Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


On Contemporaneity, after Agamben

The Concept and its Times

Zsuzsa Baross, Professor Emerita of Cultural Theory at Trent University, Canada, is the author of The Scandal of Disease in Theory and Discourse (University of Amsterdam, 1988), Posthumously: For Jacques Derrida (SAP, 2010), and Encounters: Gérard Titus-Carmel, Jean-Luc Nancy, Claire Denis. She has published a wide number of essays in anthologies and journals, including International Studies in Philosophy, New Literary History and Derrida Today. Recently she has been collaborating and publishing with “Artistic Research”, Orpheus Instituut in Gent, Belgium.

Who are our contemporaries today? Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy, or Giorgio Agamben, or the already neglected Althusser or Lacoue-Labarthe? From among the thinkers of the last “great generation” of the past century, who are the precursors whose voice is strong enough to speak to our present today? when the nature of time itself is uncertain: a time of “mutation” (Nancy), a “change of epoch” (Blanchot), an “epoch without an epoch” (Stiegler), or more catastrophically, the time of the geocide (Deguy)? Is it Bataille (Inner Experience) or Blanchot (The Writing of the Disaster) who anticipates the future that is already our present? Or Derrida who announced the unsurpassable dilemma of the law of hospitality? Announced a future to be presented only as a “monstrosity”? Or is it rather Deleuze, whose geo-philosophy already dispenses with the subject, privileges matter over spirit, and subordinates the great movements of peoples and animals – of history and revolution, the political and the social as relative – to the de- re-territorializing powers of the forces of the Earth? Or again, is it not philosophy but rather art that measures up to the intensity of the forces pressing against us in the present? The exhausted prose of Beckett, the broken verse of Celan? The stammer of Artaud?

These are some of the questions that animate the critical reflections in the writing of this first of two volumes that in a fragmented way work toward re-opening the question of contemporaneity today – as exigence, as critical task, and most of all, as a concept that may or may not be still (un)timely or actual or actualizable.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-991-3
Paperback Price: £29.95 / $39.95
Release Date: May 2020
Page Extent / Format: 160 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Yes
The Concept and its Times is the first of a two-volume publication. The second volume, Art in the time that remains (978-1-84519-992-0), is due March 2021.





Part I: Questions

Part II:  My Contemporaries

Blanchot / Bataille

Excursus: the impossible

Artaud / Deleuze

Celan / Hölderlin / Kurtág

"Die Welt is Fort": Jòzsef Attila, Jacques Derrida, Paul Celan

Part III:  Geophilosophy

World  Earth Planet


Part IV:  Appendix

Of the Mother Tongue

Letters of Jacques Derrida


Review Quotes to Follow

Books can be ordered by phone or online

Ordering in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America and Rest of the World

Gazelle Book Services
Direct sales tel.: +44 (0)1524 528500; email:
Web ordering:

Ordering in the United States and Canada
Independent Publishers Group (IPG)
Direct sales tel.: (800) 888-4741
Web ordering:

Bookseller Ordering
Information is provided under the Resources tab

eBook Ordering
e-Book type availability can be sourced via by book title. Kindle availability is via Amazon .com and sites.