Deleuze and the Postcolonial

Deleuze and the Postcolonial

Simone Bignall
Paul Patton
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and the Postcolonial
    Book Description:

    This is the first collection of essays bringing together Deleuzian philosophy and postcolonial theory. Bignall and Patton assemble some of the world's leading figures in these fields - including Reda Bensmaïa, Timothy Bewes, Rey Chow, Philip Leonard, Nick Nesbitt, John K. Noyes, Patricia Pisters, Marcelo Svirsky and Simon Tormey - to explore rich linkages between two previously unrelated areas of study. They deal with colonial and postcolonial social, cultural and political issues in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia and Palestine. Topics include colonial government, nation building and ethics in the contemporary context of globalisation and decolonisation; issues relating to resistance, transformation and agency; and questions of 'representation' and discursive power as practiced through postcolonial art, cinema and literature. This book constitutes a timely intervention to debates in poststructuralist, postcolonial and postmodern studies. It will be of interest to students in cultural studies, cinema and film studies, languages and literature, political and postcolonial studies, critical theory, social and political philosophy.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3701-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Deleuze and the Postcolonial: Conversations, Negotiations, Mediations
    (pp. 1-19)
    Simone Bignall and Paul Patton

    The collection of essays assembled in this volume constructs a series of conversations between Deleuzian philosophy and postcolonial theory,¹ canvassing the relationship between Deleuze’s concepts, the phenomena of the postcolony and the project of decolonisation. As an act of engagement, a ‘conversation’ may take various forms, including ‘speaking with’, ‘speaking to’, ‘speaking about’ and ‘speaking for’. In different ways, the contributions participate in each of these aspects of conversational interaction. The starting premise for this collection, also defining the rationale for its production, concerns the problematic lack of mutuality, or else the mutual disregard, which previous scholarship has highlighted as...

  5. Chapter 1 Living in Smooth Space: Deleuze, Postcolonialism and the Subaltern
    (pp. 20-40)
    Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey

    Any attempt to situate Deleuze in relation to the postcolonial, and in particular to postcolonial theory, will inevitably involve a reckoning with Gayatri Spivak’s well-known critique of Deleuze (and Foucault) in ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ (1988).¹ Spivak is, of course, an exemplary figure as far as the development of postcolonial theory is concerned. Her brutal dissection of the interview between Deleuze and Foucault, ‘The Intellectuals and Power’, remains an emblematic encounter between the claims of a certain wing of ‘French theory’ – particularly the Nietzschean inflected variant of it – and a nascent postcolonial critique which Spivak has been so...

  6. Chapter 2 Postcolonial Theory and the Geographical Materialism of Desire
    (pp. 41-61)
    John K. Noyes

    In the mid-1990s, with postcolonialism beginning to gain currency as a powerful new concept for understanding the role of culture in globalisation, a number of voices expressed their troubled response to this term and the ideas behind it. If we are to ask what the works of Gilles Deleuze might offer to the interrogation of postcolonialism and postcolonial theory, it is worth briefly following one strand of this sense of discontent with the idea of the postcolonial: the problem of its periodisation. This question concerned the temporality of the post- in postcolonialism, a temporality which, in the minds of many...

  7. Chapter 3 Postcolonial Visibilities: Questions Inspired by Deleuze’s Method
    (pp. 62-77)
    Rey Chow

    Judging from the regularity with which events of captivity and detention occur on the international political stage, it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that the theme of confinement, a hallmark of Michel Foucault’s works from Madness and Civilisation (1965, 1967) and The Birth of the Clinic (1973) to Discipline and Punish (1977), has lost none of its critical relevance at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Indeed, in so many ways, the post 9/11 global scene only seems a fantastical set of demonstrations of Foucault’s arguments about the omnipresent and omnipotent reach of technological-cum-ideological surveillance under the guises...

  8. Chapter 4 Affective Assemblages: Ethics beyond Enjoyment
    (pp. 78-102)
    Simone Bignall

    Like some other post-colonial nations, Australia is coming to terms with the knowledge that decades of colonial policy instituting the removal of indigenous children from their families and communities has had a destructive effect on individuals and society, marking a ‘blemished chapter in our nation’s history’ (Rudd 2008). The Stolen Generations describe their lived experiences of post-colonialism in heartrending narratives of personal tragedy, cultural devastation and collective trauma, also evidencing remarkable courage, resilience and stoicism.¹ Such painful accounts call for a just response from settler Australians, so that we might move forward as a national community and begin the task...

  9. Chapter 5 The Postcolonial Event: Deleuze, Glissant and the Problem of the Political
    (pp. 103-118)
    Nick Nesbitt

    The relation between the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari and the foremost postcolonial thinker in the francophone world, Édouard Glissant, is long-standing, complex and immensely consequential, both for the work of Glissant himself and for the wider field of Postcolonial Studies in general. Glissant has recently described how he met Guattari in Paris in the 1980s, and the friendship that resulted from the impression the latter made upon him: ‘I said to myself, “I’m hearing Socrates.” I heard the same wisdom, the same irony, the same bitterness of approach and fundamental kindness’ (cited in Dosse 2007: 515). The result of...

