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Derrida (Jacques) papers
MS.C.001  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Reproduction Restriction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Biography
  • Chronology
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Disposition of use photocopies

  • Language of Material: French
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
    Title: Jacques Derrida papers
    Creator: Derrida, Jacques
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.C.001
    Physical Description: 61.2 Linear Feet (153 boxes and 15 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1946-2002
    Date (bulk): 1960-2002, bulk
    Language of Material: French
    Abstract: This collection is comprised of manuscripts, typescripts, recordings, photographs, and an extensive clippings file documenting the professional career of Jacques Derrida and providing comprehensive documentation of his activities as a student, teacher, scholar, and public figure. In addition, Derrida's files on the 1988 controversy regarding Paul de Man's World War II-era writings are also included. Best known for the development of "deconstruction," Derrida was trained as a philosopher, but his work engages and transverses numerous other discourses such as literature, politics, law, religion, psychoanalysis, and ethnography. Ranging from his early work as a student to his recent seminars, the material in the archive spans from circa 1946 to 2000. The collection contains numerous pages of notes and written reports that reflect Derrida's academic training under the tutelage of figures such as Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault. His commitment to teaching is documented by a full collection of teaching notes for the multitude of seminars that he has taught over the course of his career. The more public side of Derrida is also well represented by notes, working drafts, final drafts, and other materials related to his vast published output. With the exception of the photographs, the collection contains no material that might be described as "personal," such as private correspondence. The vast majority of the materials are in French.

    Access

    Collection is open for research. Access to fragile originals is restricted when preservation photocopies are available. Access to original audio and video cassettes is restricted.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to quote or publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Reproduction Restriction

    All reproduction of materials must be authorized by designates of the heirs of Jacques Derrida. Consult the Request Form for Photocopies from the Jacques Derrida papers  or contact Special Collections and Archives for more information.

    Preferred Citation

    Jacques Derrida papers. MS-C001. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Jacques Derrida, 1990-2003.

    Processing History

    Preliminary processing by Thomas Dutoit and Eddie Yeghiayan. Series 1 processed and guide compiled by Jeffrey Atteberry and Thomas Dutoit in 1998. The remainder of the initial accessions to this collection processed and guide updated by Jessica Haile in 1999. Additions in 2000-2002 processed by Kurt Ozment, with assistance from Jennifer Kwan, and in 2007 by Audrey Pearson. Guide updated by William Landis in 2003, Audrey Pearson in 2007, Joanna Lamb in 2009, and Christine Kim in 2017.

