This Monstrous Figure without Figure or Face

Kas Saghafi

in Apparitions—Of Derrida's Other

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231621
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235094 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

This Monstrous Figure without Figure               or Face

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What Alain David's book Racisme et antisemitisme: Essai de philosophie sur l'envers des concepts has the great strength of bringing out, Jacques Derrida notes in his preface, is the power of affect, exhorting never to forget the effects of the artifacts called “racism” and “anti-Semitism”. Specific and thorough analyses of the devastating effects of affect, the effects one knows of as “prejudice” and “racism”, are more essential and indispensable than ever before; however, such analyses run the risk of replicating and reinforcing existing metaphysical structures if they fail to take the measure of the monstrous figure sans figure and the im-possible hospitality owed to it. What kind of shape or “form” does the monstrous have? No anticipation can prepare one to identify this figure, this “formless” form for which one does not yet have, perhaps never will have, a name. That which cannot be figured, the unacceptable, the intolerable, comes as a monster.

Keywords: Alain David; power; affect; racism; anti-Semitism; hospitality; form; figure; monster

Chapter.  9418 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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