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Colloquium: Oona Eisenstadt, Pomona College


Professor Oona Eisenstadt is currently the Fred Krinsky Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Pomona College. She earned her BA and PhD from McMaster University. She specializes in continental philosophy and Judaism, with a special interest in two postmodern Jewish philosophers – Emmanuel Levinas and Jaques Derrida. She has also focused extensively on religious themes in literature for children and young adults. She is author of Driven Back to the Text: The Premodern Sources of Levinas’s Postmodernism (Duquesne 2001) and numerous articles on Derrida, Levinas, the Holocaust, Jewish philosophy, and Children’s literature.


In the 1930s, Theodore Adorno wrote an opera based on Twain’s Tom Sawyer. The paper draws out some of the opera’s themes, compares them to themes used by Jaques Derrida in his final analysis of Emmanuel Levinas, and ultimately puts Derrida and Adorno together to develop a consideration of what it is to own land, to banish others from owned land, and to refuse to own land. The goal is to begin to clarify Adorno’s analysis of the condition of Germany in the early 30s, and some of the ways this is relevant to our condition today.


Thursday, February 14 • 3:45 PM • YMCA 401