The conference at Purdue was a fantastic experience. It was my first time to be at one without at least a handful of concurrent sessions, so you could both see exactly how the papers related to one another and get to know everyone better. Some highlights:
Kevin Thompson (DePaul) explored the differences between Deleuze’s and Foucault’s perspectives on resistance. Drawing on Foucault’s lectures, the work of the GIP (specifically the 1971 pamphlet, Intolérable 3: L’assasinat de George Jackson, and Deleuze’s April 15, 1986 lectures on Foucault), Thompson made three central arguments:
- For Foucault, resistance has pragmatic primacy, while for Deleuze the self-regulation of a war-machine gives resistance a normative privacy.
- The status of resistance also differs: for Foucault, it comes through existing institutions while in Deleuze, it depends on the creation of new institutions which must then be defended.
- Both the primacy and the status of resistance turn on a single “axis of exteriority,” which for Foucault is never truly outside, as it is for Deleuze.
Todd May (Clemson) brought Foucault and Rancière together to argue that since one of Foucault’s central contributions to political thought is that we are enmeshed in a decentered web of beliefs, we can profitably use the latter’s claim that equality should be the basis of politics. Among other ideas, he asserted that one intersection between these two thinkers lies in addressing the hierarchy of the partage du sensible (Rancière) as part of how we have been subjectified, while he also explored the differences between their accounts of subjectification. He used this presupposition of equality to level critique identity politics in favor of a politics of solidarity.
Marcelo Hoffman discussed both Foucault’s exploration of the ênquete (inquiry) and his use of it as a method in his work with the GIP. This excellent paper both really helped me better understand Foucault as an activist and also gave me ideas about how a Foucauldian ethnography might work.
Justin Litaker (South Alabama) drew on Deleuze and Guattari, Marx, and David Graeber to challenge the liberal myth that debt emerged from barter society, and then outlined the points of convergence and divergence between Marx’s and Deleuze and Guattari’s understanding of primitive accumulation.
Jason Read (Southern Maine) presented what he called some “scattered speculations” on how we might use Deleuze and Guattari’s notions of machinic enslavement and social subjection to think about contemporary political “capture.” He brought Deleuze’s thoughts about the dividual in his essay on societies of control together with Lazzarrato’s recent work in Signs and Machines to think broadly about individuation in contemporary capitalism.
The authors’ contact information is on the program if you are interested in getting in touch with them. Moreover, many of the presentations were videotaped, and I presume they will be posted soon. I will post brief comments on Thomas Nail’s, Fredrika Spindler’s, and Dan Smith’s papers soon.