Joshua Kates

Joshua Kates

Professor, English

  • Ballantine Hall 420
  • Office Hours
    By Appointment Only


  • Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1991
  • M.A., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1989
  • B.A., St. John’s College, Md., 1980


My early work focused on the roots of French poststructuralism (particularly Jacques Derrida’s thought) in the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. I conceived this interest against a backdrop of questions concerning the methodology of literary studies and the humanities. Since publishing Fielding Derrida in 2008, I have returned to my original concerns, with a project that investigates various models of history, language, and discourse employed in literary, philosophical, and other humanistic scholarship. I have written articles questioning historical frameworks, such as the period, that lay claim to broader totalities in contrast to ones that center on more discrete and individuated historical flows or traditions. In tandem with such discrete historical currents, which I call historicity, I have been investigating alternative views on language that privilege language in use (discourse) over language as such, whether conceived through structures, senses, propositions, or words. In my recent teaching, I have pursued these questions in courses on first-person contempory narratives (Teju Cole, Ben Lerner, Sheila Heti), the hermeneutics of Heidegger and Gadamer, and the work of discourse-oriented philosophers and critics, such as Stanley Cavell, Cora Diamond, and Charles Altieri.

Journal Articles and Other Publications

“Deconstruction,” Oxford University Press Online Bibliographies (2017 forthcoming)

“Radical Empiricism Revisited,” Yearbook of Comparative Literature (Winter 2017 forthcoming)

“Neither a God nor ANT Can Save Us: Latour, Heidegger, Historicity, and Holism,” Paragraph (July 2017, forthcoming)

“Revisiting A Linguistic Turn: ‘Signature Event Context’… in, well, context,” Journal of the Philosophy of History (Brill Advance; online)

“Semantics and Pragmatics and Husserl and Derrida,” Philosophy Compass 10.12 (December 2015): 828–840.

“Derrida, Foucault, le document et l'histoire : la période de la psychanalyse,” Le Tour Critique No 3 (2014): 59-71

“Remarks on Poutanien: An Alternative (to a) Response,” parrhesia 19 (2014): 148-161

“Document and Time,” History and Theory, 53.2 (May 2014): 155–174

“Historicity and Holism: The Example of Deleuze,” diacritics 41.1(2013):50-77

“Against the Period,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 23.2 (Summer 2012): 136-64

“Phenomenology’s Intersection with Literary Criticism,” in The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology, eds. S. Overgaard and S. Luft (New York: Routledge, 2011): 644-54

“Maurice Blanchot,” in The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, vol. I, ed. Gregory Castle; general ed. Michael Ryan (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011): 89-94

“A Transcendental Sense of Death?: Derrida and the Philosophy of Language,” Modern Language Notes 120.5 (December 2005): 1009-1043