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Language Dislodged

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Organizer: Dominik Zechner

Co-Organizer: Ian Fleishman

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“I could conceive of another Abraham,” Kafka writes in a letter to a friend, “who was prepared to satisfy the demand for a sacrifice immediately, with the promptness of a waiter, but was unable to bring it off because he could not get away, being indispensable; the household needed him, there was perpetually something or other to put in order, the house was never ready; for without having his house ready, without having something to fall back on, he could not leave. This the Bible also realized, for it says: ‘He set his house in order.’” Setting the house of language in order, throwing it into disarray, exposing it to literature, setting it on fire––these are some of the movements our seminar seeks to explore. We would like to raise attention to the housing problems that permeate literary and philosophical discourses: from Ulysses’ homesickness (nostalgia), recently reconsidered by Barbara Cassin, via Freud’s derivation of the uncanny or unhomely from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s romanticism, to Heidegger’s reflections on the interconnection between building, dwelling, and thinking; from Derrida’s considerations on hospitality and the monolingualism of the other to current debates on linguistic justice—our seminar takes on the οίκος of literature, the architecture of the signifier, and the drama of linguistic displacement and dislodging. 

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