Tender Violence, Coercive Simplicity, Geschlecht III: An Introduction

Ng, Julia and Waltham-Smith, Naomi. 2022. Tender Violence, Coercive Simplicity, Geschlecht III: An Introduction. Paragraph, 45(3), pp. 267-284. ISSN 0264-8334 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This introduction to the special issue asks, in the company of Jacques Derrida’s recently “rediscovered” seminar Geschlecht III, what it might mean to read this text against the grain of everything that is said in the German word Geschlecht, including the gesture of having made an archival discovery and its attendant enforcements of recovered origins, philological-genealogical authority, familial unity, and consonance of signification. It reflects on how returning to Heidegger gives Derrida the opportunity to take stock of the risks and structural inequities inherent in texts and their legacies, and from which Heidegger retreats in the very instances he insists on his own attention to textual and philosophical idiomaticity. We explore how, for Derrida, Heidegger is indebted to a tradition of thinking sameness in difference that coerces conciliation in the name of achieving a “tender duality” between pairs. With Derrida, we argue that Heidegger’s thinking on the two-in-need-of-compromise conceals a violence of domination or subordination to the gentle tones of simplicity and gathering. We ask, finally, what it means to specify (domestic, racial, anthropocentric) unicity as “good” and what this implies for reading archives and legacies once we understand such specification as a form of coercion and violence.

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'This is an [Author’s Original/Accepted Manuscript] of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Paragraph. The Version of Record is available online at: http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/para.2022.0404.'


Derrida, Heidegger, duality, incongruent counterparts, coercion, violence, archive, consonance

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature
English and Comparative Literature > Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought


7 November 2022Accepted
11 January 2023Published Online
November 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

18 Nov 2022 10:19

Last Modified:

28 Jul 2023 08:37

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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