Allergy, Tolerance, and the Problem of Hospitality


Agne Jomantaite

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The problem of hospitality which remains central to the modern discourse and which touches our reality in very concrete ways, remains unrecognized by name. The ancient notion of hospitality, stemming from a rich philosophical and religious tradition seems to be forgotten; rendering the modern notion of hospitality as a narrowly economic and national phenomena: hospitality as "hospitality industry," or tourism and hospitality as in hospitality, in the social and political discourse in which the other is construed as a hostile invader of the nation-host. In this project, I proposed to return to and examine the philosophical foundation of the concept of hospitality and trace its logical reorganization and development by addressing the works of four thinkers?Immanuel Kant, Carl Schmitt, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida?who, I believe, offer the most compelling and powerful arguments concerning the issue in modern times. The study took the course of investigating the contradictions and tensions inherent in the concept of hospitality, itself?between identity and relation, ethics and law?and its relations to other, highly-charged biopolitical concepts of allergy , and tolerance , which permeate not only the philosophical discourse of hospitality, but our everyday language as well. With this study, I hoped to reconstruct a way of thinking about the other, not only as a theoretical postulation but one which could give a direction to productively influence today?s violations of hospitality relation, in national politics, and beyond.


Warren Montag




Ford Research Endowment

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