We are honored to announce that Prof. Beata Stawarska and Prof. Leonard Lawlorare our keynote speakers, and Prof. Daniela Vallega-Neu and Prof. Jamin Pelkey are Plenary Speakers at the SSA 44thAnnual Conference in Portland, Oregon, October 9–13, 2019.
“Ghostwriting or How to Make an Official Doctrine”
Abstract: In my talk I will reconstitute the process of ghostwriting the Course in General Linguistics (a posthumous redaction attributed to Ferdinand de Saussure) by the book’s two editors, Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye, in order to reflect on the processes of exclusion involved in establishing a study of signs as a recognizable scientific discipline. I will argue specifically that the received ‘official doctrine’ articulated in the Courseand later appropriated within structuralism, which is based upon a set of oppositional and hierarchical pairings between la langueandla parole, synchrony and diachrony, is rendered suspect in light of the book’s complicated editorial history. This ‘official doctrine’ emerged out of an institutional interest to establish general linguistics as an academic discipline with a proper object and method; its enduring status as an unrivalled truth of Saussurianism can be deciphered by investigating the interrelation between dominant discourses and social relations of power.
Bio: Beata Stawarska is Professor of Philosophy at the U. of Oregon. She is an author of Saussure’s Philosophy of Language as Phenomenology. Undoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics (Oxford UP, 2015) and Between You and I. Dialogical Phenomenology(Ohio UP, 2009), as well as several essays in contemporary European Philosophy. A recent recipient of a Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Nantes (France), Stawarska is an expert in phenomenology, structuralism and post-structuralism, and feminism. She is currently at work on a project on martial morality and the ambiguity of violence.
“The Most Difficult Task: On the Idea of an Impure, Pure Non-Violence in Derrida (with a Post-Script on the Death Penalty)”
Abstract: This article attempts to elaborate on the Derridean idea of transcendental violence and his idea of “violence against violence.” It does this by examining the structure of the gift as Derrida presents it in Given Time. The article lays out in detail all of the conditions for the gift Derrida presents across Given Time. More precisely, it examines Derrida’s analysis of the giving of counterfeit money. The conclusion it draws is that the giving of counterfeit money comes closest to the golden mean between exchange and non-exchange (or pure gift-giving), the golden mean between violence and non-violence. But the open question is: should we prescribe the giving of counterfeit money for all gift-giving and even for human relations of friendship and love? After the examination of the gift, we shall briefly, in a post-script examine Derrida’s DeathPenalty 1.
Bio: Leonard Lawloris Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy at Penn State University. He the author of eight books, most of which concern 20thcentury French philosophy. The most recent is From Violence to Speaking out(Edinburgh 2016). He is currently working on a variety of articles on Bergson, Derrida, Deleuze, and Foucault. The work on Bergson will be soon be transformed into a book for Northwestern University Press. He has recently completed the English translation of Renaud Barbaras’ Introduction à la phénoménologie de la vie, which will be published by Indiana University Press. And he will soon begin translating one of Bergson’s courses from the Collège de France for Bloomsbury Academic.
“The Temporal Delimitation of Bodies”
Abstract: This paper takes as a point of departure the assumption that living beings, in so far as they are living, cannot be delimited by firm boundaries and cannot be through primarily as present things or representable substances. They rather need to be understood as spatial-temporal happenings. And yet living beings are not simply spatial-temporal happenings (which would include, for instance, a rainstorm), but distinct lives. How do we account for the distinctness of living beings, then? How are we to think their boundaries from the midst of their exposed and interconnected happening as well as in terms of their enduring and particular ways of temporalizing? The paper explores these questions by taking recourse especially to Merleau-Ponty, and Nancy.
Bio: Daniela Vallega-Neuis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on a plural ontology that examines the spatio-temporal configurations of things and events as well as on Heidegger’s non-public writings. She is the author of Heidegger’s Poietic Writings: From Contributions to Philosophy to The Event(Indiana University Press, 2018), The Bodily Dimension in Thinking(SUNY Press, 2005), and Heidegger’s ‘Contributions to Philosophy.’ An Introduction (Indiana University Press, 2003).
“On Losing Yourself Beyond Borders: An Analysis of Concentric Meaning in Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream Chapter(齊物論)”
Abstract:In a well-known story, Zhuangzi wakes up from a dream only to find himself lost, in-between worlds, and ultimately transformed. Like so many other ancient texts, the broader structural-hermeneutic context of this vignette is poorly understood, being composed in a concentric pattern, with sections in each half mirroring each other while the central passages provide a pivotal peak and interpretive key, radiating meaning back out to the margins. In other words, “the meaning is in the middle”—the place of Peircean Thirdness. In this lecture, I map the chiastic structures of Zhuangzi’s Qíwùlùn 齊物論 chapter, while tracing its various intimations of Peircean semiotic pragmatism—from fallibilism and continuity to the triadic structure of inductive inquiry. Referencing recent scholarship on Zhuangzi, Peirce, and more, I argue that this ancient text, like the pragmatist philosophy it foreshadows, points the way to a life beyond borders through habits of losing ourselves in inquiry.
Bio: Jamin Pelkey (Ph.D. Linguistics, La Trobe University 2009) is Associate Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and founding Director of the Meaning Lab, at Ryerson University, Toronto. He has published 12 books (authored, edited or co-edited) and more than 40 papers (articles, chapters, reviews, and others) on semiotics, linguistics, and anthropology—including The Semiotics of X (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017) and “Greimas Embodied”, winner of the 2017 Mouton d’Or Award for best article in Semiotica. In addition to many other academic service roles, he is Managing Editor of The American Journal of Semiotics and Vice-President of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics.