The Fifth International Deleuze Studies Conference in New Orleans now has its own website – http://deleuze2012.com
Now that the Copenhagen conference is finished, and Bent and his team did an excellent job putting on this year’s conference, it’s time to begin thinking about the 2012 conference in New Orleans.
The title/theme of the conference is “Deterritorializing Deleuze,” not Aberrant Monism, as some have come to think since the announcement for the conference in Copenhagen titled it as Aberrant Monism, though this is only my blog where I’ve had a page dedicated to the conference. When I return to the states at the end of the month I’ll launch a website dedicated just to next year’s conference, separating it entirely from my blog.
With the theme of deterritorializing Deleuze, one is left with many ways in which one can write a relevant paper. The point is one of attempting to think Deleuze beyond Deleuze, or to use Deleuze and Deleuzian concepts in ways that are in the spirit of Deleuze (and Guattari let us not forget), and hence engage with Deleuze’s work, while at the same time pushing Deleuze Studies in different directions.
When the new site is up I’ll post a link to it here. In the meantime, if anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me – jbell (at) selu (dot) edu.
Over at New APPS I’ve posted on the night Kafka wrote his story, “The Judgment,” which marked a turning point and watershed event in his life as a writer. I use this ‘event’ to contrast my understanding of “Ideas” as multiplicities and concrete universals with Badiou’s understanding of the event. In short, when Kafka refers to ‘everything being said,’ or when upon reading “The Judgment” to his friends and recognizing what he called ‘the indubitability of the story,’ I take this not to mean that he has said, in a clear and determinate manner, everything that can be said; rather, the story contains everything that can be said in the same way that white light, as a concrete universal (and as discussed here), contains every color. This is the indubitability or haecceity of the story. At the same time, however, the possibility of saying everything skates dangerously close to saying nothing, to slipping into chaos or, in an effort to stave off the chaos, slipping into cliché and well-worn formulas. Kafka was well aware of these dangers, as was brought up in the comments to my post.
I’ve begun a weekly blog post over at New APPS, what I’m calling Continental Connections Thursday. My intention is to write much along the lines of what I’ve written over here at Aberrant Monism (and I will likely do riffs and variations upon what I have written here). I’ll write from my broadly Deleuzo-Humean perspective on issues that connect to concerns of analytic philosophy and beyond. Today’s post is titled White Light/White Heat after the Velvet Underground album of the same name. I take off from a brief discussion of the band, Lou Reed and his fascination with white noise, to explore the Deleuzian notion of a concrete universal (of which Deleuze gives white noise as an example), arguing (however briefly) that despite the nominalist, Humean trajectory of Deleuze’s thought he maintains a healthy Platonism, at least if this is the Platonism of the late dialogues (especially the Philebus). I assume the Humean strand of Deleuze’s thought, which I’ve argued for here and in my published writings, but the Platonism of Deleuze’s thought is not as well addressed, so the post is primarily on Plato for that reason. This most recent post follows another I wrote on the incredulous stare a week or so ago. The traffic over at Newapps is such that I get much more feedback than I do over here, so I’ve decided for the time being to devote most of my blogging energy to Newapps. I’ll still post at Aberrant Monism when I deem it to be too far off the mainstream diet of the blogosphere – which probably will be pretty often. In the meantime, if anyone stumbles upon any of my old posts I’m always open to comments, no matter how long after the post was written.
My good friend and Camus scholar/political theorist colleague Pete Petrakis has always said that despite my work in continental philosophy he long suspected I was a closet analytic philosopher. I have not vigorously denied these claims, which has no doubt fueled Pete’s suspicions. I did present a paper at the SEP-FEP conference in Dundee in 2006 on Deleuze and analytic philosophy. The paper (which can be had here for those who are interested) led to a nice conversation with John Llewelyn right after the talk and later that night at dinner. I’ve also had long discussions with James Williams about these issues, and James has done some great work connecting Deleuze’s thought to issues and problems that are important within the analytic tradition (especially on Davidson and Lewis). A good example of James’ work, along with others who take up similar themes, can be found in the edited collection of essays, Postanalytic and Metacontinental. With Llewelyn’s and Williams’ encouragement I had long planned to pursue the implications of Deleuzian thought for analytic philosophy but then I got caught up with the Hume book and I put that project aside.
For anyone who has followed the philosophy blogs at all for the past week, they already know about the Synthese controversy. For those who don’t know about it (and some of my Scottish friends may not), it was prompted by Brian Leiter’s call to boycott Synthese for editorial misconduct regarding a special issue, Evolution and its Rivals (here is the original post). The papers for this issue were published online but then Barbara Forrest (who is a colleague of mine at Southeastern La. Univ.) was asked by one of the editors-in-chief to make changes to her essay, the “Non-Epistemology of Intelligent Design,” even though her essay had already been accepted and published online. The stated reason for the request was that it was due to “forces beyond the control” of the Editors-in-Chief at Synthese. The reason for the sudden turn around, as it is being widely interpreted, is that Francis Beckwith (or more likely “friends” of Beckwith) lobbied and pressured the editors to get Forrest to make changes. Whether or not the editors caved to this pressure (John Symons, one of the editors, explicitly denies caving though has not directly answered the question whether he and/or the other editors-in-chief were lobbied on behalf of Beckwith), or whether the editors came to agree (on second thought so to speak) with some of the criticisms regarding Forrest’s essay is a subject that has been furiously debated on the blogs (see here and here for instance). Forrest, however, did not make the changes since she felt that it was important to detail the political, institutional, and financial connections between Beckwith and those (such as the Discovery Institute) who had a vested interest in getting intelligent design legitimized, whereas Beckwith himself interpreted Forrest’s essay as an attack on his entire life rather than on his philosophical ideas (see here for Beckwith’s take). There was some discussion of a disclaimer, apparently, but the guest editors and authors claim that they were told the print version of the journal would not have a disclaimer, but when it came out it did have a disclaimer which stated, among other things, that “some of the papers in this issue employ a tone that may make it hard to distinguish between dispassionate intellectual discussion of other views and disqualification of a targeted author or group.” Now it is hard not to see the disqualified, targeted author as Beckwith, though Larry Laudan in the comments to one of the posts linked above makes the case that he himself is targeted in the essay by Robert Pennock with a tone that justifies the disclaimer (which in turn initiated another round of debate and accusations of Laudan mining quotes inappropriately). Whatever the true, full story is, there is enough here to raise concerns about the conduct of the editors. Most importantly, as Ingo Bragandt and Eric Schliesser point out, Beckwith cites the extraordinary step of the editors choosing to issue a disclaimer as evidence in support of his claim that the substance of Forrest’s article, rather than just its tone, is suspect, and it is this which many feel might be used in an effort to de-legitimize any testimony Professor Forrest might give in the future in a courtroom or before the Louisiana state legislature as she fights to undermine legislation that places the teaching of intelligent design on a par with evolutionary theory in biology classes. As a result of this concern, in addition to the apparent editorial misconduct, a number of petitions have been set forth which range from calling for the editors to disclaim the disclaimer to, most recently, allowing Forrest to rebut Beckwith’s rebuttal.