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BA, Yale University, 1975
BA, New College, Oxford University, 1977
MA, PhD, Harvard University, 1983
Scott Cutler Shershow's recent research has focused on the application of deconstruction to legal and political issues. His newest book is Deconstructing Dignity: A Critique of the Right-to-Die Debate (2014). Other recent publications include essays on 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 also published on topics in the history and theory of drama, popular culture, and early-modern theater. His current research interests include critical theory, science-fiction, and contemporary stand-up comedy.
The question of a “right to die” — or what is sometimes called euthanasia or assisted-suicide — remains today the subject of vexed legal, political, ethical and philosophic debates. Deconstructing Dignity brings the thought of deconstruction to bear on this debate to uncover the knot of unexamined assumptions at its core.
"Scott Shershow is engaged here in practical deconstruction of the highest order and most compelling kind. ... this book does not just shift the debate; it turns it to face an utterly new, unknown direction, the only direction from which a future can come."
— Peggy Kamuf, co-editor of The Seminars of Jacques Derrida
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.
"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 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
- "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.
- "The Mouth of "em All:" Jonson, Authorship, and the Performing Object." Theatre Journal 46:2 2 (May, 1994) 187-212.
- "Higlety Piglety, Right or Wrong: Providence and Poetic Justice in Rymer, Dryden and Tate." Restoration 15:1 (1991): 17-26.
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