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 email@example.com. All other participants register directly via prof. Briadotti’s assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
- 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)
- 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)