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Derrida’s Queer Cat(s)

Derrida's Queer CatsA lecture by Carla Freccero

November 10, Wednesday
6:30 to 8 pm

READ THE REVIEW! I am, I am following, I am after the animal: “Derrida’s Queer Cats”

Carla Freccero, University of California Santa Cruz

This paper situates some of the dilemmas of the effort to think and feel with non-human animate beings in the western philosophical tradition by examining Jacques Derrida’s posthumous L’Animal que donc je suis (The Animal that Therefore I Am). Derrida’s work on animality is useful for crafting a queer ethics of relating to the living in general, even as his notion of spectrality offers a way to grapple with the traumatic persistence of (historical) affect in the present. Nevertheless, even as Derrida reaches toward a referent by insisting on the particularity and singularity of his (female) cat, what he animates is the lively density of intertextual feline figures in the history of literary and philosophical thinking and writing about questions of figure and reference and questions of inscription. In playfully allegorizing—even as he literalizes—the search for the elusive figure of the animal other as a mode of “chercher la femme,” Derrida subtly demonstrates the web of figural inter-implications (involving both sex and species difference) in efforts to meet and face animate alterity.

Great Room
13-19 University Place, 1st Floor
between 8th Street and Waverly Place

Carla Freccero is Professor of Literature, Feminist Studies, and History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, where she has taught since 1991. She is also the Director of the UCSC Center for Cultural Studies. Her most recent book is Queer/Early/Modern (Duke 2006) and she is currently working on a book titled Animate Figures, from which her talk is derived. Her recent work in animal theory appears in Social Text, special issue on Interspecies (forthcoming) and a collection, Comparatively Queer, forthcoming from Palgrave.

This event is free and open to the public.  Venue is wheelchair accessible.  If you need sign language interpretation services or other accommodations, please let us know as soon as possible.

For more information, please call 212-992-9540 or email csgs(at)

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