BA, Yale University, 1975
BA, New College, Oxford University, 1977
MA, PhD, Harvard University, 1983
Scott Cutler Shershow's research focuses on the application of deconstruction to legal and political issues. His new book, Deconstructing Dignity: A Critique of the Right-to-Die Debate, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in Fall, 2013. He has also recently published essays on the works of Derrida and Agamben, as well as a series of collaborative essays addressing the issues of economic welfare, affirmative action, torture, the Guantanamo detainees, and the vexed relation of state secrecy and personal privacy. He has earlier also published on topics in the history and theory of drama, popular culture, and early-modern theater.
The Work and the Gift
"An acute and multifaceted approach to a burning debate where is put into play our present civilization and its future."
-- Jean-Joseph Goux, Rice University
The Work and the Gift considers how, in a wide range of western culture and thought, the ideas of working and giving remain locked in a fatal dilemma, each one representing the other's aspiration and absolute limit. Ranging from Marx and Derrida to Friedrich Hayek and Alvin Toffler, this book explores, among other things: the predictions of social thinkers on both the Right and the Left about a coming crisis of work; the debates among anthropologists and historians about an archaic gift-economy that preceded capitalism and might re-emerge in its wake; contemporary political battles over charity and social welfare; and attempts by modern and postmodern artists to destabilize the Work of art. The book also finally envisions, beyond these self-defeating oppositions of work and gift, a community of unworking, grounded neither in ideals of production and progress, nor even in an ethic of liberal generosity, but simply in our fundamental being-in-common.
- "The Sacred Part: Deconstruction and the Right to Die." CR: The New Centennial Review. 12:3 (2012): 153-186.
- "The Time of Sacrifice: Derrida Contra Agamben." Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture11:2 (2011).
- "A Triangle Open on its Fourth Side:" On the Strategy, Protocol, and 'Justice' of Deconstruction." Derrida Today 4: 1 (2011): 59-85
- The Work and the Gift. University of Chicago Press, 2005.
- "Of Sinking: Marxism and the 'General' Economy." Critical Inquiry 27:3 (Spring 2001): 486-492.
- "Myth and Nihilism in the Discourse of Globalization." CR: The New Centennial Review, 1.1 (2001): 257-282.
- Marxist Shakespeares, ed. Jean E. Howard and Scott Cutler Shershow. London: Routledge, 2000.
- Puppets and "Popular" Culture. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.
- “New Life: Cultural Studies and the Problem of the ‘Popular.’” Textual Practice 12.1 (1998): 23-47.
- “Idols of the Marketplace: Rethinking the Economic Determination of Renaissance Drama.” Renaissance Drama n.s. 26 (1995; published 1997): 1-27.
In collaboration with Scott Michaelsen:
- "Is Nothing Secret?" Discourse 27.2 & 27.3 (Spring and Fall 2005; published March 2007): 124-154.
- "Rethinking Border Thinking." South Atlantic Quarterly (special issue on “Latin America in Theory") 106: 1 (Winter 2007): 39-60.
- "Does Torture Have a Future?" boundary 2 33:3 (2006): 161-197.
- "Why Work on Rights? Citizenship, Welfare and Property in Empire and Beyond." Theory and Event 8:4 (2005).
- "Beyond or Before the Law at Guantanamo." Peace Review 16:3 (Fall 2004).
- "Practical Politics at the Limits of Community: The Cases of Affirmative Action and Welfare." Postmodern Culture 12:2 (March, 2002).
Education & Interests:
- Ph.D.(Harvard); Critical theory, popular culture, history and theory of drama