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Abstract

Some may be surprised to see a chapter on Derrida in a Handbook on Posthumanism in Film and Television. There are two reasons for this. One lies in the fact that Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) is not usually related to posthumanism, even though he has certainly influenced a number of writers who do own up to that label, most notably Cary Wolfe (2010), Neil Badmington (2000) and myself (2013). The other reason is that Derrida’s relationship with film and television — despite his undeniable influence on film and media studies more generally — is anything but straightforward. This chapter will argue, however, that Derrida is both, a ‘proto-posthumanist’ and a ‘media philosopher’; in fact, it will aim to show that neither posthumanism nor the media today would be thinkable without Derridean deconstruction. In order to spell out the relationship between posthumanism, the media and deconstruction I will proceed by looking at ‘Derrida on screen’ at three levels: at the level of Derrida screened (i.e., Derrida’s appearances on screen, and film in particular); Derrida on being screened (Derrida’s comments on becoming a subject to screening, or on being filmed, mediated, etc.); and Derrida on screens (or his thinking about the ‘televisual’ and mediated representation more generally). At each level, the implication for a very specific understanding of posthumanism in Derridean deconstruction should become apparent.

I watch a lot of television, both because it fascinates me (…) but also because I try, at the same time, to analyse this fascination and to know what is going on on the other side.

(Derrida & Stiegler 2002, 137)

The specter is also, among other things, what one imagines, what one thinks one sees and which one projects — on an imaginary screen where there is nothing to see. Not even the screen sometimes, and a screen always has, at bottom, in the bottom or background that it is, a structure of disappearing apparition.

(Derrida 1994, 100–101)

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© 2015 Stefan Herbrechter

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Herbrechter, S. (2015). Derrida on Screen. In: Hauskeller, M., Philbeck, T.D., Carbonell, C.D. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Posthumanism in Film and Television. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137430328_4

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