ICS Calendar Title: Hermeneutics and Deconstruction

ICS Course Code: ICS 120901/220901 F16

Instructor: Dr. James H. Olthuis

Term and Year: Wednesdays, 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Last Updated: June 16, 2016

1. Course Description

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Learning Goals

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

5. Required Readings

6. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

This seminar will examine and compare Hans-Georg Gadamer’s “Hermeneutics” and Jacques Derrida’s “Deconstruction.” Attention will also be paid to the emphasis on hermeneutics in Martin Heidegger’s “Being and Time.” The seminar discussions will move toward developing a non-violent reading-with hermeneutic theory which features both trust and suspicion.

2. Reading Schedule

September 14

Introduction and overview of seminar

September 21

John D. Caputo, Radical Hermeneutics, chps. 1 & 2 ; James Olthuis, “A Cold and Comfortless Hermeneutic or a Warm and Trembling Hermeneutic” ;  James K.A. Smith, The Fall of Interpretation, Introduction

September 28

Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, paras. 12, 26-27, 30-33 [Caputo, RH, chp. 3 ; Smith, FI, chp. 3]

October 5

Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, paras. 35-38, 40-41, 50-53, 63 [Caputo, RH, chp. 6 ; Smith, FI, chp. 4]

October 12

Essays by Gadamer and Derrida, Gadamer-Derrida dialogue  in Michelfelder & Palmer, eds., Dialogue and Deconstruction Part I, pp. 21-74

October 19

Essays by Gadamer in Michelfelder & Palmer, eds., Dialogue and Deconstruction, Part II, pp. 75-128 [Caputo, RH, chp. 4]

October 26

Reading break

 November 2

Jacques Derrida, “The Ends of Man,” in Margins of Philosophy, and “Edmond Jabes and the Question of the Book,” in Writing and Difference [Caputo, RH, chps. 5, 6]

November 9

Jacques Derrida, “Signature Event Context,” in Margins of Philosophy and “Afterword: Toward an Ethic of Discussion” in Limited Inc. [Smith, FI, chp. 7]

November 16

Jacques Derrida, “... That Dangerous Supplement” in Of Grammatology [Caputo, RH, chp. 7]

November23

Jacques Derrida, Of Spirit [Smith, FI, chp. 6]

November 30

Jacques Derrida, “Ulysses Gramophone: Hear Say Yes In Joyce,” in Acts of Literature and Caputo, RH, chps. 8, 9, 10

December 7

Jacques Derrida, “A Number of Yes,” in Psyche II, edited by Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth G. Rottenberg

December14

James Olthuis, “Otherwise Than Violence” in The Arts, Community and Cultural Democracy

December 21

James Olthuis, “Trust and Suspicion” (unpublished)

3. Course Learning Goals

  1. Critical understanding of Gadamer’s “hermeneutics.”
  2. Critical understanding of Derrida’s “deconstruction.”
  3. Ability to discern relative strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

Course Requirements:

  1. Total reading (1250 pages)
  2. In-seminar leadership: Taking turns leading discussion of assigned materials.
  3. Description of course project: 4,000-6,000 words (MA); 5,000-7,000 words (PhD) on topic of student’s interest within the purview of the course.

Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

  1. Class Participation: 20%
  2. Seminar Presentations: 30%
  3. Research Project/Paper: 50%

5. Required Readings

Caputo, John D. Radical Hermeneutics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BD 241 .C34 1987)

Derrida, Jacques. “The Ends of Man” in Margins of Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982, pp. 109-136. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B 53 .D4713)

______. “... That Dangerous Supplement” in Of Grammatology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976, pp. 141-164. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: P 105 .D4713)

______. “Edmond Jabes and the Question of the Book,” in Writing and Difference. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978, pp. 64-78. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: PN 176 .D47813)

______. “Afterword: Toward an Ethic of Discussion,” in Limited Inc. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988, pp. 111-154. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: PN 98 .D43 D4513 1988 ; http://users.clas.ufl.edu/burt/inc.pdf )

______. Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B 3279 .H49 D4813 1989)

______. “Ulysses Gramophone: Hear Say Yes in Joyce,” in Acts of Literature, Derek Attridge (ed.). New York: Routledge, 1992, pp. 253-309. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: PN 98 .D43 D44 1992)

______. “A Number of Yes,” in Psyche II, Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg (eds.). Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008, pp. 231-240. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B 2430 .D483 P78 v.2)

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time (trans. John Macquarrie, Edward Robinson). San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1962. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B 3279 .H48 S413 1962)

Michelfelder, Diane P. & Richard E. Palmer (eds.). Dialogue and Deconstruction: The Gadamer-Derrida Encounter. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B 3248 .G34 D53 1989)

Olthuis, James H. “A Cold and Comfortless Hermeneutic or a Warm and Trembling Hermeneutic: A Conversation with John D. Caputo.” Christian Scholar’s Review 19, no. 4 (June 1990): 345-362. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: PER)

______. “Otherwise Than Violence: Toward a Hermeneutics of Connection,” in The Arts, Community, and Cultural Democracy, Lambert Zuidervaart and Henry Luttikhuizen (eds.). New York: Macmillan, 2000, pages 137-164. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: NX 180 .S6 A773 1999 c.1)

______. “Trust and Suspicion.” [unpublished]

Smith, James K.A. The Fall of Interpretation. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2012. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BD 241 .S595 2000)

6. Some Recommended Readings

Bennington, Geoffrey. Interrupting Derrida. New York: Routledge, 2000. (Robarts Library: B2430 .D484 B45 2000)

Caputo, John D. (ed.). Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. New York: Fordham University Press, 1997. (ICS Library: B 809.6 .D46 1997)

______. More Radical Hermeneutics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000. (ICS Library: BD 241 .C336 2000)

Hart, Kevin. The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology, and Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT 83.8 .H37 1989)

Hobson, Marian. Jacques Derrida: Opening Lines. New York: Routledge, 1998. (Robarts Library: B2430 .D484 H63 1998X ; UofT e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7964557 )

Howells, Christina. Derrida. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999. (ICS Library: Reserve Shelf: B 2430 .D484 H69 1998)

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.


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