New Publication: A Method to the Madness: The Revolutionary Marxist Method of Deleuze and Guattari

A new issue of the Russian journal Stasis was recently released. Its title, “For Deleuze.” The issues includes a piece by me in which I argue that the third chapter of Anti-Oedipus on philosophical anthropology is Deleuze and Guattari’s most enduring contribution to Marxism. I bookend my argument with a discussion of Marx’s mode of presentation in Capital, which I theorize through Marxist Feminism and a critique of various political positions their proponents attributed to D&G (social democrats, Braudelian markets, non-capitalism). Furthermore, I include a very substantial chart of AO that may be one of the more important contributions of the article.

Stasis is a significant venue for me. It is run by scholars at the European University, St. Petersburg, a shining star of radical theory and critique in Russia. Their radicalism has met serious state repression, such as having their teaching accreditation revoked for a time and being forced out of their facilities. In spite of this, they continue to publish pathbreaking work like Stasis. Also significant is how the journal expands on the country’s long tradition of thinking while remaining independent from a wider intellectual environment awash in scientistic positivism (both surging neo-liberal social sciences and older Soviet orthodoxy).

All issues of Stasis remain free, accessible, and bi-lingual with simultaneous English and Russian texts for every article. Their rich cross-pollination of what American scholars came to call “theory” and the post-Soviet archive is uniquely rich. For one, there is significant working reading the Russian archive back into scholarly conversations (such as so-called Western Marxism) that tended to have a one-dimensional depiction of Soviet-era thought as it was prismatically refracted through massive state propaganda. Of particular significance are pre-Stalinist materials from workers journals, speculative philosophy, and political experiments prove that the Soviets had much more to contribute than what many had been led to believe. Moreover, their scope is not merely historical but brutally contemporary. Post-Soviet reckoning with the putative constitutional republicanism of liberal capitalist democracy helps break out of the Euro-American obsession of treating their own experiments as models for the rest of the world. Continue reading “New Publication: A Method to the Madness: The Revolutionary Marxist Method of Deleuze and Guattari”

On giving up on this world: an interview with Andrew Culp

Society and Space has recently published an article-length interview by Thomas Dekeyser. Below is Thomas’s brief description.

Distorted space

Vivre-Cest-Lutter

When I first read Andrew Culp’s Dark DeleuzeI was deeply overwhelmed. I had not been ‘touched’ on such visceral register by critical theory probably since I read Michel Serres’ Malfeasance: Appropriation through Pollution? four years ago. The work the latter did for me is almost ungraspable: it gave me the final courage I required to flee the advertising industry. Dark Deleuze sparked something different, but of equal intensity: it passionately set ablaze the ideas of ‘affirmative politics’ that I had been unconformable with for awhile. Affirmative politics felt and sounded still too much like the supposed ‘creative ethos’ that reverberates in the offices of the contemporary advertising industry. With Dark Deleuze, I found tools for exploring anarchy and anarchism. To sharpen these tools, I interviewed Andrew Culp for Society and Space. You can read it here.

I propose something not dissimilar to Foucault’s methodological suggestion…

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Aliens, Monsters, and Revolution in the Dark Deleuze

This is the longer version of a blog post I initially wrote for the University of Minnesota Press. You can find the shorter version on their blog here.

French philosopher Gilles Deleuze is usually characterized as a thinker of positivity. Consider two of his major contributions: the rhizome as an image for the tangled connections of networks, and the molecular revolution as transform spurred by unexpected quantum drift. These concepts catapulted the popularity of his thought as the digital age seemed to reflect social forms matching each form, namely the world wide web of the internet and the anti-globalization ‘movement of movements’ that lacked central coordination. Commentators marshaled his work to make sense of these developments, ultimately leading many to preach the joy of finding new connections to the material world (New Materialism), evolving the human at the bio-technical level (Post-Humanism), and searching out intensive affective encounters (Affect Studies).

In my new book Dark Deleuze, it is not my contention that such “affirmations” are incorrect. Rather, my argument is that Deleuze was ambivalent about their development, and later in life, became more a critic than proponent. In updating Deleuze for the digital age, I did more than restore a critical stance – I worked out how his lost negativity could be set loose on this world by destroying it.

Here I expanding on the Dark Deleuzian notion of “Death of This World,” a term I introduce as an image of negativity, by rendering it here as “the alien.” Instead of using well-worn digital examples, I instead explore the greatest looming question for the humanities: the Anthropocene.

Continue reading “Aliens, Monsters, and Revolution in the Dark Deleuze”

“Ending the World as We Know It: An Interview with Andrew Culp”

An interview with Alexander R. Galloway about my recent book Dark Deleuze has been published at boundary 2 online. In it, we discuss Deleuze and Guattari, technology, queer feminism, blackness, intolerance, and many other topics.

 The interview can be read here.

Book Event: Seattle, July 9

Join me for a reading of Dark Deleuze at Left Bank Books, 92 Pike St, Seattle, WA on July 9 at 7:30pm.

Dark Deleuze, Rekindling Deleuze’s opposition to what is intolerable about this world

Gilles Deleuze is known as a thinker of joyous affirmation and rhizomatic assemblages. Andrew Culp argues that this once-radical canon of joy has lost its resistance to the present. Culp unearths an underground network of references to conspiracy, cruelty, the terror of the outside, and the shame of being human to rekindle Deleuze’s opposition to what is intolerable about this world.

Andrew Culp is a lifelong anarchist who has been involved in radical collectives in Kansas City, California, Ohio, and Washington State. Dark Deleuze is part of his work on revolutionary thought inspired by the recent circuit of struggle that poses no demands, resists labels, and refuses to engage in formal political systems.

Non-constitutive Rhetoric: Or the Banality of Control

I prepared this paper for the forthcoming National Communication Association conference for a panel on affect. As with a much academic writing, I followed fairly strict disciplinary constraints; in this case, I am bridging rhetorical theory and advances in affect studies from other fields. The argument is not terribly original, though I make a few important distinctions that weed out inadequate interpretations of affect and establish the political stakes of affect theory (from a Marxist perspective). I will cut out roughly 3/4 of the material (to about 1200 words) to reduce it to a 10 minute talk.

My purpose today is to update the rhetorical studies theory of subjectivity. I argue that ‘affect theory’ should replace the older psychoanalytic model of interpellation. To concretize my argument, I analyze banal rhetoric; namely, the cybernetic subjectivity produced by “stock listings, currencies, corporate accounting, national budgets, computer languages, mathematics, scientific functions, [and] equations” (Lazzarato, Signs and Machines, 80).

Before I dive in, let provide you with a short preview of my argument. I begin by considering an essential axiom of critical rhetoric theory: “rhetoric produces subjectivity.” The prevailing theory is that subjectivity is an ideological effect of an implied audience (Charland, “Québécois”; Delgado, “Chicano Movement”). The most popular explanatory mechanism is interpellation, which draws on Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory of symbolic mediation (Althusser, “ISA,” 162). I argue that this model is no longer appropriate, for as Eugene Holland argues, “what Althusser actually describes is not the ideological constitution of the Subject, but only of the citizen” (“Schizoanalytic Critique”). The consequence of my argument is that rhetoricians explaining subjectivity through interpellation limited their focus to the State and relations of obedience/disobedience.

Second, I explain how banal rhetoric reveals modes of subjectivity beyond the citizen-subject. My claim is that rhetorical power now “speaks, communicates, and acts ‘assisted’ by all kinds of mechanical, thermodynamic, cybernetic, and computer machines” (Lazzarato, Signs and Machines, 29). I analyze “the language of infrastructures” to show how rhetoric solicits subjectivity without constituting a people or even addressing a subject (Pasolini, Heretical Empiricism, 63; Lazzarato, Signs and Machines, 61). As such, I do not celebrate affects as a challenge to abusive power; rather, I follow in the footsteps of Frédéric Lordon, who argues in Willing Slaves of Capital that joyous affects are the very means of our contemporary exploitation.

Lastly, I suggest two consequences from studying banal rhetoric: one, artifact selection need not be tied to rhetoric that hails “the people,” invokes an identity, or provides a symbolic program of action (McGee, “The People”; Charland, “Peuple Québécois”; Delgado, “Chicano Movement”); and two, the political search for rhetorical resistance need not emerge from distinct counter-publics or out-law discourses (Warner, Publics and Counter-Publics; Sloop and Ono, “Out-Law Discourse”).

Briefly restating my roadmap: I begin by discussing interpellation, continue with a discussion of affect, and end with the consequence an affect theory of subjectivity for future scholarship. Continue reading “Non-constitutive Rhetoric: Or the Banality of Control”

Three New Publications

Krzysztof Kieslowski: I’m So-So…(1998) dir. Krzysztof Wierzbicki

Three new publications:
> “Philosophy, Science, and Virtual Communism,” Angelaki 20(4): Link, Liberated
> “The State, Concept not Object: Abstraction, Empire, Cinema, ” parallax 21(4): Link, Liberated
> “Confronting Connectivity: Feminist Challenges to the Metropolis,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 12(5): Link (live Nov 19), Liberated.