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Appearing under Erasure

Appearing under Erasure

Of War, Disappearance, and the Contretemps

Chapter:
(p.290) 12 Appearing under Erasure
Source:
Administering Interpretation
Author(s):
Allen Feldman
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823283798.003.0013

Derrida distinguishes the accidental contretemps—the singular accidentality of the accident—from the essential contretemps; the latter is the “nonaccidental” accident. As a structuring anomaly the needful accident overturns the philosophical dicta that the perfection of substance is far more perfect than the objective perfection of the accident. Engaging with doctrines of collateral damage and programs of enforced disappearance, this essay anatomizes the political deployment of the contretemps as the time out of time of wartime that fractures any polemological idea of progress, just war, and accountability. The contretemps in its peripheral errancy constitutes a temporal counterweight to any continuist model of sovereign power, crosscutting the latter with shape shifting and empowering indeterminacy. The aphoristic naming and enframing of adversaries, targets, and victims are the protological contretemps and essential accident that occurs at and as the inception of war.

Keywords:   aphorism, anthropophagy, cohabitation, Derrida, enforced disappearance, habeas corpse, Survivance

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