Because emotion is assumed to depend on subjectivity, the death of the subject described by theorists such as Derrida, de Man, and Deleuze would also seem to mean the death of feeling. This work transforms the burgeoning interdisciplinary debate on emotion by suggesting, instead, a positive relation between the death of the subject and the very existence of emotion. Reading the writings of Derrida and de Man - theorists often seen as emotionally contradictory and cold - Terada finds grounds for construing emotion as nsubjective. This project offers fresh interpretations of deconstruction's most important texts, and of Continental and Anglo-American philosophers from Descartes to Deleuze and Dennett. At the same time, it revitalizes poststructuralist theory by deploying its methodologies in a new field, the philosophy of emotion, to reach a startling conclusion: if we really were subjects, we would have emotions at all.
Rei Terada is Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Critical Theory Emphasis at the University of California, Irvine.