Dark Deleuze Project Abstract

alienTitle: Dark Deleuze: A Glossary

Author: Andrew Culp, PhD, The Ohio State University

Abstract: This paper explores the Dark Deleuze by dramatizing the difference between joyfully creating concepts and apocalyptically destroying worlds. Contextualizing this dispute in recent work, the paper draws a contrast between the use of Gilles Deleuze’s thought for a realist ontology of the object and a revolutionary materialism of destruction.

The contemporary turn to realist ontology commonly adopts Deleuze’s metaphysics of positivity (DeLanda 2002; Bryant 2011; Protevi 2013). The basis for the realist side of Deleuze is perhaps best evinced by his biography: those who knew Deleuze consistently note his firm commitment to joyful affirmation and his distaste for the ressentiment of negativity (Dosse 2010 [2007]). Beatifying this sentiment, Deleuze has been used to establish a whole canon of joy. In the canon of joy, the cosmos is a complex collection of assemblages produced through the ongoing processes of differentiation (Stengers 2011, Braidotti 2005/2006; DeLanda 2006; DeLanda 2011). The effect of this image of thought is a sense of wonder but also the joy of creating concepts for knowing how the world really exists.

A different Deleuze, a darker one, has slowly cast its shadow. Emerging from scholars concerned with the condition of the present, the darkness refashions a revolutionary Deleuze; revolutionary negativity in a world characterized by compulsory happiness, decentralized control, and overexposure (Caserio et al 2005; Galloway 2006; Lovink 2014). The refashioned Deleuze forms a counter-canon out of the perfuse negativity of his concepts and affects.* On the level of concept, negativity impregnates the many prefixes of difference, becoming, movement, and transformation: de-, a-, in-, and non-. On the level of affect, Deleuze talks of indiscernibility and concealment, the shame of being human, and monstrous power of the scream. The ultimate task of this approach is not the creation of concepts, and to the extent that it does, the Dark Deleuze creates concepts only to write apocalyptic science fiction (Deleuze 1994 [1968], xx-xxii).

It is time to move from the chapel of joy to the darkness of the crypt.

There are two parts to my Dark Deleuze counter-canon project: a philosophical justification of Dark Deleuze based on textual evidence and a consideration of recent secondary literature; a description of terms that outlines the elements of the counter-canon for use.

Neither of the two parts has been published yet. I leave it up to the editors of xxxx to determine which half of the project they would prefer.

Continue reading “Dark Deleuze Project Abstract”

“Dark Deleuze”: A Glossary


Those who knew Gilles Deleuze consistently note his firm commitment to joyful affirmation and his distaste for the ressentiment of negativity. Beatifying this sentiment, Deleuzians have established a whole canon of joy. But what good is joy in this world of compulsive positivity?

It is time to move from the chapel to the crypt. There is sufficient textual evidence to establish this counter-canon. And from it, we can create a glossary of the “Dark Deleuze.”

Joyous: Dark:
Our Task Create Conceptions Destroy Worlds
Substance Techno-Science Political Anthropology
Existence Genesis Transformation
Ontology Realism Materialism
Subjects Assemblages Un-becoming
Speed Acceleration Withdrawal Continue reading ““Dark Deleuze”: A Glossary”

Immanence and the Social Sciences

Now that the Deleuzian insistence on thinking immanence has made significant inroads (even in the social sciences!) it’s time to consider trends of use.

On one side, “immanence critique” has become a popular epistemological method. For instance, the ‘scale’ debate in geography that proposes a ‘flat ontology’ argues that epistemological considerations can no longer remain agnostic to ontology (Foucault is often cited in this instance). Rather, ontology an epistemology can be co-constitutive if they’re placed in immanent relation. An example I heard yesterday was a recent geography paper written on mosquito management in Arizona that used characteristics of the mosquitos ‘ontology’ (their terms, not mine) to determine management techniques best suited to the ‘singularity’ of the mosquito. Herein lies what I consider a set of elisions that makes “immanence critique” simply a stand-in for ‘attention to detail’ or ‘relative autonomy’ without any of the benefits of immanence in its full philosophical force.

What “immanence critique” does is a priori limit out typological analysis. This mirrors the strong anti-positivism of American Post-Modernism that pushes the tired maxim “there is no master-narrative” to extreme proportions. In ‘identity politics’ disputes the claim is that strong anti-essentialism entails eliminating all identity-talk. In ‘cultural studies’ it insists that there is no such thing as culture. Etc etc. The problem is that such thinking succumbs to the same problems as transcendental thinking, only in reverse. Vulgar immanence critique posits the source of transcendence as error or illusion. It doesn’t offer an immanent explanation for the specific transcendent thinking it wants to critique, but rather a generalized condemnation of its use.

Continue reading “Immanence and the Social Sciences”