Signature Event C*ntext
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This thesis examines how context in Derridean signature theory is taboo and underutilized, and calls signature theory to embrace the contaminating mark of context. Signature theory, as proposed by Jacques Derrida and Peggy Kamuf, offers a mere glimpse into Romanticism’s strained relationship with the signature, with a close reading limited to Rousseau. This thesis widens the scope of existing signature scholarship, and expands the context of the signature by focusing on a variety of signatures, events and contexts to reveal that the slipperiness of the signature is a pervasive problem, irreducible to simply just Rousseau. This thesis does not involve a return to the origin, or a search for origins; Part I is a return to the period which Derridean signature theory investigates, in an attempt to interrogate Derrida, Kamuf, and the signature itself; expanding the concept of the signature through its various manifestations of handwork and linework, and weaving together a more complicated, contaminated, and ultimately convincing context for signature theory to begin (again) from. Part II forces signature theory to begin again by putting it into practice. Here, I take Kamuf to task for her failure to fully ‘contract’ the signature. She completely ignores the physical dimension of the word ‘contract.’ Going one step further than simply critiquing her signature practices, I ‘contract’ the signature by having Derrida’s signature tattooed on my body. The tattoo and its location comment on the current limitations of signature theory, and perhaps of academic practice generally; of contracting without touching, and fearing contexts.
Cite this work
Elizabeth Effinger (2008). Signature Event C*ntext. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/3551