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In this episode, I interview Kas Saghafi, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Memphis, about his book The World After the End of the World, published through SUNY Press in 2020. In this book, Kas Saghafi argues that the notion of “the end the world” in Derrida’s late work is not a theological or cosmological matter, but a meditation on mourning and the death of the other. He examines this and several other tightly knit motifs in Derrida’s work: mourning, survival, the phantasm, the event, and most significantly, the term salut, which in French means at once greeting and salvation. An underlying concern of The World after the End of the World is whether a discourse on salut (saving, being saved, and salvation) can be dissociated from discourse on religion. Saghafi compares Derrida’s thought along these lines with similar concerns of Jean-Luc Nancy’s. Combining analysis of these themes with reflections on personal loss, this book maintains that, for Derrida, salutation, greeting, and welcoming is resistant to the economy of salvation. This resistance calls for what Derrida refers to as a “spectro-poetics” devoted to and assigned to the other’s singularity.
Britt Edelen is a Ph.D. student in English at Duke University. He focuses on modernism and the relationship(s) between language, philosophy, and literature. You can find him on Twitter or send him an email.
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