This Debate Has No Title: Solving the self-referential paradox

New from the The Institute of Art and Ideas. Paradoxes of self-reference are found in mathematics, literature and philosophy from the Greeks to Derrida. Can we ever solve them? And do we need to? Literary critic Patricia Waugh, mathematician Peter Cameron and philosopher Hilary Lawson and  tackle the problem here:


Hypatia Symposium: Comments open until July 20th

The discussion isn’t showing any signs of slowing down at the Hypatia Symposium, so we’re extending the comment period for another week, until July 20th. Perhaps even longer if there are still fruitful discussions to be had.

Below, we’ve cherry picked one or two comments ‘overheard’ in the discussion threads of the symposium pieces to give you a quick flavour of discussion taking place. Your voice is welcome.

Recently ‘overheard’ at the symposium…

  • “…But surely animals are not the only objects we fear and cannot neatly define…” 
  •  “…I wonder at Steiner’s comment about feminist theory not being “useful” and hope to see an elaboration in future” 
  •  “…what would it mean to rethink ethics such that we imagine that we have obligations to those who are not like us?” 
  •  “…caring about animal suffering means caring less about the suffering of human women…” 
  •  “…Derrida’s writings on animals have opened up Continental philosophy to animal welfare issues…”


Hypatia Symposium: Disciplinary Becomings: Horizons of Knowledge in Animal Studies by CARRIE ROHMAN

In Hypatia 27.3, a special issue on “Animal Others”, leading feminist animal studies scholars, Lori Gruen (author of Ethics and Animals: An Introduction) and Kari Weil (author of Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now) present exciting new work on the intersections of sex, race, gender, and species. As co-editors of the special issue, Gruen and Weil invited six scholars to reflect on some of the lively debates occurring within this burgeoning new field of scholarship. Join the discussion.

Title: Disciplinary Becomings: Horizons of Knowledge in Animal Studies


Assistant Professor, dept. of English, Lafayette College

Read the full special issue here

Download a PDF of this Symposium

Recent work in animal studies and animal theory has sometimes coalesced around a kind of “primal scene” in which subjectivities that we call human and animal confront each other, retreat, respond, or otherwise intermingle. Perhaps the most well-known of these is Derrida’s naked-in-front-of-cat scene and, subsequently, Donna Haraway’s insightful reading of its limitations. I have been reminded of both my own scholarly “primal scene”— as a young scholar en route to a career in feminist theory who then turned to the animal—and of the disciplinary “primal scenes” of animal studies itself.1

The present moment in animal studies brings to mind the quite similar disciplinary “disputes” that went on within feminist theoretical circles in the late 1990s. Anyone interested in the way that high theory is regularly coming under suspicion in animal studies right now would do well to revisit the exchange between Susan Gubar Continue reading “Hypatia Symposium: Disciplinary Becomings: Horizons of Knowledge in Animal Studies by CARRIE ROHMAN”


An excellent, detailed introduction to the application of the term “hauntology” to music is at Rouge’s Foam here. The term was coined by Jacques Derrida in Spectres of Marx. It plays on “ontology”; the two terms sounds almost identical in French. He asserts that the spectre of Marx’s ideas will continue to haunt Western consciousness in the same way that the spectre of communism was haunting Western Europe when Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto.

In music it has come to be associated with artists such as Burial, Boards of Canada and the Ghost Box label (see the Rouge’s Foam post for listening). However, its application is much broader than music. Here it is discussed in relation to visual art. As theorist Mark Fisher notes here, hauntology can be seen as a paradigm for the malaise of postmodernism, a static world haunted by the ghosts of the past after Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History. Continue reading “Hauntology”

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