My dissertation centers on the political and literary journalism that comprises Maurice Blanchot’s earliest published work, the very existence of which has generated considerable controversy, given that much of it was published in right-wing French journals in the years preceding Word War II. Attempts to make sense of these pieces with respect to Blanchot’s later left-wing work have more often than not been framed as arguments concerning whether or not they, and Blanchot, should be classified as fascistic or anti-Semitic. I aim to proffer a reading of these pieces that will complicate prevailing scholarly narratives in two ways. First, I treat it as imperative to precisely situate the claims and commitments articulated in these pieces within the very complex and hybrid right-wing and non-conformist circles in which Blanchot worked during this era. Second, the study I am undertaking presumes that these pieces – from political polemics to literary reviews – are founded upon significant philosophical commitments. My concern, then, is not only with enumerating the stances he articulates, but with interrogating the premises upon which they rest. It is by both reading these pieces in context and taking seriously their philosophical and theoretical underpinnings that I believe we can best hope to understand Blanchot’s movement from right-wing to left-wing affiliations.
I’m thrilled to be participating in this year’s Marty Seminar, where I look forward to receiving rigorous feedback on my project, critically engaging exciting research spanning the breadth of Religious Studies and reflecting on the significance of this work for academic, religious and social communities. I particularly appreciate the Marty Center as an invaluable space to not only discuss my dissertation, but also articulate the tangible and relevant political and social stakes of the questions I explore therein.