“Signature Event Context” and The Possibility of History


I would like to mark the recent fiftieth anniversary of “Signature Event Context” (SEC) by looking at some of the varied contexts for this paper on the problem of context and by treating SEC as part of Derrida’s wider engagement with the problem of history.

In an important and timely article, Joshua Kates has recently argued that when it comes to the question of history, Derrida both rejects the constrictions of historicism and affirms the transformations of historicity.1 For Kates, the tension between these two gestures makes it difficult for Derrida to adhere to the conventions needed for a viable historiography: Derrida’s thought is too open to allow for the determinations of place, event, and testimony that enable the methods and veracities of writing history.

I would argue that while Derrida’s “historicity” attempts to resist the equivocal legacies of the cul-de-sacs of Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger on the question of history, this openness—as a thinking of possibility—does not preclude and discount Derrida’s recognition of the problems of writing “mundane” history. Unlike Heidegger, Derrida does not privilege the original purity of history “itself” (Geschichte) over the derivative science of mere historiography (Historie).2

After SEC, the writing of history remained an open problem and a suspended experiment for Derrida, explored again and again in the relation between “context,” “memory,” and “narrative.”3 In broad terms, he placed the problem of history under the rubric of “ex-appropriation,” or what he called “the interminable appropriation of an irreducible nonproper, which at the same time conditions, constitutes, and limits every and any process of appropriation.”4 Ex-appropriation is neither the denial of a viable historiography nor the advocacy of some elusive transcendental historicity. It describes the limits of writing history—and its possibilities.


The last word on SEC was given on 31st December 2003 by Derrida, less than a year before his death, in a paper celebrating the life and work of Paul Ricoeur.5 As Derrida recalls, at the 1971 Montreal conference devoted to “communication,” Ricoeur had given the opening paper, “Discours et communication,” on the evening of 29th August.6 This was followed the next morning by Derrida delivering “Signature Événement Contexte.” It is Derrida himself that gives us the first context for SEC: “after the other presentations, the roundtable lasted for two hours. It was largely dominated by what the chair of the discussion called a ‘singular amicable fight’ between Ricoeur and me.”7 Derrida and Ricoeur conducted their “amicable fight” over the place and status of the event in a theory of discourse. Kates has given us an invaluable account of the nuanced debates at the time over “discourse” in another recent paper.8

As far as I am aware, SEC is the first time that Derrida referred to J. L. Austin. Perhaps Austin’s time had come in the Francophone world, as Ricoeur also discussed Austin in his paper at the Montreal conference. 9 With his suggestive distinction between constative and performative statements, Austin will remain part of Derrida’s writings over the next thirty years. As Derrida would observe in 2003, “Austin has said and I constantly repeat, only a sentence, not a word, has meaning.”10 In the aftermath of SEC, Derrida is “constantly” repeating Austin and his introduction of the problem of context into the philosophy of language.

As we are beginning to understand with the recent publication of Le Calcul des langues (2020), an unfinished work based on the 1971–1972 seminar, “Philosophie et rhétorique au XVIII siècle: Condillac et Rousseau,” Derrida’s response to Austin was part of a wider project on the relation between philosophy and rhetoric.11 Derrida turns back to Condillac, who has a place in SEC, to explore the complicity between the attempted regulation of language and the limits of empiricism.12 In the mid-1960s, Derrida had treated empiricism as the lure of a false exit from metaphysics.13 Empiricism is the dream of the simple outside. By the early 1970s, chiefly through Condillac, we are given a more nuanced picture.

Condillac can be seen as an ordinary language philosopher avant la lettre. He makes the case for a “common language” that can find its clarity through “circumstances” as the basis for a new philosophy.14 As Condillac remarks in the 1740s: “We have become so familiar with the use of words that we have no doubt others grasp our thought the moment we speak the words, as if the ideas would necessarily be the same in speaker and hearer. Instead of remedying these abuses, philosophers have themselves shown a partiality for obscurity.”15 As an empiricist, Condillac offers a complex genesis of language that embraces a structural ideal: language begins with actions and must end with signs. As we know from The Archaeology of the Frivolous (1973), another fragment of the 1971–1972 seminar, Derrida will focus on the status of metaphor to address the fault lines between language, philosophy, rhetoric, and empiricism.

