Letter of 25 August 2004 from Jacques Derrida to Karen Lawrence.

Professor Karen Lawrence
Dean of the Humanities
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, Ca 92697-2650

25 August 2004

Dear Karen,

Allow me to write to you once again with the trust that has always characterised our relations.

I have indeed received the (polite, predictable, and remarkably neutral) reply of the Chancellor.

What continues to astonish me is that in the already distributed announcement of the postponement of the Colloquium, no reason is given to justify this decision.  I am sure this will have astonished everyone.  I wonder what reason you could indeed give (since you announce that there is one) given that secrecy seems to be the rule here.

In any case, on the one hand and as you can easily imagine, I do not wish this postponement to be charged to the account of my supposedly wavering health (since the beginning of my illness I have gone to Israel, Santa Barbara, Portugal, Strasbourg, twice to London, last week to Brazil, each time for colloquia concerning my work and five times for honorary doctorates).  On the other hand, I confirm with as much clarity as the first time that if the decision taken with regard to Dragan does not seem to me to conform to what I believe to be my professional ethic and that of a University worthy of the name, I will not participate in any conference devoted to me, at any date whatsoever, at the University of California Irvine.  This was very clear in what I said when we met and on the telephone, as well as in my letter to the Chancellor, a letter which I do not insist on keeping secret.

Here then, dear Karen, is what I wished, once more, to “make clear” in order to avoid any risk of misunderstanding with anyone—and especially with you.


Jacques Derrida