Deleuze Seminar 2018-19 “Matters of Life and Death”

Location: Stijlkamer van Ravensteijn, Kromme Nieuwe Gracht 80, Utrecht University
Teaching period: September 2018-May 2019 (see dates below)
Time: Tuesday afternoon, 13:00-16:00
Organisers: Prof. Rosi Braidotti & dr. Rick Dolphijn (Utrecht University)
Credits: 2 or 5 EC
Registration: Open for RMa students and PhD candidates. RMa students and PhD candidates of Dutch universities have to register for this seminar via OSL, by sending an e-mail to osl-fgw@uva.nl. All other participants register directly via prof. Briadotti’s assistant: gw.braidottiass@uu.nl. In your registration please include a biographical note of up to 100 words in which you state your affiliation and motivation to participate in the seminar. Register before 7 September 2018.

 

Outline

The focus of this year’s seminar will be on Deleuze’s approach to death, pain and madness, under the combined influence of psychoanalysis, notably Melanie Klein, and the works of Maurice Blanchot and Spinoza. We will study and discuss the relationship between Deleuze’s neo-materialist, vital ethics of affirmation and its implications for complex issues around the lived experiences of pain, madness, resistance, suffering and dying. How does the neo-Spinozist notion of endurance foster the project of constructing an affirmative ethics? How can one live an affirmative ethical life and endure the pain?
Throughout his working life, Deleuze devoted spent a lot of time rethinking ‘ways to die’. This emphasis intensified towards the end of his life and was addressed explicitly in his final text. It is key to understand that Deleuze’s affirmative vitalism or his emphasis on life and joy does not mean that Deleuze’s thinking is about happiness or a search for a happy life. Enduring the pain, or living the wound, means, especially in our times, that we have to rethink issues like death, pain and madness thoroughly.
These issues are especially relevant for posthuman subjects situated between the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Sixth Extinction? In the brutal context of the Anthropocene and climate change, of rising populism, growing poverty and inequality? How does Deleuze’s ethics help us to deal affirmatively with these challenges?
To discuss these crucial issues in a balanced manner, the seminar will also look at some of the most common objections moved against affirmative ethics and try to assess them. It will also connect ideas like affirmation and endurance to the philosophical tradition of neo-stoicism, and to Deleuze’s re-reading of it.
Always starting from the active participation of all of its participants, this close reading seminar aims at making Deleuze’s ideas productive in many (unforeseen) aspects of academic research and artistic practice. This means we aim (jointly) to include your research projects in close reading. Thus, we find out how Deleuze’s take on death, madness, destruction, the Stoic tradition, the non-human and whatever we read in these texts, matters in the world today.

The seminar consists of nine sessions in English which will run throughout the academic year 2018-2019 in Utrecht. Research masters and PhD students, as well as staff members, are welcome to participate. Each session of the three-hour seminar will consist of an in-depth reading of a text by Gilles Deleuze (with or without Felix Guattari), sometimes alongside secondary texts by other theorists or philosophers.

Dates

  • 18 September 2018
  • 9 October 2018
  • 27 November 2018
  • 18 December 2018
  • 22 January 2019
  • 19 February 2019
  • 26 March 2019
  • 23 April 2019
  • 21 May 2019 (preliminary for now; Deleuze Symposium day)

Assignments

  • Attendance and active participation in at least 4 sessions and presentation during one of the sessions (2 EC)
  • Attendance and active participation in 5 sessions, presentation and paper of 2500 words (5 EC)

 

 

 

OSL Seminar – Postcolonial Remembrances: Violence and Identity in Literature and Film

Date: Nov 2018 – Jan 2019
(6 meetings: 2 November 2018, 15:00-19:00; 16 November 2018, 15:00-19:00; 23 November 2018 (15:00-19:00; 30 November 2018, 14:00-19:00; 11 January,15:00-19:00; 18 January 2018, 12:00-19:00 )
Location: University of Amsterdam, see below
Instructor: Dr Ihab Saloul
Credits: 5 EC
Registration: Open to PhD candidates and RMA students (maximum participants 15-20 students)

 

“The colonized man finds his freedom in and through violence.”
— Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth (1963:86)

The decisive role that Fanon attributes to material violence in the colonial context had an inexorable afterlife in the postcolonial world. According to Fanon, violence functions like a language in the colonial system, such that the colonised who seeks to overthrow the coloniser is only writing back in the coloniser’s own language. The texts and films we will study reflect this intersection of violation and political violence. Contrary to Fanon, however, they present it as a mutating, complex cultural phenomenon that draws its energies from multiple historical narratives and postcolonial remembrances. Postcolonial literary and audiovisual narratives, as we will see, not only locate violence in culturally specific sites and values such as shame, honour, purity and sacrifice, but they also draw their charge from the ways the corporeality or the embodied politics of “the victim” is made to stand in for the body politic. Think of the links between contemporary cases of political conflict across the world and Western colonial histories of these territories. Other examples include European experiences with the so-called “violent migrant”, and how the phenomenon of migration runs the risk of being enduringly aesthetized. Among other matters, postcolonial texts and media expose the brutalities of war, the entanglement of family dynamics in armed resistance to political oppression, the ambiguities of bearing witness to violation, and the effects of metropolitan values imposed upon poverty-stricken societies on the brink of chaos. These topics among others will be the focus of our discussion in this seminar. We will explore the historical references that postcolonial remembrances and cultural expressions adopt in the context of globalisation, and ask whether their symbolism adds or undercuts their political urgency? How does the extremity of the subject matter of these narratives and media effect their reaching beyond the conventions of realism into the realms of memory and the imagined (even the surreal, and the grotesque sometimes)? Of related interest will be the ways in which postcolonial literature and media experiment with anti-linear narrative sequences and spatiotemporal continuities of memory in order to stage an apocalyptic climax that collapses past, present and future violence.

Reading materials include Asia Djebar, Algerian White (2000);  Liyana Badr, A Balcony Over the Fakihani (1983); Santosh Sivan, The Terrorist (1998)

Objectives
The seminar’s objectives are:

  • To introduce students to postcolonial memory debates and theories in connection to literary and filmic representations of memory, violence, migration, identity and globalisation.
  • To provide students with analytical tools to deal with these concepts in postcolonial literatures and films from different historical and cultural contexts.

Instructional Format & Examination
The seminar includes lectures, tutorials, film viewings (students are expected to watch films in advance) and a mini-conference. Students are expected to:

  • Attend and actively participate in all sessions (20%)
  • Prepare a group presentation, and an Individual presentation for the mini-conference (30%)
  • 3000 word analytical report, with a focus on one or more themes of the seminar (50%)

Dates:
2 November 2018 –  15:00-19:00 – OIH D2.04
16 November 2018 – 15:00-19:00 – OIH D2.04
23 November 2018 – 15:00-19:00 – OIH E0.14B
30 November 2018 – 14:00-19:00 – UB C1.13
11 January 2019 – 15:00-19:00 – OIH E0.14B
18 January 2019 – 12:00-19:00 – OIH E0.14C 

OIH – Oost-Indisch Huis
UB – Universiteitsbibliotheek