In Le Calcul des langues, Derrida suggests that metaphor links and disrupts the relation between philosophy and rhetoric: part of the gestural, figurative, and sensible origins of language, metaphor already disturbs the rational calculations of rhetoric and its tropes and reinforces the instability of a “rhetorical philosophy.” For Condillac, the best way to strike a balance between philosophy and rhetoric is to rely on what Derrida calls the ideality of analogy. As Derrida succinctly observes, “analogy passes through the body and touches [puts the finger on] language [met le doigt à la langue].”16 Analogy describes the facility for connection and invention and, most of all, for finding the essential sameness in difference.17 In Derrida’s terms, analogy becomes the possibility and ruin of a viable empiricism as the foundation for a “rhetorical philosophy.”

Empiricism can be described as the pathos of hoping that we have time, that we have the time to calculate on our senses. If we treat the same as the identical, there are a host of idealised analogies that give us all the time that we need to move from the five senses to reasoning and logic. But this also means that empiricism relies on a non-empirical ideality. As Hume recognised, a pure empiricism always has gaps that must be filled by the virtual and the less than sensible. And perhaps this is the source of Derrida’s most basic objection to Austin’s project: there just isn’t enough time for ordinary language philosophy.


Derrida announces at the outset of his paper that the question of communication—the theme of the conference—will be addressed as “the problem of context.”18 For Derrida, there are always contexts, but context should not be determinate or determining. I would describe this context as a mi-lieu, as a half-placing rather than a complete determination.19 One of the mi-lieus for SEC is Gilles Lane’s French translation of Austin’s How to Do Things With Words, Quand dire, c’est faire, which appeared in January 1970.20

In SEC, Derrida refers to what he sees as Austin’s reliance on “the total context” (SEC, 322, 325). In Alan Bass’s English translation, the reference to “total context” is followed by the citation in the footnotes of two pages from Austin’s work (HTD, 52, 147). On these pages, Austin speaks of the need to “consider the total situation in which the utterance is issued—the total speech act,” and of “the total speech act in the total speech situation.” However, in Derrida’s original French text, using Gilles Lane’s translation of Austin, not two but eight pages are cited in this footnote.21

On neither of the two pages cited in the English translation does Austin actually refer to “the total context.” Rather, he speaks of “the total situation.” Is “the total situation” the same as “the total context?” In fact, Derrida does not even cite one of these pages. The page he cites refers directly to “context.” Austin writes: “for some years we have been realizing more and more clearly that the occasion of an utterance matters seriously, and that the words used are to some extent to be ‘explained’ by the ‘context’ in which they are designed to be or have actually been spoken in linguistic interchange” (HTD, 100). With all his customary qualifications and cares, Austin is addressing the proposition that words can, “to some extent,” be understood more accurately and effectively by the context of their use.

The second page in the footnotes of the English translation is cited in the French text, but the French translation does not use the phrase “the total speech act in the total speech situation” but rather “l’acte de discours integral, dans la situation intégrale de discours,” which could also be translated as “the whole speech act, in the complete situation of discourse.” This translation is justified because Austin is referring here to the overall relation between performative and constative speech acts and locutionary and illocutionary speech acts (QD, 151; HTD, 147).22 This complex quadrangle is the “whole speech act, in the complete situation of discourse.”

