The centennial in 2016 of the posthumous publication of Ferdinand de Saussure’s Cours de linguistique générale offers the opportunity to review structuralism’s first century and its future prospects. During the past century, structuralism has been an insurgency creating ruptures against received tradition. Subsequently, to its theoretical critics, it has created a negative or limiting conceptual space. These critics are now collectively called poststructuralists in the American academy, thus reminding us of the significance of structuralism’s earlier insurgency. Contemporary academic debates about human phenomena still invoke classic structuralist positions in discussing universalism versus relativism, cognitivism versus socio-cultural science, semiotics or hermeneutics versus deconstruction, and the like. Is this an inevitable yet ironic teleology that is itself a structural form in time? To begin to explore these questions, we have constituted a three-campus consortium (Chicago, Notre Dame, and Toronto) around the subject of Teleologies of Structuralism.
The initiators and coordinators of this project are Michael Silverstein (University of Chicago), Chris G. Ball (University of Notre Dame), and Alejandro I. Paz (University of Toronto).