    Biography

    Jacques Derrida was born in El-Biar, Algeria on July 15, 1930. He spent his childhood attending primary schools in El-Biar and Algiers until the beginning of Pétainisation within the Algerian school system in 1940, at which point Derrida and other Jewish students began to experience forms of anti-Semitism in the classroom; by 1942 he was barred completely from attending class at the Lycée Ben Aknoum. Although the Germans never occupied Algeria, Derrida was not allowed to return to school until the spring of 1943. During the interim, he attended the Lycée Emile-Maupas, which was run by Jewish teachers expelled from the public school system, but Derrida frequently avoided the classroom.
    Upon returning to the Lycée Ben Aknoum in 1943, Derrida completed his primary education and received his baccalauréat in 1948. Although he had already begun to consider a career as a teacher, Derrida had not yet resolved to pursue his studies in France until he heard a radio show dedicated to career orientation in which a professor of literature, who had had Albert Camus as a student, explained that the wide array of subjects studied in the system of higher education allowed one to defer specialization. Until that moment, Derrida had never even heard of the Ecole normale supérieure, but he decided that his future awaited him there and immediately enrolled in hypokhâgne (the first year of a course of study designed to prepare students for one of the Grandes Ecoles) at the Lycée Bugeaud in Algiers.
    A year later, Derrida left for France to attend the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. He spent a total of three years in khâgne (the latter years of the Grandes Ecoles preparatory course of study). During this period Derrida met many individuals who have played an important role in his life, including Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Deguy, Louis Marin, and his future wife, Marguerite Aucouturier. By the end of 1952 he had gained admittance to the Ecole normale supérieure. For the next four years, Derrida worked assiduously and acculturated himself to a career as an academic philosopher while studying under such major figures as Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault. He became interested in the work of the German phenomenologist Edmund Husserl and wrote "Le problème de la genèse dans la philosophie de Husserl" for his higher studies dissertation. He completed his studies in 1956 and passed the agrégation, thus becoming qualified to hold a position as a teacher in the higher education system.
    Upon passing the agrégation, Derrida received a grant to pursue further research on Husserl at Harvard University. While in the United States, he began to translate and to write an introduction for Husserl's Origin of Geometry . The following year, at the beginning of the Algerian War, Derrida became a teacher of French and English in a school for soldiers' children. During this period, Derrida avoided any active duty and never wore a military uniform.
    After spending two years teaching in Algeria, Derrida returned to France in 1959 and took his first teaching position in hypokhâgne at Lycée Le Mans. In the same year, he made his first public speaking appearance, delivering "'Gènese et structure' et la phénoménologie" at a conference at Cerisy. Between 1960 and 1964 Derrida taught "general philosophy and logic" at the Sorbonne, working as an assistant to Suzanne Bachelard, Georges Canguilhem, Paul Ricoeur, and Jean Wahl. His teaching during this period addressed a wide variety of philosophical problems and issues. In 1964 he declined a position at the Centre national de Recherches supérieures and began teaching at the Ecole normale supérieure at the invitation of Althusser and Jean Hyppolite.
    From this point onward, Derrida rapidly became a major presence in the academic and intellectual world. In 1966 he made his first significant appearance in the United States at the Johns Hopkins University International Colloquium on Critical Languages and the Science of Man, a conference which marked America's growing interest in the work of French theorists and philosophers. It was a significant moment in American intellectual history insofar as the conference was intended to introduce structuralist thought to the United States. Derrida's paper, "Le structure, le signe et le jeu dans le discours des sciences humaines," effectively dismantled structuralist thought at the very moment when it was being introduced to the American academy.
    Throughout the remainder of the decade, he published widely and attracted increasing recognition. In addition to numerous substantial articles published in the journals Critique, Tel Quel, and Revue de métaphysique et de morale, he also published his first three books in 1967: La voix et le phénomène, L'écriture et la différence, and De la grammatologie . Each of these books constitutes a significant contribution to philosophical thought, and by the end of the decade Derrida had already assured himself a prominent position in the history of Western philosophy.
    The 1970s began with a series of publications in which Derrida addressed the thought of such philosophical luminaries as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, and Austin. He also engaged more literary texts with his work on writers such as Mallarmé, Artaud, Bataille, Genet, and Ponge. These works, including Marges de la philosophie, La dissémination, Glas, and La vérité en peinture altered the study of literature, linguistics and philosophy in the Western tradition. In 1975 Derrida began teaching at Yale University. His work, along with that of his colleagues and friends Paul de Man and J. Hillis Miller, rapidly became renowned throughout America under the banner of "deconstruction." Subsequently both Derrida and his work received an increasingly enthusiastic reception in the United States, especially as the end of the decade and the early 1980s witnessed the rapid appearance of his works in English translation. Around the same time, he established the collection La philosophie en effet at Editions Galilée, a French publishing house which issues some of the most important works in contemporary philosophy, theory and psychoanalysis.
    Throughout the 1970s Derrida also became increasingly active in social and political projects. Most importantly, he founded the Groupe de Recherche sur l'Enseignement philosophique (GREPH) in 1975. Intended to secure the place of philosophy in secondary and university education at a time when the government was attempting to reduce or eliminate philosophy altogether, GREPH articulated the persistent relevance of the study of philosophy for contemporary society and culture.
    In June of 1980 Derrida finally gave his official thesis defense at the Sorbonne. For numerous reasons related to the path that his work had taken up until that point, Derrida remained a maître-assistant, an academic rank far below his qualifications. In 1983, however, he was elected to the Ecole des hautes Etudes en Sciences sociales (EHESS). In the same year he helped found the Collège international de Philosophie for the French Ministère de la Recherche et de la Technologie.
    Derrida continued his active intervention in various social and political spheres during this period. He participated in events organized against Apartheid and in support of Nelson Mandela. He also co-founded (with Jean-Pierre Vernant) the Jan Hus Association to assist dissident Czech intellectuals and conducted a clandestine seminar in Prague. During his visit to Prague in 1981, he was observed closely by the police and eventually arrested on a fabricated charge of "production and trafficking of drugs." He remained imprisoned for a few days until President François Mitterand intervened on his behalf and demanded his release.
    During the mid-1980s Derrida became associated with the University of California, Irvine. Following the death of his friend Paul de Man, he gave a series of commemorative lectures entitled "Memoires for Paul de Man" as the 1984 Wellek Library Lectures. In 1986 he became a tenured professor at UCI, as did J. Hillis Miller. For the remainder of the decade, his academic and political activites, as well as his publishing, continued at a steady pace. In 1989 he and Jacques Bouveresse served as co-presidents of the Commission de réflexion pour l'épistémologie et la philosophie established by the French Ministère de l'Education nationale.
    Throughout the 1990s and 2000s Jacques Derrida continued to publish and teach widely. As his fame and notoriety increased, the number of conferences and colloquia in which he participated multiplied. Furthermore, he held teaching appointments at numerous universities across the globe and received honorary doctorates from ten institutions throughout the United States and Europe. His publications appeared with great frequency and were translated into numerous languages. At the end of his life, Derrida lived in Ris Orangis, France (a suburb of Paris), and he continued to teach at EHESS and UCI. In 2003, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and died a year later on October 8, 2004 in a Paris hospital.
    NOTE: Much of the biographical information used in the biography and the chronology was taken from the "Curriculum Vitae" found in Jacques Derrida, written by Geoffrey Bennington and Jacques Derrida (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1993).

