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The Task of Translation: Members of the Derrida Seminars Translation Project visit the UCI Libraries

ImageThe UCI Libraries and the School of Humanities welcomed members of the Jacques Derrida Seminars Translation Project (DSTP) to UCI on December 7th, 2015. The writings of Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) constitute one of the major intellectual achievements of the twentieth century.

A noted scholar and thinker, Derrida was also a dedicated and prolific teacher, leading seminars on a variety of topics and intellectual figures. Derrida began teaching at UCI in 1987 and the UCI Libraries' Critical Theory Archive holds his papers, which are a major research resource for scholars from a variety of disciplines.

Consisting of Peggy Kamuf (University of Southern California), Geoffrey Bennington (Emory University), Ellen Burt (University of California, Irvine), Pascale-Anne Brault (DePaul University), Michael Naas (DePaul University), Elizabeth Rottenberg, (DePaul University), and David Wills (Brown University), the Derrida Seminar Translation Project prepares the English-language edition of Derrida's seminars.

During their December visit, members of the DSTP visited Special Collections and Archives, where they examined items from Derrida's papers. Kelly Spring, Archivist for Special Collections, and Matt Roberts, Research Librarian, showcased material representing Derrida's prolific career, as well as documents related to the DSTP's most recent translation project, the 1975 seminar, La vie la mort (Life Death). The group's visit culminated in an event sponsored by the UCI Libraries and titled "Reading Between the Lines: Translators in the Derrida Archives.", University Librarian Lorelei Tanji introduced the panel of DSTP members and underscored the Critical Theory Archive's ongoing importance, stating that, "The archive is more than just a link to the past. As Derrida wrote in Archive Fever: 'the archivist produces more archive, and that is why the archive is never closed. It opens out of the future.' (Derrida 68)."

Referring to the process of translating Derrida's seminars, the round table discussion offered Derrida's translators the opportunity to discuss the particular difficulties that often emerge when translating Derrida, how Derrida's writings inform their work as translators, and the opportunities that the DSTP provides graduate students and younger scholars interested in translation. During the question and answer session, Kelly Spring commented that the panel discussion clarified how her work as an archivist contributes to significant scholarly accomplishments.

The Critical Theory Archive continues to serve faculty, researchers, and students from across the globe. For more information about the Critical Theory Archive, the Jacques Derrida Papers, or the Derrida Seminars Translation Project, please contact the UCI Libraries Special Collections and Archives at spcoll@uci.edu or x43947.