"Forty Years of Structure, Sign and Play: Critical Method in the Human Sciences"


The workshop will focus on concerns with methodology and education in the Human Sciences by re-examining the profound contributions of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida on these questions.  The planning of the workshop coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the international symposium held under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins Humanities Centre in 1966, "The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man," which marked a breaching of disciplinary and national boundaries of scholarship, bringing together "humanists and social scientists" from nine countries and numerous disciplines in order to explore the impact of "structuralism" on contemporary knowledge.  The paper presented by Derrida is regarded today as a watershed in the revaluation of humanities and social sciences research that has been underway for almost half a century.  Participants have been invited to address specific aspects of Derrida's work in relation to key concerns of humanities and social science research.  The topic emerges from projects that both PIs have been intimately involved with on two related levels (as detailed under "Background" below): the New Encyclopaedia Project in its concern with global and interdisciplinary knowledge; and a series of international events whose aim is to explore issues of criticism, methodology, institutions and teaching, each time around a key work of Jacques Derrida, and which have been hosted by prestigious universities in Denmark (Kolding), Ireland (University of Cork), United Kingdom (Oxford University and University of Syracuse, London), and now Singapore (NUS). The workshop is intended to produce two special issues for journals, boundary 2 and Theory Culture & Society