“We will change nothing in the situation of the peoples of the world, if we do not change the belief that identity must be rooted, fixed, exclusive, and unaccommodating.
– Édouard Glissant
Recent times have been marked by a number of major events that force us to begin thinking about and enacting very different ways of being and belonging in the world. We can think here, for example, of the displacement of people in the ongoing global migrant crisis and the reactionary responses it has produced, from Hungary’s ‘Zero Refugee’ strategy to the crucial role played by xenophobia in the outcome of Brexit. This new wave of right-wing nationalism – which has many causes, including a rise in economic and geopolitical uncertainty – brings with it a renewed fascistic invocation of ‘the People’ as a majoritarian, homogeneous totality, something perhaps most starkly visible in Donald Trump’s election campaign and surprise victory. As if mirroring this, largely recuperated practices of identity politics have come to occupy a prominent space in contemporary political discourse, operating with equally essentialist notions of what constitutes ‘a people’ or ‘a community’.
However, as Deleuze and Guattari write in A Thousand Plateaus, “there is always something that flows or flees, that escapes the binary organisations, the resonance apparatus, and the overcoding machine” (1987, 216). There are other people, heterogeneous, minoritarian and always in the process of being fabulated; Black Lives Matter, the Fallist Movement in South Africa, refugee solidarity networks, Antifa, anarchists and other communities of resistance and prefiguration have arisen in response to racism, sexism, xenophobia, capitalism and right-wing populism, confronting hierarchy and oppression, fomenting acts of insurgence against all borders and mapping paths toward a new Earth, or what Glissant calls le tout-monde (the all-world).
What we would like to explore at this conference are the ways in which the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari can be used to think about this new socio-political terrain and how we can create what they call a people to come. How do we counter a history that “is always written from the sedentary point of view and in the name of a unitary State apparatus” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 23)? Why, as they ask, do the masses desire fascism? What might produce becomings-minor or molecular? What new forms of resistance and prefiguration are possible? Where and who are ‘the people’?
The conference is open to anyone with an interest in the subject matter. The fee for the full two days (including tea/coffee and lunch) is R850 for affiliated academics, R650 for salaried persons, R350 for students and low-funded researchers and R0-250 for anyone with limited financial means (nobody will be excluded for lack of funds; please let us know in the registration email if you cannot pay the full fee).
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 June 2017, including an abstract of 300-500 words if you wish to present. Make sure to include your affiliation (if any), along with your contact details and any access, dietary or other requirements you have. We welcome proposals for the delivery of presentations through art, performance, poetry, multimedia or any other mode of creative expression. Please also let us know if you’d like to attend the free two-day workshop on Anti-Oedipus.
Extended submission deadline 30 June 2017. Keynote speakers and additional details to be announced soon.
Arun Saldanha is Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society, University of Minnesota. Author of Psychedelic White: Goa Trance and the Viscosity of Race (Minnesota, 2007) and Space After Deleuze (Bloomsbury, 2017). Coeditor of Deleuze and Race (Edinburgh, 2013) and numerous other titles.
Ian Buchanan is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He is the founding editor of the Deleuze Studies journal and the author of the Oxford Dictionary of Critical Theory, as well as the editor of four book series: Deleuze Connections (EUP), Critical Connections, Plateaus (EUP) and Deleuze Encounters (Continuum).