    Chronology

    1930 Born on July 15th in El-Biar, Algeria.
    1940-1941 pétainization
    1942 Expelled from the Lycée Ben Aknoum and intermittently attended classes at the Lycée Emile-Maupas.
    1943 Returned to Lycée Ben Aknoum.
    1948 baccalauréat
    1948 hypokhâgne
    1949 Traveled to Marseilles and entered as a boarding student at Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris.
    1952 Admitted to the Ecole normale supérieur (ENS). Met Louis Althusser.
    1953-1954 Traveled to Louvain to visit the Husserl archives.
    1953-1954 Wrote "Le problème de la genèse dans la philosophie de Husserl," which served as his higher studies dissertation.
    1953-1954 Became friends with Michel Foucault.
    1956-1957 agrégation
    1956-1957 Studied at Harvard under the pretext of consulting microfilms of Husserl's unpublished work.
    1956-1957 Origin of Geometry
    1957 Married Marguerite Aucouturier in June.
    1957-1959 Taught French and English in a military school for soldiers' children.
    1959-1960 hypokhâgne
    1959-1960 Delivered "'Genèse et structure' et la phénoménologie" at a conference at Cerisy.
    1960-1961 Took a position teaching at the Sorbonne.
    1962 Origin of Geometry
    1963 Critique
    1963 Birth of son Pierre.
    1964 Offered a research position at the Centre national de Recherches supérieures (CNRS), which he declined in order to accept a teaching position at Ecole normale supérieur.
    1965 Tel Quel
    1966 Delivered "La structure, le signe et le jeu dans le discours des sciences humaines" at the International Colloquium on "The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man," Johns Hopkins University.
    1967 Critique
    1967 Delivered "La différance" at the Société française de Philosophie.
    1967 De la grammatologie, La voix et le phénomène, and L'ecriture et la différance
    1967 Birth of son Jean.
    1968 Joined in marches and organized the first general assembly at the Ecole normale supérieur during the May 1968 movement.
    1968 Gave a series of seminars at the University of Berlin at the invitation of Peter Szondi.
    1972 La dissémination, Marges de la philosophie, and Positions
    1972 Participated in a conference at Cerisy on Nietzsche along with a vast number of other intellectual luminaries, including Deleuze, Klossowski, Kofman, Lacoue-Labarthe, Lyotard, and Nancy.
    1982 Tel Quel
    1973 Presented "Glas" as a seminar at the University of Berlin.
    1974 Began the collection "La philosophie en effet" at Editions Galilée.
    1974 Glas
    1975 Founded the Groupe de Recherche sur l'Enseignement philosophique (GREPH).
    1975 Began teaching at Yale.
    1978 La Vérité en peinture and Eperons: Les styles de Nietzsche
    1979 Organized the Etats généraux de la Philosophie at the Sorbonne.
    1979 Traveled throughout Africa.
    1980 Defended his thesis at the Sorbonne.
    1980 Jean-Luc Nancy and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe organized a Cerisy conference on the work of Derrida.
    1980 La Carte postale de Socrate à Freud et au-delà
    1981 Founded the Jan Hus Association with Jean-Pierre Vernant to help dissident and persecuted Czech intellectuals.
    1981 Traveled to Prague to conduct a clandestine seminar. Was arrested and charged with drug trafficking. Released from Czechoslovakia following the urgent protests of the French president, François Mitterrand.
    1982 Became A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.
    1982 Traveled to Mexico and Japan.
    1982 L'Oreille de l'autre
    1982 Ghost Dance
    1983 Helped found the Collège international de Philosophie and served as its first president.
    1983 Various activities directed against Apartheid in South Africa and in support of Nelson Mandela.
    1983 Became a member of the Ecole des hautes Etudes en Sciences sociales (EHESS).
    1983 Signéponge and D'un ton apocalyptique adopté naguère en philosophie
    1984 Visited Frankfurt to lecture at Habermas's seminar.
