Conference Agenda

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, 11:58:25am CET

Session Overview
Racial Machines
Wednesday, 07/July/2021:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Arun Saldanha
Session Topics:
Racial Machines

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4:00pm - 4:30pm

“‘Long Live Death’: Neoliberalism’s Suicidal State and Inchoate Fascisms”

J. Paul Narkunas

John Jay College/City University of New York, United States of America

While neoliberalism emerged historically in Vienna as a celebration of individualist freedom and entrepreneurialism, and an anti-state economic reaction ironically to the state-managed nationalist fascism of Hitler, I will argue with Deleuze and Guattari that neoliberalism normalizes war in the social field while producing “suicidal states” on a planetary scale. Deleuze and Guattari, through the war machine and apparatus of capture, demonstrate the socializing aspects of capital in their rethinking of the state form alongside sovereignty and Keynesian concepts of the state, and they diagnose fascism as latent in all economic forms and institutions, and not merely a historical phenomenon or embodied by totalitarian states. Drawing from Deleuze and Guattari’s diagnosis of fascism as immanent to desiring-production, I contend that neoliberalism functions as a dynamic political-economic rationality of total war that creates suicidal states: “A war machine that no longer had war as its object and would rather annihilate its own servants than stop the destruction”(TP 231).

Former British Prime Minister and neoliberal Margaret Thatcher famously said that “society does not exist”; in fact, neoliberalism offers a fascinating example of the socializing mission of capital in producing societies of atomized individuals who nonetheless seek security through policing, a process decoupling policing from the workings of the state. Neoliberalism crafts “a war of all against all,” and an attendant state form that spawns civil wars within the socius, due to precarious employment for maintaining low inflation and for systematically depressing wages, and mass privatization of public entities. Neoliberalist states are suicidal by governing through tax cuts for the wealthiest sectors of the population that defund the state’s public functions (except policing), deregulating and privatizating the social field, and by removing worker protections while celebrating neoliberalism’s conception of humans as capital. Neoliberalism’s destruction of sociality because all individuals are in relentless competition leads to mass disaffection, ironically, through compulsory individualism, and fosters rage that often does not have a concrete object within neoliberalism on which to cathect. Instead, rage is directed at immigrants, racialized others, women, trans people, the disabled, and other forms of the dispossessed. To flesh out these arguments out with concrete examples, I will be using neoliberal state responses to COVID-19 and the January 6,2021 sacking of the US Capitol to “Stop the Steal” of democratically-elected president Joseph Biden. The latter was underwritten by Donald Trump’s use of neo-fascist techniques and symbolism (the Big Lie [“Stop the Steal”] and alternative realities, unfettered law and order, mythic sense of the US past [“Make America Great Again”], among others) that now structure reality through coded white supremacy, aided and abetted by the inchoate fascism of the Republican Party within the US.

4:30pm - 5:00pm

Professor Challenger and Inequality Realism

Andrew Canby Stanford

Duquesne University, United States of America

Who is this Deleuze that neo-reactionaries and white supremacists read? This “based Deleuze” is a thinker of the critique of democracy and a proponent of inequality realism. More foundationally, however, Deleuze’s theory of geo-trauma provides the foundation for new form of race realism and Deleuze’s criticisms of representation provide the tools and tactics necessary for neo-reactionary thought to evade attempts at suppressing it.

These readings of Gilles Deleuze are not mis-readings. Deleuze himself has written the text in such a way that these readings are fundamentally a part of the population of interpretations that he lets thrive. Following Nietzsche, Deleuze is not interested in the ‘correct’ or ‘singular’ interpretation of his work, of the kind of sovereign interpretation that Schopenhauer presents, rather his concern is with the creation of populations of interpretation, a variety of ‘Deleuzianisms’. Amongst the intellectuals of the Neo-reactionary movement, several have made extensive use of the writings of Gilles Deleuze.

To this end this paper will offer an analysis of Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘Geology of Morals’ to show how his writing fails to prevent letting Neo-Reactionary and White Supremacist interpretations thrive. By paying particular attention to effect of the literary framing device of Professor Challenger, it will look for some insight into the nature of neo-reactionary movements and offer some techniques that might serve to manage authors like Deleuze more effectively who are vulnerable to encouraging more violent, un-ethical populations of interpretations.

5:00pm - 5:30pm

Jeff Bezos' space penis: When faciality left the earth

Arun Saldanha

University of Minnesota, United States of America

For Deleuze and Guattari, race is not so much a myth or ideology as a social machine particular to capitalism, insofar as identities are formed according to an arborescent schema radiating from its ever more computerized logistical non-core. Prophesizing something like Facebook and other so-called social media, Guattari wrote from the 1970s onwards that bodies, things, and landscapes are facialized and deterritorialized according to the illusion of a central eye. But are there geographical barriers to faciality, as there are to capital? While the planet becomes ever more saturated by commodification, vanity projects like Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic promise to launch capital and human destiny itself into the cosmos. The question becomes how the faciality machine will accommodate such new speeds and utopias. Comparing Plateau 7 in A Thousand Plateaus on faciality with Guattari’s chapter "Signifying faciality, diagrammatic faciality" in The Machinic Unconscious, this paper will reintroduce conceptual vectors often sidelined in the secondary literature: psychoanalysis, evolutionary biology, and semiotics. This allows us to illustrate how White Man has needed to posit itself via space travel as the human species' only hope. Deepening the critiques of the obvious whiteness and infantile masculinism pushing the global competition (see Jeff Bezos's "space penis"), Guattari's diagrammatic approach conceptualizes the infra-psychical or inhuman dimensions of this confluence of militarism and creative destruction. Not only is the phallicism a psychotechnological expression of a deeper new axiom of capital, in the sense of A Thousand Plateaus, but it becomes a "black hole of subjectivity" in which entire populations become excited about departing from Earth.

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