Why did Alan Bass exclude the other six pages referenced by Derrida in his original footnote? Because they come from Gilles Lane’s introduction.23 Gilles Lane (1929–2007), a Canadian academic who studied in Paris in the 1960s, is part of the mi-lieu of SEC.24 One would like to think that Lane himself attended the 1971 Montreal conference. Derrida starts his reading of Austin by quoting Lane and by acknowledging his debt to a Quebecois academic’s work at a conference taking place in Montreal (SEC, 321). As he had done before, Derrida elegantly begins by marking the place and wider context of his paper.

Some of the other pages that Derrida cites from Lane’s fulsome introduction are also worth noting, as they are part of Derrida’s interpretation of Austin. From Sense and Sensibilia, Austin rebukes A. J. Ayer and logical positivism in general, observing: “I should like to emphasize, however, how fatal it always is to embark on explaining the use of a word without seriously considering more than a tiny fraction of the contexts in which it is actually used” (QD, 15).25 Derrida recognizes that what makes Austin’s project significant is that it introduces the problem of context into an emphatically acontextual philosophy. Lane gives Derrida both Austin’s criticism of acontextuality and his recognition of totality. It is Lane who quotes Austin’s call for the need to “consider the total situation in which the utterance is issued—the total speech act” (QD, 15; HTD, 52). From this perspective, the “total context” in Austin’s project can be seen as a tension between the acceptance of variability and the search for assurance in speech acts.

The acceptance of variability and the search for assurance is perhaps also our best mi-lieu for SEC as we think, somewhat hubristically, about the next fifty years. To take one example, thanks to the remarkable archive at Princeton of Derrida’s complete library at the time of his death, we have a digital glimpse of his copy of Quand dire, c’est faire. The book is heavily annotated.26 There are a number of bookmarks. Of course, we do not know if these bookmarks were used for SEC or for the later “Limited Inc” or the other re-readings of Austin over the years.27 But the possible list of topics from these bookmarked pages is tantalizing: the promise, the apology, the bet, the tone of voice that cannot be written, the status of the quotation, the difference between warning and deterring, and, perhaps most of all, Austin’s astute dictum, which Derrida heartily accepted: “What will not survive […] is the notion of the purity of performatives.”28


I cannot begin to think of the fragile place of SEC in an ever-widening sea of polemics over the next fifty years, without thinking that 2024 will also mark the twentieth anniversary of the death of Jacques Derrida. But this was also already part of the mi-lieu of SEC. It informs the context of communication as writing: “To write is to produce a mark that will constitute a kind of machine that is in turn productive, that my future disappearance in principle will not prevent from functioning” (SEC, 316). As a piece of writing, SEC is a “machine” that keeps “functioning.” Fifty years later, it keeps “functioning.” It had a distinctive context when it was written and it goes on, beyond that context, to other contexts.

For Derrida, we should recall, the “first time” is first: an unprogrammed, unforeseen event takes place, has taken place. However, as Husserl recognized, for this event to be registered as the “first time” it must also be open to repetition.29 Each time that the event is repeated—re-presented, re-called and re-narrated—it re-marks itself as itself. This “first time” is at once the “same” and no longer identical: it is the same and other. The caveat for Derrida is that this “first time” was not uniquely present to itself as itself in the first place or simply the “same” from the outset. As Derrida observed in 1966, “A sign which does not repeat itself, which is not already divided by repetition in its ‘first time,’ is not a sign.”30 A context or mi-lieu is part of what marks this division and this difference. It is worth recalling what Derrida said in the late 1980s:

Once again (and this probably makes a thou­sand times I have had to repeat this, but when will it finally be heard, and why this resistance?): as I understand it (and I have explained why), the text is not the book, it is not confined in a volume itself confined to the library. It does not suspend reference—to history, to the world, to reality, to being, and especially not to the other, since to say of history, of the world, of reality, that they always appear in an experience, hence in a movement of interpretation which contextu­alizes them according to a network of differences and hence of referral to the other, is surely to recall that alterity (difference) is irreducible. Différance is a reference and vice versa.31

We have a better understanding of Derrida’s engagement with history since the publication in 2013 of his 1964–1965 seminar on Heidegger, the question of Being, and history. As I have already suggested, Derrida did not follow Heidegger in giving history itself a transcendental privilege in relation to historiography and the “mere” recording, reconstituting, and relating of historical events. After SEC, one can see Derrida returning to the singular historical event, with its distinctive contexts and its necessary and always fraught relation to narrating this event, which opens other contexts and other questions. From the 1960s, Derrida was thinking about the relation between history and historiography. As contexts and questions change in the history of the writing of history, one can speak of the future of the past without invalidating the historical event.

