Professing (A Report) Before the Humanities, Perhaps/As If
This article reads Jacques Derrida's Monolingualism of the Other in relation to Franz Kafka's parable "Before the Law" and short story "Report to an Academy" to foreground all that comes before the human and the self while simultaneously making the human and the self possible: namely language, the law and institutions. Identity and self emerge as prosthesis of origin, a technology, that gestures to larger and profound political terrain, the controversial division between human and animal long associated with the university as an institution and from which the humanities emerge. Derrida's performance before the seminar at which he delivers his essay parallels the report made by Kafka's ape before the academy, with each undertaking similar queries about the conditions that make them and their linguistic performance before the university possible, with all of the attendant political and ethical issues at stake implied in taxonomies, technics, language, institutions, law and thought.
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