Abstract

White, "Menace to Philosophy: Jacques Derrida and the Academic Sublime"

This essay explores how Derrida’s writings on the institutions of philosophy (primarily in __Du Droit à la Philosophie__) draw on the discourse of the sublime to rethink the university as a site of institutional responsibility. In the university, philosophy undergoes 'the risk of presentation'--at once exposing itself to and yet shielding itself from an apparently menacing exteriority. Through a sometimes ironic figuration of the sublime, Derrida explores how one can defend a right to philosophy and yet still strive to leave philosophy without defenses or defensiveness--that is, open to exteriority and to 'the entirely other of a terrifying future.' This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.