory L. Ulmer, J. Hillis Miller, John D. Caputo, Kevin Hart, and Werner Hamacher. Preface Introduction: As If I Were Teaching, in Conversation julian Wolfreys et al: Nicholas Royle The Beginning Is Haunted: Teaching and the Uncanny; Derek Attridge Encountering the Other in the Classroom; Peggy Kamuf Symptoms of Response; Avital Ronell (as interviewed by D. Diane Davis) Confessions of an Anacoluthon: On Writing, Technology, Pedagogy, and Politics; Arkady Plotnitsky Difference beyond Difference; John P. Leavey, Jr.Q & A: Whims, Whim-Whams, Whimsies, and the Responsiveble Interview; Mary Ann Caws Thinking about This...; Jonathan Culler Resisting Resistance; Kevin Hart Going to University with Socrates; John D. Caputo In Praise of Devilish Hermeneutics; Gregory L. Ulmer A-mail: Differential Imaging; J. Hillis Miller The Degree Zero of Criticism; and Werner Hamacher To Leave the Word to Someone Else.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherFordham University Press
Number of pages199
ISBN (Print)9780823223077
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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