Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).
Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 7th Dec 2022, 10:26:16am CET
Esprit de corps: The Spirit of the Body and the Soul of the Organism
University of Georgia, United States of America
In A Thousand Plateau’s Plateau 12, “Treatise on Nomadology: The War Machine,” Deleuze and Guattari pose the question, “What is a collective body?” This leads them to differentiate between bodies and organisms, attributing esprit de corps to bodies and âme d’organisme (soul of the organism) to organisms. In developing this distinction, Deleuze and Guattari oppose esprit de corps to âme d’organisme as nomadic to sedentary, the war machine to the State apparatus, the smooth to the striated, rhythm to meter, and so on. Their point of entry to the notion of esprit de corps is a discussion of asabiya in Ibn Khaldun’s 14th-century Muqaddimah. Deleuze and Guattari’s reading of Khaldun raises interesting questions about the esprit/ âme distinction, the warrior, war and the State that are compounded by an examination of their remarks on the hoplite reform in Sparta and Clastres’ account of war in traditional societies. Ultimately, what Deleuze and Guattari mean by esprit de corps is at variance with its common usage, and their dismissal of the various aspects of the âme d’organisme leaves unaddressed the social and political questions of group feeling and solidarity essential to collective cohesion in war and in peace. Especially dubious is the strict opposition of nomadic rhythm and sedentary meter, which ignores the multivalent function of collective synchronization in dance, ritual, labor, pedagogy and warfare.
4:30pm - 5:00pm
Territorializing Baraka: Jannat al-Baqi as Assemblage
University of Central Florida, United States of America
Since its formation in 1925, the Saudi state has sought to aggressively reterritorialize sacred Islamic sites within its borders, a process that has consisted primarily of demolishing numerous structures and regulating practices. In the case of the former, the kingdom has adhered to a particular brand of Sunni neotraditionalism (pejoratively termed “Wahhabism”) that calls for the destruction of shrines and raised tombs on the charge that such sites constitute idolatrous departures from the Prophet’s prescriptions. In the case of the latter, the kingdom’s scholarly and police apparatuses collaborate to promote and enforce a rigid prescription for “correct” praxis in the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina. In its destruction of sites favored by local “folk” Muslim traditions, Shi’ism, and Sufism, the state seeks to shut down potential lines of flight from the state’s construction of Islam.
With focus on the Jannat al-Baqi cemetery in Medina, this study engages the Deleuzian assemblage as a framework for thinking about the Saudi project. Viewing the site as an assemblage calls for attention to both its rhizomatic and arborescent tendencies, which then highlights the stakes in conflicts regarding Jannat al-Baqi and other sites for the Saudi state’s self-legitimation and global engagement. I supplement this analysis with a discussion of baraka (beneficent energy or force, often problematically translated as “blessings”), which may be defined in terms of relative immanence (as witnessed in shrine culture) or transcendence (the model of baraka favored by the Saudi state).
Michael Muhammad Knight is Assistant Professor of Religion and Cultural Studies at the University of Central Florida. His thirteenth book, Muhammad’s Body: Baraka Networks and the Prophetic Assemblage, is forthcoming in Fall 2020 with University of North Carolina Press, and places the critical Deleuzian question of bodies (“What can a body do?”) in conversation with hadith literature.
5:00pm - 5:30pm
Syringe-Site Assemblages and Space: Becoming-other at the Supervised Consumption Site
Charlotte Alexandra Hayley Smith
York University, Canada
What happens to the dominant understandings of illicit drug use and drug-related problems through attuning to the potentialities of the syringe? Although Deleuze and Guattari highlight the potential for drugs to decompose a body, this paper analyzes participant accounts of supervised consumption sites to explore what new capacities of the body are realized as connections with other bodies and entities are formed at the site, therefore leading to new ways of life and generative of becomings. Based on semi-structured interviews with three participants, this paper explores the body's potential to become-other at the supervised consumption site. I argue that the site-syringe assemblage enunciates new subjectivities not only by reducing risk, but also has the potential to destabilize relationships of abuse between heterosexual couples who inject drugs. This paper seeks to enact an analysis of positive difference and emphasizes what autonomy might be realized at the supervised consumption site. I conclude by discussing the potential implications a Deleuzoguattarian approach to harm reduction more broadly might have for enacting lines of flight away from deviance, pathology, and marginalization and formulating better responses to drug-related problems in light of rising numbers of opioid overdose deaths.