Professor Eduardo Cadava discussing with ARTWORKS Fellows
We invited Professor Eduardo Cadava from Princeton University to present Derrida's work Athens, Still Remains, an extended commentary on a series of photographs of Athens made by the French photographer Jean-François Bonhomme.
First published in French and Greek in 1996, Athens, Still Remains is Derrida’s most sustained analysis of the photographic medium in relationship to the history of philosophy and his most personal reflection on that medium. The book begins with a sort of verbal snapshot or aphorism that haunts the entire book: “we owe ourselves to death.” Combining philosophical speculations on mourning and death, event and repetition, and time and difference with incisive commentary on Bonhomme’s photographs and a narrative of Derrida’s 1995 trip to Greece, Athens, Still Remains is one of Derrida’s most personal, works. As he reminds us, the word photography—an eminently Greek word—means “the writing of light,” and it brings together today into a single frame contemporary questions about the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction and much older questions about the relationship between light, revelation, and truth—in other words, an entire philosophical tradition that first came to light in the shadow of the Acropolis.
Eduardo Cadava joined the English Department at Princeton University in 1989. He specializes in American literature and culture, comparative literature, media technologies, literary and political theory, and theory of translation. He has written extensively on literature, philosophy, photography, architecture, music, democracy, war, memory and forgetting, race and slavery, human rights and citizenship, and the ethics of decision. He is the author of Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History (Princeton UP), Emerson and the Climates of History (Stanford UP), and, with Fazal Sheikh, of Fazal Sheikh: Portraits (Steidl). He has translated several works by Jacques Derrida, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, and Maurice Blanchot, and recently has introduced and co-translated Nadar's memoirs, Quand j'étais photographe, which appeared with MIT Press in 2015.