    1984 Delivered "Ulysse Gramophone" as the opening lecture at the international Joyce conference.
    1984 Gave "Mémoires: For Paul de Man" as the Wellek Library Lectures in critical theory at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
    1984 Otobiographies: L'enseignement de Nietzsche et la politique du nom propre and Feu la cendre
    1985 Traveled to Latin America, where he visited Jorges Luis Borges.
    1986 Became a tenured professor at UCI.
    1986 Worked with Peter Eisenman on the Parc de la Villette in Paris. Beginning of his engagement with architecture.
    1986 Mémoires: for Paul de Man; Parages; and Schibboleth: pour Paul Celan
    1987 De l'esprit: Heidegger et la question; Feu la cendre; Psyché: Inventions de l'autre ; and Ulysse gramophone: Deux mots pour Joyce
    1988 Traveled to Jerusalem and met with Palestinian intellectuals.
    1988 Limited, Inc.
    1989 Gave the opening address at the Colloquium at the Cardozo School of Law in New York on "Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice."
    1989 Served as co-president (with Jacques Bouveresse) of the Commission de réflexion pour l'épistémologie et la philosophie established by the French Ministère de l'Education.
    1990 Taught various seminars in the Soviet Union.
    1990 Returned to Prague for the first time since his imprisonment in 1981.
    1990 Gave the opening lecture at a conference at UCLA on "The Final Solution and the Limits of Representation."
    1990 Organized exhibition "Mémoires d'aveugle" at the Louvre.
    1990 Du droit à la philosophie and Mémoires d'aveugle: L'autoportrait et autres ruines
    1990 Began donating his papers to the Critical Theory Archive at UCI.
    1991 Donner le temps: 1, La fausse monnaie
    1992 Points de suspension and Donner la mort
    1993 Passions; Sauf le nom ; Khôra; and Spectres de Marx
    1994 Participated in an international colloquium in London on "Memory: The Question of Archives."
    1994 Force de loi and Politiques de l'amitié
    1995 Mal d'archive and Moscou Aller Retour
    1996 Participated in a symposium to celebrate the opening of the Critical Theory Archive at the UCI.
    1996 Apories: Mourir--s'attendre aux "limites de la verité;" Echographies; Resistances de la Pyschanalyse; Le monolinguisme de l'autre; and Le toucher
    1997 Cosmopolites de tous les pays, encore un effort! ; Adieu à Emmanuel Levinas; De l'hospitalité; Marx en jeu ; and Le droit a la philosophie du point du vue cosmopolitique
    1998 Demeure
    2004 Died on October 8 in Paris.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection comprises manuscripts, typescripts, recordings, photographs, and an extensive clippings file documenting the professional career of Jacques Derrida and providing comprehensive documentation of his activities as a student, teacher, scholar, and public figure. In addition, Derrida's files on the 1988 controversy regarding Paul de Man's World War II-era writings are also included. Best known for the development of "deconstruction," Derrida was trained as a philosopher, but his work engages and transverses numerous other discourses such as literature, politics, law, religion, psychoanalysis, and ethnography. Ranging from his early work as a student to his recent seminars, the material in the archive spans from circa 1946 to 2002. The collection contains numerous pages of notes and written reports that reflect Derrida's academic training under the tutelage of figures such as Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault. His commitment to teaching is documented by a full collection of teaching notes for the multitude of seminars that he has taught over the course of his career. The more public side of Derrida is also well represented by notes, working drafts, final drafts, and other materials related to his vast published output. With the exception of the photographs, the collection contains no material that might be described as "personal," such as private correspondence. The vast majority of the materials are in French.

