This collection is comprised of manuscripts, typescripts, recordings, photographs, and an extensive clippings file documenting
the professional career of Jacques Derrida and providing comprehensive documentation of his activities as a student, teacher,
scholar, and public figure. In addition, Derrida's files on the 1988 controversy regarding Paul de Man's World War II-era
writings are also included. Best known for the development of "deconstruction," Derrida was trained as a philosopher, but
his work engages and transverses numerous other discourses such as literature, politics, law, religion, psychoanalysis, and
ethnography. Ranging from his early work as a student to his recent seminars, the material in the archive spans from circa
1946 to 2000. The collection contains numerous pages of notes and written reports that reflect Derrida's academic training
under the tutelage of figures such as Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault. His commitment to teaching is documented by a full
collection of teaching notes for the multitude of seminars that he has taught over the course of his career. The more public
side of Derrida is also well represented by notes, working drafts, final drafts, and other materials related to his vast published
output. With the exception of the photographs, the collection contains no material that might be described as "personal,"
such as private correspondence. The vast majority of the materials are in French.
Jacques Derrida was born in El-Biar, Algeria on July 15, 1930. He spent his childhood attending primary schools in El-Biar
and Algiers until the beginning of
Pétainisation within the Algerian school system in 1940, at which point Derrida and other Jewish students began to experience forms of
anti-Semitism in the classroom; by 1942 he was barred completely from attending class at the Lycée Ben Aknoum. Although the
Germans never occupied Algeria, Derrida was not allowed to return to school until the spring of 1943. During the interim,
he attended the Lycée Emile-Maupas, which was run by Jewish teachers expelled from the public school system, but Derrida frequently
avoided the classroom.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permissions to quote or publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.