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Unsettled StatesNineteenth-Century American Literary Studies$
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Dana Luciano and Ivy Wilson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479857722

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479857722.001.0001

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Impersonating the State of Exception

Impersonating the State of Exception

Chapter:
(p.232) 8 Impersonating the State of Exception
Source:
Unsettled States
Author(s):

Jonathan Elmer

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479857722.003.0009

This chapter begins by addressing the limitations of a strictly juridico-political understanding of the state of exception in relation to the activation of alternative political knowledges, which are linked to the so-called “unauthorized” states of exception. Contrasting three essays (by David Kazanjian, Hester Blum, and Glenn Hendler) against one another and against Herman Melville's “Bartelby, the Scrivener,” the chapter examines their elaboration of writerly politics toward an interrogation of how aesthetics can do justice to the question of humanity that “requires acknowledgment on grounds that can never be provided.” These essays propose an idiom of disruption and spacing; and questions of spacing open up a new perspective on the limit to state rationality, if not always state power.

Keywords:   state of exception, alternative political knowledge, David Kazanjian, Hester Blum, Glenn Hendler, Herman Melville, state rationality, state power

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