As I believe we will soon see when Derrida’s seminars from the early 1990s on testimony and the witness (part of which I attended) are published, twenty years after SEC Derrida remained interested in how one weighs and judges the testimony of the witness—and treats the historian as a witness of the witness—when the communication is from the past, with all its distances, absences and fractured and interested archives.

As I often say to my students, you cannot treat the novels of Jane Austen as historical objects of regency England: no one dies in Austen’s novels, and yet she herself was surrounded by death. Is there any death in ordinary language philosophy? Is there any death in the work of the other Austin, and author of Sense and Sensibilia? In that posthumous work, How To Do Things With Words, there is “the death of a donkey” and “the death of the rabbit” (HTD, 111, 114). But when Austin speaks of “the circumstances of the utterance,” he also offers a compelling example: “the context of the words ‘I shall die some day,’ ‘I shall leave you my watch,’ in particular the health of the speaker, make a difference [in] how we shall understand them” (HTD, 76). This is another mi-lieu in Derrida’s reading of Austin.


As I have suggested, beyond the long shadow of A. J. Ayer and the brief brilliance of J. L. Austin, and the endless analytical polemics over the status of language, its logic, its truths, its exacting constative statements, and its febrile performative contexts, Derrida had long been interested in the problem of history. I do not believe that this is a mi-lieu that Derrida and Austin shared. For Derrida, the problem of context was also a question of history. As a philosophical question, the possibility of history must contend with the legacy of the history of philosophy (and its presumptuous conceptual field for history) and with the philosophy of history (treated as a kind of immaculate conception for historiography). From the early 1950s, as a student of Jean Hyppolite, Derrida had been questioning this tradition.32

Derrida had also addressed the question of context before SEC. In an essay from 1967 on Georges Bataille, he warns against two traps when it comes to the concept of context. The first trap is the self-sufficient context that enables concepts to act “as if they were their own context.”33 The second trap is the sovereign context in which “contextual attentiveness and differences of signification” are submitted “to a system of meaning per-mitting or promising an absolute formal mastery.”34 In another work from 1967 on Husserl, Derrida also speaks of the importance of taking note of “the circumstances of the discourse, the context, and situation.”35 For Derrida, these are necessary warnings about the ways context can be used as a vehicle of autonomy or totality. A few years after SEC, Derrida describes context as both a constraint and an opening. This double perspective is perhaps the best way to think about his approach to the problem of context in SEC.36

Communication, he says at the beginning of SEC, “opens a semantic field which precisely is not limited to semantics, semiotics, and even less to linguistics” (SEC, 309). He then offers some examples of the communication of “nonsemantic movements” (SEC, 309). “It is also said,” he writes, “that different or distant places can communicate between each other by means of a given passageway or opening” (SEC, 309). What are these passageways or openings? How do we communicate with or listen to distant places—or to the distant past? How is history, as a discipline and a practice of writing, possible? “What happens in this case, what is transmitted or communicated,” Derrida argues, “are not phenomena of meaning or signification” (SEC, 309). If we are trying to communicate with or, more importantly, to listen to this distant past, there are traces or fragments of the past that resist immediate significance or comprehensible meaning but are still telling us something of historical value. It is from these traces that we write history.

