This series of conversations with Avital Ronell, gives the French public an opportunity to discover an exceptional figure of the new American philosophy. Ronell has been compared to Judith Butler, who is a contemporary and a friend of hers; she was also a disciple and a close friend of Derrida’s who was one of her colleagues when he taught in the United States. Ronell is a political activist and a controversial figure; she is not afraid to shock and works at subverting traditional modes of thinking, treading on forbidden territories subject to censorship. Following in the foot steps of German philosophers and French ‘deconstructionists’, her favoured fields of study include stupidity, addiction and the passion for competition and tests.
In this book, she talks openly about her struggles and her findings, and evokes some of the burning issues of modernity. She also recounts her childhood in Prague and Vienna, the war and the emigration of her family to the States where they lived in poverty, and her brilliant academic career. Throughout the conversations, Ronell shares with the reader the intensity and depth of her life passion for philosophy.
Avital Ronell is chair of German Literature at New York University. She was born in Prague and studied at the Institute of Hermeneutic studies in Berlin where she was Jacob Taubes’ student. She gained her PhD from Princeton before joining Derrida’s classes in Paris. She was professor of comparative literature at Berkeley for several years before she settled in New York where she started a series of seminars of deconstructionist analysis on a variety of subjects including the Golf war, AIDS, music, addictions and stupidity. Avital Ronell is amongst the most fascinating and discussed philosopher in the United States today.