Abstract The phenomenological approach to racialization needs to be supplemented by a hermeneutics that examines the history of the various categories in terms of which people see and have seen race. An investigation of this kind suggests that instead of the rigid essentialism that is normally associated with the history of racism, race predominantly operates as a border concept, that is to say, a dynamic fluid concept whose core lies not at the center but at its edges. I illustrate this (...) by an examination of the history of the distinctions between the races as it is revealed in legal, scientific, and philosophical sources. I focus especially on racial distinctions in the United States and on the way that the impact of miscegenation was negotiated leading to the so-called one-drop rule. (shrink)
Charles Scott’s relation to the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas is complex because he is sometimes highly critical, rejecting many of the words Levinas employed, while nevertheless at other times being faithful to some of Levinas’s most original insights. Employing a word often used by Scott himself, I understand his reading of Levinas as an “interruption.” It is a word that also comes to mind when I think of our own discussions about the meaning of ethics from 1981 to 1990, discussions (...) which seem to have brought us to a point of proximity. The essay is intended as a description and celebration of the experience of thinking in the company of a powerful thinker such as Charles Scott is. (shrink)
Frantz Fanon was an enthusiastic reader of Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason and in this essay I focus on what can be gleaned from The Wretched of the Earth about how he read it. I argue that the reputation among Sartre's critics of the Critique as a failure on the grounds that it was left incomplete should take into account its presence in Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth . Their shared perspectives on the systemic character of racism and colonialism, (...) on the genesis and fragility of groups, and on parties indicates the vitality of the ideas set out in the Critique . However, these similarities between the two thinkers are offset by their differences on national consciousness and on the rural masses. I end by speculating about a certain defence on Sartre's part toward Fanon's concrete experience. (shrink)
In 1934 Heidegger offered an account of what a Volk is in terms of the existential analytic of Dasein set out in Being and Time , but soon after he abandoned this framework as he began the task of overcoming metaphysics. Integral to this new task was a confrontation with the racial policies not just of the Nazis but also of the Allies because he believed that the Western philosophical tradition was deeply implicated in these policies. Against this background, this (...) paper explores Heidegger's attempts—hitherto unrecognized—in the late 1930s to sketch another way of thinking what his contemporaries called "race" using the conceptual resources he had introduced in "The Origin of the Work of Art." The paper also includes some criticisms of Emmanuel Faye's recent study, Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate a largely untold chapter in the history of race thinking in Northern Europe and North America: the transition from the form of racism that was used to justify a race-based system of slavery to the medicalising racism which called for segregation, apartheid, eugenics, and, eventually, sterilization and the holocaust. In constructing this history I will employ the notion of biopower introduced by Michel Foucault. Foucault’s account of biopower has received a great deal of attention recently, (...) but because what he actually has to say about race tends to be vague and radically incomplete, many race theorists have been critical of his contribution. However, even if the account of the holocaust in terms of biopower is incomplete, there is still a great deal to be learned from Foucault’s identification of this biologizing, or medicalising racism. (shrink)
In his preface to Beyond the Verse, written in 1981, Emmanuel Levinas poses the following provocative question: “Can democracy and the ‘rights of man’divorce themselves without danger from their prophetic and ethical depth?” (BV xv / AV 12–13). The question is clearly intended to threaten the comfortable consensus that has gathered around these icons of our time and, more specifically, to displace what have come to be known under the title the “rights of man” from the context of the European (...) Enlightenment with which they are so often identified. Levinas performs this act of displacement in the first instance by relocatingthem within the tradition of the Jewish prophets. However, this effort ultimately leads him to a more radical displacement, one that amounts to a certain re-placing of them, a relocating of them elsewhere altogether. What does that mean? What are its implications for the doctrine of the “rights of man”? (shrink)
'I too was superfluous' -- 'Outside, in the world, among others' -- 'Hell is other people' -- 'He is playing at being a waiter in a café' -- 'In war there are no innocent victims' -- 'I am obliged to want others to have freedom' -- 'The authentic Jew makes himself a Jew' -- 'The eyes of the least favoured' -- 'A future more or less blocked off' -- 'Man is violent'.
This article addresses in the first place the use made by Emmanuel Levinas of the contrast between the Bible and Greece. The author attempts to place this contrast in the context of the historical division between Athens and Jerusalem, the Hellenic and the Hebraic, etc. It is argued that one of the main motivations for the presence of this contrast in Levinas s thought is his attempt to address Martin Heidegger's appeal to the relation between the Greeks and the Germans. (...) However, the article claims that it remains the case that Levinas never entirely succeeds in integrating an adequate account of ethnic identities into his ethics of alterity. /// O presente artigo tem por objectivo principal proceder a um estudo do uso feito por Emmanuel Levinas do contraste entre a Bíblia e a Grécia. Trata-se, pois, de uma tentativa de colocar este contraste no contexto da divisão histórica entre Atenas e Jerusalém, entre o mundo helénico e o mundo hebraico, etc. O autor argumenta que uma das principais motivações para a presença deste contraste no pensamento de Levinas é a sua tentativa de responder à associação estabelecida por Martin Heidegger entre a Grécia e a Alemanha. Por outro lado, contudo, o artigo também reclama que Levinas não foi completamente bem sucedido na sua tentativa de integrar de forma adequada as identidades étnicas na sua ética da alteridade. (shrink)
In this paper I present Levinas' account of excendence in On Escape and Existence and Existents and show its continuity with his subsequent discussions of transcendence in Time and the Other, Totality and Infinity, and Otherwise than Being. I argue that Levinas' critique of the traditional idea of identity plays a decisive role in establishing the continuity between these various accounts as it provides the key to unlocking his account of transcendence as a formal structure. However, the meaning of trascendence (...) lies not in the structure but in its concretization. Although Levinas initially presents fecundity as the concretization of transcendence, he ultimately identifies it as ethics. This development explains why Levinas himself preferred to think of himself as a thinker of transcendence or the holy rather than to be identified with ethics. (shrink)
Emmanuel Levinas is now widely recognised alongside Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre as one of the most important Continental philosophers of the twentieth century. His abiding concern was the primacy of the ethical relation to the other person and his central thesis was that ethics is first philosophy. His work has also had a profound impact on a number of fields outside philosophy such as theology, Jewish studies, literature and cultural theory, psychotherapy, sociology, political theory, international relations theory and critical legal (...) theory. This volume contains overviews of Levinas's contribution in a number of fields, and includes detailed discussions of his early and late work, his relation to Judaism and talmudic commentary, and his contributions to aesthetics and the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This book brings together the most interesting and far-reaching responses to the work of Levinas in three key areas: contemporary feminism, psychotherapy and Levinas's relation to other philosophers. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.