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Reading Derrida


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialization Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of Culture

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialization Philosophy of Humanities


This module seeks to offer an investigation into the thought of the philosopher and cultural theorist Jacques Derrida. It will involve a close analysis of a number of texts (interviews and essays) by Derrida, addressing themes that are central in the development of what is called Deconstruction; namely différance, the trace, khôra. An investigation into these themes will allow us to look into the question of responsibility, the relations between philosophy and literature and the question of history. As such, we will come to see in what manner Derrida problematizes the possibilities and limits of philosophical thinking.

Course objectives

This course aims to investigate the thought of the philosopher Jacques Derrida by drawing upon a number of his key texts. It will be required of students to develop strong interpretive and close reading skills. Students will be encouraged to think critically about what they know and about knowledge itself as a philosophical construct. Students will be expected to be able to compare, contrast and critically discuss the main arguments both written and orally. In addition, MA students will be expected to place the ideas put forward by Derrida in a broader philosophical context. MA students are required to write a research paper of considerable length.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the key notions put forward by Jacques Derrida and what they seek to problematize

  • Deconstruction in a broader philosophical context.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • give a critical discussion of the ideas as developed by Derrida;

  • formulate a reasoned argumentation of their position in the topics covered in this module;

  • present their ideas both orally and in writing.


The timetable is available on the MA Philosophy website
MA Philosophy 60 EC, or MA Philosophy 120 EC

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Attending lectures (14 weeks x 3 hrs): 42 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 56 hours

  • Assignment(s): 20 hours

  • Writing paper (including research): 162 hours

Assessment method

  • Research paper (80 %)

  • Oral presentation (20%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests. A subtest can be graded as unsatisfactory. Class preparation and attendance are required and are conditions for submission of the final paper.


The resit will consist of a research paper. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term tests. The mark will replace all previously earned marks for subtests. Class preparation and attendance are required and are conditions for submission of the research paper (resit). Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) cannot take the resit.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • course information

  • communication

Reading list

  • A reading list will be made available.

There is no requirement to study literature before the start of the course


Enrolment for courses and exams through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for and exams in the column under the heading “uSis-Actnbr”.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. R. Uljée


Not applicable.