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Indiana University Bloomington

Joshua Kates

Joshua Kates



Ph.D. State University of New York at Buffalo, 1991
M.A. State University of New York at Buffalo, 1989
B.A. St. John’s College, Md., 1980

My work to date has focused on the roots of French poststructuralism (particularly Jacques Derrida’s thought) in the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. I conceived this interest against a broader backdrop of questions concerning the methodology of literary studies and the humanities. With my second book on Derrida appearing in fall 2008, I am now returning to my original concerns, with a project that investigates the various models of history employed in literary, philosophical, and other humanistic scholarship. Specifically, I am interested in examining frameworks, such as the period and often the date, which lay claim to broader historical totalities in contrast to ones that center on more discrete and individuated historical flows or traditions. The latter, which I class under the rubric of historicity, find avatars in the early modernism of Eliot and Pound, as well the philosophy of science of Bachelard and Cavaillès (that model of science which so fatefully encountered a Marxian version of totalizing history in the thought of Louis Althusser). The contrast between the two approaches can itself, I believe, productively inform the study of the return of the historical novel in such post-war American writers as Thomas Pynchon. Thus, my recent teaching, in addition to specialized graduate courses in theory, and an undergraduate survey in the same topic, has been in 20th-century American literature and literary modernism. I have also been a participant in the literary theory reading group here at IUB (or the "Center for High Energy Metaphysics" as it is also known), as well as various conferences and roundtables mounted by Germanic Studies, Religious Studies and English, including, recently, a three-day event with Alain Badiou.

Click here for further information regarding Professor Kates' work in 20th Century Literature and culture. >>

Recent Courses

L707 Special Topics in Literary Theory: “Historicity”
L 605 Critical and Interpretive Theory: “Marxism and Literary Criticism”
L707 Special Topics in Literary Theory: “Critical Politics: Derrida’s Late Thought in Context”
L380 Literary Modernism
L371 Critical Practices
L354 20th Century American Literature

Selected Publications (click images for more information)


Fielding Derrida: Deconstruction in the Fields of Philosophy, History, and BeyondFielding Derrida: Deconstruction in the Fields of Philosophy, History, and Beyond. Forthcoming Fall ’08, Fordham University Press.

Essential History: Jacques Derrida and The Development of DeconstructionEssential History: Jacques Derrida and The Development of Deconstruction (Northwestern University Press: Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, 2005).

Articles and Chapters:

« Derrida, Foucault, le document et l’histoire : la période de la psychanalyse », La Tour Critique, forthcoming December 2014.

“Remarks on Poutianien: An alternative (to a) response,” parrhesia 19 (2014): 148-161.

Review of Neal DeRoo, Futurity in Phenomenology: Promise and Method in Husserl, Levinas, and Derrida, Husserl Studies, (2014) (pp 1-8).

"Document and Time," History and Theory, 53 (May 2014): 155-174.

"Historicity and Holism: The Example of Deleuze," diacritics 41.1 (2013): 50-77.

"Against the Period," differences 23.2 (Summer 2012): 136-64.

"Phenomenology's Intersection with Literary Criticism," in The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology, eds. S. Overgaard and S. Luft (New York: Routledge, 2011): 644-54.

"Maurice Blanchot," in The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, vol. I, ed. Gregory Castle; general ed. Michael Ryan (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011): 89-94.

The Big Lebowski and Paul de Man: Historicizing Irony and Ironizing Historicism” in The Year in Lebowski Studies, eds. Ed Comentale and Aaron Jaffee, Indiana University Press, 2009.

"What Matters Who Hears: Edmund Wilson and the Pragmatics of Literary Critical Discourse," Modernist Cultures 3.2 (Summer 2008): 208-221.

“Derrida and the Philosophy of Language; or, A Transcendental Sense of Death?” Modern Language Notes 120.5 (December 2005): 1009-1043.

“Modernity and History: Klein and Derrida,” Philosophy Today 49, SPEP Supplemental Issue (2005): 193-203.

“Philosophy First, Last, and Counting: Edmund Husserl, Jacob Klein, and Plato’s Arithmological Eidē,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 25.1 (Spring 2004): 65-97.

“Tossings and Turnings: On the Alleged Shift from Theory to History in the Humanities,” in The Ends of Theory, ed. Jerry Herron et al. (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1996): 146-65.

“The Voice That Keeps Reading: Derrida and Evans,” Philosophy Today 37.3 (Fall 1993): 318-35.

Some of the above publications, longer drafts of some of the published pieces, and a few works in progress can be found at: