French and German philosophy; aesthetics; 19th- and 20th-century French literature
How do we articulate what we have learned in recent decades from a "cultural constructionism" of subjectivity and literary canons with aesthetic ecstasy (both the "old" and the "new" aestheticism)? Deleuze's and Derrida's notions of a "cogito for a dissolved ego" and "non-egological" consciousness in the context of aesthetic ecstasy. More generally, in what might life "after the subject" consist? A reevaluation of both the continuities and apparent standoff between phenomenology—Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Michel Henry—and poststructuralism. I.e., possible revisionary versions of the dominant account of French thought from existentialism to the present. For example, were the French poststructuralists really ever the "constructionists" (still less the "cultural" constructionists) they have been claimed to be? Distinguishing between constructionism's lasting contributions and its simultaneous unwitting complicity with the domination of all life-forms by global capitalism.
- Understanding Jean-Paul Sartre (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1990).
- Ed., with Jean-Joseph Goux, Terror and Consensus: Vicissitudes of French Thought (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998).
- "Life 'After the Subject'—The Example of Aesthetic Ecstasy," Manifold (Winter 2009), 56-70. http://www.manifoldmagazine.com/
- "Beyond the Simulacrum of Religion versus Secularism: Modernist Aesthetic 'Mysticism'; Or, Why We Will Not Stop Revering 'Great Books'," Religion and Literature 37 (Spring 2005), 93-117.
- "'Democracy' and 'Totalitarianism' in Contemporary French Thought, the 'Death' of the Subject, The Heidegger Scandal and Ethics in Postructuralism," in Jean-Joseph Goux and Philip Wood (eds.) Terror and Consensus: Vicissitudes of French Thought (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998), 74-103.
- "A Revisionary Account of the Apotheosis and Demise of the Philosophy of the Subject: Hegel, Sartre, Heidegger, Structuralism and Postructuralism," in Dennis Minahen (ed.), Sartre Revisited (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997).