Dec 17, 2014


For millennia and in different discursive practices, a very common distinguishing mark between humans and animals has been the former's lack of weapons. The story goes that animals are "perfectly adapted" to their environment and behaviour, so that their own bodies furnish them with the tools they will need to survive. More often than not, that means weapons. The story then concludes that, to balance it out and conquer the animals, we have technology.

Apr 4, 2014

Animal silhouettes

Many have talked about the fact that, in Derrida's deconstructive readings, the signifier he obsesses over doesn't need to be really there. To be sure, in many of his analyses he finds a specific word whose flickering of meanings will reveal the symptoms of différance at play in the given text (think of Rousseau's supplement, or Plato's pharmakon). But that is not always the case, and some have stressed that such a privileged signifier does not need to actually feature in the text. Its importance, however, is situated by the other signifiers, so that it's silhouetted against them. It may not emerge once, but its 'presence' is secured precisely by the strategic placement of all the other words. Like this:

Feb 21, 2014

Scriptural, electric animality

When writing about zoogrammatology, I often make the point that animality threatens to short-circuit language and literature (to use an expression sometimes employed by Cary Wolfe). I was happy, but not really surprised, to find further theorization of such short circuit in Of Grammatology: it is basically the complex, presuppositional relationship that obtains between writing and science: