I’ll be giving a seminar on Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus through The New Centre beginning October 13th. Enrollment is open to anyone. Come join us! Enrollment information can be found at The New Centre website.
Deleuze and Guattari were exceptional among the French thinkers of 1968: they did not embrace the linguistic turn, correlationism or anti-realism, nor did they champion social constructivism. Rather, they developed a robust realist and materialist naturalism that spoke profoundly to science, ethics, art, and politics. However, the realist singularity of their thought in a setting dominated by anti-realist, linguistic idealism has often been overshadowed by attempts to assimilate their work to postmodernist thought. With the advent of New Materialism and Speculative Realism, it has become possible to read their thought anew through a realist lens. Through a close reading of A Thousand Plateaus, this two-part seminar does just that.
Part 1 is devoted to Deleuze and Guattari’s naturalist ontology of existence. Throughout the history of Western philosophy and culture, nature has been understood as the domain of essence, and the natural as ineluctable and deterministic. By contrast, culture has been understood as the domain of freedom and creativity. Deleuze and Guattari develop a realist ontology of nature in which nature is understood to be the domain of the singular and creative and where culture is continuous with and constitutive of nature.
Part 2 is devoted to their politics and ethics. Unlike so much political theory of this period where power is seen to reside solely in the ideological, signifying, and discursive, Deleuze and Guattari develop a rich political theory that also explores the role that non-human material agencies play in social assemblages.