Study Guide

Jacques Derrida - Yalies for Derrida

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Yalies for Derrida

Yalies, Elis, Bulldogs—whatever you call them, those people from Yale just love Derrida and his complex French theories. This clique supports Derrida's status as an Elvis-like celebrity, always surrounded by fawning masses. To be a member of this group, you have to adhere to the party line (wait, that sounds political)…um, the dogma (no, that sounds religious)…let's see, the ideology (shoot, that sounds oppressive)—okay, let's just say the "ideas" of deconstruction.

Paul de Man


Paul was a huge supporter and a real bestie of Derrida, supporting deconstruction at every turn. After he died, his reputation kind of sank low when people accused him of pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic thought. Lesson: even famous theorists with cushy Ivy League jobs aren't safe from criticism. Actually, scratch that—especially famous theorists with cushy Ivy League jobs.

J. Hillis Miller


Because Hillis and Paul were actual tenured professors at Yale, they always have Derrida's back in that territory—sort of like loyal lieutenants.

Amy Ziering Kofman

Fan Extraordinaire

Amy loves her some Derrida; she even made a movie about his life and scholarship. She is so loyal and protective that Derrida may have even privileged her—and you know how he feels about the whole better than/worse than thing.

Michael Holquist

PR Management

Michael really gets Derrida. As a comp lit professor at Yale, he sees how at odds supporters and detractors of deconstruction are (now this a binary opposition that does have a hierarchy, right?). He had to do some serious damage control for the club when people started to accuse Derrida of menacing the long-loved practice of close reading and textual analysis.

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