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Keynote Address

Jacques Derrida

Vivre "ensemble" -- Living "together"


"Living together": what does that mean? The connotations of "living together" can range from the best to the worst--here an inaccessible ideal, there an inevitability that may be experienced as good, neutral or infernal. The best of "living together" is often associated with peace. However, even in the worst case, one cannot avoid "living together" with those closest--family, friends, fellow citizens--as well as with the most distant strangers, and even with one's enemies. The question of how to live "together" is simultaneously an obvious condition (how could one live otherwise?), and the promise or the despair of the always inaccessible. It leads to unsettling and far-reaching reflections on proximity and distance, identity and difference, violence and forgivenness. Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the civil war in Algeria, the work of South Africa's "Truth and Reconciliation Commission," and our own "living together," Professor Derrida's lecture will invite us to rethink together the meaning of "togetherness" itself.

 

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