  10. Chapter 6 Postcolonial Haecceities
    (pp. 119-162)
    Réda Bensmaïa

    Arnaud Bouaniche has recently drawn attention to the curious way in which Gilles Deleuze opens his Spinoza: Practical Philosophy (1988) with a dialogue excerpted from Bernard Malamud’s novel The Fixer (1966), a dialogue which Bouaniche (2006: 131) describes as ‘a perfect mise en abyme of the change in perspective’ that, in his opinion, occurred in Deleuze’s work after May 1968, and which points to the position that Spinoza occupied in Deleuze’s thought. What Bouaniche emphasises, and what is of particular interest for us as we try to understand the nature of the relations between Deleuze and his ‘mediators’, is that...

  11. Chapter 7 ‘Another Perspective on the World’: Shame and Subtraction in Louis Malle’s L’Inde fantôme
    (pp. 163-182)
    Timothy Bewes

    What is the source of the shame with which writers of the ‘West’ so frequently seem to approach their interactions with the ‘non-West’? What is its ethical significance? What is its relation with its supposed contrary, the shame of the colonised subject? Is there any political potential to postcolonial shame, other than as something that we need to ‘get over’? Can we envisage a form of writing that would be free of the shame of the post-colonial epoch, a truly postcolonial literature?

    Such questions seem as urgent and intractable as they have ever been. This chapter will try to navigate...

  12. Chapter 8 Becoming-Nomad: Territorialisation and Resistance in J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians
    (pp. 183-200)
    Grant Hamilton

    It is certain that geography holds a special place within J. M. Coetzee’s early novel, Waiting for the Barbarians (1980). Indeed, in this novel Coetzee exposes two combative conceptualisations of the earth that seem to characterise the colonial encounter. On the one hand is a State conceptualisation of the world that devours the essential quality of the earth, using it merely as a foundation to impose a reflection of its striated thought. It is a thought that thrives on the practice of limitation, organisation and compartmentalisation, which can only produce an always already falsified knowledge of the rich and various...

  13. Chapter 9 Violence and Laughter: Paradoxes of Nomadic Thought in Postcolonial Cinema
    (pp. 201-219)
    Patricia Pisters

    In Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996) and Divine Intervention (2002), director Elia Suleiman features as one of the main characters. He did not cast himself; rather he was casted by the script that drew him into the film, as he points out in a DVD-interview (A-Film 2003). Although both films are set in his native village, Nazareth, they are not autobiographical in a classic way, representing events in the life of the director when he returns to Palestine. Rather, the films depict an invented self-portrait that is carefully constructed by the director’s selection of images, actions and situations and simultaneously...

  14. Chapter 10 The Production of Terra Nullius and the Zionist-Palestinian Conflict
    (pp. 220-250)
    Marcelo Svirsky

    On the evening of 30 May 2007, the municipality of the city of Acre – one of the few mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel – removed metallic Arabic letters spelling Akka, the city’s name in Arabic, from the official sign at the east entrance to the city. These had been inlaid the previous day by leftist activists in response to the municipality’s omission of the Arabic inscription on the official sign. A week after the event, the activists returned and placed another sign, at the same site, with the caption, ‘Acre For All Its Inhabitants’, in Hebrew and Arabic, as...

  15. Chapter 11 Virtually Postcolonial?
    (pp. 251-271)
    Philip Leonard

    The idea, so popular among some commentators in the 1990s, that Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have steered political authority and cultural production away from the nation-state, has persisted in the twenty-first century. After the early pro-globalist rush to embrace the Internet as a truly supranational tool, new ICTs continue to be treated as a delocalising force, shifting the balance of power away from the organisational systems of the nation-state and placing it instead within a distributed informational network that operates outside of geographical and national space. With no spatial barriers to entry – and beyond the legislative structures that...

  16. Chapter 12 In Search of the Perfect Escape: Deleuze, Movement and Canadian Postcolonialism
    (pp. 272-296)
    Jennifer Blair

    In late-nineteenth-century Canada, fire was a given. Buildings were being constructed as quickly as possible as a result of the newly established dominion’s aspirations to develop, grow and modernise. As a result of this speed of construction, these buildings were haphazardly planned and composed of the most readily available – and also highly flammable – materials. In an 1887 address to the Royal Society of Canada, Quebecois architect Charles Baillairgé identified the frequency of the devastating fires occurring in Canada at the time as a phenomenon that marked Confederation-era Canadian architecture as distinct from that of its colonial past. These...

  17. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 297-300)
  18. Index
    (pp. 301-310)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 311-312)