Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities (GSAH)

Key Concepts of the Humanities and Social Sciences

(De-)Positions of Deconstruction

Monday, 2021/03/08, 14:15

As a mandatory part of the doctoral program Global Studies, the reading course has participants discuss selected key concepts of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Sessions are understood as peer to peer workshops to which participants contribute with suggestions for reading they would like to have discussed.

Event organizer: Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies | Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities | Walter Benjamin Kolleg
Speaker: Dr. Toni Hildebrandt, Universität Bern, Institut für Kunstgeschichte
Date: 2021/03/08
Time: 14:15 - 18:00
Locality: Online Workshop
Lerchenweg 36
3012 Bern
Characteristics: open to the public
free of charge


08.03. and 22.03.2021, 2.15-6.00 pm


2 (Pflicht- oder Wahlpflichtbereich ICS / Wahlpflichtbereich GS, SLS, SINTA / Modul I GSA)


English (German possible depending on participants)


Until February 20, 2021 to as well as on KSL: (Login with UniBe-Account, search with title)


The course first traces the status of deconstruction in the 20th century (after phenomenology and structuralism) and highlights its relevance for the present. The starting point for this is the three main philosophical works, which Jacques Derrida presented in 1967 and which can be read as the earliest practice of deconstructive readings of the most diverse traditions (De la grammatologie; La voix et le phénomène; L'écriture et la différence). We will closely follow the text to see what Derrida understands by differance and how the deconstructive program distinguishes itself from semiology, phenomenology and the tradition of critique since Kant. In the field of contemporary theory, our main concern will be to understand how deconstruction differs from critical theory and discourse analysis and how it stands up to more recent objections of "speculative realism".
The second session will focus on "methods, practices and procedures" in the arts. We will ask more specific questions about how deconstruction has been taken up and developed further and how deconstructive practice can be identified in the arts. We will use various comparisons as examples: from deconstruction and poetry (Hélène Cixous/Friedericke Mayröcker), deconstruction and architecture (Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi), deconstruction and drawing/painting (Derrida's exhibition at the Louvre in 1991: Memoires d'aveugle. l'autoportait et autres ruines), deconstruction and free jazz (Ornette Coleman) to Derrida's attempt to describe the aesthetics of film as "hauntology". At the end of the course we will watch Ken McMullen's film Ghost Dance (1983).


Bennington, fGeofrey: «Derridabase», in: Jacques Derrida/Geoffrey Benninton, Jacques Derrida (Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1999), extracts.
Derrida, Jacques/Kristeva, Julia: «Semiology and Grammatology» [1968], in: Jacques Derrida, Positions (Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1981), 15–36.
Derrida, Jacques: «Differance» [1968], in: Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy (Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1982), 1–27.