How can one speak of a “passageway or opening” from the distant past that communicates without the “phenomena of meaning or signification?” It is worth recalling what Levinas said of the trace. For Levinas, the trace resists the phenomenological imperium of phenomenality. “A trace is not a sign like any other,” he insists.37 A trace can be taken for a sign, for example, Levinas says, when “a historian discovers ancient civilizations which form the horizon of our world on the basis of the vestiges left by their existence.”38 These are the conventional tracks or signs of the past. But a trace also exceeds the structure of the sign and its signification. A trace “signifies outside of every intention of signaling and outside of every project of which it would be the aim.”39 To think of the trace differently, Levinas offers a compelling example: “the fingerprints left by someone who wanted to wipe away his traces and commit the perfect crime.” And he concludes: “He who left traces in wiping out his traces did not mean to say or do anything by the traces he left.”40

These inadvertent traces of the past can function as “witnesses in spite of themselves,” to use the historian Marc Bloch’s superb expression.41 They communicate without the “phenomena of meaning or signification.” They also structure the task of the historian as a witness of the witnesses of the past. For Derrida, “writing” is a term that engages with the problem and possibility of what we can glimpse from far away. This is why he acknowledges that writing extends or opens communication to “a much greater range” (SEC, 311). As with distant places, so with distant times, and so with most historical and literary studies. In this sense, we are all Casaubons. What interests Derrida in SEC is what interests the historian: something happens to “meaning” when it is carried “over a much greater distance” (SEC, 311).

Historiography is confronted by an absence that it is always trying to overcome or, at the very least, to accept with good grace. What is at stake is the possibility of reading the historical past, which begins with “[t]he absence of the sender, the addressor, from the marks that he abandons, which are cut off from him and continue to produce effects beyond his presence and beyond the present actuality of his meaning, that is, beyond his life itself” (SEC, 313). The “certain absolute degree of absence” that Derrida discerns in the communication of writing accounts for the conditions of writing history (SEC, 315). It is a question not simply of a “presence that is distant,” a powerful conceit in the history of writing history, but also of responding to “a certain absolute degree of absence” (SEC, 315). If a charge is to be made against Derrida, perhaps it is raising the question of the possibility of history in the midst of a conference on communication. And, we might add, of raising the question of the possibility of history in the midst of other questions about writing, literature, intersubjectivity and ethics.


How does one respond to the distant past? For Derrida, it is a question of a writing that has the facility and vulnerability to stretch and wander between presence and absence. As he says, “this distance, this gap, this delay, this différance must be brought to a certain absolute of absence for the structure of writing” (SEC, 315).42 Whatever history “carries” cannot simply be determined as an historical object, submitting it to a naive historicism. But nor can it remain untouched; it catches on the snags and eddies of other contexts and other mi-lieus.

In attempting to address this challenge, Derrida turns to fractured, mobile, and transferrable contexts. “The possibility of extraction and of citational grafting” is the possibility of citation and quotation opening “infinitely new contexts in an absolutely nonsaturable fashion” (SEC, 320). The weight of the past can also be turned to the futures of the past. This is a necessary conceit in any historiographical project. Derrida had first spoken of extraction and sampling in his 1969 paper on Mallarmé, in which there are “an infinite number of booklets enclosing and fitting inside other booklets, which are only able to issue forth by grafting, sampling, citations, exergues, references, etc.”43

If Derrida were addressing a problem of history in the passage I have just quoted from SEC, rather than Husserl’s account of pure logical grammar, I think he may have spoken somewhat differently. The history of literature, allowing that a literary work is not a historical object like a chair, invites a history of quotation and citation, of books lurking inside other books. Historiography certainly has its citationality and its dissemination. But the history of historiography also makes other demands, as Derrida recognizes in later works, and requires other responses, not least the narrative of the event and the event of its narration, the veracity of documents, the testimony of witnesses, and the institution of the archive. As Derrida himself remarks in SEC, different contexts are required when we turn to the status of the event (SEC, 326).

