The Economist’s obit on Jacques Derrida explains his influence on universities, especially in the U.S.
. . . (A)t a conference at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he laid the foundations of his reputation in America with a bold new way to approach literary texts and lay bare their ideological presuppositions. Three books followed in 1967, including “Of Grammatology” and “Writing and Difference”. A radical star was born.
Mr. Derrida’s style of deconstruction flowered especially in American departments of comparative literature, where it became interwoven with Marxism, feminism and anti-colonialism. Although by the early 1980s French academics had largely tired of trying to make sense of him, America’s teachers of literature increasingly embraced Mr Derrida. Armed with an impenetrable new vocabulary, and without having to master any rigorous thought, they could masquerade as social, political and philosophical critics. Mr Derrida always denied any responsibility for the undisciplined nihilism of his imitators, who gave the strong impression that deconstructionism had somehow succeeded in undermining, or even in refuting, the notion of objective truth. But his work could not easily be interpreted in any other way.
In his last years, Derrida became interested in religion, The Economist says.
Thanks to Mike McKeown for the link.