Deleuze and Race

Deleuze and Race

Deleuze and Race

Deleuze and Race

Synopsis

Deleuze and Guattari had extremely original things to say about race, and the politics of phenotype and origin is never far from any engaged consideration of how the world works. In these 16 essays, an international and multidisciplinary team of scholars inaugurates the Deleuzian study of race through a wide-ranging and evocative array of case studies.

Excerpt

Nick Nesbitt

The philosophy of Gilles Deleuze continues to hold untold resources for those interested in the critique of racism, colonialism and neocolonial late capitalism. Deleuze allows us to think more fully, more richly, more powerfully a series of related problems including race, emancipation and decolonisation. in particular, it is possible to identify a series of concepts or problems related to race and decolonisation (to which readers will find a great many more developed in the pages that follow) that Deleuzian thought could bring to heightened powers of articulation.

The history of racism and colonialism itself indicates certain directions that conceptual intervention might take. One might argue that an event such as the Haitian Revolution, though never acknowledged by Deleuze or Guattari, constitutes a paradigmatic historical actualisation of a number of fundamental Deleuzian concepts. the Haitian Revolution, for all the insights decades of scholarship have brought to it, is still predominantly understood in precritical terms. in other words, though scholars since C. L. R. James’s landmark 1938 The Black Jacobins (1989) increasingly came to celebrate (rather than denigrate) the world’s first successful revolt of enslaved Africans and to reveal its previously disavowed historical depth, that celebration tends to be articulated teleologically in terms of contemporary values such as autodetermination, multiculturalism and tolerance for the Other and to reduce the events of 1791–1804 to a (failed, if promising) moment in the creation of the modern liberal subject of wage labour and free markets in the postslavery, post-monarchic world-system of global capitalism.

Against any superficial reduction of the thought of the author of Difference and Repetition (1994) to an avatar of multicultural doxa, the relevance of Deleuzian thought to such an event must be located elsewhere. a critical reading of the Haitian Revolution, as of any other moment in the critique of racism, colonisation or global capital, must . . .

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