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  • Erratum

Erratum for Volume 121, Number 4

Because of an editing error, the last three paragraphs of the article "'Remains' of Algeria: Justice, Hospitality, Politics" by David Carroll in the September 2006 French issue were inadvertently omitted. We regret the error. The conclusion of the article should read as follows:

The risk of losing all relation to unconditional hospitality is perhaps one of the greatest risks of the present historical moment. Derrrida's writings on hospitality powerfully reveal why this relation to the unconditional must be preserved. They articulate his unrelenting demand for hospitality and justice for those who continue to be excluded, interned, deported, all the "aliens," immigrants, and refugees who continue to be denied citizenship and basic human rights because according to local, national, or international laws, they are not legally "chez eux." They are rather "chez nous." The problem in fact has less to do with "them" than with "us" and our own sense of ourselves, our home, and our homeland, with our own inhospitable sense of our own "natural" right to sovereignty.

Derrida's texts on hospitality repeatedly return to the question of how to move from the ethical to the political, without definitively or conclusively answering, but advocating political strategies for dealing with the inadequacy of any answer and the limited nature of any strategy: "In giving a right [. . .] to hospitality, how can one give place [donner lieu] to a determined, limitable, and delimitable—in a word, to a calculable—right or law? How can one give place to a concrete politics and ethics? [. . .] A politics, an ethics, a law that thus respond to the new injunctions of unprecedented historical situations, that effectively correspond to them, by changing the laws, by determining citizenship, democracy, international law, etc. otherwise? Thus truly intervening in the condition of hospitality in the name of the unconditional, even if this pure unconditionality appears inaccessible" (147, 149 [131]). The ultimate inaccessibility of unconditional hospitality is thus evoked to dramatize the continuing, urgent necessity for new forms of political intervention, whose goal would be the creation of more hospitable, just laws for those subjected to "the new injunctions of unprecedented historical situations."

What for Derrida could be said to have been first gained long ago in Algeria and later complicated and developed through readings of Kant, Levinas, and many others, as well as through innumerable experiences of injustice, [End Page 1314] is his conviction that the ethical should be given priority over the political and ceaselessly provoke it. What in my view would thus best characterize what Derrida refers to as his "remains of Algeria" is thus ultimately one short phrase, a phrase that has the form of a command or perhaps a plea: "Hospitality first!"

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