Historiography requires that the remote past, even the unverifiable inscriptions on the ancient monuments, be legible. There must be something we can read, even if it is the inadvertent disturbance of an erasure. As Derrida remarks—then and now—“My ‘written communication’ must, if you will, remain legible despite the absolute disappearance of every determined addressee in general for it to function as writing” (SEC, 315). Derrida’s understanding of “writing” lends itself to confronting the historical archive: the letter is torn, the archive damaged, the records lost, and the context is no longer simply given as whole and complete and as an easy determination for historicism and its empirical underpinnings (SEC, 316). All writing, he insists, “must be able to function in the radical absence of every empirically determined addressee in general” (SEC, 315–16).

What Austin brings to thinking about the writing of history is the insight that the performative speech act both “produces or transforms a situation” and finds itself in a multitude of possible situations (SEC, 321). For Derrida, as a “difference of force,” a phrase used by Austin which also evokes Deleuze’s splendid reading of Nietzsche, the performative “does not essentially limit itself to transporting an already constituted semantic content guarded by its own aiming at truth” (SEC, 322; HTD, 72–73, 100).44 The performative both opens a context and finds itself transformed by other contexts. We can call this recognition of limits and evocation of excess “historicity,” as Joshua Kates has done; but it is a “historicity” that remains engaged with the dilemmas of mundane history: context, memory, and narrative. No doubt many historians would object to such a philosophical description of historiography. But Derrida was a philosopher who remained interested in the problem of history.


1. Joshua Kates, “Deconstruction: ‘history, if there is history,’” in The Routledge Companion to Historical Theory, ed. Chiel van den Akker (Abingdon, VA: Routledge, 2022), 364–79.

2. Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (Oxford: Blackwell, 1962). See Jacques Derrida, Heidegger: The Question of Being and History, ed. Thomas Dutoit and Marguerite Derrida, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016).

3. See Sean Gaston, Jacques Derrida and the Challenge of History (London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2019).

4. Jacques Derrida, On Touching—Jean-Luc Nancy, trans. Christine Irizarry (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005), 181. Translation modified by the author.

5. Jacques Derrida, “The Word: Giving, Naming, Calling,” in Reading Derrida & Ricoeur: Improbable Encounters between Deconstruction and Hermeneutics, trans. Eftichis Pirovolakis (New York: SUNY, 2010), 167–75.

6. Paul Ricoeur, “Discours et communication,” in L’Herne: Ricoeur, ed. Myriam Revault d’Allonnes and François Azouvi (Paris: Éditions de l’Herne, 2004), 51–67. On the proceedings, see Luce Fontaine-De Visscher and Christian Wenin, “Le XVe Congrès des sociétés de philosophie de langue française (La communication – Montréal, 29 août – 2 septembre 1971),” Revue Philosophique de Louvain 69, no. 4 (1971): 572–77.

7. Derrida, “The Word: Giving, Naming, Calling,” 171. See La communication: actes du XVe Congrès de l’association des sociétés de philosophie de langue française, 2 vols. (Montréal: Éditions Montmorency, 1971–1973).

8. See also Joshua Kates, “‘Signature Event Context’ … in, well, context,” Journal of the Philosophy of History 12 (2018): 117–41.

9. Ricoeur, “Discours et communication,” 59, 61–62.

10. Jacques Derrida, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005), 71.

11. Jacques Derrida, Le Calcul des langues—Distyle, ed. Geoffrey Bennington and Katie Chenoweth (Paris: Seuil, 2020).

12. I have discussed this in two recent articles: Sean Gaston, “The Wounds of Rhetoric—Derrida on Condillac and Rousseau,” Paragraph 44, no. 2 (2021): 192–213; and Sean Gaston, “Condillac and Derrida—Perception, the Human and Empiricism,” Research in Phenomenology 52, no. 1 (2022): 1–22.

13. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, 40th Anniversary Edition, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, fore. Judith Butler (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), 176.

14. Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, Essay on the Origin of Human Languages, ed. and trans. Hans Aarsleff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 201–3.

15. Condillac, Essay on the Origin of Human Languages, 170–71.

16. Derrida, Le Calcul de langues, 47b. Translation by the author.

17. Jacques Derrida, The Archaeology of the Frivolous: Reading Condillac, trans. John P. Leavey, Jr. (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1980), 42, 44, 46, 82–83.

18. Jacques Derrida, “Signature Event Context,” in Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 310. Hereafter cited in the text as “SEC” followed by the page number.

19. See Gaston, Jacques Derrida and the Challenge of History.

20. J. L. Austin, Quand dire, c’est faire: How To Do Things With Words, intro. and trans. Gilles Lane, postface. François Récanati (Paris: Seuil, 1970). Hereafter cited in the text as “QD” and “HTD,” respectively, followed by the page number.

21. In SEC, Derrida cites pages 113 and 151 from Quand dire, c’est faire. As we shall see, the other six citations refer to Lane’s introduction.

22. The question of translation is ever present: Austin’s rather baroque phrase, “and here I must let some of my cats on the table” (HTD, 20) becomes “et ici me faut abattre une partie de mon jeu” (QD, 53).

23. Derrida cites pages 15, 16, 19, 20, 25, 26 from Lane’s introduction.

24. “Décès de Gilles Lane,” Département de Philosophie du Cégep de Trois-Rivières, published 30 May 2007, https://philosophie.cegeptr.qc.ca/2007/05/deces-de-gilles-lane/.

25. J. L. Austin, Sense and Sensibilia, ed. G. J. Warnock (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), 83.

26. “J. L. Austin. Quand dire c’est faire : How to do things with words, 1970,” The Library of Jacques Derrida, Studio Series, 1686-2010, Princeton University Library Finding Aids, accessed January 24, 2023, https://findingaids.princeton.edu/catalog/RBD1_c9664.

27. Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc, ed. Gerald Graff, trans. Samuel Weber (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1988).

28. QD, 44–45, 74–75, 78–79, 86–87, 94–95, 100–1, 118–19, 152–53, 154–55; HTD,10–11, 46–48, 51–54, 63–65, 74–75, 82–83, 107–9, 149–50, 151–52.

29. Jacques Derrida, Edmund Husserl’s Origin of Geometry: An Introduction, trans. and intro. John P. Leavey, Jr., 2nd ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), 48–49.

30. Jacques Derrida, “The Theatre of Cruelty and the Closure of Representation,” in Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 246.

31. Derrida, Limited Inc, 137.

32. See Jacques Derrida, The Problem of Genesis in Husserl’s Philosophy, trans. Marian Hobson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003).

33. Jacques Derrida, “From Restricted to General Economy: A Hegelianism Without Reserve,” in Writing and Difference, intro. and trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 272.

34. Derrida, “From Restricted to General Economy,” 273.

35. Jacques Derrida, Voice and Phenomenon: Introduction to the Problem of the Sign in Husserl’s Philosophy, trans. Leonard Lawlor (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2011), 80. Translation modified by the author.

36. Jacques Derrida, Clang [Glas], trans. David Wills and Geoffrey Bennington (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2021), 170b.

37. Emmanuel Levinas, “The Trace of the Other,” in Deconstruction in Context: Literature and Philosophy, ed. Mark C. Taylor, trans. A. Lingus (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 356.

38. Levinas, “The Trace of the Other,” 356.

39. Levinas, “The Trace of the Other,” 356–57.

40. Levinas, “The Trace of the Other,” 357.

41. Marc Bloch, The Historian’s Craft, trans. Peter Putman, pref. Peter Burke (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992), 44, 51.

42. Translation modified by the author.

43. Jacques Derrida, “The Double Session,” in Dissemination, trans. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 223.

44. Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (London: Continuum, 1983), 5–9, 40–61.