The Ethics of Community: Nancy, Derrida, Morrison, and Menendez

Author(s): Ana M. Luszczynska

Literary theory

The Ethics of Community initiates a conversation between continental philosophy and cultural/literary studies that is long overdue. Illustrating that there is a fundamental ethics in deconstructionist approaches to community that can be provocatively traced in the context of cultural considerations central to African-American and U.S. Latino literature, this is a book about bridging gaps. Luszczynska nimbly traverses the complex terrain of preeminent French philosophers Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy, offering a valuable introduction to the ethical components of their philosophical projects. Toni Morrison's Beloved and Ana Menendez's In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd serve as case studies through which Nancian community and Derridean bearing witness are elaborated. As Luszczynska demonstrates, Morrison's foregrounding of the distinct cultural sensibilities of her black and white characters and Menendez's preoccupation with geographical displacement and exile, themselves activate a deconstructive ethics.
In this groundbreaking study, distinct cultural understandings and contexts provide a novel way of thinking through intricacies of Nancy and Derrida's thought while revealing the potential of the novel to re-imagine ways of being in the concrete world.


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Demonstrates how an ethical component of Nancy's and Derrida's thought can be provocatively traced in the cultural considerations central to African-American and U.S. Latino Literature.

"The Ethics of Community is a bold comparative venture that introduces the continental European philosophy of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy to African-American and U.S. Latino literature. It is a compelling and inspirational study, driven by a strong sense of critical purpose and informed by a refreshing propensity for methodological innovation. As Luszczynska explains, the main value of literature resides in its life-changing capacity as 'an ethical event of being which can potentially lead to liberatory experiences, approaches, and understandings'. Our engagement with both literature and philosophy must always crystallise as an ethical imperative and political necessity. The Ethics of Community reaches far beyond a mere critique of traditional paradigms of reading or the conceptualisation of a radically new critical approach. Luszczynska's remarkable scholarly vision initiates a synergetic dialogue between literature and philosophy that is ground-breaking and truly original." - Professor Berthold Schoene, Professor of English and Director of the Centre of Research in English, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK "Spirited and insightful, The Ethics of Community explores the importance of community in the writings of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy and shows how major works of African American and Latino literature complement (and sometimes contest) these thinkers' views. A unique contribution to the dialogue between literature and philosophy." Gustavo Perez Firmat, David Feinson Professor of Humanities, Columbia University, USA

Ana M. Luszczynska is Assistant Professor of English, Florida International University, Miami, USA.

Chapter 1: Nancy and Derrida: On Ethics and the Same (Infinitely Different) Constitutive Events of Being / Chapter 2: The Opposite of the Concentration Camp: Nancy's Community / Chapter 3: Morrison's Beloved, Nancian Community, Derridean Witnessing / Chapter 4: Radical Irrecuperability: Experiencing Being in Language / Bibliography / Index

General Fields

  • : 9781623562847
  • : Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • : Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • : June 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ana M. Luszczynska
  • : Paperback
  • : 192