    Collection Arrangement

    The collection is organized in the following seven series:
    1. Series 1. Student work, 1946-ca. 1960. 1 linear ft.
    2. Series 2. Teaching and seminars, 1959-1996. 8.3 linear ft.
    3. Series 3. Publication and conference activities, ca. 1960-ca. 1998. 32.3 linear ft.
    4. Series 4. Audio and video recordings, 1987-1999. 2.4 linear ft.
    5. Series 5. Photographs, ca. 1970-2000. 0.3 linear ft.
    6. Series 6. De Man controversy files, 1940-1989 (bulk 1988). 1.7 linear ft.
    7. Series 7. Argus de la Presse clippings, 1969-2002. 8 linear ft.

    Disposition of use photocopies

    In 2015, it was decided that the original documents in the Jacques Derrida papers that had been restricted for preservation purposes should be reintegrated into the collection due to the high number of demands to view the original documents, as well as the inadequacy of the surrogate use copies available for access.
    Upon review of the material, it have determined that these documents are not in any danger of deterioration from general, safe handling. Illustrations, photographs, and brittle paper, however, were placed in a Mylar sleeves for protection.
    Use copies were disposed of by special collections staff, and the original documents housed boxes 94-104 were physically moved to replace them. Boxes 94-104 no long exist in MS-C001, an there is a gap between 93-105.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Criticism -- History -- Sources
    Criticism -- History -- Sources
    Philosophy, European -- 20th century
    Philosophy, European -- 20th century
    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Deconstruction
    Deconstruction
    Video recordings
    Video recordings
    Sound recordings.
    Sound recordings.
    Literary critics.
    Literary critics.
    Theorists.
    Theorists.
    Critical theory -- Archives.
    Critical theory -- Archives.
    Philosophers.
    Philosophers.
    Philosophy, French -- 20th century
    Philosophy, French -- 20th century
    Photographic prints
    Photographic prints
    Derrida, Jacques
    Derrida, Jacques
    De Man, Paul -- Archives
    De Man, Paul -- Archives
    University of California, Irvine -- Faculty -- Archives
    University of California, Irvine -- Faculty -- Archives
    Derrida, Jacques -- Archives
    Derrida, Jacques -- Archives
    Husserl, Edmund -- Criticism and interpretation
    Husserl, Edmund -- Criticism and interpretation
    Derrida, Jacques
    Derrida, Jacques
    Heidegger, Martin -- Criticism and interpretation
    Heidegger, Martin -- Criticism and interpretation