CR: The New Centennial Review. Derrida's Specters of Marx. 22.2. "Specters of Justice. On symbolic justice and Patricio Guzman's cinema." Guest Edited by Tyler Williams. (Forthcoming)
According to Derrida in Specters of Marx, a specter, a ghost, is not simply nothing, and the urgency to address their existence—to address them—can be incited in the name of justice—thought as a certain kind of specter. Insofar as justice as such is only present “là où elle n'est pas encore, pas encore là, là où elle n'est plus, entendons là où elle n'est plus présente, et là où elle ne sera jamais, pas plus que la loi, réductible au droit." (15) Justice can only aporetically be just, and do justice.
When confronted with already dead people, with victims that were disappeared together with the archive of the crime that caused their disappearance, the spectrality of justice is not an impediment.
In Nostalgia de la Luz, La Perla de Nacar, and Allende, Patricio Guzmán documents the absence and erasure of the history of Chile's disappearances during the Chilean dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1989). Guzman creates a documentary object from the bolts left by this history. In my article "Specters of Justice," I engage Derrida's Specters of Marx and Guzmán's documentaries to inquire about the form of restitution offered by these documentaries. Furthermore, can we consider these documentaries and the specters they conjure as a form of symbolic justice. And if so, what are the chances for this symbolic justice to restitute law and right?
JCLA. Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics. "Translating the Animal." (Article withdrawn from JCLA for editorial conflicts. Currently under revision someplace else)
In this article, I will make a case for the ethical need to translate the animal, which is perhaps another way to think what J.M. Coetzee’s character, Elizabeth Costello, understands is the writer's role as a "secretary of the invisible." Translation, in this context, names a form of response to difference that involves an ethical attitude. I will reconstruct an itinerary of textual references, a conversation that begins with Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello, passes through Descartes and Heidegger, and ends with Derrida on the topic of human's relation to speech and its role in determining the human and its other: the animal. The scholarship on Coetzee's work has paid sufficient attention to the shapes ethics takes in Coetzee's fiction and its implications, yet an insignificant portion of these efforts are directed to ground this attitude in a practice. Translation offers the conceptual frame to ground Coetzee's ethical attitude into an ethical practice.