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Tuesday, 18 December 2018 21:52

New Book: The American Politics of French Theory: Derrida, Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault in Translation

"Ideas are not born in the vacuum of a system; they are born of borders meeting and border crossing."

Working from the premise that May ‘68 is a shorthand that delimits an intensive decade of global revolt, Jason Demers documents the cross-pollination of French philosophy, international activist movements, and American countercultures. From the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Jackson to the revolt at Columbia University, the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Woodstock, and the Weather Underground, Demers writes French theory into a constellation of American events and icons uncontained by national borders.

More than a compelling new take on the history of theory, The American Politics of French Theory develops concepts gleaned from the work of Derrida, Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault, providing new tools for thinking about translation, theory, and politics. By recontextualizing "French theory" within a complex fabric of mass communication and global revolt, Demers demonstrates why it is politically potent and methodologically necessary to think of translation associatively.


"The American Politics of French Theory makes an extraordinary contribution to history, philosophy, and literary studies. In many ways, we have been waiting for such a work for a long time. It addresses the fundamental, unsolved mystery of how French theory developed at the crossroads of French intellectual culture and American cultural politics."

Julian Bourg, Associate Professor, Department of History, Boston College

"Analyzing the interconnected spaces of New York activism in the 1960s, which both inspired and transformed the work of French thinkers like Deleuze and Guattari, The American Politics of French Theory takes you on a fascinating journey crossing in and out of disciplines, and across the Atlantic. By reconstructing this neglected counter-narrative, Jason Demers makes an extremely valuable contribution to the literature on French theory in America."

Edward Baring, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Drew University

"The American Politics of French Theory offers not only a rethinking of "French theory" as a Franco-American formation, but it demonstrates how we cannot and indeed should not think of a series of events and texts independently from the radical political movements of the 1960s and 1970s."

David Pettersen, Associate Professor, Department of French and Italian, University of Pittsburgh

Published by University of Toronto Press

ISBN 9781487504489 (hardcover)


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