You just need to Login or Register to make a class proposal. (Sorry about that, but it cuts down on spam and also helps with organizing)

messianic time

Organizing Committee:

this class would be about walter benjamin. Initial Reading List: Walter Benjamin - Theses on the Philosophy of History Howard Caygill - Walter Benjamin. The colour of experience Eduardo Cadava - Words of Light Jacques Derrida - Faith and Knowledge Giorgio Agamben - The Time that Remains



Thanks for sharing nice information with us. i like your post and all you share with us
Free online degree | Free Online Education | Online Degree Programs

robtsum's picture

Here is an email exchange between me and my adviser, which touches on a point raised in class: Christianizing "messianic time" ...

My Email:

Dear dP,

I was wondering if you would want to have a brief email
exchange about Agamben and messianic time. I am reading
_The Time that Remains_ by Agamben, and I am a bit
"irritated" by this turn to the Apostle Paul (other philosophers have
done the same; for example, Badiou) and his attempt to think messianic
time through Christian texts. It seems to me that there is this
certain Christianizing of messianic time -- one may even say a
"Christian (re-)turn" in philosophy.

I mean with Derrida, in all he wrote on messianism without messanicity,
it is from a "Jewish tradition,"or field of thought, a space of
intensities and virtualities, and it seems to me that Agamben and
Badiou are christianizing messianic time, which first came from Benjamin,
Blanqui and others. It seems as soon as the Jew died (Derrida), to put it
bluntly, and for strategic reasons, there has been this (re-)turn to
Christianity (or "simply" a re-foregrounding of it), which, as far as I
know, Derrida was always undermining, given Western philosophy is
based on Christina idea(l)s.

I bring up messianic time because I am trying to reckon with this in
parts of my dissertation, which troubles the teleology of art history,
and I think that Agamben and Badiou (and others) are, in some ways,
un-doing the force of Derrida (and others) when it comes to messianic
time as a concept that comes from specifically Jewish thinkers.

Thoughts? Insights?


dear rbt,

I don't have the time to adequately respond right now except to say that I think your take on things,
and especially regarding the recent blunting / blurring of the force of Derrida's profoundly unsettling
critique (especially on the part of the [not-so-crypto]-neocon Badiou) is right on the mark.
I look forward to seeing how this plays out in your text.

best, dp

I can't take all the credit for that one! Collaborative work is more productive!!
I am in ;-)


robtsum's picture


it sounds like you basically wrote a class proposal. i would take it: "the messianic and photography in western and non-western photography." reading benjamin, barthes, sontage, derrida, cixous and others ...

as ever, robert

Thanks to all of you who participated and made this such a great class!
I too agree with Robert and think there are many more potentialities opening up; new territories within the contemporary art scene that are just recently surfacing beg for more attention, with the example of South American art. From a personal point of view, I would like to see more photographically oriented discussions as well.
I can only see this as a starting point and look forward to many more collaborations, projects, discussions, experiments...the L.A. Public School is an amazing place where theoretical ideas meet practice in a public space that is extremely open and accessible. I am really happy for being introduced into this scheme by Adam in the first place and felt so welcome by all of you in the process...

robtsum's picture

Thanks Stella for a really interesting last class that spread across many areas. It was, indeed, very enjoyable and productive today, even if some questions were left as questions, which is hardly ever a "bad" thing.

I am most interested in all the non-western and South American artists that were brought up, and I am highly interested in the artists/intellectuals that Caleb raised, or brought (literally) to the table. Thanks for that.

I hope that any of you may provide me with more names of non-western and South American artists (esp. performance, body, and video artists); I know that my teaching on this matter is not as broad -- or reflective -- as the students need it to be, so any name dropping will be most appreciated.

Again, thanks for the great class, and I do believe it left many doors open for other classes to-come.

As ever, Robert

some excellent online links:

Inoperative time/idleness/destructive time


And also look at TIQQUN

In taking up this issue I feel somehow I have made a pact with you to reach a metaphorical promised land; what better than the coming of the Other, he/she who arrives too early or too late//out of sync, out of joint/a detail that always eludes us and escapes into the desert/a sense of failure that is always somehow present/faint representations that you can hardly draw out a shadow from/neither in darkness nor in total light/that which finds power in its weakness/l’avenir or what is to come?

So for our last and final session I would like you to take the lead. It’s time to talk violence and start tearing apart or tearing through : empowerment/weak power, state of exception, acts of violence, katargesis, Islam, power of the unexpected, remote acts of violence/warfare tactics/martyrdom...etc. How far and to which extent can we stretch the state of exception? What could the messianic be in connection to the state of exception? bring in anything that you want to discuss with regards to the above and messianic
And because we can’t feed the soul without keeping the stomach content too, I would like to share with you folded leaves - mediterranean a thank you and a gesture of a physically folded [time]

Hi everyone,
For our second meeting this Saturday, I propose to structure it specifically around the texts of Agamben and Derrida. (together with all we have posted and discussed so far, including audiovisuals etc.)

From the "Time that Remains" p. 59-87 & 113-145 with particular attention to citation in Benjamin, Kairos/Chronos, oath, belief in and performative.
From Derrida "Faith and Knowledge" p. 42-82 with particular attention to historicity, legacy of Kantian philosophy,reflecting faith, Messianic - promise -l'avenir...

Which of course we will be discussing this Friday with the event of Derrida documentary.
Look forward to seeing you at the screening tomorrow!


robtsum's picture



Close this window