The Returns of Antigone

Interdisciplinary Essays

Edited by Tina Chanter & Sean D. Kirkland

Subjects: Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Literature, Gender Studies, Political Theory
Series: SUNY series in Gender Theory
Paperback : 9781438452944, 333 pages, July 2015
Hardcover : 9781438452937, 333 pages, November 2014

Table of contents

Tina Chanter and Sean D. Kirkland
I. Context and Text
1. Antigone’s Laments, Creon’s Grief
Bonnie Honig
2. Tragic Time
Sean D. Kirkland
3. The Ruin of Song: Community and Autoimmunity in Sophocles’s Antigone
Damian Stocking
II. The Impertinence of Antigone
4. Antigone’s Limits
Kevin Thompson
5. Beyond Antigone: Ismene, Gender, and the Right to Life
Mary C. Rawlinson
III. Psychoanalysis and Its Limits
6. Being Genealogical: Tragic Necessity in Sophocles’s Antigone
Mary Beth Mader

7. Kristeva’s Antigone: Oedipus’s Most Radical Possibility
S. K. Keltner
8. “Communal Blood, Fraternal Blood…”: The Space of Antigone and the Aporias of Difference, translated by Gabriel Malenfant and Bettina Bergo
Georges Leroux
IV. Butler’s Claim
9. Outside/In: Antigone and the Limits of Politics
Sina Kramer
10. Itinerant Antigone
Liz Appel
11. The Queer Heroics of Butler’s Antigone
Marie Draz
V. Antigone’s New Contexts
12. Antígonas: On the Uses of Tragedy
Moira Fradinger
13. Toward a Theory of Apolitics
R. Clifton Spargo

14. African Antigones: Pasts, Presents, Futures
Astrid Van Weyenberg
15. Bodies in Exile: From Tragedy to Performance Art
Cecilia Sjöholm

List of Contributors

Examines Antigone’s influence on contemporary European, Latin American, and African political activism, arts, and literature.


Despite a venerable tradition of thinkers having declared the death of tragedy, Antigone lives on. Disguised in myriad national costumes, invited to a multiplicity of international venues, inspiring any number of political protests, Antigone transmits her energy through the ages and across the continents in an astoundingly diverse set of contexts. She continues to haunt dramatists, artists, performers, and political activists all over the world. This cutting-edge, interdisciplinary collection explores how and why, with essays ranging from philosophical, literary, and political investigations to queer theory, race theory, and artistic appropriations of the play. It also establishes an international scope for its considerations by including assessments of Latin American and African appropriations of the play alongside European receptions of the play.

Tina Chanter is Head of the School of Humanities at Kingston University in the United Kingdom. Her many books include Whose Antigone? The Tragic Marginalization of Slavery, also published by SUNY Press. Sean D. Kirkland is Associate Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University and the author of The Ontology of Socratic Questioning in Plato's Early Dialogues, also published by SUNY Press.


"In its considerable breadth, The Returns of Antigone as a whole represents a significant contribution to the interdisciplinary study of ancient Greek tragedy and its afterlives and will no doubt prove useful for both scholarship and pedagogy … [it] points to a promising future of further nuanced and varied engagements with Antigone in all of her manifestations." — philoSOPHIA

"The volume serves well as a mirror of the diversity of approaches to the play … [it] shines a lot of light on the layers and breadth of interest in Antigone, and it is highly recommended reading in that sense … [it] contributes clearly to feminist scholarship by showing just how many interesting interpretations of Antigone have grown out of the politics of gender and sexuality." — Hypatia