Avital Ronell Former Senior Fellow

Avital Ronell
June - July 2017


University Professor of the Humanities at NYU, AR taught an annual course with Jacques Derrida until 2004. Scholar, performance lecturer, philosopher of technology, non-canonic utterance and political theory, she is a practiced troublemaker. She has given a series of 9 performances at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, "Selon Avital," that kicked off with a presentation and discussion with Werner Herzog and included a dance performance with Judith Butler in addition to a theater piece featuring Ernst Jünger, Heidegger, Marguerite Duras, Goethe, et al, on the technologies of drugs ("On Narcocism"). She also wrote and performed a theatrical work for Hau3, "What was I Thinking? A Critical Allothanatography," dir. Sladja Bazan.Recent works include Fighting Theory, The UeberReader, Loser Sons: Politics and Authority. She currently directs "Poetics & Theory" institute at NYU and is Jacques Derrida Professor of Media and Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Switzerland.

Dated from 2017

Fields of research

Philosophy, literature, political theory, écriture feminine, addiction and trauma studies.

IKKM Research Project

A major concern of my engagement with philosophy and rhetoric involves the ways in which the "human” is constructed and perceived through a predicament of addressivity, particularly when the address comes from or goes out to a non-human other: for instance, an animal, an object, the divine, the construal of the dead or undead caller. During the proposed time of the prestigious fellowship at Weimar, I would like to explore the notion of an extra-human rhetorical relation in order to contemplate, at this dimly lit intersection, potential happenings or mutations that have not yet received a broad focus. Let me approach such a perspective by beginning with a sidebar, a marginal pocket of the way one can proceed. Recently, I have been interested in inoccurrence and anahistory—events and assertions that slip by us or defy any kind of clear definition. In fact, that which eludes conceptual arrest, a sort of stealth transmission system, does not comprise a recent interest to the extent that I have always entertained sidebars with those entities or nonentities, or semi- or quasi-phenomena that elude our historically acknowledged receptors: they either do not get registered or simply fail to compute for all sorts of over-determined reasons. In this light, let me suggest a few points that may justify and orient the project. One of the points would be to scrutinize the supposition from which I imagine one takes off when envisaging similar types of study, which is that there is a distinction to be drawn between the “human" and the “non-human." There is at very least a provisional distinction and boundary here with which to contend. One has tended to operate on the perception that such a clear distinction—despite all the work that has been done to the contrary—is typically presumed in philosophy and rhetorical studies. I am interested in continuing to trouble or, at very least, to offer nuance to the presumption. Significantly, there is a considerable amount of ethical push and pressure to interrogate that presumption, and to tear it up. Troubled and weighted with error and hubris, the nonhuman frontier, where it still siphons off human categoremes, calls for increasing critical attention. In the work that I've been able to receive and put out, I have been determined to explore those places where there are detectable traces of contamination, where there are installations of the non-human, the machinic, the theological trace, the impossibility of the “natural" in conjunction with a persistent undermining of the “human." I continue to be drawn to the over-written areas of being that would not allow one to sort and sift in any knowing way, or really claim a difference, epistemologically secured, between the “human" and the extra-human, including installations of receptors that I tried to look at when considering the features of internalized technologies, such as addiction and our “being-on-drugs.”

Recent publications

"Bigly Mistweated: On Civic Grievance" Media Works: a critique of the American presidency.

어리석음 (Korean version of Stupidity, with new preface). Trans. Woosung Kang
Losers: Les figures perdues de l'autorité (French version of Loser Sons: Politics and Authority), trans. Arnaud Regnauld, Paris: Bayard. Loser Sons: Politics and Authority. University of Illinois Press.
Fighting Theory. Avital Ronell in Conversation with Anne Dufourmantelle. Trans. Catherine Porter. University of Illinois Press.
Addict, Fixions, et Narcotextes [Crack Wars]. Oversaw translation for French Edition. Paris: Editions Bayard.
Test Drive. La passion de l’épreuve. [The Test Drive]. Oversaw translation for French Edition. Paris: Edition Stock.
What Was I Thinking? Conversations with Avital Ronell. Trans. Catherine Porter and adapted by Avital Ronell.
Pulsión de Prueba. La filosofía puesta a examen [The Test Drive]. Oversaw translation for Spanish edition. Buenos Aires: IZ Ensayos.
The ÜberReader: Selected Works of Avital Ronell. Ed. Diane Davis, with four new essays, University of Illinois Press, Dec.
(with Eduardo Kac) Life Extreme: An Illustrated Guide to the New Life, Paris: Dis Voir, Nov.
(with Eduardo Kac) Life Extreme: Guide Illustré de Nouvelles formes de Vie, Paris: éditions Dis Voir, Nov.
“Friendship: Unauthorized.” Preface. Michal Ben Naftali, Chronicle of Separation: On Deconstruction's Disillusioned Love. Fordham: New York. 2015.
“A Rogue Preface.” Preface. Jeffrey Champlin, The Making of a Terrorist: On Classic German Rogues. Fordham: New York. 2015.
“Secrétaires du fantôme.” Vincent Broqua, Récupérer. Paris: Les petits matins. 2015.
“Teacher’s Pet.” Oxford Literary Review. 36.2: 289-295.
“Breaking Down ‘Man’.” With Diane Davis. Philosophy & Rhetoric. 47.4: 354-385.
“No Fly Zone.” Suzanne Doppelt and Daniel Loayza (ed.), Mouche: Une anthologie littéraire. Paris: Bayard. 2013.
“An Autobiographeme.” Jeffrey Champlin (ed.), Terror and the Roots of Poetics. Atropos: New York. 2015.
“Stormy Weather: Blues in Winter.” The New York Times, Feb. 2
“Shame on you! 3 scandals on which to build or bail.” Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature. 2012. 58: 202-204